Another week, another tough travel question for our Experts. I’ve got a good feeling about this week, not least because we’ve got a new member of the panel this week – let’s give a big Ask the Experts welcome to Paul from STA Travel Aberdeen!
This week’s question comes courtesy of Maya from Surrey, who’s on a bit of an adrenaline high…
I did a bungee jump in New Zealand last month, and now I can’t wait to get my next adrenalin fix! Have you got any ideas of what I can do next, and how I can combine it with some travelling? Maya in Surrey
Ooh, what a question, Maya! Can our Experts satisfy Maya’s craving for adventure? Let’s see what they’ve got.
Sarah Jones at STA Travel Covent Garden says…
If you’re looking for the ultimate adrenalin hit/mega scare factor, Maya, then you should go shark cage diving. Yes, this quite literally is diving in a cage in an ocean of fearsome great white sharks.
One of the best destinations for shark cage diving is a spot in South Africa called Gansaabi. Just a few miles away from there lies Dyer Island, recognised (and feared!) by many as one of the best places to encounter the mighty water predator.
A shark cage diving trip is a full day experience: you get picked up from your accommodation in the early morning by the specialist crew, and taken by boat to Dyer Island where you anchor up. After a thorough safety briefing the crew start luring the Great Whites by piling bate into the water below (you’re not it, don’t worry…). You’re then placed into a cage and submerged into the depths below. Good luck!
After one of the scariest experiences of your life, it’s quite a nice wind-down to visit Dyer Island itself, home to African penguins and an array of bird life. The close-by Geyser Rock is also home to a huge flock of Cape fur seals – a great spot to see some less scary species!
South Africa ticks your ‘travelling’ box, too. Cape Town is the nearest place to Gansaabi and as a lively, modern South African city, it’s a natural stay-over. You can visit the famous wineries, the iconic Table Mountain and simply enjoy the buzzing atmosphere.
Get ready to fall in love with Cape Town | Image by Derek Keats
From Cape Town you can take the hop-on-hop-off Baz Bus all across the coast, stopping in all 29 destinations, or just a selected few. The watersport capital, Port Elizabeth, is a must, as is beachy Durban. The bus route finishes in Johannesburg, giving you the opportunity to end your trip on another high, a safari in the legendary Kruger National Park.
Paul Lindsay at STA Travel Dundee says…
There seems to be just 2 things on the usual adrenaline junkie’s mind, Maya:
1. Bungee jump.
2. Sky dive.
Now, this is all fine and dandy if your bucket list is so small you may as well dub it the ‘pail list’.
However, if your list reads more like a Christmas wish list from a 10 year old (and believe me, I asked for EVERYTHING), then you might want to try your hand at something different. So why not give white water rafting a go?
Hit the rapids in Queensland, Australia | Image by asorsz
I did it and, admittedly, at first I was skeptical. I’m built like a guy going through the post-Christmas bulge all year round, so the thought of donning a wet suit and balancing on the edge of a raft was the last thing I wanted! How wrong I was.
My trip took me from the backpacker paradise that is Cairns, Australia, to the mighty Tully River, just a few hours away. The Tully River is situated just by Tully (funnily enough), which is a great little town if you’re looking to earn your 2nd year visa by working on the sugar cane or banana plantations. It drops 801 metres over a 133km distance, flowing through Koombooloomba Dam (prizes for those who pronounce it right first time), and eventually flowing into the coral sea in the South Pacific Ocean. Needless to say, it’s a pretty amazing stretch!
The river rapids here go from novice level up to level 4, which for this rookie translated into ‘scary’, so make sure your shoes are tightly tied.
Regardless of how scary it looks, however, the expert guide will ensure you feel comfortable and really make you part of the team. A certain effort is required to navigate the river: just as you get into your stride, you’ll come up against another drop, then another, then another until you can barely close your eyes for fear of missing something! It’s safe to say, a change of underwear is recommended.
Having completed a bungee jump the day before, white water rafting took that experience and multiplied it countless times. I can also recommend paying a little extra to have some photos or videos of the journey taken; professional photographers will scale the river banks to capture your moment of glory (or failure). A few companies also offer a helmet cam or raft-front cam. This is where I was able to watch myself pretend to be hardcore.
Overall, I loved the experience, and I bet you will too.
Thanks Experts! Both those options sound absolutely amazing, and, if I’m honest, pretty terrifying. Let us know how you get on, Maya!