Tag Archives: diving

Scare Yourself Silly!

Are you an adrenalin junkie? Do you like challenging yourself in new situations? Do you like trying out new sports and exploring new places? Africa is full of amazing places for the thrill-seekers amongst you!

Canoeing:

There are lots of different places to canoe in Africa but some of the best canoeing can be found on Africa’s Great Lakes including Lake Malawi. It is a fantastic way to explore the unspoilt beaches and stunning warm water and soak up the total peace and quiet of the place. If you want a bit more excitement then you can have fun in a dug-out canoe called a mokoro on safari in Botswana exploring the waterways of the Okavango Delta. Or if that’s not enough of a thrill you can spend your time dodging hippos on the mighty Zambezi! See our Selinda Canoe Trip for a fantastic camping and canoeing safari trip.

White-water rafting and kayaking:

Some of the best Grade 5 rapids in Africa are on the Zambezi river as it pours out of the awesome Victoria Falls on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The huge river come pounding over the wide waterfalls but then squeezes into a narrow rocky gorge giving the water immense energy and creating some world class rapids. There are plenty of companies offering rafting trips of various lengths and level of skill around Victoria Falls.  Further afield you could also tackle the infamous Horrible Horace, the Whiplash and the Four-Man-Hole – legendary rapids and cascades for white water rafting and kayaking on the Tugela in the Drakensburg Mountains of South Africa. The Orange River also in South Africa offers some fantastic rafting and kayaking hotspots too.

Bungee Jumping:

And of course we couldn’t talk about adrenalin sports in Africa without adding in bungee jumping. Also at the world famous Victoria Falls you can do one of the world’s greatest bungees over the edge of Vic Falls itself. This was one of the earliest sites for bungee jumping after New Zealand and has been a long established attraction at the Falls. You can combine a trip here with a safari or with some white water rafting as there is plenty to see and do in the vicinity. Vic Falls bungee jump is definitely classed as one of the world’s best jumps and features on many a bucket list!

Diving with Rays:

Scuba Diving is exciting at the best of times but in the protected coastal waters of Mozambique you can go diving and swimming with some extraordinary animals. Whale sharks and manta rays are one of the huge attractions of the area along with the miles of unspoilt beaches and crystal clear warm waters of Mozambique. There are many dive centres and resorts  scattered along the coast of Mozambique but the main place for diving with manta rays and whale sharks is Tofo. This is the best place in the world for seeing these amazing creatures up close but the marine life in these waters is unbelievable. With some of the best preserved coral reefs and unpolluted waters Mozambique really is a diver’s paradise. 

Surfing:

The beautiful Garden Route along South Africa’s southern coast offers incredible scenery, quaint towns, a huge variety of marine life including whales and dolphins and on top of all that some world beating surf. There are several bays along the Cape’s south coast, east of Cape Agulhas, that produce consistent surfing conditions including Stil Bay, Mossel Bay, St Francis Bay, Jeffrey’s Bay and Algoa-Port Elizabeth. It depends on the weather conditions as to which has the best surf on the day but with the right wind direction and a good swell these are world beaters. Jeffrey’s Bay is famous for its almost perfect tube and the area is home to a strong surfing community and also hosts several different international competitions.

Diving with sharks:

If surfing seems a bit tame then how about cage diving and coming face to face with a Great White  off the coast of sunny Cape Town? This is becoming more popular year by year and there are now several different operators to choose from if you are brave enough! You can also take boat rides out to see the whales and dolphins from Cape Town. We have some fantastic accommodation on offer including top of the range luxury hotels, small boutique guest houses and self-catering apartments.

Mountain Biking and Mountain Climbing:

The Drakensburg Mountains are a stunning range set in the north east of South Africa. The area is famous for its stunning scenery and it offers all sorts of mountain based adrenalin activities including mountain climbing, horse-riding, mountain-biking, quad biking, white water rafting, hiking and abseiling. Many adrenalin enthusiasts regard the Drakensberg’s rivers, mountains and tracks as the ultimate adventure destination in the world. The mountains themselves are stunningly beautiful and well worth a visit just for the landscape alone. You can see even more during a hot air balloon flight or a trip in helicopter both of which are also available here. You can hire bikes in several different locations in the area and most hotels will also arrange this for you and you can choose from following the trails yourself or taking a tour with a guide who can really take you off-trail!

Dune buggies:

Where else could you get amazing dune buggy rides than in the stunning sand dunes and deserts of Namibia? Swakopmund is home to all kinds of adrenalin sports and you can find amongst other things on offer the chance to go dune bashing in some of the most unique scenery on earth.  Some of the sand dunes are quite rightly protected as sites of special importance but there are plenty of sand dunes available for exploring on dune buggies. You can also go sky diving, hot air ballooning, boat trips to the seal colonies, sandboarding, quad biking, sport fishing and night desert walks to name but a few!

Horse Riding:

Galloping through the waterways and wide open spaces of true wilderness, Botswana offers riders an incredible experience you just cannot get in the UK. Hundreds of miles of unspoilt wildlife and scenery and not another person to be seen in any of it. No traffic, no roads, nothing to hinder you from riding free as a bird. In Botswana you can ride through the stunning Okavango Delta and enjoy a horse-back safari which is a great way to get off the beaten track and see the wildlife up close. You can also do horse-riding in many other places including across South Africa and Namibia. RAW Botswana offer terrific horseback safaris – find out more here.

