South Africa: Cape to Cape self drive family vacation
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After a stint in Jeffrey’s Bay as surfers, our tour group moved on to our next adventure. The first activity was a brilliant zip lining escapade through canopies and over waterfalls, and second was throwing ourselves off a bridge! I’m glad I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie, because otherwise this day would have been a total waste. But, when in South Africa, the best thing to do is throw yourself at things (or off things, as the case may be!) because you never know when you’re likely to get the chance to do them again! The bridge in question is the Bloukrans Bridge, and it is located above the Bloukran’s River, on the N2 Highway at the border of the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape in the Tsitsikamma area of South Africa’s Garden Route. It is officially known as the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee at 216 metres (709ft)! So what does it feel like, I hear you ask? Well to be honest, it wasn’t scary! You know those dreams you have were you feel like you’re falling? That’s what I thought it would feel like. A horrible ‘ohmygodi’mgoingtodie’ kind of feeling. But actually, in the 5 seconds of falling the feeling is more like being weightless. That’s until the bungee snaps you back to reality. I think the worst part of the jump was the bit between the falling and the hanging upside down above a valley. Especially when I had a panic where I thought that my legs were slipping out of the harness (they weren’t). After the guy ‘collects’ you from the drop, and helps you back to solid, um, bridge the adrenaline hits you. It’s like nothing else. I could have done it again! I didn’t…but I could have done! So, do I recommend it? YES! I actually have a little fear of heights, and doing this has actually helped in many respects! And the team at the bridge were all fantastically friendly which made the experience a lot more relaxing. It’s obviously a bit of a laugh watching people cack themselves over and over!
Valley of Desolation
Hiking: The Monte Trois Pitons national park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is full of incredible hiking adventures. The rise and fall of its many mountains leads you trekking over active volcanoes. The Valley of Desolation is a particularly interesting area, but be extremely careful of the steam vents! The most exciting trek is through the park to reach Boiling Lake, a lake that is at a constant boiling temperature due to the volcano below it. It is an absolutely stunning view, and the hike will take the average climber to the limit of his abilities!3- The Lonely Planet RecommendationLonely Planet has released their long-awaited ‘Best in Travel’ lists, and Dominica ranks in the top 10 countries to visit in 2017! They attribute their recommendation to the beautiful and untouched natural environment of the island, and its great opportunity for eco-tourism. They also cite part of the beautiful history of Dominica and the many activities it holds out to modern explorers.4- The Island RelaxationOnce you’ve finished with your heart-pumping adventures, it’s time to relax. Dominica is not home to many white-sandy beaches that are common throughout the Caribbean, but there are a few very nice ones. I recommend heading to the town of Portsmouth at the northwestern part of the island to see the lovely strip of beach that they have there. Try the rope swing if you’re really adventurous, or just watch the local kids as they swing into the ocean on a lazy afternoon.