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Our Downhill Adventures in Cape Town–Sandboarding

Going off of a recommendation from another travel agent, we booked a half-day of sandboarding the Atlantis dunes with a local tour company called Downhill Adventures. All we had to do was walk down the road to their office with a pair of thick socks and a good attitude. All the rest was provided: A bus transfer to Atlantis (40 minutes outside the city), board & boot rentals, and an experienced guide to teach us the subtle art form of dune-riding.

I’m glad we did it, but I’m even gladder that we didn’t book an ENTIRE day of sandboarding. I guess our biggest misfortune was that we came into it as avid Rocky Mountain snowboarders who were looking for a comparable thrill in the sand…which it wasn’t. Turns out, there’s quite a difference between being lifted to an icy summit followed by 20-minutes of downhill excitement… and trudging up a sand dune on foot for a relatively unrewarding less-than-10-second ride. Not to mention, you had to wax the board before EVERY run or else the high friction would cause you to stick like glue, and those climbs get pretty tiring after the first dozen.

In the end, Frankie & I ended up taking off our mismatched boots, enjoying the sand under our bare feet, and using the sandboards to sled down the hills. THAT was a good time.

Still, I was able to appreciate the fact that the other people in the group, none of whom had ever touched a snowboard before, were learning to carve much quicker than I’d seen anyone do in the mountains…plus, that sugary-soft sand serves as one heck of a cushion when you’re consistently falling on your butt.

What’s the conclusion? First try the sand, THEN the snow.

(Megan is our friend from Colorado who won a fabulous dream vacation to South Africa & is sharing the experience with us)

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