Have a win­ter hol­i­day ad­ven­ture

The Star Early Edition - - VERVE - To in­fin­ity and be­yond Branch­ing out Coas­t­eer­ing along Fun for the whole fam­ily Do your ex­er­cise out­side Watch wildlife Bird Watch­ing Some­thing for cu­ri­ous kids Get in touch with na­ture Visit Joburg Zoo Fish­ing trip Quad bik­ing Horse rid­ing at sun­set Aeri

Are you a fan of an­cient ar­chi­tec­ture or an avid his­tory buff ? Fig­ure of 8 tun­nel tours takes you out of your com­fort zone and be­neath the Mother City’s streets. In the same vein as Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel’s pop­u­lar Strip the City series, the Be­low the Sur­face tour ex­plores un­der­ground tun­nels with his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance and of­fers in­ter­est­ing in­for­ma­tion on the city’s an­cient wa­ter sources.

More info: 021 439 3329

There’s no bet­ter feel­ing than the wind in your hair as you fly like a bird over some of Cape Town’s most fa­mous land­marks. Sig­nal Hill is the per­fect spot for thrill-seek­ers. With ma­jes­tic views that pro­vide In­sta­gram fod­der for ex­treme self­ies, it’s also the take-off spot for paraglid­ing flights. Para Taxi of­fers tan­dem flights from Lion’s Head as well as Sir Lowry’s Pass.

More info: www.para-taxi.com

Acro­branch is a tree­top ex­pe­ri­ence ded­i­cated to of­fer­ing chil­dren and adults a dif­fer­ent sort of ad­ven­ture. With an ad­ven­ture park in Con­stan­tia Nek, it boasts panoramic views of Con­stan­tia Val­ley and the sur­round­ing moun­tains. Ob­sta­cle cour­ses con­sist of tree­top-high ropes and tricky cross­ings with lad­ders, tun­nels, walk­ways and bridges.

More info: http://acro­branch. co.za/out­door-ac­tiv­ity-parks/capetown-con­stan­tia/

Coas­t­eer­ing is the new ad­ven­ture sport that is sim­i­lar to moun­taineer­ing, but with­out the moun­tain. Just be pre­pared to don a wet suit and a per­sonal flota­tion de­vice, and dive into the Cape’s oceans to view the sea life up close and per­sonal.

Grav­ity Ad­ven­tures are the pi­o­neers of coas­t­eer­ing in Cape Town. Its ex­pe­di­tions will have you ex­plor­ing hid­den coves and gul­lies near Boul­ders, swim­ming through kelp forests and, if you dare, tackle adrenaline-charged rock jumps.

Feel­ing a bit timid? Don’t worry, ex­pe­ri­enced guides and safety boats form part of the trip.

More info: 021 683 3698

Tobog­gan­ing is a great ac­tiv­ity for the en­tire fam­ily. CoolRun­nings’s 1.25km to­bog­gan track in Tyger Val­ley is where speed freaks can reach 40km/h on a down­hill steel half-pipe. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but it does bring out ev­ery­one’s com­pet­i­tive spirit – young and old.

All you do is steer and reg­u­late your speed with the pul­ley sys­tem, but we guar­an­tee af­ter your first trip down, you’ll be test­ing your lim­its around those hair­pin bends.

More info: 021 949 4439 A cam­paign called Wel­come Out­side is aimed at get­ting Joburg’s res­i­dents out­side in the win­ter. Here are some ideas from them:

Whether it’s a walk or a jog, as long as you wear lay­ers of cloth­ing and pro­tect your skin, you can ex­er­cise out­side.

Look­ing for a great location? Visit the James and Ethel Gray Park on Atholl Oak­lands Road. The park is home to an as­sort­ment of feath­ered res­i­dents.

The Sand­spruit River flows through 36 hectares, cre­at­ing an at­trac­tive, tran­quil at­mos­phere. Al­ter­na­tively, visit Golden Har­vest Park. Lo­cated on First Av­enue, North­gate, this park is im­mac­u­late and fea­tures rolling walks around a dam and in­dige­nous bushveld. The scenic park is a se­cret trea­sure about which many are un­aware.

