We can’t think of a better way to ring in 2016, than by creating a list of memorable activities and experiences to enjoy around South Africa in the new year – especially since South Africa has been chosen as one of the top adventure capitals of the world! Without further ado, here are our 2016 bucket list picks.


1. Shark cage diving

Shark cage by National Geographic

Brave the icy waters and your face your fears of the deep when you shark cage dive in Gansbaai.


2. Marine safari

Seals (PiscesDivers)

Diving can be incredibly rewarding with sightings of undersea life, but there are plenty of other marine safari options to try that don’t require full immersion.


3. Extreme sports in Langebaan

elite jetski via ultimate guide to Langebaan Watersports

Head to Langebaan lagoon and get your fill of maritime adventures when you follow this ultimate watersports guide.


4. Experience the varied adventures of Parys

hot air ballooning is a bucket list favourite


Skydiving, river rafting, hot air ballooning, paintball, cheetah experiences, and more are some of the  adventure activities in Parys that allow you to indulge your inner adrenaline junkie.


5. Navigating the Cape Town to Namibia Route

Ancient dunes from the Namib-Naukluft Park in Namibia. By Bjorn Christian Torrissen (Creative Commons)

Go on a road trip for your next vacation and explore the Cape Town to Namibia Route. Remember to stop in at memorable spots along the way, especially the coastal towns of Darling and Paternoster.


6. Adventure Train Rides

A train adventure is a bucket list win - image via Shongololo Express

Go on a week-long train adventure with Shongololo Express and experience waking to a new horizon every day. Some popular highlights include a trip to the Big Hole of Kimberley, visiting the Panorama Route of Mpumalanga and seeing whales in Hermanus.


7. Explore SANParks

Lion Cub Play With Mother On Sand

There’s no excuse acceptable for not visit some of South Africa’s famed SANParks – which are known for their beautiful flora and unique biomes, dangerous and doe-eyed wildlife and abundant beauty that you’ll not soon forget.


8. Microlight in Swellendam

microlighting in Swellendam via Des H

Swellendam is one of the top foodie town picks and it’s also got more than a fair-share of adventure-orientated activities such as microlighting.


9. Star Gaze in the Karoo

starry-sky (via Samara-Mountain-Retreat - TravelGround)

While star gazing may be tame by most people’s standards, over 50% of the world’s population can no longer see the stars due to pollution – so take advantage of their clarity and beauty when you next take a trip into the Karoo.


 10. Zipling in Ceres

Ziplining in Ceres is a bucket list dream by Lauren Morling

There’s very few reasons not to want to hurtle through the air at breakneck speed as mountains and trees pass below you – unless of course you’re afraid of heights. One of the best spots to zipline in winter is in Ceres, while places such as the Cape Canopy Tour and the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour also offer outstanding ziplining opportunities during summer.


11.  Braai on the beach


It may not seem bucket list worthy, but wait until you’ve taken in the uninterrupted beach view and salt scented air before you knock having a beach braai in Herold’s Bay.


12. Wildlife viewing 

Spotting wildlife is bucket list worthy at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve (C) TravelGround

It’d be a shame not to include wildlife viewing in a bucket list round up, but the tough part is picking exactly where to view them – be it the famed Kruger National Park, the lesser known Marloth Park or Sabi Sands, or even private reserves such as Aquila Game Reserve and Sanbona Wildlife Reserve; so we’ll leave the where of wildlife viewing up to you.


13. Stay in a Luxury Tented Camp

Hamiltons Tented Safari Camp 5

While countries such as Tanzania and Kenya are well known for their luxury campsites, South Africa has more than a few worthy glamping and tented camp options that are geared for family fun as well as for couples seeking romance.


14. Winter Adventures

Matroosberg fun via Amanda Kelley Stone

While our warmer days and sunny skies are a draw, there’s plenty of winter worthy bucket list fun to be had, be it going on a winter hikeexploring Matroosberg, or taking a South African cooking course.


15. Go on a horse riding adventure


While car trips and road trips may be nice, there’s nothing quite like watching the world go by astride a horse – and these galloping getaways are definitely a great addition to any bucket list!


16. Heritage Sites

Mapungubwe Hill. By Marius Loots (Creative Commons)

One for the cultural and history lovers, South Africa’s 8 world Heritage Sites are definitely worthy of a bucket list trip.

If you’re still looking for ideas, here are 9 more hot spots that we love!


What are your bucket list plans for 2016?