9 adventures adrenaline junkies can enjoy with their kids

From sea kayaking to skydiving, Claire Keaton rounds up nine activities for thrill-seeking families to add to their bucket lists - one from each province

07 January 2018 - 00:00 By CLAIRE KEETON
Treat brave teens to a tandem jump.
Treat brave teens to a tandem jump.
Image: Supplied

GAUTENG: CARLETONVILLE, SKYDIVING

For her 12th birthday, my son's friend went skydiving and the video shows her euphoria. I felt the same way somersaulting out of a plane attached to an instructor: skydiving was an effortless rush. I jumped at Skydive Joburg near Carletonville from an aircraft specially designed for jumpers. This is not a run-of-the-mill kids' thrill but, for the brave child - or adult - it's a win.

Contact Skydive Joburg: call 084-998-3178 or e-mail info@skydivejoburg.co.za

Rates: Tandem skydive: R1,570.

WESTERN CAPE: CAPE TOWN, SEA KAYAKING

Paddling in double kayaks to see the penguins of Simon's Town in rough seas started well. My son loved the motion of the swell and the excitement. The penguins were their usual charming selves. But, if you're going with children, choose better conditions. Being drenched on the way back did not impress my young son. On a calm day, it must be idyllic. Or paddle to the seals below the Sentinel in Hout Bay.

Contacts: Paddle Yak (Hout Bay): call 082-556-2520 or visit seakayak.co.za; Kayak Cape Town (Simon's Town): call 082-501-8930 or e-mail info@kayakcapetown.co.za

Rates: Hout Bay R600 pp, Simon's Town R300 pp.

Rock climbing will get your adrenaline pumping.
Rock climbing will get your adrenaline pumping.
Image: MARIANNE SCHWANKHART

MPUMALANGA: WATERVAL BOVEN, ROCK CLIMBING

Waterval Boven, about 100km west of Nelspruit, is an adventure playground where children can run wild.

On the outskirts of this old railway town is a green and shady campsite, known as Tranquilitas, which is a perfect place to start rock climbing (as I did, light years ago). Short hikes lead to some of the best sport climbing - safe bolted routes - in the country.

Nine great mountain bike routes have been cut and mapped around Tranquilitas.

Contacts: Roc 'n Rope adventure company: call 082-753-3695 or visit rocrope.com; Tranquilitas: visit tranquilitas.com/mountain-biking

Rates: Vary depending on activities.

LIMPOPO: MAGOEBASKLOOF, CANOPY TOUR

Magoebaskloof has crystal rivers and lakes in mountains that are often shrouded in mist. George's Valley has the most spectacular canopy tour I've done in South Africa. Zip lining over the waterfalls and rapids of the Groot Letaba River is mesmerising. The 11 slides are high so this tour is an adrenaline trip. Children can slide in tandem with a guide; the recommended minimum age is seven.

Contact Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour: call 083-866-1546 or visit magoebaskloofcanopytour.co.za

Rates: R650 pp including refreshments and lunch.

FREE STATE: CLARENS, MOUNTAIN BIKES & RAFTING

The golden hills of Clarens offer great bike rides for families, particularly a 10km slick rock route overlooking the town and valley. For serious mountain bikers there are longer routes.

Rafting on the nearby Ash River is the right antidote to the heat of summer and Clarens Xtreme has taken children as young as six on its boats. Their oldest rafter was 106. The cold river is fed by the Katze Dam in Lesotho, so the water level doesn't depend on rainfall.

Contact Clarens Xtreme: call 082-563-6242 or 058-256-1260 or visit clarensxtreme.co.za

Rates: Whitewater rafting R450 per person for half days; R650 for full day. Mountain-biking trails vary from R50 to R100 a trail.

KWAZULU-NATAL: UNDERBERG, HORSE RIDING

If you want a wild family getaway try Khotso Horse Trails. Our overnight horse trip included packing a passport - we crossed into Lesotho at Bushman's Nek border post. We followed an old donkey trail up and into the Sehlabathebe National Park. Our Basotho ponies were rock solid as they climbed narrow paths steeply into the mountains. We slept soundly in a cosy lodge built originally for King Jonathan.

Contact Khotso Horse Trails: call 033-701-1502 or 082-412-5540 or e-mail khotsotrails@futurenet.co.za

Rates: Contact Khotso for prices; minimum two people per trip.

NORTHERN CAPE/NAMIBIA: ORANGE RIVER RAFTING

Families can do easy day trips on the Orange - 90% of people who paddle here have never been in boats before. If possible, go for a multi-day trip through the Richtersveld. Be warned, in summer temperatures soar to over 40°C.

Contacts: Northern Cape Tourism on 053-832-2657 or e-mail marketing@experiencenortherncape.com; For multi-day trips, call Felix Unite at 087-354-0578 or e-mail reservations@felix.com.

Rates: Felix Unite, 4 nights R3,950 per adult, R3,750 per child.

Canoeing through the Richtersveld on the Orange River.
Canoeing through the Richtersveld on the Orange River.
Image: Felixunite.com

EASTERN CAPE: CINTSA, SURFING

The coastal resorts of the Jikeleza Route have endless beaches, dune forests and, of course, waves. Easy beach breaks like Cintsa, 50km from East London, or Nahoon in East London, are ideal for beginner surfers. For lessons, try Buccaneers Lodge and Backpackers, which offers surfing and horse riding.

Contacts: Buccaneers (Cintsa): call 082-657-9127 or visit cintsa.com; Jonginenge Kids Adventure Programme (Nahoon): call 083-305-2590 or visit jonginenge.co.za

NORTH WEST: MAGALIESBERG HIKING

The Magaliesberg is one of South Africa's natural wonders. In pristine gorges where the water is clean enough to drink, families can hike for a day and hardly see another person. Mountain Sanctuary Park has enjoyable day walks and camping. To go deeper into the kloofs you need permits from the Mountain Club of South Africa - and maps if you don't want to get lost.

Contacts: Mountain Sanctuary Park: call 014-534-0114 or visit mountain-sanctuary.co.za. Mountain Club of South Africa: visit mcsa.org.za

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