You might have heard it be­fore, but there is no bet­ter time to en­joy an­i­mal life than in win­ter. The bushes thin out and lose colour, im­prov­ing vis­i­bil­ity con­sid­er­ably. Visit the Ri­et­fontein Na­ture Re­serve with your part­ner or fam­ily. It is the home of FreeMe Wildlife Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre, boasts a cir­cu­lar walk­ing trail that is well main­tained and is the per­fect spot to sight the myr­iad birds there.

If you’re based in Rood­e­poort, Kloofendal, a cul­tural her­itage and eco-tourism fa­cil­ity, is one of the first na­ture re­serves in Joburg and of­fers a great es­cape from city life. The re­serve has re­mains of early gold min­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and is recog­nised as the first gold mine in Jo­han­nes­burg. It is home to a num­ber of small mam­mals such as ree­bok and dassie.

South Africa pro­vides an exquisite habi­tat for a va­ri­ety of colourful birds. Spec­tac­u­lar bird watch­ing can be ex­pe­ri­enced al­most any­where in the coun­try. One such place is the Cum­ber­land Bird Sanc­tu­ary in Bryanston.

It boasts an in­cred­i­ble bird life, more than 80 dif­fer­ent species, par­tic­u­larly well known for the pair of black Spar­row-Hawks that breed in the sanc­tu­ary. In the mid­dle of Cum­ber­land Bird Sanc­tu­ary is a small dam. There is also a pic­nic spot with ta­bles and benches. Take your hot choco­late or cof­fee along with you.

Chil­dren are nat­u­rally cu­ri­ous and cre­ative. By en­cour­ag­ing more out­door play you will also be en­cour­ag­ing more phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

Delta Park, be­tween the sub­urbs of Blairgowrie and Vic­tory Park, is the home of Delta En­vi­ron­men­tal Cen­tre where a wide range of fas­ci­nat­ing wildlife-re­lated cour­ses are of­fered to adults and chil­dren. There are also hol­i­day pro­grammes for chil­dren be­tween the ages of six and 13. The cour­ses are fa­cil­i­tated by pro­fes­sional staff. Al­ter­na­tively, take the kids to Hyundai Sky Park in Sand­ton. This park is great for kids be­cause it is well equipped with an in­ter­ac­tive chil­dren’s play area.

If your kids pre­fer to run or kick a ball around, consider tak­ing them to In­nes­free Park, also in busy Sand­ton. It boasts lush green lawns, lots of trees, two dams and plenty of open space for pic­nics.

Due to its size, In­nes­free Park of­ten hosts large-scale events. Take a bi­cy­cle ride

Take fam­ily or friends out on a bi­cy­cle ride at Zoo Lake, a favourite for many of Joburg’s res­i­dents. It also boasts the Coronation Foun­tain and is a pop­u­lar spot for walk­ing your dog and en­joy­ing a meal at one of the restau­rants or pubs.

De­spite a busy life, slow down and take the time to en­joy and ap­pre­ci­ate the out­doors this win­ter. Visit Sand­ton Cen­tral Park. This park is small, in­ti­mate and in the heart of Sand­ton. It oc­ca­sion­ally hosts live concerts and other events. The park has a grass am­phithe­atre, sculp­tured gar­den beds, in­dige­nous trees, so­lar-pow­ered lights, seat­ing and a mag­nif­i­cent gar­den.

Sand­ton Cen­tral Park is the ideal spot to en­joy a quick cof­fee and lunch.

