Essential Winter outings to earn you your Glühwein!
Winter’s here in force and with it comes all the advice on finding fireplaces and mugs of cocoa, and talk of hygge, the Danish catch-all word for snuggling, coziness and conviviality. But winter’s also a good time to get out and explore our wonderful country and earn your cocoa, marshmallows and glühwein. Luane Lavery, brand communication manager for kulula.com suggests these activities to warm you up.
Fly downhill: Gravity scooters are non-motorised pushbikes used on the Swiss Alps’ ski-slopes in the snow-free summer months. They’re like the love-child of a child’s scooter and a mountain-bike, but with plenty of protein shakes. The result is a robust stand-on scooter with chunky off-road wheels, designed for barrelling down mountain slopes and trails. The magnificent Jonkershoek Mountains are the perfect backdrop for using gravity for downhill runs where you control your descent: serene, like the mountains, or adrenaline-pumping, breakneck speed. A vehicle takes you to the top of each run. See www.scootours.co.za
SUP a canal: stand-up paddle-boarding is the world’s fastest-growing watersport, partly because you can choose your level of exertion, from placid downwind cruises on flat water, to riding monster waves. The former, easier option is available on the canals around Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront and convention centre. See www.supcapetown.co.za
Rip a curl: ‘Surf City’ is warm all year round and is rightly famous for its waves and the surfers it’s produced. Surfing can have a steep learning-curve, especially if you’re not very fit. Compromise? The Wave House at the Gateway’s Theatre of Shopping in Umhlanga, north of Durban has two simulated standing waves – called Flow Riders – which allow a combination of surfing, snowboarding and wakeboarding. The facility also offers a variety of water-slides. www.wavepark.co.za
Walk beneath the waves: if you’ve always wanted to explore the ocean but haven’t been through a scuba-diving course, uShaka Marine World has the answer. Its Open Ocean exhibit offers modern versions of the brass-helmeted diving-helmets of old, letting you get your Jacques Cousteau on and stroll safely around the seabed among placid fish and rays. See http://www.ushakamarineworld.co.za/
Zip it: at 500m long, Adrenalin Addo’s twin ziplines are described as Africa’s fastest, longest and – considering that you start at a height of 70m –highest. Depending on your weight, you’ll travel at between 60km/h and 80km/h over the Sundays River, secure in your harness and delivered safely at the end with an automated braking system. It’s hungry and thirsty work, so refreshments and meals are served on site. See www.adrenalinaddo.co.za/index.php/zipline/
Saddle up: Sardinia Bay’s pretty beaches are the ideal venue for riding Heavenly Stables’ horses. The owners reckon the steeds and rides will be tailored to suit your ability. The area is rich in wildlife and natural beauty, with trails through the nature reserve and along rugged bluffs. See www.heavenlystables.co.za
Get in a flap: the Montecasino Bird Gardens is home to more than 60 spectacular bird species, many of which are in a walk-through aviary with raised wooden walkways. There are also reptiles, including the world’s longest snake, and mammals, including lemurs and sloths. See https://www.tsogosun.com/montecasino/entertainment/bird-gardens
Get some air: at Bounce in Midrand, a network of 50 interconnected trampolines offering a variety of gravity-defying acrobatics with soft landings. The activities are tailored to suit all ages and levels of dexterity, and parties are catered for. There are also fitness classes and the X-Park offers an obstacle course to challenge fitter participants. See www.bounceinc.co.za