Extreme adventures near Kimberley
Did you know?
Diamond finds near Barkly West have triggered a series of ‘rushes’ and diamond mining in the area continues today.
Apart from its new status as a world skateboarding venue, Kimberley is not often thought of as an adrenalin-sport city unless you count the excitement of finding diamonds.
However, not more than 30km to the north-west lies Barkly West, where it’s all about extreme adventure: rock climbing, abseiling, kayaking, bridge swinging, hiking and exciting ‘foofie’ slides on zip lines. Then there’s the Bridge Swing over the Vaal River.
Barkly West has always had the feel of a frontier town. Its main activity has also been diamond mining, especially along the Vaal River.
There’s an ancient tollhouse next to the old bridge over the Vaal at Barkly West, and it’s been renovated and turned into the new Barkly West Museum. Nearby is Canteen Kopje, an important archaeological site known for its massive hand-axes. Here, you'll find an outdoor display area with 8 information panels. Both the Barkly West Museum and Canteen Kopje are under the supervision of the excellent Kimberley-based McGregor Museum.
Nowadays, there’s a zip line launch area next to the toll bridge, where clients are taken through their paces, settled safely in harnesses and attached to what is believed to be (at 320m) the longest zip line in the Northern Cape.
And lest you think zip line riding over the Vaal is just for youngsters, you should know that to date the adventure has been enjoyed by many age groups - including a 4-year-old and a 83-year-old.
For the rock climbers, there are natural spots available, which have not had safety pegs inserted along the climbing route, so it’s just you and your gear.
One of the most popular adventure activities around Barkly West is abseiling. Once more, the old toll bridge is the preferred venue, but then there is also the chance to abseil down into the Danster Caves.
Then there’s the bridge swing option, also over the Vaal River, which allows you to swoop above the surface of the water and actually touch the river with your hands.
The main operating company in the area, Adrenalin and Adventure World Tours, also offers activities like visiting an archaeological dig, team building and kayaking on the Vaal River.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Adrenalin and Adventure World Tours
Tel: +27 (0)53 839 2706; +27 (0) 82 222 4777
Mobile: +27 (0)73 377 8401
Tel: +27(0) 53 839 2700 or +27 (0)53 839 2717
Steve Lunderstedt (local guide)
Mobile: +27 (0)83 732 3189
Frank Dippenaar (local guide)
Tel: +27 (0)53 8333 540
Mobile: +27 (0)82 7410 134