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
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 email@example.com
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.
Rates: Hout Bay R600 pp, Simon's Town R300 pp.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Rates: Felix Unite, 4 nights R3,950 per adult, R3,750 per child.
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.
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.