While airfare these days is lower than usual, traveling halfway around the world for a bucket-list adventure can still set you back.
Enter South Africa, an amazing country for adventure travelers that has dozens of activities to get your blood moving — nearly all of them for less than a hundred bucks apiece.
Here are eight of our favorites from the Rainbow Nation that pretty much anyone in half-decent shape with a little bit of gumption can do. (Honestly, in one trip, you could do them all.)
Bloukrans Bridge Bungy
Right on the border of the Eastern and Western capes (and right off the main N2 coastal highway, so no excuses!) is the Bloukrans Bridge, towering above the river of the same name. For just $65, you can bungee jump a good chunk of its 709-foot drop.
Good news: The world’s highest commercial bridge bungee, operated by Face Adrenalin, has been fatality free since their start in 1997.
Addo Elephant National Park Safari
Sure, the expansive Kruger Park in the northeast of the country gets all the attention, but the third-largest national park, Addo, is far more manageable (and affordable).
You and your special someone can drive the park by yourselves in your rental car in just a day or two, spotting herds of elephants, lazy lions and wildebeest. Not to miss, and just $18, it’s barely an hour away from Jeffreys Bay.
Ostrich racing in Oudtshoorn
Way out in Oudtshoorn near the Mozambique border is the “ostrich capital of the world,” a breeding ground for thousands of dinosaur-like birds. Through one of several area farms, which charge about $21 for a full tour, you can race a friend — I mean, “ride responsibly” — on the back of an adult ostrich through the Western Cape Karoo (bush dry lands).
Should you not enjoy the experience, ostrich burgers are kinda delicious. (Seriously — at least one farm serves the birds as part of the package.)
Shark diving in Gansbaai
Wanna get up close and personal with the stars of Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week”? Go to False Bay, aka Gansbaai, a couple of hours from Cape Town. There, a few responsible companies run great white shark tours just off the coast in an area known as Shark Alley.
For 100 bucks, you can get in a cage with a handful of others in thick dive suits and view the majestic, terrifying creatures from a whole new angle. Do keep your arms inside the bars.
Surfing at Jefferys Bay
On almost every surfer’s bucket list, the lovely little town of Jeffreys Bay, an hour from Port Elizabeth, has, arguably, the greatest right-hander on Earth. It’s also got a plethora of cheap hostels, hotels and villas right on said wave, plus some great cafes and restaurants across the street.
If Supertubes (the main peak) is too advanced for your skill set, half a mile down the point is a great learning area for you to get your rented board and fullsuit wet (also available in J-Bay).
Climbing Table Mountain
Sure, you can take a cable car with the hundreds of other lazy tourists up to the top of Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain … or you could do it the right way and hike it yourself.
Some routes are barely a two-hour venture; this rewarding and not-so-difficult hike is worth the time. Depending on the weather, you could be hiking through the blanket of clouds that drapes the mountain, known as The Tablecloth, or catch a crisp, clear day and get a view of the bottom of the world.
Oribi Gorge Swing
Bloukrans Bridge’s often-overlooked, smaller stepbrother, Oribi Gorge hosts a handful of epic adventures, such as ziplining, trekking, abseiling (rappelling) and, of course, a terrifyingly unique bungee swing over the gorge.
Fifty-five stories of adrenaline for $40? It’s pretty much the closest thing you’ll get to actually flying (and costs less than an overweight-baggage fee).
Mountain Biking in Hogsback
Feel like rambling through the woods of J.R.R. Tolkien’s boyhood home (his inspiration for the scenery of “The Lord of the Rings”)? Go to Hogsback, a few hours off the coast in the Eastern Cape.
Sleepy, magical and breathtakingly gorgeous, Hogsback offers a dozen different (and super cheap) outdoor activities, one being the mountain bike/trekking/rappelling-down-a-waterfall tour that sets you back less than 50 bucks for half a day.