05 April 2012

Guest post: South Africa vs Zambia for the crown of Africa’s ultimate adrenaline holiday destination

From the heart pounding excitement of big game viewing to the buzz of white water rafting, Southern Africa has slowly but surely asserted its reputation as an adrenaline junkie’s paradise. It is not simply the activity itself but the awe inspiring scenery of the region which forms the most spectacular of backdrops to your adventure that marks this area as a thrill seeking hotspot. Two of the most popular countries to visit for such energetic undertakings are Zambia and its Southern neighbour South Africa.
For a long time overlooked by tourists Zambia is today one of the rising stars in Africa; a country of warm and welcoming people which boasts some of the most impressive geography in the world; from the South Luangwa National Park to the serpentine Zambezi River and the monumental Victoria Falls. South Africa has been a perennial favourite with tourists for decades who flock to the area to embrace its diverse culture, eclectic wildlife and beautiful scenery.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the highlights of a high-octane holiday to either of these enchanting destinations.

White water rafting in Zambia is considered by many to offer some of the best stretches of river in the world; Batoka Gorge in particular provides the most thrilling of roller
coaster rides. Its 23 adrenaline charged white water rapids and breath taking scenery, overlooked by dramatic sheer black cliffs promises a wet and wild white knuckle ride to remember.

White Water Rafting © Mahlatini
Gorge swinging in Livingstone really gets your heart racing. The gorge swing is the world’s first commercial high wire and spans an impressive 135m long and is 75 m above the ground; the rush you get is highly intense as you soar across the gorge like a bird in flight whilst reaching speeds of up to 180 km/h.
Tandem Kayaking along the Zambezi River is another exhilarating way to push yourself to the limit taking on some of the world’s toughest rapids. One of the most exciting ways to run the rapids is in the front of a tandem kayak powering through the giant waves, with an experienced guide behind you helping you traverse the raging rapids. As you drift through the flat sections you’re rewarded with incredible sightings of wildlife, capturing glimpses of stunning birdlife or crocodiles.
Both Zambia and South Africa offer visitors the chance to test their metal against two of the world’s most spectacular bungee jumps; both memorable for different reasons. Bloukrans Bridge is hidden away in the scenic Garden Route region of the Eastern Cape spanning the eponymous Bloukrans River which acts as a border between the Western and Eastern Cape. At 216m off the valley floor it is one of the highest commercial bungee jumps in the world, a true examination of mental determination which rewards those that take the plunge with an unsurpassable sense of energy, exhilaration and accomplishment. At only 111m the Victoria Falls bungee between the Zambia and Zimbabwe border is almost half the height but combined with the breath taking and dramatic scenery of the falls in front of you it must be said that it is as equally spectacular as Bloukrans.
South Africa’s Sun City is home to the world’s fastest, highest and longest zip line. It is 2000m in length, 280m in height and reaches average speeds of around 120km/h.  Around the world, zip lines are slowly but surely becoming a thrill seekers favourite as they allow you to soar through awe inspiring landscape and canopy at break neck speeds, gaining a unique perspective of the encompassing scenery.
A Tandem Paraglide from the top of Table Mountain is the closest you can get to non-motorised flying. Your senses are overloaded with excitement and exhilaration as you soar over great distances the beauty of Cape Town and the surrounding countryside unfolding beneath you. Although your initial instincts as you approach the edge of the cliff are to stop before you plummet downwards this anxiety is soon abated as the updrafts of warm air raise you up on the breeze allowing you and your experienced guide to silently and effortlessly glide through cloudless skies.

Shark Cage Diving © Mahlatini
Cape Town has gained an international reputation as being the best spot in the world for shark diving. As you enter the cage your head remains above the water until there is a sighting of sharks, then you dive under the water to watch these powerful but beautifully agile beasts glide silently through the water.  Nothing quite prepares you for the first time someone shouts ‘Shark!’  It gives you such a thrill as your heart races with anticipation of your close encounter with the infamous great white. One of the aims of the experience is to help visitors understand and appreciate the beauty of the animal and cast off the infamous reputation it has earned in popular culture.

Whether you choose to head to South Africa or Zambia on an adrenaline filled adventure or a more peaceful getaway the delights, the beautiful scenery, the people and the nature of Southern Africa are sure to charm and inspire you. It only takes one visit to this beguiling corner of the world for the magnificence of Africa to stay with you forever.

Guest post from Mahlatini Safaris; UK based tour operator and specialists in travel to Southern and Eastern Africa.

1 comment:

  1. I really need to get myself to SA, or ZA, or anywhere in Africa, ASAP.