South Africa is the Sportrotters most do. Indeed, you will find an impressive number of sports in the great outdoors, breathtaking scenery and a perfect climate for outdoor activities as well as good infrastructure, national parks and reserves that will allow you to observe the African wildlife. Anything that makes you want to travel is to discover in the “rainbow nation”.
Only downside, the security, but if the basic travel rules are respected, you should not have any problems.
Capital: Pretoria is the administrative capital of the country and Johannesburg is the economic one.
Currency: € 1 ~ 15.5 Rand (September 2015)
Language: The country has more than 11 official languages, but English is the administrative language and about 85% of the population speaks it.
Transport: South Africa has good infrastructures. So you can travel around the country by train or by car on good roads.
Some regions (the Wild Coast, for example) are still undeveloped and some roads are not tarred and can sometimes be in very poor condition with many potholes. You will need a 4WD in the rainy season. If you choose to rent a car, be sure to avoid night driving because many carjacking occur after sunset.
South Africa is for sure an ideal destination for the practice of outdoor activities.
The country is famous for its safaris and wildlife. Dozens of public and private reserves are scattered throughout the country and you will see animals in their natural environment. Kruger region that covers nearly 20 000 km² is the most famous. You can find there the Big five: elephants, lions, leopard, black rhinos and buffalo. Indeed, the presence of these animals often shows the quality of a reserve. Many other reserves are deemed to offer their visitors many opportunities to observe and approach the wildlife. Other big reserves are Hluhluwe Umfolozi (south east), Addo Elephant Park (south), Pilanesberg (near Johanesbourg).
You can also join Nkonzo Bush Academy and a conservation initiative in South Africa to help protect the remaining mega-fauna on the only wild reserve in the fynbos biome. Make a difference and promote a better tomorrow for wildlife and the environment and contribute to the bigger picture.
Unfortunately, malaria is present in many parts of South Africa (east of the country). We advise you to check before your departure with a specialist.
If you come to South Africa for hikes, you will have lots of choices. The best known area for hiking is the Drakensberg with its green mountains and majestic landscapes. For hikes along the coast you can try the Wild Coast area. You can go hiking almost everywhere in the country. Many organizations even offer to carry your backpacks (slackpacking). An example of what you can find.
The country offers many overnight hiking trips with accommodation in small huts: Tsitsikama Trail, Dolphin Trail, … .
Attention, this hikes have limited number of participants, you must book in advance.
On every Sportrotter’s must do hikes are the Wild Coast, Cederberg, Garden Route and Table Montain hikes.
If you are looking for hikes and wildlife observation you may also be tempted by a hike of several days on a reserve with lions and other wild animals. To do this, go to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Reserve which is one of the few to offer this experience.
South Africa also has beautiful landscapes for the mountain bikers. In the Drakensberg, on the Garden Route and on the Wild Coast, you will find dozens small companies offering to hire a mountain bike or to do an overnight trail.
The Sportrotters in search for adrenaline will not be disappointed either. You can find all the outdoor activities your heart desires: rafting, paragliding, diving, canyoning (often referred kloffing),coastering, tubing or swing. Check here a very good website where you can find plenty of information.
Always send an email before going in a particular area with the aim to do an outdoor activity as most of them are weather permitting.
You can practice climbing in the Drakensberg, the Cederberg or Cape Town but the country has many cliffs and canyons with many opportunities for abseiling, zip line etc.
South Africa and its waves are perfect for surf! Jeffreys Bay is one of five world known destinations for surfers and every year the Surf World Cup takes place in July. We prefer to warn you, shark attacks are fairly common.
Port St Johns is unfortunately known as the beach with the most deadly attacks in the world (6 in 4 years). But if you like surfing, you can do with a little bit of extra adrenaline.
The South African sea is full of treasures too. At the border with Mozambique you can find the best diving spots. However, diving in South Africa is only recommended for experienced divers because the currents are strong. Adrenaline fans can also try diving in a cage with the great white sharks.
When to go:
Avoid the period from mid-December to mid-January (and Easter): in fact, accommodation is more expensive and the National Parks are full months in advance, tourist sites are crowded and all is more expensive. The high season runs from December to March.
Prefer April/May or September/October, you will enjoy sunny weather in most of the country and is the right season to observe the wildlife.
The country is large and the climate is different in Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban, so check before you go.
Some of the countries, including European countries do not require Visa to travel to South Africa for a stay of less than three months.
If you must have a visa, do ask at the embassy as South Africa does not issue visas at the border.
In the footsteps of Sportrotters
- Big 7 safari in Addo Park
- Hiking in the Robberg Nature Reserve
- Mountain Bike in Stellenbosch
- Whale watching in Hermanus
- Volunteer with the Big 5
- Shark cage diving
- Paragliding on the Garden Route
- Blokart at Buffs Bay
- Abseiling and via ferrata for the adventurous spirits
- Kloofing in the Crags
- Bungee jumping at Bloukrans Bridge
- Canopy tour in Tsitsikama
- Adrenaline activities in Oribi Gorge