So instead of moaning about the rain the next time we have a wet bank holiday why don’t you book yourself a white-knuckle ride and scare yourself silly somewhere in Africa?!

Posted by Ruth Bolton

Insiders Guide to the Best Dive Sites in Africa

African waters may not be the first place you think of when you think of diving but surprisingly they can compete with the very best of Australasia and the Pacific when it comes to coral reefs and warm clear waters. The Red Sea in Egypt is one of the world’s best dive sites and it is most definitely located in Africa. However as it is already pretty well known we are focussing instead on some lesser known locations in Southern and Eastern Africa.

1) Watamu – Kenya

Watamu is a beach resort on the coast of Kenya on the shores of the Indian Ocean. It sits on a headland and therefore offers three main bays; Watamu Bay, Blue Lagoon and Turtle Bay. These make up the protected Watamu Marine National Park. The Marine Park is considered one of the best snorkelling and diving areas on the coast of East Africa. Local community groups, the tourist sector and environmental groups have formed a unique organisation called the Watamu Marine Association to work together with the aim of protecting the area. The whole area is fabulous for diving with white sandy beaches, coral reefs, a huge variety of marine wildlife, mild weather conditions and excellent visibility due to the lack of pollution.

2) Pemba, Bazaruto and Quirimbas – Mozambique

The Quirimbas National Park offers a fantastic natural and unspoilt coastline for some superb diving.  Pemba also in Mozambique is an ideal location for both snorkelling and diving as the coral reef is very close to shore. These waters offers protection to a massive variety of soft and hard coral that attract a huge variety of marine species, including the very rare and bizarre oceanic sunfish as well as dolphins, whales, whale sharks and turtles.  It is also popular with Humpback Whales and sometimes up to 5 whales at a time often seen on the shore breaching. The area is also home to a fantastic range of rays including the magnificent manta ray. The Bazaruto Archipelago also offers incredible diving in a truly unspoilt landscape.  This region has year round diving conditions as temperatures never drop below 24c even in winter (July and August). Mozambique is often combined with safaris in the Kruger National Park.

3) Zanzibar – Tanzania

The coastal and outlying islands of Tanzania have developed a rich mix of African and Arabian influences over the years that give the area a truly unique atmosphere and culture. There is a fantastic range of species mainly down to the healthy coral reefs. The diving is excellent with good visibility, warm waters and many exciting dive sites. The main dive sites off Tanzania are the islands of Mafia, Zanzibar and Pemba which all offer different experiences. Zanzibar is surrounded by Indian Ocean coral atolls so you get some fantastic dives coming up close to some of the largest species, especially whales. Pemba Island offers spectacular wall diving, clear water and Mafia Island is best visited during the Whale Shark migration (Nov-Jan) to see the world’s largest fish is all its beauty.

A World of Sport in Africa

Africa may not be the first place you think of when you think of a sport you enjoy but actually sports in general play a huge part in day-to-day African life. Should you be lucky enough to visit Africa you will find that sport is a great unifier. No matter where you come from or what you do you will always find someone keen to talk and share their passion for sport.

Across Africa football is by far and away the number one sport. The African Cup of Nations has a huge following throughout the world and here in the UK we have many of the top African footballers such as Didier Drogba, Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure playing in our Premiere League. Football is played pretty much everywhere from the smallest village on the savannah to the largest cities. Everywhere you go you will see small kids playing barefoot in the dust with homemade footballs and goalposts. And you are usually invited to join in!

Africa is also home to many other types of sports from the obscure to the thrilling.

Golf is very popular in South Africa with some of the world’s top golf courses found around Cape Town, Sun City and Mpumalanga, Durban, The Garden Route and the Winelands.  You can also catch major tournaments such as the South African Open, the SA Masters and the PGA Championship.

Rugby is also a huge game in South Africa with their immense national pride in their world beating Springboks. Watching a game in Cape Town, Johannesburg or Durban would be a truly exciting day out with an incredible atmosphere and top class rugby on display.

Sailing is another South African pastime and Cape Town is an excellent base for sailing anything from a laser to a full blown schooner. Or if you fancy a more mellow type of sailing trip then meandering on a felucca off the coast of Zanzibar takes some beating! Other fantastic sailing destinations include Lake Malawi and Mozambique.

Top surfers compete for the best breaks at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa whilst Essaouira in Morocco is fabulous for windsurfing. Scuba diving is amazing in Mozambique and deep water sport fishing can be done pretty much anywhere but is best in the teeming waters of the Indian Ocean. Rowing and kayaking hotspots include the Zambezi, the Okavango Delta and Lake Malawi.

Back on dry land horse-riding trips can be organised pretty much anywhere from trekking across the Namibian sand dunes to exploring the hill country of Lesotho. Hiking and mountain biking are equally popular. There are many mountain ranges to explore from the Atlas in Morocco to the Drakensburg Mountains in SA which provide some of the most stunning scenery as a backdrop. If you fancy a challenge you can climb Mount Kilimanjaro, go on a walking safari or trek through the Sahara desert!

And lastly not forgetting those adventure sports for adrenalin junkies which are also to be found across Africa. You can bungee over Victoria Falls, dive with sharks off Cape Town, kite-surf in Morocco, camel race in Egypt, go white water rafting down the Zambezi and skiing in the Atlas Mountains. Skiing in Africa – now there’s an adventure to be had!