In South Africa, dune boarding is a fairly recent development, but it's caught on fast, because there's certainly no shortage of sand. South Africa boasts some of the world's highest beach dunes. And away from the beach, dune boarders have found a great alternative: old gold mine dumps.

Did you know?

Sandboarding is believed to have originated in Egypt during the time of the Pharoahs when people slid down sand dunes on pieces of wood. 

 

An hour of dune boarding (also known as sand boarding) in South Africa is probably the work-out equivalent of three hours in the gym. Somehow, ascending the dune and then whooshing down the slope on a pliant piece of wood takes a lot of stamina - but it's loads of fun too!

It's the latest in a long line of adrenalin sports, and South African dune boarding is catching on all over the country. The sport was first recorded locally in the mid-1970s in Namibia. Along our 3000km-long coastline, there are thousands of suitable dunes to ride down, with the sands around Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula being favoured spots.

Beginners aged 11 and older are eligible for instruction sessions from an expert guide, and pretty soon you'll be kitted up on a sandboard and flying down the dunes.

But what if I wipe out, you might ask. There's no need to worry as the sand is soft and forgiving. In fact, the hardest part of South African dune boarding is the climb up the side of the dune, but it's also wonderful exercise.

Adventure tour companies specialising in dune boarding in South Africa advise you to bring: a camera to record the inevitable antics, lots of sunscreen, and a sense of humour. Some of the more enterprising companies turn it into a fun day, complete with children's dune boarding and picnics. This is a fun sport that will satisfy most peoples' need for speed.

Up in Gauteng, there are not many natural sand dunes. However, there are gold mine dumps and lots of them. At the mine site of New Modder in Benoni on the East Rand is a dump called Mount Mayhem. They use dune boards (actually, original snowboards), boots and goggles, and they whoop it up down the slopes of Mount Mayhem.

'It's like falling on clouds,' someone was quoted as saying as he dusted himself off and prepared for another ascent - and rapid descent.

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