South Africa pushes adventure-seekers to the limit, offering nail-biting activities that’ll have your friends treating you with a newfound respect. It’s a great spot for any adrenaline junkie on their gap year.

Here are the 7 extreme activities in South Africa most likely to get your heart pumping and adventure juices flowing.

Great white shark cage diving

Get up close, but hopefully not too personal, with these bad boys by shark diving in a few spots in southern South Africa. Gansbaai is just south of Cape Town and is thought to be the world’s great white shark capital, while Mossel Bay is just a little further east.

Both spots run tours that take you out to sea, teach you shark etiquette, and then lower you down for your first encounter. The sharks will swirl around while you stay safe (and slightly scared) inside the cage.

Shark diving in South Africa

Doing a sky dive

Is there anything more adventurous then hurling yourself out of a plane thousands of feet above the ground? It’s basically a backpacker rite of passage and if you’re going to do it why not embrace the free fall somewhere as beautiful as South Africa?

There are spots in Cape Town, Parys and Plettenberg Bay that give you all the how-tos, take you up high, then let you loose on the world below. You’ll likely catch a fair few epic views on your way up too, although on the way down you might be a little distracted wondering when they’re going to open the parachute (that’s what I was doing anyway).

Sky diving in South Africa

White water rafting in the Western Cape

Take a few days to navigate the waters of the Doring River. Located in the foothills of Cedarberg, the winter rains create some extremely wild white water rapids known as ‘House’,’ Krantz’ and ‘Island’. If you can drown out your fears and embrace the crashing swells then these are the spots to try white water rafting in South Africa.

Again, there are plenty of tour groups offering 2-3 day excursions where you’ll brave the waves by day and camp out riverside at night.

White water rafting in South Africa

Crocodile cage diving

If wading with sharks wasn’t enough to quell your desire to stare down a teeth-bearing beast then why not try swimming with the Nile crocodile? The Cango Ranch in Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape is in fact one of the only places in the world crazy enough to offer this as an activity. While it might be more fearful than fun, it is an option for those wanting to sharpen their appetite for adventure.

At 4 metres long and with a bite power four times that of a shark, the crocs come up close and check you out, as you remain locked and secure in a cage.

Crocodile diving in South Africa

Bungee at the Bloukrans

There’s something about travelling and the desire for near death experiences that go hand-in-hand. South Africa is more than able to cater to those urges with the world’s highest commercial bridge for bungee jumping.

The Bloukrans, in Plettenberg Bay, is a white bridge arching over the stunning valleys below. Prince Harry launched himself off this particular spot so if it’s good enough for him… 

Bloukrans Bungee, South Africa