Wednesday, July 11, 2012

River Rafting

Rivers are awesome, and most people can’t look at one without fantasising about just setting off on a river rafting trip and seeing where the current takes them. It’s a very Zen kind of adventure – you can literally just go with the flow. Of course, it helps if you know what is downstream as you probably don’t want to drift around a corner to find a 40m waterfall or something.
So that’s why it’s a good thing that there are loads of river rafting courses and companies that offer river rafting adventure tours, all willing and able to guide you down any one of a number of fantastic rivers. As well as providing all the equipment, they will give you a presentation on rafting, and some instructions about maintaining safety on the water. Going river rafting with an experienced and qualified guide will increase your safety, and their knowledge of the river can help you to enjoy your experience even more.

The Orange River, on the border between the Northern Cape and Namibia, is the longest river in South Africa and, as it’s runnable almost all year, it is the mainstay of the river rafting industry. You can choose between one-day trips or multi-day trips, and you can also choose between mostly flat water, or interesting white water sections for some intense white water rafting.

Another very reliable river is the Ash River in the Free State, also with a flattish section and a white water extravaganza. Other good options include the Breede and the Palmiet in the Western Cape, the Vaal on the border of the North West Province and the Free State, the Blyde in Mpumalanga and the Olifants in Limpopo. The Tugela and the Buffalo in KwaZulu-Natal are really only worth paddling in summer, and the Doring in the Western Cape only in winter.

There are also some nice, totally flat water river rafting trips, mostly near the coast. In the Western Cape these include the wetlands of the Wilderness National Park, the Keurbooms River near Plettenberg Bay and Hermanus Lagoon. The Sundays, Kowie and Umtata Rivers in the Eastern Cape also offer great flat water paddling and, in KwaZulu-Natal, the magnificent Kosi Bay lake system and the huge Lake St Lucia both in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park are particularly scenic.

River rafting can be anything from a relaxing paddle to a high-speed, adrenalin-pumped race through the rapids. Either way you are sure to enjoy the thrill of a river rafting trip.
source: river rafting

Whale Watching

South Africa has some of the best land- and boat-based whale watching in the world. During winter and spring Southern Right whales migrate to the Cape and South Coast shores from their feeding grounds in Antarctica. They will spend a few months in these warmer waters calving their young and then waiting for them to grow strong enough to make the journey back to Antarctica.

Southern Right whales are the species most commonly seen in the Cape’s waters due to their numbers and highly predictable habits. However, they are not the only whales to visit these shores; Blue whales are occasionally sighted off the coast of Cape Point, while Bryde whales are seen all year round, albeit infrequently, and orcas are seen very occasionally along the whole coast.

The best places to watch whales from the shore include Walker Bay from eitherHermanus or GansbaaiFalse Bay and much of the Cape Peninsula coast, De Hoop Nature Reserve and Plettenberg BayGarden Route. While you can often get a better view in False Bay or Walker Bay from the shore, in most other places you will get a much more satisfactory sighting from a boat.

If you wish to partake in a whale watching trip ensure that the company you plan to use is registered and in possession of valid documentation. Whale watching boats need to have a permit from Marine and Coastal Management, and they operate under very strict rules pertaining to how close they may approach whales, the length of time they may stay with them, and how many times any whale or group of whales can be approached in any one day.

You will find licensed boats in most of the good whale watching destinations along the coast, with each bay, or side of a bay, limited to one licensed boat. Plettenberg Bay, which is one of the most prolific cetacean-watching sites in the world, is an exception with two licensed operators. Most of the whale watching boats are big, powerful, very seaworthy craft that are easy to board, and offer a comfortable ride. This allows for greater enjoyment of the trip and can give you greater confidence in taking your expensive camera equipment onboard to get a close-up snap of these majestic beasts.

Whether you choose to observe the whales from the solid comfort of the shore or from the deck of a powerful boat, the playful nature of these great creatures is a delight to observe. With many whale watching activity tours conducted from Cape Town all along the coast, you needn’t miss out on seeing these visitors to our shores.

Shark Cage Diving

South Africa is the best shark cage diving destination in the world. And Gansbaai is the best shark cage diving destination in South Africa. There are others – Mossel Bay on the Garden Route and False Bay near Cape Town – and by world standards they’re pretty spectacular, but Gansbaai – a little fishing village about an hour’s drive east of Cape Town – is the best by far for a shark cage diving South African adventure. And that is proved by the plethora of huge shark cage diving boats lining the slipway at Kleinbaai Harbour just outside the town.
Gansbaai is such a good place to do shark cage diving because of the huge seal colony on Geyser Rock, which lies about 500m from Dyer Island across a channel affectionately known as Shark Alley. In winter great white sharks patrol the alley looking out for nice fat baby seals that have gotten separated from their mums, while the birds on the nearby Dyer Island watch over the whole thing with avian disdain.
And, while the sharks home in on the seals, the shark cage diving boats home in on the sharks. The tour guides will toss a bit of fish blood and oil in the water to whet the appetites of the sleek prowling grey beasts and then, when the sharks come in for a closer look, they keep their interest up by dangling a big fish head temptingly on a line. And that’s when you get your camera out or take your turn in the cage to come eyeball to eyeball with this supreme predator.
Cage diving is rapidly growing in popularity, especially among younger people and tourists. Cage diving offers a safe way of getting a close-up view of these fearsome predators in their natural habitat. A current concern of cage diving is that the sharks are becoming used to humans, and because fish is used to draw them towards the cage, that sharks are beginning to associate humans with food. Responsible dive operators should not feed the sharks, and cage diving should be practised away from tourist spots.
If you are interested in a shark cage diving adventure, Gansbaai is an easy day trip from Cape Town. If you do not want to leave the city, you can also check out the sharks in False Bay near Seal Island, where Great Whites are known to congregate. In areas known to be populated with Great Whites, some operators will offer Great White shark cage diving tours.
For more information on Soft Cage Diving in Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal South coast, click on the link below.
Soft Cage Diving

source: Shark cage diving south africa