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South Africa - The capital of Adventure activities. Pixabay

2021 brings with it the promise of a vaccine on the horizon, and a sense of freedom and adventure as the world is eager and hopeful of traveling and returning to normalcy once again. After a year of staying home, travelers are looking to stretch their limbs and embark on an adventure of a lifetime.

South Africa, with over 3,000 adventure activities, is undoubtedly the adventure capital of the world. The country has options across shark-cage diving, zip-lining, bungee jumping, quad-biking, horseback safaris, mountain biking, river rafting – and just about any other extreme sport you can name, all supported by dedicated and authorized operators.


In addition, attractive currency exchange rates make South Africa a lucrative, value for money long-haul destination – especially when it comes to adventure activities.

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Must-Do Adventure Activities

Big Rush Big Swing, KwaZulu-Natal

It has been officially named the world’s tallest swing by the Guinness Book of Records since May 2011. Not your average swing, the aptly named Big Swing allows you to take the thrilling leap swinging out into a massive 220m arc where you soar into the center of the stadium.

Bloukrans Bridge Bungee, Eastern Cape

The highest commercial bridge bungee jump in the world at the Bloukrans Bridge has a 216-meter gorge below. It is one of the ultimate activities to feature on any adrenaline seeker’s bucket-list while visiting South Africa. The growing popularity is evident by the fact that 12,000 Indians jumped off the Bloukrans Bridge in 2017, making Indians the 3rd highest participating nationality for the activity

Abseiling from Table Mountain, Western Cape

The 7th Natural Wonder of the World offers a spectacular view of the Mother City with its bustling city life and the blue ocean. Abseiling from the top of Table Mountain gives you a view of the city that you will never see without indulging in the activity. One can also opt for the cable car or trek.


Adventure activities in South Africa. IANS

Shark-cage diving

Great White Shark spotting is one of the biggest draws to South Africa. A trip to Rainbow Nation is incomplete without attempting the hair-raising shark-cage dive. In fact, Indians are the top 3rd nationality to undertake Shark-cage diving in South Africa. KwaZulu-Natal is often credited as a hub for shark-cage diving, with shark cage-diving outfits operating out of Durban and from the stunning coral reef — Aliwal Shoal. You could also explore options at Simon’s Town, Mossel Bay, Dyer Island, Seal Island, and Port Elizabeth, among other places.

Gorge Swing, KwaZulu-Natal

The highest gorge swing in the world is located on a waterfall cliff in the Oribi Gorge in southern KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. Lowveld is full of adventure highs and Graskop’s gorge swing takes the cake. Prepare to freefall 68 m, plummeting 0 -160km/h in 3 seconds, swinging out like a human pendulum across the gorge — the views are spectacular and so is the after-rush.

ALSO READ: South Africa Is Now Open For International Leisure And Business Travelers

Helicopter Ride, Western Cape

South Africa also offers luxurious helicopter rides. Helicopter flips in Cape Town allow travelers the joy of a bird’s eye view of the beauty that the Mother City in South Africa is. Take a helicopter flip for a change of scenery and enjoy a view of the entire countryside in a single trip before choosing your drive-to destination, or swoop low over the ocean on a coastal flip and watch the dolphins at play in the breakers below.

Helicopter tours with a destination beyond Cape Town might include wine tasting or whale watching, while a similar trip in KwaZulu-Natal offers a visit to the scenic midlands or a Drakensberg helicopter tour to visit exotic and breathtaking destinations like Cathkin Peak, Vultures’ Retreat, Cleft Peak and the Organ Pipes. (IANS)


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Milky Way galaxy as seen from Chitkul Valley

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has for the first time spotted signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way galaxy, opening up a new avenue to search for exoplanets at greater distances than ever before.

The possible exoplanet -- or planets outside of our Solar System -- candidate is located in the spiral galaxy Messier 51 (M51), also called the Whirlpool Galaxy because of its distinctive profile, NASA said in a statement.

Astronomers have, so far, found all other known exoplanets and exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way galaxy, almost all of them less than about 3,000 light-years from Earth.

An exoplanet in M51 would be about 28 million light-years away, meaning it would be thousands of times farther away than those in the Milky Way, NASA said.

"We are trying to open up a whole new arena for finding other worlds by searching for planet candidates at X-ray wavelengths, a strategy that makes it possible to discover them in other galaxies," said Rosanne Di Stefano of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

The exoplanet candidate was spotted in a binary system called M51-ULS-1, located in M51. This binary system contains a black hole or neutron star orbiting a companion star with a mass about 20 times that of the Sun. The X-ray transit they found using Chandra data lasted about three hours, during which the X-ray emission decreased to zero.

Based on this and other information, the team estimates the exoplanet candidate in M51-ULS-1 would be roughly the size of Saturn and orbit the neutron star or black hole at about twice the distance of Saturn from the Sun.

The team looked for X-ray transits in three galaxies beyond the Milky Way galaxy, using both Chandra and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton. Their search covered 55 systems in M51, 64 systems in Messier 101 (the "Pinwheel" galaxy), and 119 systems in Messier 104 (the "Sombrero" galaxy).

However, more data would be needed to verify the interpretation as an extragalactic exoplanet. One challenge is that the planet candidate's large orbit means it would not cross in front of its binary partner again for about 70 years, thwarting any attempts for a confirming observation for decades, NASA said.

Named in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is the world's most powerful X-ray telescope. It has eight times greater resolution and is able to detect sources more than 20-times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.

Known to the world as Chandra (which means "moon" or "luminous" in Sanskrit), Chandrasekhar was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century. (IANS/JB)


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