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Hike the Hoerikwaggo Trail
Table Mountain, Cape Town
To hike up and cable car down is okay… for tourists. Grow some chest hair, don some dinkum hiking boots and walk the whole mountain, from Cape Town to Cape Point. It’s the only way to really get in touch with, and understand, the true significance
of what is arguably South Africa’s most iconic natural symbol. Even then, it’s slackpacking. The Hoerikwaggo Trail is a portaged, guided, selfcatering five-night, six-day hike through the Table Mountain National Park. If you aren’t up for the full traverse, book one, two or three nights on the trail.
Mountain bike the Swartberg Pass Karoo
The sense of accomplishment of riding from the Little Karoo to the Great Karoo over a prominent mountain range is a good enough reason to do it. But the views (of the exposed Cape fold mountains) are like a live geomorphology class and the technicality of the actual riding (27km of steep, twisting switchbacks, with the summit at 1 583m) is why you’d really go.
If that sounds like a training ride to you, tackle the To Hell and Back stage race into Gamkaskloof, Die Hel.
Experience the bush from an open Landy in the bushveld
You might have to dodge the odd tourist sporting Swarovski binocs, a pith helmet and safari suit – but that’s a small price to pay. Until you’ve stayed in a five-star bush lodge and done the open-Landy-game-drivething (complete with stubbled ranger and experienced tracker),
you just can’t mock it. You’re virtually guaranteed the Big Five, will get closer to animals than you can if you self-drive, have access to amazing bushveld and, usually, those rugged rangers really know their stuff. Like, does a hippo ever sleep? Go find out. The lodges in the Sabi Sands Reserve are among the best in the world, but for a malaria-free experience go to Shamwari near Grahamstown.
Drive Sani Pass
before it’s tarred
The highest drivable pass in southern Africa lies between the border posts of South Africa and Lesotho. You’ll need a 4×4 (preferably with
low range) to negotiate its nine kilometres of rocky hairpins up the Mkhomazana Valley. Once at the top, over lunch and a cold Maluti
Lager at Sani Top (www.sanitopchalet. co.za), contemplate how far transport and road infrastructure have come when you learn that it used to be a donkey bridle path trade route. Don’t have your own 4×4? No problem, go on a guided day tour.
Free dive with tiger sharks
Aliwal Shoal, KwaZulu-Natal
Cage diving will put your heart in your mouth, no doubt. But to be out of your element and face-to-face with one of the most awesome predators in the sea won’t just teach you respect, but adoration beyond the hate and persecution usually associated with sharks. Even if you don’t necessarily love them afterwards, at least you’ll understand that humans aren’t a natural part of their menu.