5 Incredible Adventures to Conquer on the Garden Route!
Adventures for adrenalin junkies / Outdoor Adventure enthusiasts / overs
1. Horseback Safari in Addo Elephant Park
This is a must-do activity for animal lovers! As the typical way to travel around Addo Elephant Park involves being confined safely inside a vehicle, there is something truly special about riding horseback in the park where the animals roam freely.
It almost seems that the animals are more accepting of humans travelling on four legs, rather than inside a humming, chugging metal box.
We galloped with zebras, cantered by warthogs and even spotted some elephants.
An experienced local guide called ? shared a significant amount of knowledge on the animals and environment with us.
In the safety briefing, he warned us that if we saw a lion we had to get off our horses and lie on the ground! Cut to WTF, FML OMG
Read more about my experience on horseback in Addo here:
A horseback safari can be booked at the reception desk at Addo Elephant Park or pre-booked on their website here.
2. Canyoning at Storms River
I first fell in love with canyoning when I tried it on a trip to Croatia, so literally jumped at the chance when I saw it advertised in Storms River.
Experienced instructors will lead you on a route that the water naturally takes through the rocks. You get to discover a spectacular setting that would be incredibly difficult to find without local knowledge and climbing equipment.
It begins with a short hike through a forest and an abseil down a cliff. You will navigate down waterfalls and zoom into caves on a zipline. There is an option to jump from high cliffs for the more daring or climb an easier route down to safety.
The rush of swimming, climbing, scrambling along the river and jumping into beautiful pools is incredible and an epic way to experience the lush environment.
It doesn’t require a lot of advanced skills, just a moderate level of fitness and a thirst for adventure. The instructors take care of everything so all you have to do is follow their lead and enjoy.
You can book here and they provide you with all the equipment you need including a wetsuit, life jacket, and helmet. You will just need to wear an old pear of runners or wetsuit boots.
Read more about my canyoning experience here: (other good canyoning spots)
3. Salt River Mouth Hike and Swim in Natures Valley
Natures Valley takes you into the heart of the Tsitsikamma forest; a dense, wondrous forest only overshadowed by the play of mountain and beach – for there are kilometres of white sand, and mountains that form a dramatic backdrop. (Grootrivier in Natures Valley)
This route will take you on a hike through Tsitsikamma forest to a secluded beach where the river meets the sea, surrounded by a dramatic mountainous landscape. This was one of my favourite things to do on the Garden Route. I loved this trail so much we did it twice- on both directions of our garden route journey!
The walk itself is relatively short at only 3.6km but I highly recommend that you take more time to swim at the river mouth and relax on the remote beach that can only be reached by foot.
The walk begins at a tea room in Natures Valley where you can park your car on the roadside. Take the entrance to the beach and follow the boardwalk to the sand. Turn right and head West across the beach to find the entrance to the trail.
Follow the uphill path to reach some stunning view points. From here, it is an easy downhill trail to the river’s edge. Turn left here and follow the river until you reach the stunning setting where the river meets the sea between the mountains.
This is a beautiful place to take time to relax on the beach, take a swim or snorkel. We also hiked up the river to explore more of the forest.
You can choose to return on the same trail or take the more adventurous coastal route back to your car.
At the time of our visit, the coastal path had collapsed in parts due to erosion, so it took a bit of scrambling and cautious footsteps to follow the marked trail. After this, navigate some rocky ridges to follow the shoreline back to Nature Valley’s beach.
Other than this part of the trail, it is an easy hike with abundant views of striking scenery.
For keen hikers, this trail can be combined with more sections of the famous 41km Otter Trail.
For more epic hikes, see ‘4 stunning hikes in Capetown’
4. Surf in Jeffreys Bay
JBay is the surfing mecca of South Africa, one of the stops on the World Surf Tour and is widely known as one of the best right hand surf breaks in the world. The good news is that you don’t need to be a Pro to enjoy this experience!
Beginner surfers should book a lesson with one of the local surf schools. They will take you to the most suitable spot and teach you how to catch waves. Make sure to wear sunscreen as the African sun is strong and being in the sea water increases chances of burn.
Advanced surfers can choose to surf any of the waves breaking in J bay. The most popular spots in this area are called Kitchen Window, Magnatubes, Boneyards, Supertubes, Impossibles, Salad Bowls, Coins, Tubes, The Point and Albatross.
See the stormrider guide for more.
Sometimes the feeling of ducking my head under the waves is enough to have a feeling of bliss. You can emerge from the sea water filled with joy. A dip in the sea has been likened to hitting a reset button in the mind- everything negative just washes away with the tide.
5. Take on the world’s highest Bungee jump
Daredevils and thrill seekers can take on the world’s highest bungee jump on the garden route. At 216m above the Blourkans Rivier Valley, Africa’s highest bridge is a sight to behold!
We had a delicious lunch in the bar overlooking the valley, which offers a great view of the jumpers. The restaurant TVs also stream the close-up footage for added entertainment!
The team of staff can be seen dancing and singing, preparing the jumpers on the bridge and there is great buzz and excitement in the bar as families and friends watch their companions take the leap!
Advance bookings are recommended. Book with Face Adrenalin. It costs R850 (€50 approx) if booked online.