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What you need to know
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AAbseiling is an activity offered by adventure operators across South Africa, whether youre a novice or an experienced rope jockey. With a vast number of granite, basalt and sandstone cliff faces beckoning the extreme adventurer, theres oodles of space in which to hang out and have fun. 

The worlds highest commercial abseil is located on top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, Western Cape province. Adventurers descend 112m in what must be the most scenic commercial abseiling location on the planet. 

There are, however, many more abseiling locations around South Africa that are worth looking into, depending on where your travel itinerary takes you. 

For those who havent tried abseiling, it basically involves leaping backwards down a cliff face, braced by your feet, while safely harnessed to a rope. Qualified instructors are on hand to guide you through the process and ensure your safety at all times. 

Adventurers who wish to conquer the Table Mountain abseil can either hike up Platteklip Gorge to the top of the famous flat peak or catch the cable car up. Before starting the decent, participants will have time to appreciate panoramic views of the Cape Town city bowl, the waterfront, the Atlantic Ocean and the towns beyond the Mother City. 

In Gauteng, Orlando Towers in Soweto is probably the most famous abseiling venue. Here the descent is 100m, although the concave shape of the towers means adventurers are not in contact with the wall for the first 40m of their descent. 

Orlando Towers is open for abseiling every Saturday morning, and anyone weighing between 35kg and 130kg is welcome to have a go. It is advisable to book this adventure at least 48 hours in advance to ensure availability. 

Explorers along the Garden Route can look into abseiling activities in Knysna, as well as the Storms River Valley. 

Hartbeespoort Dam in North West province, a one-hour drive from Johannesburg, is also well known for its abseiling. 

In KwaZulu-Natal, some of the better-known commercial abseiling locations are Oribi Gorge and Shongweni Dam – and for some big thrills, try the outfits located in the mighty Drakensberg Mountains. 

Did You Know?

TTravel tips & Planning  info 

Who to contact 

Downhill Adventures, Cape Town 
Phone: +27 (0)21 422 0388 
Email: info@downhilladventures.co.za 

Abseil Africa, Cape Town 
Phone: +27 (0)72 065 1520 
Email: info@abseilafrica.co.za 

Orlando Towers, Soweto 
Tel: +27 (0)71 674 4343 
Email: info@orlandotowers.co.za 

How to get here  

Consult with your chosen tour operator to see if they offer transport to the abseiling site. 

Best time to visit  

Abseiling is a year-round activity, although heavy wind and rain may result in cancellation for safety reasons – so trying to abseil in Western Cape from April to September, the wet, windy season, may prove disappointing. 

What will it cost? 

Costs for an abseiling experience vary, depending on the location and length of abseil. An abseil down Table Mountain for example, cost R995 in May 2019, excluding the cable-car ride. 

Length of stay 

Leave yourself at least three hours for an abseiling adventure. Check beforehand for more specific information, including prevailing weather. 

What to pack  

Your tour operator will provide all necessary equipment. You are advised to wear durable outdoor clothing, tough hiking shoes and to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Sunscreen is always advisable in the South African outdoors, even on cool, cloudy days. 

Best buys 

A good windbreaker is an item of clothing worth buying for this adventure. 

Related links 

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