Adventure tourism in South Africa is a growing industry with 11 million people participating in 2014 according to the South Africa Adventure Industry Survey of 2014 by Dirty Boots. No doubt, adventure activities are part of the attractions of the tourism industry. From shark cage diving to rock climbing, locals and tourists alike enjoy partaking in these thrilling activities.
One of the most important concerns when doing adventure sports is life insurance. Unlike normal policies, getting cover when you are doing extreme activities is an altogether different ballgame. But the good news is, insurance companies in South Africa will provide coverage based on several conditions and considerations. We take a look at how insurance companies will approach two extreme sports that are popular in the country.Shark Cage Diving
According to the Dirty Boots survey, shark cage diving earned the top spot as the highest income-generating activity for operators and is also one of the 10 favourite attractions. Shark cage diving provides the opportunity to see the great white sharks up close. Popular sites in the world include South Africa, Americas and Australia.Risks
Shark cage diving is not something you do every day and if you choose to go on a dive, it is usually organised by an accredited adventure travel company. The organiser provides safe and sturdy cages that are engineered for precision ensuring that sharks and divers are not hurt. There is an adequate escape route should a breach in security occur. Moreover, the White Shark Protection Foundation (GWSPF) in South Africa regulates and sets the standards for the industry.
Hence, if you are seeking insurance for an adventure activity, your provider will likely take into consideration the frequency of activity, accident rates and safety issues. As it is not highly probable you will go diving alone without a cage, this reduces the chances of accidents and injuries.
For most, however, shark cage diving is a one-time experience and getting a sports travel insurance is a practical solution. It can cover medical expenses, personal liability repatriation, baggage & personal effects and even sports equipment. Diving operators also carry a liability insurance in case something untoward happens to divers.Rock Climbing
An extreme sport that a lot of people are into nowadays is rock climbing. For people who practice these high-risk sports, insurance companies offer life, disability or illness cover. Naturally, the risks differ from one climber to another.Risks
The underwriter will assess several factors such as climbing experience or how long the insured has been climbing. An experienced climber has a lower chance of getting into an incident than someone who is inexperienced. In addition, a seasoned climber will be able to react better in a predicament than a novice.
Another factor that underwriters look at is the type of equipment that will be used. Rock climbing with ropes is less dangerous than free climbing. Use of helmets and proper equipment including communication devices in making the climb are important factors as well.
The country where the activity takes place is also considered. For example, if you’re rock climbing on Table Mountain, you are near a hospital and rescue teams are in proximity should an accident occur. Compare this to a rock climber scaling the Himalayas or the Colorado Rockies where you are in a foreign country and medical facilities are not close by.
Your health condition will be scrutinised as well by the underwriter. Pre-existing medical issues are considered. Other things that an insurance company will look at include typical heights that a climber scales and membership to a climbing club or association.Exclusions
The insurance company will provide a list of exclusions if you are getting cover for rock climbing as part of your life insurance. Solo or free climbing are typically not covered so make sure to note what exclusions are in effect. In summary, there are loads of variables that affect how much coverage you can get or if you qualify at all when into extreme sports and adventure activities.
- Mountain biking: the thrill of speeding down a dirt track and negotiating rocky corners is a completely different experience to cycling on the pavement at home - try the winding passes of the East Cape Highlands for some of South Africa's best views.
- White-water rafting: an adrenalin rush for those who love being on the water. Work as a team to steer your raft through the rapids on the mighty Tugela river.
- Canoeing: if you’re after a more sedate pace with opportunities to spot some local wildlife, try heading out on the Pongola river armed with your binoculars.
- Hiking: a great way to get lost in the wilderness - although hopefully only metaphorically! Choose a trail suited to your family’s ability, and set your pace so everyone can enjoy it. Pick up a guide book and teach your kids about wildlife and plant species or map reading and wayfinding while you go. As with most outdoor activities, even your four-legged friends can come hiking, and the bravery and endurance dogs possess makes them ideal adventure companions.
While not an Active Escapes tour, every now and then a gem of an opportunity crosses our desks. The Poorts and Passes Tour is a unique trip at a price that wouldn't normally be found on a guided, fully catered tour. This being a 'first time round' tour, the guides have priced it basically at cost! Brilliant opportunity to get away from it all...into the beautiful Karoo. Poorts & Passes: George to Patensie Cycle Tour 2016 26 Nov - 6 Dec Have you ever fancied spending real quality time in South Africa's beautiful Karoo? Better yet, from the seat of your trusty bike? Well, the Poorts & Passes Cycle Tour may be exactly the opportunity you've been waiting for. Starting from George, our group will head off on 9 days of incredible riding through unmatched scenery. This is tour riding at it's best, panniers packed with the essentials and top notch meals and comfortable beds at the end of each day. On Day 1, the group meets in George to overnight ahead of the great trek. Final bike preparations and last minute packing, before a hearty meal and a good sleep. Day 2 takes riders through from George to De Rust, a 72km ride up the Montague Pass (opened in 1840, built with convict labour) that transects the Outeniqua Mountains. On Day 3, leaving De Rust we ride 88km to Prince Albert. At the end of the day, we would have crested and descended the mighty Swartberg Pass, something to be inordinately proud of. Waking up on Day 4, breathe a sigh of sleepy relief and remember it's a rest day, well spent wondering the streets of the arty little town, known for delicious food, olives and craft shops. Well rested, on Day 5 we return to De Rust via a completely different and equally spectacular 80km route through the Meiringspoort. It's a day for marvelling at the ancient nature of the Karoo, with the Meiringspoort formations being 250 million years old. There may even be a dip in a secret and beautiful waterfall en route, if we're in need of a cool down. On Day 6, it's flatter riding into the Karoo from De Rust to Toorwater over 83km. 12km in to the ride we will stop for breakfast at Numbi Valley, and experience an organic permaculture garden project. Leaving Toorwater on Day 7, we ride 67km to the Baviaanskloof, via the narrow gorges of the Groot Rivier. An incredible landscape, sometimes making one wonder what planet one has landed on, this area os able to support seven out of the eight biomes found in South Africa. Day 8 see's some rugged riding through the Baviaanskloof valley, levaning Makkedaat Caves to head to Zandevlakte. Farmer Piet will take us in the afternoon on a bakkie tour to see the spekboom and river catchment rehabilitation projects on Zandevlakte farm. Day 9 adds a zing of excitement, as we'll be riding through buffalo territory from Zandvlakte to Glencoe over 72km. Buffalo being potentially dangerous, mean that we will have a bakkie escort, who will also take our bags for the day - and haul the supplies for a lunchtime braai at Rooihoek campsite. From there we ride out to end the day in Glencoe. Day 10 see's the shortest distance, as we depart Glencoe and ride through to Patensie over 32km of patchwork farmland in the Gamtoos valley. After a coffee and a bight to eat, we are transferred back to George to spend one last night in George, before departing the following morning on Day 11.