Some of the coolest experiences in SA - from hiking to snorkelling - are now much cheaper

Business Insider SA
Hike and canoe with wildlife in Dassenhoek, KZN. Source: Airbnb.

  • After a long break due to lockdown, AirBnb experiences are once again live in South Africa.
  • There are hundreds of these activities, which are organised by locals, to choose from throughout the country - from hiking and snorkelling to history tours and food tastings.
  • These are some of the best-rated AirBnb experiences currently accepting bookings.
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After an extended pause due to Covid-19, AirBnb has reactivated its in-person experiences in South Africa. These experiences are activities designed and led by locals.

And as a way of enticing both local and international visitors back, many experience operators are offering deep discounts on their popular activities. 

AirBnb is also making it possible to assess an experience’s Covid-19 safety - with a special section that details the operator’s commitment to safety and detail measures taken to reduce any risk.

There are hundreds of excursions and activities now available to book on the platform, focused mainly around Johannesburg, Durban, the Garden Route and Cape Town. 

These are some of the best, based on ratings and reviews, that are now open for bookings:

Experience the underwater Wilderness - Dolphin Coast

Source: AirBnb

This experience on KwaZulu-Natal’s Dolphin Coast offers a two hour snorkelling trip for up to six people at a time. Equipment, basic training, and a post-snorkel hot chocolate are included in the deal - which currently costs R350 per person.

Host Michelle says you’re likely to see between 20 and 50 different species of fish, corals and invertebrates - and she’ll leave you with photos of your adventure and a marine life ID guide. The experience has an established track record on the platform - and after 51 reviews it’s achieved a rating of 4.86 out of 5.

goodVibezOnlyZA - KwaZulu-Natal

Source: AirBnb

The somewhat obscurely named KZN experience goodVibezOnlyZA has received a stellar five star average rating after 24 reviews - and it promises to transform a trip to the beach from a towel and umbrella based mission to a full gazebo, picnic blanket, straw mat, bluetooth speaker style setup.

This experience lasts between three and five hours, and focuses on making events in outdoor spaces comfortable and convenient - though most activities take place on Glen Ashley Beach in La Lucia. 

The setup costs R300 per person, is available for between two and 50 people, and doesn’t include food - but the host can arrange this if needed.

Table Mountain Tea Tasting - Cape Town

Source: AirBnb

Hiking tours and excursions are, unsurprisingly, one of the most popular excursions on AirBnb in Cape Town, but this one promises something a little different. 

Host Luca says her mountain tea tasting experience will allow guests to experience Table Mountain’s tranquil side with a gentle walk up Woody Ravine, and the promise of a fresh cup of rooibos with a view of Camp’s Bay.

The tour lasts up to three hours, includes some snacks, and a local rooibos and buchu tea tasting for R700 per person. Although there are just six reviews to the experience’s name, all are glowing about the activity and the host.

Snorkel the magical African Seaforest - Cape Town

Source: AirBnb

After the mountain, many AirBnb experiences in Cape Town tend towards the water - and the unambiguously named Snorkel the magical African Seaforest is one of the best-rated on the platform. If the photos and glowing reviews (4.93 out of 5, after 71 ratings) are anything to go by, though, its title is not entirely hyperbolic.

Guests go on a snorkelling adventure into a sea forest of which there are only nine like it in the world, where you’ll likely find fish, seals, penguins, sharks, and octopuses. The rate of R600 per person includes everything you need to snorkel - as wells a post-snorkel cup of tea.

Take me to Soweto - Johannesburg

Source: AirBnb

The cultural cycling tour Take me to Soweto takes guests through the famous Soweto suburb of Orlando West, and past locations where political icons lived while fighting against apartheid.

The tour has a small but glowing collection of reviews, and the tour promises to share stories about the affect of apartheid on different generations in the area. 

The tours cost R320 per person, and includes the use of a bicycle and a lunch stop along the way.

Discover township life with a local - Knysna


After 75 ratings, the Knysna township tour experience is one of the costal town’s most popular. It promises to showcase an authentic side of township life that digs deeper than the daily struggles. The tour includes visits to social enterprises, a sangoma, and occasionally includes some sporting interactions on nearby soccer fields and netball courts.

The two-hour activity costs R200 per person - and reviews of the experience are universally positive.

Paddle with the penguins - Cape Town

Source: AirBnb

Two qualified marine conservationists lead guests out on a two-hour kayaking adventure among False Bay’s ever-popular penguins. The experience takes place around Boulders Beach, has a rating of 4.89 out of 5 after an impressive 386 reviews, and includes all equipment needed to approach the penguin colony from the water side. Along the way, the hosts also commit to answering questions around the other marine life that lives in the bay and in the surrounding kelp forests.

Design your own African print bomber jacket - Johannesburg

Source: AirBnb

Johannesburg based fashion designer Sebo will take you on a tour of Johannesburg’s fashion district - and you’ll leave with your own custom bomber jacket three hours later. The focus of the tour is on downtown Joburg’s fabric shops, and guests will learn about this historical part of the city as they walk through the experience. Sebo will allow you to choose a unique print, learn how to take body measurements, and show you how to cut the pattern and pieces to make the jacket.

The tour costs R1500 per person, which includes the equipment needed - and after 13 ratings it’s achieved an impressive 5 out of 5 from participants.

Authentic downtown Joburg stroll

Source: AirBnb

Dlala Nje is a tour company that offers immersive experiences of Johannesburg’s most notorious neighbourhoods - with an aim to showcase to guests how misunderstood they often are. 

Their guided guided walk through Ponte City, Hillbrow, and the surrounding neighbourhoods takes three hours, and has a near perfect rating after 97 reviews. The experience costs R400 per person, and includes some local delicacies along the way.

Hike and canoe with wildlife - Dassenhoek

This experience offers a combination deal of wildlife and kayaking, and with a rating of 4.91 after 23 reviews it appears as if host Sara has struck on a winning formula. 

The experience takes place on a dam in Dassenhoek, KwaZulu-Natal, and offers the chance to spot fish eagles, giraffes and zebras - either on foot or from the water.

The experience last four hours, and costs R250 per person.

Craft Rum Tasting and Distillery Tour - Cape Town

Source: AirBnb

This tour of a small local rum distillery, led by the owner or his son, will take you into the production area of the operation and allow you to learn more about how rum is made. During the experience, guests can taste the molasses, and smell the spices and wood used to make the rum. At the end of the tour, guests are free to taste the three different rums that the distillery produces - and some can be paired with chocolate as well, if you like. 

The tour lasts two hours, costs R120, and has a 5 star rating after 47 reviews.

Cook local dishes with a chef - Johannesburg

Source: AirBnb

Chef Thabisile offers an interactive dining experience that simplifies the process of making some popular South African dishes like chakalaka and vetkoek. The experience last three hours, includes a three course meal, and costs R450 per person. It has a small but glowing collection of reviews that praise both the host and the experience as a whole.

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