SA Offbeat itinerary

2013-04-22 08:19

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For all those who enjoy hiking trails, end-of-year beach bumming and game viewing in our stunning reserves, there is always a nutty bunch ready to try something different, adrenalin-pumping, or, quite simply, crazy.

Shark diving:

For those with a particular preference for danger, there is always the opportunity to come nose-to-nose with some of the ocean’s meanest sets of teeth – those belonging to sharks swimming around the Western Cape coastline. Quite simply, you are hooked up to a scuba tank, dropped into a cage underwater and left to your own devices as the hungry sharks are attracted toward you with bits of bait thrown into the sea. Splendid fun - take a look at this close call Shark Cage diving experience that happened off Gansbaai - the opening of cages have since been modified.

See what they're like up close. Photo: Wikimedia Common

Hunting deep

Many South Africans love fishing and have spent countless hours throwing a line into the sea or a dam in the hope of enticing a naïve fish to bite into what looks like a delightful snack. Well, that’s the normal way of doing things. In this crazy age you can book yourself tours where you dive underneath the water with a vicious looking spear gun, stealthily stalk the fish like you’re a wild animal, and shoot it dead when you get close enough – Spearfishing is crazier and more difficult than conventional fishing, but easier than an episode of Survivor.

Flirt with death

If tempting fate with animals is not your thing, how about testing out your heart with a bouncy dangle, 216m above the Bloukrans River, off one of the highest commercially-run bungee platforms in the world? Perhaps elasticised rope is not your bag, in which case abseiling down Table Mountain could scratch your thrill-seeking itch with unmatchable views on your drop toward the country’s prettiest city? Or you could flirt with a watery ending while white-river rafting down a range of South African rivers. All activities will thoroughly measure your tendency to panic.

I say "Jump", you say "how high?", I say "216m". Photo: Wikimedia Common

Pack light

Some just want a conventional holiday in an unconventional fashion, and off to Sandy Bay they head, getting a proper all-round tan. Nudist and naturist travellers are fairly well-catered for in South Africa, with specific game parks and bush resorts, as well as the beach offerings. If you fancy a really open and easy time away, you can find it here in our country with a sizeable community to boot, just don’t forget your sunscreen – seriously.

Wacky races

The perfect offering for the bird-brains: a zany competitive sport in South Africa is the not-so-common-outside-Oudtshoorn practice of ostrich racing. Believe it or not, you can saddle up on one of these birds and clumsily charge around a track, doing your best to make it over the finish line in double-quick time. It is also possible to enjoy some excellent ostrich stew or biltong afterwards, but don’t tell the birds that. A rather different take on simple birdwatching…

A fleet of ostriches. Photo: Wikimedia Common

So not all travel needs to be the same thing you did last year, nor do you need to imitate what your friends did on their holiday. Instead, you could choose a brush with carnivorous fish, defy gravity, ride a bird that kicks as hard as a horse, run a sunstroke risk with every inch of skin or catch your fish without a rod, and probably have great stories to tell.
Read more on:    weekend escapes  |  travel south africa  |  lifestyle

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