The 10 Best Local Guy Trips To Tackle With Your Mates
Wanting to tackle a new adventure with your mates in the future? Then look no further than these guy trips that are guaranteed to get every single person in your crew ready to jump in a bakkie and go!
1. Visit Waterval Boven in Mpumalanga
Few things will have you facing fear more than rock climbing. It’s the exposure that gets to you more than the height. That and the physical input – anyone can jump off a bridge attached to a bungee cord, but when climbing, you have to muscle yourself to the top. Some men never conquer the fear, others thrive on being vertical. There’s only one way to find out how you’ll handle it.
Head to the quartzite crags, known as “the restaurant at the end of the universe” in the Elands River Gorge near Waterval Boven, Mpumalanga. With more than 600 routes (and plenty of unmapped rock), Boven is a rock climber’s paradise. Roc ’n Rope Adventures is the top local operator, offering expert guiding, courses and equipment hire. If you’re an old rocker, they’re also the best source of updated route info.
2. Track Big Game On Foot In Kruger National Park
Seeing an elephant from the safety of a car is thrilling. But tracking an old bull (you know he’s aged from the biggish bits you noticed in his steaming dung earlier) for half an hour, will awaken every primitive hunter’s instinct inside you. You’ll study his dustbin-lid sized prints, seeing how he dragged his trunk in the dust, then hear branches breaking and the rumble of his insides before finally catching sight of him in a raffia palm thicket, Your weapon? A good camera.
Try the guided Mphongolo Trail near Shingwedzi Camp in the Kruger National Park for the best shots and the most authentic experience (you camp wild and carry your own pack for four days).
3. Skydive In Atlantis
Got control or trust issues? Jumping out of a perfectly good aeroplane strapped to some guy you’ve never met should fix that. Sometimes you’ve just got to believe. Take the stats for instance: only 12 people have died in skydiving-related accidents in South Africa since 2004, none of them tandem related. Of course, you’re going to want to jump somewhere scenic to get good photos and video to show your mates and you can count on Skydive Cape Town for that. For backdrop you can’t beat Table Mountain, Robben Island and the sandy white beaches of the West Coast. Just try to keep your eyes open…
4. Go Off The Map In Hartebeesvlakte
A common criticism of South Africans is that their passports are full of stamps while they haven’t experienced even a fraction of what their own country has to offer. Don’t want to be that guy?
Start by going to Hartebeesvlakte, a nearly-forgotten, grassy-knolled cauldron of mountain wilderness between Ohrigstad, Sabie and Pilgrim’s Rest in Mpumalanga. Blesbok, wildebeest and jackals thrive and years back there was even a resident herd of wild cattle. Not buffalo, feral farm cows. Are they still there? Only those who go will ever know.
5. Raft The Orange River
When was the last time you really relaxed? Not that rainy Saturday afternoon under a duvet on the couch. We’re talking about reaching that mental space where your only concern is remembering to breathe. You might find this kind of enlightenment in a Buddhist retreat high in the Himalayas, but there’s a much more enjoyable option closer to home.
Submit to the rhythms of the Orange River on a rafting trip – it’s guided, catered for and those four or five days are guaranteed to rank among the mellowest you’ve ever experienced. Do the Gorge section near Pofadder rather than the usual Richtersveld run. And for extra context and to appreciate an untold part of South African history, read William Dicey’s Borderline before you go. This might just be one of our favourite guy trips you can go on.
6. Hike The Hoerikwaggo Trail
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.
7. Mountain Bike The Swartberg Pass Karoo
You’ve got two guy trips you could go on here. 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.
8. 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 for one of the most adventure-filled guy trips. 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.
9. 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, 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.
10. Free Dive With Tiger Sharks In Aliwal Shoal
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.
For more guy trips head here.