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JJohannesburg, a vast conurbation formed by the towns, villages and townships that grew up around the gold mining that gives Gauteng its name, is South Africa’s most undeniably urban environment – and yet paradoxically, it also hosts the world’s largest man-made urban forest.
And even more paradoxically, as delighted adrenaline-junkies are discovering, you don’t even have to leave the city to go on outdoor adventures that get your blood pumping. In fact, there are several great adventure-sport options clustered around Fourways to the north of the city, between Sandton and Midrand.
Action World at Jozi X in Bryanston is South Africa’s first permanent, outdoor, inflatable fun park. Part obstacle course and part circus, this outdoor adventure-sport park is a barefoot fun zone. Kids aged five to 75 can’t wait to come here to slide, swing, jump, climb, and fall off huge inflatable structures, or take a wild ride in a zorb ball (an inflatable plastic sphere).
Though activities are undertaken at your own risk, it’s virtually impossible to miss the krush kushions (professional stunt mats), and every activity is supervised to ensure visitors obey all safety rules and instructions.
There’s also a beginner mountain-board track on site, with equipment and lessons provided, a slip ’n’ slide, parkour course and a dirt track for off-road karting, among loads more activities. Coming soon are an X-board track, a luge track, and tar street park for skaters of every persuasion.
Nearby, the PwC Bike Park (also in Bryanston) is urban mountain-bike heaven. With 18 trails ranging from toddler-friendly tracks to full-throttle raceways, there’s something for every mountain-bike and BMX thrill-seeker.
Trails are colour-coded according to the International Mountain Bike Association's (IMBA) requirements to ensure a rider’s ability and experience matches the trail difficulty.
The entire facility is fenced so kids can ride their bikes in safety, and the woodland feel of this city cycle park will amaze you. There’s a dirt jump, a BMX track and a pump track, so hire a bike, grab a helmet and go ride!
For active families and adventure sport enthusiasts – or office teambuilding outings with long-festering niggles to avenge – there are more personally satisfying ways to max your endorphin levels in Bryanston. Battlezone Paintball, next door to Jozi X, is an adrenaline-fuelled, ‘soft combat’ adventure. Don’t be fooled by that phrase, though – those paintballs can sting, even through an overall, so you’ll be glad of the protective helmet and faceplate.
For combat that provides the same thrills regarding strategy, attack and victory, but without the zing of projectiles that burst in stinging splashes of colour, you want to try laser tag. It’s a great way to entertain large groups at birthday parties, and it also puts some ruthless cut-and-thrust into corporate teambuilding: motivation by going to the Dark Side, if you will. SWAT Laser Tag Sandton, north of the N1 highway in Paulshof, is another adventure-sport option in this region, if you’re itching to draw a bead on Dave from Salaries…
Sharing the same address in Paulshof is Boot Camp SA, a pseudo-military obstacle course for GI Joes and Janes of all ages featuring platoon races, commando ranges and push-ups… Once again, this works for both family fun and corporate days out – you’ll leave tired, but definitely a little fitter.
TTravel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
SWAT Laser Tag Sandton (also available at several other Gauteng and Cape Town locations, as well as Bloemfontein, Durban and Pietermaritzburg)
Tel: +27 (0)79 188 0488
How to get here
Self-drive using a map app or hire a metered taxi or app-sourced ride. From Pretoria, Rosebank or OR Tambo International Airport, you could take the Gautrain to Marlboro Station or Midrand Station and then hail a taxi.
Around the area
Montecasino Casino and Entertainment Complex houses numerous attractions, including the Montecasino Bird Gardens and Parker’s Comedy and Jive, Jo’burg’s only permanent stand-up comedy club. Design Quarter on William Nicol Drive has a selection of upmarket décor and furniture shops, restaurants and beauty services, and there are several large shopping malls in the area.
You’ll need a car or taxi.
What to pack
Bring your own cycling gear for the PwC Bike Park. No gear needed for Action World at Jozi X, except a swimming costume in summer. At Battlezone Paintball, SWAT Laser Tag and Bootcamp SA all protective gear and equipment is provided, but wear old clothing and closed shoes. A hat and sunscreen are a good idea.
Where to stay
What to eat
The PwC Bike Park has a coffee shop on site, and picnics are welcome. Action World at Jozi X sells non-alcoholic beverages, and guests are welcome to bring picnics – but no alcohol and no cooking is permitted on the premises. Battlezone, SWAT Laser Tag and Bootcamp SA sell snacks and refreshments only – if you are visiting for a private or corporate function, plan the catering portions of the event elsewhere.