Surf­ing South Africa

The Week Middle East - - Travel -

It is a great ad­ven­ture – learn­ing to surf, or brush­ing up on your surf­ing skills, while ex­plor­ing the coast of South Africa from Cape Town all the way around to Durban. In­deed, Ticket to Ride’s ten-week hol­i­day could even change your life, says Jane Dun­ford in The Guardian. This spe­cial­ist Bri­tish com­pany of­fers par­tic­i­pants the chance to qual­ify as a surf­ing in­struc­tor at the end of the course, and reck­ons that even novice surfers can do it. You stay in hos­tels in seven towns along the coast, spend­ing a week or two at each. There are daily classes with the “best lo­cal coaches”, and you also take part in com­mu­nity pro­jects – paint­ing classrooms, teach­ing English, clean­ing beaches, and so on. Groups are roughly 16-strong, and par­tic­i­pants are typ­i­cally aged be­tween 18 and 30 (this isn’t just a gap-year jaunt). The course in­cludes fit­ness classes, video anal­y­sis of surf­ing tech­niques, and lessons in swim­ming, life-sav­ing and surf eti­quette. And the places you visit are beau­ti­ful, from Plet­ten­berg Bay in the Western Cape, with its huge, un­spoiled sandy beach, to the lush trop­i­cal hills that sur­round Cof­fee Bay, on the Wild Coast south of Durban. Ticket to Ride (020-8788 8668, www.tick­et­toride­group.com) has ten-week trips from £4,695, ex­clud­ing flights.

Raft­ing the Grand Canyon in vin­tage style

The 280-mile stretch of the Colorado River that runs through the Grand Canyon has some of the most chal­leng­ing nav­i­ga­ble white water in the world. Raft­ing its en­tire length is a thrill, es­pe­cially in the San­dra, the last-surviving row­ing boat from the canyon’s orig­i­nal tourist fleet, says Daniel Jones in The New York Times. This 14ft-long ves­sel was built in the 1930s by the Na­tional Park’s first com­mer­cial guide, Norm Nevills, whose rates were so high that only “the elite of the elite” made the trip – a fan­tas­ti­cally ad­ven­tur­ous one at the time. Now his grand­son, Greg Reiff, takes pas­sen­gers, for a more af­ford­able fee, in a fleet that also in­cludes six sim­i­lar, mod­ern boats. All guides are knowl­edge­able about the canyon’s ge­ol­ogy, flora and fauna (in­clud­ing its plen­ti­ful rat­tlesnakes), and there’s much hik­ing to en­joy on the 14-day voy­age, as well as swim­ming in hid­den pools and vis­it­ing old Na­tive Amer­i­can sites. But the chief thrill is “plung­ing” through the rapids them­selves, “stom­ach-down and face-first on the bow” like a bat­ter­ing ram, for fear of un­bal­anc­ing and flip­ping the boat. Cany­oneers (+1 928 526 0924, www.cany­oneers.com) has trips from $1,159 for three days. Or visit www.river­san­do­ceans.com for all 16 lo­cal op­er­a­tors.

Ex­treme en­durance in the Scan­di­na­vian snow

If you’re short of time but look­ing for a “proper ad­ven­ture” – some­thing to re­veal re­serves of strength you never knew you had – then sign up for IGO Ad­ven­tures’ next quadrathlon in the snowy moun­tains of Nor­way, says Abi­gail Butcher in Tatler. Con­ceived of by polo player Bobby Dun­das (the 10th Vis­count Melville), the IGO N60º is a “pun­ish­ing” four-day race that in­volves 15 miles of ski-tour­ing, 26 miles of cy­cling on heavy “fat bikes” (with re­in­forced frames and fat wheels), 26 miles of cross­coun­try ski­ing, and a full-dis­tance marathon. Throw in wet-wipe show­ers, freeze-dried food and tra­di­tional lavvu tents that of­fer “lit­tle shel­ter from the biting cold”, and you’ll be “sleep-de­prived, in­jured and aching” by day four. But the glo­ri­ous scenery lifts the mood, and par­tic­i­pants grow “as close as fam­ily”. Sip­ping bub­bly be­side the fin­ish line, you might well feel your life has changed for the bet­ter – and ready to sign up to Dun­das’s other planned ad­ven­tures. The next N60 º Chal­lenge is on 11-19 March 2017, from £4,750pp (07766-832030, www.igoad­ven­tures.com).

See the North­ern Lights on a quadrathlon in Nor­way

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