Best adventure activities in Gauteng you should try this summer

If you’re in Gauteng this summer I have you covered with ideas for some thrilling outdoor experiences that are sure to leave you breathless! I tried out some of the most exciting adventure experiences in two of Gauteng’s most beautiful outdoor holiday spots – Cradle of Humankind and the Dinokeng region. So… put on your hat, get out the sunscreen, slip on comfortable walking shoes – and let’s go!

Cradle of Humankind

The Cradle of Humankind, the world’s richest human ancestor fossils site 30 minutes’ drive outside Johannesburg or Pretoria, is much more than stones and bones. This is Gauteng’s adventure travel region!

River Rafting the rapids of the Jukskei River

My first adventure starts at Ground Zero base camp. It’s conveniently close to Lanseria airport so your adrenaline-packed holiday in Gauteng can start straight away after touching down. There’s something for all levels of the adventurer in you with options including river rafting, horseback trails, abseiling and go karts. We wanted to cool down so opted for the river rafting.

Supplied and kitted in life vests and helmets, we get onto the back of a bakkie with our two expert guides who take us down to the Jukskei River, the southernmost river in the Crocodile River basin (don’t worry, there are no crocodiles in the Jukskei). It’s advisable to leave your phone and other valuables at base camp or they might end up at the bottom of the Jukskei!

After a safety brief we head out onto the river with rafts that can take two people. Teamwork is key here to steer and navigate the rapids and not tip over or get stuck on the rocks. The banks of the river are lush with green vegetation and a variety of bird species.

River rafting on the Jukskei River in Gauteng with Ground Zero Adventures

We do the half day trip which takes about 2 – 3 hours to complete. Our guide leads us through grade 1 and 2 rapids with weirs that can become grade 3 or 4. What an adrenaline rush!

Hot air balloon safari over the Cradle of Humankind

It is 4h30am. With jacket and camera in hand, we head to a big open field of grass at Kloofzicht Lodge to meet our AirVentures hot air balloon pilot. It is an early start, but it’s the best time to see the sunrise and wildlife from high above the Cradle world heritage site. AirVentures is the only balloon operator to launch and fly centrally within the Cradle of Humankind protected area.

Four enormous brightly coloured balloons are being inflated on the grass. The crew sporadically blasts the burner flames to heat the air inside the balloons until they start to lift off the ground. We have the special opportunity to fly in the biggest hot air balloon in South Africa.

Hot air balloon safari over the Cradle of Humankind is a bucket-list experience. We drift over rolling grasslands, rivers and hills of several game reserves in the area home to four of the Big 5.

 

What not to miss in Cradle of Humankind

🏡Stay: Kloofzicht Lodge

🍔Food: The Fat Olive

🚁Experience: Ingwenya Glass Village

 

Dinokeng

Dinokeng, meaning “place of rivers,” is an adventure travel hot-spot in northern Gauteng. The area has four majour tourist regions – Cullinan, the historic town where the world’s largest diamond was discovered in 1905; Roodeplaat Dam with its variety of bird species; Dinokeng Central for a cultural experience; and Gauteng’s only free-roaming Big Five reserve, Dinokeng Game Reserve.

Big Five game drive in Dinokeng Game Reserve

The Dinokeng Game Reserve is the only nature reserve in Gauteng with free-roaming Big 5 wildlife. We want to spot them all – Lion, Rhino, Buffalo, Leopard, and particularly Elephant, so we head out on a game drive from Kwalata Game Lodge in Dinokeng.

Our guide is excellent. He’s very knowledgeable and tells us that the 23,000ha reserve is malaria free. Apart from the Big Five, you can also see Brown Hyena and Cheetah here if you’re lucky. He quickly spots Elephant tracks going towards a waterhole and we follow.

We didn’t find the Elephant, but I get to see many of my favourite wildlife!

Zip lining at 100km/h over the gorges near Cullinan

I’ve never done zip lining before, so very excited that Adventure Zone Cullinan offers one of the most adrenaline-pumping activities in Gauteng. We get geared-up in safety harnesses, helmets and gloves, before our guide leads us to the first platform. We climb the steps high up onto the stand. The views of the 80 meters sheer drop down into the valleys below leave you breathless.

“Hold on, go!” I slide crisscross over Muningi Gorge, one of the most breathtaking green gorges in Gauteng at superfast speeds of up to 100km/h!

 

What not to miss in Dinokeng

🏡Stay: The Blades

🍔Food: As Greek as It Gets

🚁Experience: Cullinan

 

If you know of adventure activities in Gauteng and across South Africa we need to try, let us know!

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