The zoo is one of the most pop­u­lar fam­ily at­trac­tions in Joburg, with an­i­mals from around the world in­clud­ing those from the Ama­zon Basin, the Big Five, white lions and the aquar­ium. Do a brew­ery tour

If you en­joy cel­e­brat­ing the end of a long day with an icy beer, a brew­ery tour might be the ad­ven­ture you’ve been look­ing for. KwaZulu-Natal has an in­cred­i­ble

What’s more re­lax­ing than re­clin­ing on camp­ing chairs, bev­er­age in hand and bond­ing over the seren­ity of wait­ing pa­tiently for that first catch? KwaZulu-Natal has a va­ri­ety of recre­ational fish­ing spots stretch­ing from Kosi Bay in the north to Dur­ban in the south. Make a day of it by braai­ing and pic­nick­ing with the fam­ily.

Spend the day ven­tur­ing over rolling hills, across nat­u­ral and un­pre­dictable ter­rain. Quad-bik­ing tours are fun and are sure to hold lots of mem­o­ries to last a life­time. All levels of rid­ers – from begin­ners to pros – are catered for. For con­tact de­tails and more in­for­ma­tion visit the Dirty Boots web­page.

Rides along Zim­bali Beach are a pop­u­lar ex­cur­sion for the novice or ex­pe­ri­enced rider alike. The un­for­get­table one-hour jour­ney starts at the sta­bles on the hill, through the in­dige­nous for­est and then on to the beach.

Con­tact Zim­bali Horse Ride for book­ings at 032 538 1007

The walk leads through 127m of the in­dige­nous for­est canopy of the Dlinza For­est (Eshowe). The 20m-high view­ing plat­form of­fers in­cred­i­ble views from for­est val­leys to the hills be­yond. Birds, in­sects and wildlife can be seen at close range.

Walk or run the two for­est trails, pass­ing tow­er­ing trees sup­port­ing gnarled, twisted vines and in­dige­nous or­chids, where the rare Spot­ted Ground Thrush, Blue Duiker and some of the 80 species of but­ter­fly can be seen.

For more info call 035 474 4029.

Some­thing for adrenali­ne­seek­ers: mi­cro­light flights, leav­ing from Bal­lito Mi­cro­light School, are gen­er­ally ei­ther 15 or 30 min­utes long.

From above, you can the rolling fields of KwaZulu-Natal, the stun­ning coast­line and, if you are re­ally lucky, you might even spot dol­phins, tur­tles or whales as you fly over the In­dian Ocean and back again.

Book­ings are es­sen­tial so make sure to book at 082 659 5550.

Fly over the Sam­poya River while tak­ing in the breath­tak­ing scenery of Esembe, Dol­phin Coast. Club­ven­ture’s 1.5km zi­pline tour is the ad­ven­ture you’ve been wait­ing for.

Zip­ping from plat­form to plat­form, you’ll find that one of the the best was saved as one of the last items. Af­ter a leisurely na­ture walk to the top of a cliff, the first in the world, “Parazip” awaits you. At­tached to a para­chute, this zi­pline of­fers the il­lu­sion of parachut­ing down a moun­tain (with the safety of a har­ness).

Prices range from R200 to R500 a per­son. Make your book­ing by call­ing 032 942 8014 or 082 414 2448.

Geared up in gog­gles, get up close and per­sonal with some of the most ex­cit­ing crea­tures found off the KwaZulu-Natal coast­line with uShaka’s Snorkel La­goon. Float above the splen­dour of colour be­neath you, as corals shine and fish gleam.

For more in­for­ma­tion or to make a book­ing, con­tact 031 328 8097.

Please note: All book­ings must be con­firmed via tele­phone the day be­fore the ac­tiv­ity.

Bi­cy­cle Hire at Xpres­sion on the Beach: Ad­ding­ton Beach, Dur­ban

A stretch of beach, lined with palm trees and golden sand is aptly named The Golden Mile. Ride along the 6km of es­planade from uShaka Marine World to the Um­geni River at Blue La­goon. The wide pave­ment that runs along the ocean is a cy­clists dream.

For more, visit xpres­sionon­the­beach.com

Paraglid­ers take off from Lion’s Head.

Zoo Lake in Jo­han­nes­burg.

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