Top 10 Eco-Adventures in South Africa

To honour National Environment Month in June, we've put together a list of the top 10 Eco-adventures in South Africa. All selected eco activities promote a positive nature experience while minimising impact on the environment and increasing environmental and cultural awareness.

  • Monkeyland

    1. Monkeyland, Western Cape

    Monkeyland near Plettenberg Bay is the world's first free-roaming primate sanctuary. The sanctuary provides previously caged animals with a natural environment in which to roam freely and is home to species including capuchin, saki, howler and squirrel monkeys; lemurs, langurs and gibbons. Monkeyland has played a vital part in the development and implementation of the 'Eden Syndrome' - the process by which caged primates have been successfully rehabilitated to a wilder state. Visitors to the sanctuary can view the primates in their forest homes from the 128-metre suspended canopy walk.

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  • Green Mountain Eco Route

    2. Green Mountain Eco Route, Western Cape

    The Green Mountain Eco Route is the world's first biodiversity wine route; located in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. The ground-breaking initiative is aimed at encouraging the Western Cape winemaking industry to become active custodians of the Cape Floral Kingdom World Heritage Site - the richest, but also the most vulnerable, biodiversity region in the world. Along the scenic route you'll find an abundance of activities including hiking trails, mountain biking, abseiling, rock climbing and horseback riding, as well as opportunities to learn about organic and biodynamic farming.

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  • Great Karoo Cycling

    3. Karoo off-road cycle tour, Eastern Cape

    Journey off the beaten track and discover the beauty of the Karoo with Great Karoo Cycling. The company offers three bicycle tours catered to all fitness levels - from Middelburg to Graaff-Reinet via Nieu Bethesda; from Mt. Melsetter to Cradock following the Fish River; and from Colesberg to Bethulie via the Gariep Dam. All the guided tours follow dirt roads and jeep tracks through well-known Karoo farms, with cyclists being accommodated at established farm guesthouses along the way.

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  • Urban Hiking Tour

    4. Inner-city Jozi walking tour, Gauteng

    The Inner City Urban Hiking Tour reveals parts of inner-city Johannesburg that many people may be reluctant to visit on their own. The structured tour of the city's best kept secrets includes visits to one of Joburg's oldest markets - the Kwa Mai-Mai Traditional Healers Market - and the Collectors Treasury - the largest second hand bookstore in the Southern hemisphere housed in an eight story building. Other attractions that form part of the cultural and heritage tour include the Little Addis Ethiopian Quarter and Newtown, as well as stops at the city's renowned restaurants and cafés.

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  • Aliwal Shoal

    5. Ocean adventure, KwaZulu-Natal

    Aliwal Shoal, KZN's famous rocky reef, was recently declared an International Hope Spot - a special place critical to the health of the ocean. It also happens to be one of the top 10 dive sites in the world. Learn to dive at the Aliwal Dive School or go on a snorkelling / diving tour to find a huge variety of ocean creatures including Ragged Tooth Sharks, Tiger Sharks, Manta Rays, dolphins and Whale Sharks. For thrill seekers, the shoal also offers shark cage diving.

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  • Horse riding safari

    6. Horse riding safari, Limpopo

    The Ant Collection in Limpopo province offers a unique and eco-friendly safari experience through its property located inside the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. All the guided safaris take place on horseback, with horses carefully selected to suit each rider's ability - whether beginner or experienced. The horses live out and graze amongst the game on a daily basis, which has allowed the game to become habituated to the horses thus giving one a unique opportunity of really getting in and amongst the various species whilst riding.

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  • Caving

    7. Caving, Cradle of Humankind

    Wild Cave Adventures is based in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and offers a unique combination of exhilarating and educational activities, both above and below the ground. Activities include learning about the flora and fauna of the Magaliesburg Mountains and preservation of the area's caves; beginner to advanced caving lessons; extreme hiking; kloofing; climbing and abseiling. The company caters for all levels of experience - from first-timer to pro.

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  • Durban Green Corridor

    8. Explore the uMngeni River Valley, KwaZulu-Natal

    The Durban Green Corridor is a conservation initiative that focuses on protecting the natural and cultural heritage of the uMngeni River Valley. Experience a range of activities, including mountain biking, hiking and kayaking amidst lush green valleys and mesmerising waterfalls, as well as in-depth, cultural tours into the heart of the Valley of a 1000 Hills. Options include a guided tour of the sacred Shembe Village and Rastafarian caves, with accommodation and meal stopovers at local B&Bs and traditional Zulu homesteads.

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  • Canopy Tour

    9. Canopy Tour, Karkloof, KwaZulu-Natal

    Adventurous nature lovers will absolutely love swooping over the magnificent Karkloof forest - the second largest indigenous forest in Southern Africa. The two-hour guided canopy tour follows eight secure zip lines ranging from 40m up to 180m long that weave above and in the spectacular forest. Enjoy the view from above while taking in waterfalls and spotting birdlife amongst the surrounding trees.

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  • Tsitsikamma

    10. Discover the Tsitsikamma, Western Cape

    Blackwater Tubing will take you on a unique tubing, swimming and bouldering adventure through the world renowned Tsitsikamma National Park on the Garden Route in South Africa. The black waters of the Storms River can be intimidating, and even scary if you have watched too many 'monster fish' - type movies. But once you jump onto your inflatable river tube you are in for bucket loads of fun - a must try for adventurous, nature loving travellers.

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So, book a car with First Car Rental and we'll take you to your next big eco-adventure. First Car Rental has 51 branches located nationwide for easy car hire.

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