The Western Cape is fast becoming one of the world’s premier adventure hotspots and endorphin junkies from around the globe are jetting into Cape Town to plug into the action.
Duelling at Dungeons (Big-Wave Surfing):
In the shadows of Sentinel Peak, a deepwater reef known as Dungeons lies in wait . Surfers come from around the globe to test their skills at this legendary surf spot, facing off against the huge glassy, grey-green swells.
If the water here is too big for you, other surfing options are Kommetjie, or Kogel Bay, or J-Bay. Slot into the surfing scene at www.wavescape.co.za
For the Hang of It (Abseiling):
Kick off your adventure tour of the Western Cape on top of the world-famous Table Mountain with a hair-raising 112-metre abseil. This is one of the world’s highest commercial abseils, and the views across Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles ranges are spectacular.
Abseil Africa provides the necessary gear and all you need to do is smile bravely as you step backwards over the edge. Contact them at +27 21 424 4760 or check out www.abseilafrica.co.za
Cape of Good Slopes (Snowboarding):
Heli-boarding is about as hip, hot and happening as a Cape day can get. Snow and sunshine do not go together though, which means you have to move fast to get to the slopes after a good powder dump. And there is no quicker way than helicoptering in!
Lift off from Cape Town airport and set course for Matroosberg, a rugged peak looming high amidst the craggy Hex River ranges. Here you'll find yourself in a high-altitude world boasting virgin runs, stacked couloirs and a ski lift - less than two hours' drive from Cape Town. Touch base with Downhill Adventures on +27 21 422 0388 or visit www.downhilladventures.com or www.matroosberg.com for info.
Classic Rock (Sport Climbing):
Montagu, a tiny town situated near the Breede River, boasts world-class scrambling and rock climbing in a veritable mountain paradise. There are more than 150 single-pitch sport routes crammed into the two-kilometre Badkloof stretch. Stuart Brown is the local guru, and offers instruction and quality accommodation in a laid-back farm setting - check out www.debos.co.za or email [email protected].
Kings of Swing (Bungee):
Head down the N2 from Cape Town for your next adventure, but resist stopping for a caffeine fix along the way. You'll notch up way more street cred if you kick off your day with a dose of adrenaline, and Bloukrans Bridge is just the place.
Get into countdown mode at the original African jump site for a 200-metre bungee plunge towards the river bed below. Operator Face Adrenalin runs the show – Call them at +27 42 281 1458 or visit www.faceadrenalin.com.
Rattle Your Cage (Shark Cage Diving):
Face off against the great white shark, arguably the underwater world's most fearsome predator, along the Western Cape’s southern coast. These denizens of the deep patrol the channels between Geyser and Dyer Islands off Gansbaai, South Africa's shark cage-diving capital.
Big Air (Kiteboarding):
Mention heaven to a kiteboarder, and bets are on they will immediately think of Langebaan. A gently sloping and safe estuary, stable wind conditions and buckets of sunshine mean this is one of those spots that "consistently goes off".
Some of the world's top boarders have crafted their skills here, so you'll be in awesome company in this laid-back coastal town nestling alongside a pristine wetland system. Cabrinha Surfaris puts together trips and training sessions – Call them at +27 21 554 1729 or visit www.cabrinha.co.za.
Jumpstart Your Day (BASE Jumping):
If paragliding or skydiving are too tame for you, try hurling yourself from a cliff or high building. There are only a handful of air-meisters with the necessary temperament though, as BASE jumping requires minute attention to detail, intimate knowledge of air and wind patterns and nerves of steel.
This is strictly for the pros, but if you've got what it takes, Bloukrans Gorge near Plettenberg Bay is just the place for an unforgettable leap of faith. Patrick O'Connor has ticked off most of the Cape jump sites, and you can reach him on +27 83 377 2714 or visit www.basejumping.co.za for more info.
Crank it Up (Mountain Biking):
If you are in search of the holy trail, there is no better ride than Harkerville near Knysna. This section of the Garden Route brims with off-road riding, but this stunning forest-cum-fynbos crank stands head and shoulders above the competition.
Saddle up opposite the Garden of Eden entrance kiosk (you can buy permits here), and head off on one of four, colour-coded route options: flowing single-track swoops amid forest giants, blasts over black-water creeks and tracks hugging plummeting coastal cliffs. Mountain Biking Africa runs guided rides, and can be contacted on +27 82 783 8392 or visit www.mountainbikingafrica.co.za for more info.
Just Dune It (Sandboarding):
SA's west coast has a lot more going for it than just crayfish, secluded beaches and diamond mines. Sandboarding offers intrepid outdoor adventurers an excellent opportunity to carve a swashbuckling course along coastal dunes. Radical board grabs, big-air jumps and the occasional wipe-out add to the sport’s bad-ass boarder attitude.
Daily excursions to the dunescape near Atlantis set off from Cape Town at 8am, with all gear included. Booking is essential through Revel Adventures –call +27 21 422 3652 or book online at www.revel.co.za.
Book your place on one of several weekly trips by calling +27 82 559 6858 or visit www.sharkcagediving.co.za for more info.
More info on extreme sport in SA is available at the definitive web resource - www.ndorfin.co.za