It’s only recently that abseiling has become an activity in its own right. Really it’s just the method climbers use to get off mountains – or special services forces use to descend deserted buildings into enemy territory in adventure movies – but it’s fun, and so it’s become available as an activity in its own right.
You can hang out high over Cape Town abseiling from Table Mountain. The “long drop” is 112m high – and about a kilometre above the city – making it the world’s highest commercial abseil.
There are three abseil routes on the spectacular western head at Knysna, further up the Cape east coast – including a really high, very exposed site hanging right out over the crashing waves.
Not far from Knysna, and also with fantastic views, you can do a combination abseiling and kloofing (canyoning) trip down the Storms River Gorge, which involves a 100m abseil into the gorge, a tubing trip down the river, a short walk out of the gorge and then a cycle back to the village.
You can abseil down buildings in Durban and Johannesburg, or even rapp jump if you like. Rapp jumping is abseiling with the ropes attached to your back instead of your front, so you go down facing the ground – and at a run, if you’re in a hurry.
To find out more about the above abseils, and a whole lot of others around the country, check out our list of abseil operators – most of whom offer plenty of adventure activities besides.
ABSEILING, RAPP JUMPING OPERATORS
Abseil Africa offers abseiling off Table Mountain, including a 112-metre controlled descent off the famous landmark, and Kamikaze Kanyon, which features a 65-metre cascade of water. Other options include the Table Mountain Summit Walk and team building.
Adventure Realm is a company based in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. It caters to individuals, small groups, scholars, corporates and intrepid travellers. Among the offerings are rapp jumping, scuba diving, 4×4 driving, quad biking, orienteering, archery, rock climbing, paintball, white water rafting, horse riding, offroad buggy driving, and sailing. Rapp jumping opportunities are available in both Durban and Johannesburg.
Ashanti Travel Centre and Lodge has a nice selection of adventure activities. They include abseiling on Table Mountain and kloofing in Kamikaze Kanyon. Other activities on offer are diving with Great White Sharks, hiking and sleeping on Table Mountain, downhill mountain biking, paragliding, sandboarding, scuba diving, sky diving, and surfing.
Ceres Zip Slide Tours presents 1.4 kilometres of zip line fun, with eight slides of between 100 and 290 metres. The action takes place in the Schurweberg Mountains, below the Koekedouw Dam, in Ceres, a 90 minute drive from Cape Town.
Downhill Adventures offers a 112-metre controlled abseil descent off Table Mountain. It’s the world highest commercial abseil and it features stunning views of one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
Eden Adventures offers kloofing, abseiling and a combination of both in the beautiful Kaaimans Gorge on the magnificent Garden Route. Another option is abseiling at Robberg in Plettenberg Bay, another spectacular site.
Extreme Scene is an adventure tour operator based in Cape Town. They offer kloofing in the Kamikaze Canyon and abseiling down the 65-metre high Thunder Falls.
GoVertical Mountaineering Adventures offers some exciting options, including abseiling in the Magaliesberg and near the Hartebeespoort Dam, rock climbing in the Magaliesberg and at Eagles Rock near Harrismith. They lead tours in the Drakensberg and to Mount Kilimanjaro (the highest mountain in Africa), as well as offering mountaineering in the Drakensberg. Other activities include trekking, kloofing, and caving.
The Oribi Gorge Hotel, Conference and Adventure Resort presents a number of adrenaline-filled activities, including white water rafting, the wild slide, the wild swing, hiking and bike trails, and abseiling. The abseiling includes the highest natural abseil in the world at 110 metres. It’s an experience for the adventurous and the brave.
Outsidedge operates in and around Gauteng and the North West Province. The list of activities on offer includes abseiling, rock climibg and kloofing. Abseiling takes place at Broederstroom and is appropriate for anyone, even those with no experience.
Over the Top Adventures offers abseiling at the Howick Falls, the second highest waterfall in South Africa at 107 metres in height. The abseil takes place next to the thundering falls and you’re met at the bottom by an inflatable two-man kayak. Over the Top also presents rock climbing, hiking, rapp jumping, white water rafting, and team building.
Perlemoen Escapes offers various tours, including for golf, game and bird viewing, leisure/health and hydro, and extreme sports. The extreme sports options include bungee jumping, rafting, abseiling, kite surfing, surfing, and sky diving. The bungee jumping takes place from the Bloukrans Bridge over the Storms River, the highest commercial bungee jump in the world.
Purerush Industries, based in Johannesburg, offer something different. Rapp jumping takes place at the massive Orlando Towers in Soweto, while they also offer freebording which, they say is like snowboarding on the street; street luge and butt boarding; mountain boarding; sandboarding; and adventure trips of up to four days in duration.
Operating in the beautiful Southern Cape, Quad Biking Adventures offers combos that also feature abseiling next to the Kaaimans Waterfall, canoeing on the Kaaimans River, and kloofing.
Roc ‘n Rope Adventures is based in Waterval Boven in the Mpumalanga Highlands. It’s an awesome place for rock climbers and recognised as one of the best rocking climbing destinations in South Africa. Roc ‘n Rope also offers abseiling, mountain biking, fly fishing, and horse riding. In addition, they present a good number of rock climbing and abseiling courses.
The Simonskloof Mountain Retreat features kloofing and abseiling in the Nuy River Gorge. Rafting and boulder-hopping are also on the menu. Small groups, consisting of six to eight members are hosted, for anywhere from one-day to two-and-a-half day adventures.
Sabie Backpackers and Extreme Adventures is located in Sabie in Mpumalanga. For those in need of an adrenaline injection, they offer the Big Swing, abseilling and repelling into the Sabie Falls.
Spirit of Adventure is located midway between Durban and Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal at the Shongweni Dam. A wide range of outdoor activities is guaranteed to get the adrenaline pumping, including abseiling, rap jumping, rock climbing, white water rafting, guided mountain bike rides, game walks and drives, hiking, rafting, canoeing, 4×4, and an assault course.
Stormsriver Adventures is an adventure company that places a premium on enriching the environment and the communities in the areas in which it operates. They offer a unique eco-wilderness adventure with the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours that takes place in the Tsitsikamma indigenous rainforest. It involves travsering from one platform to another along a steel cable suspended 30 metres above the forest. Most of the platforms are located in giant Yellowwood trees.
Unreal, based at Sun City, features the ZIP Slide 2000. It is the world’s longest, highest, and fastest zip slide. Measuring 2 000 metres in length, it is 280 metres high, and the average speed attained is 120 km/h! A BIG adrenaline rush!
Wild Cave Adventures are based in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage area. They offer a tantalising mix of options, including abseiling, caving, rock climbing, mountaineering, wild caving, trekking, kloofing, and teambuilding. Besides abseiling at the Cradle of Humankind, excursions are also undertaken to the Swartberg Mountains and the Magaliesberg.
SAinfo reporter and South African Tourism
Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material