Descending down the side of a cliff with nothing but a rope between you and the void below is a huge rush. It’s even better when you’re doing it down a waterfall. If that sounds good to you, then look no further than the Semonkong Abseil.
The South African country of Lesotho is home to Maletsunyane Falls, a 630-foot monolith of a waterfall that often covers the area in dense fog during the country’s rainy season. The steady appearance of fog in the area each season arising from the falls inspired the locals to name the town it lies in Semonkong, or “the place of smoke.”
The abseiling found here is the longest commercially operated single drop spot in the world and even made the Guinness Book of World Records. For perspective, this baby is roughly four times the height of Niagara Falls.
The falls lie at the end of a enormous chasm with walls of the gorge surrounding the Maletsunyane River. It’s an impressive and breathtaking sight to behold. This drop is definitely not for the faint of heart.
To plunge from the top of the Maletsunyane Falls abseilers are generally required to wear bright colored jumpsuits in order to be seen through the raging waters and a helmet in case you get knocked into the rocky walls. Hang over the ledge for a few minutes and stare straight down before you drop. You know, just to make it a little more interesting.
Once you find the guts to take that plunge, get ready to be doused by Mother Nature as the water and mist envelops you while you drop next to the monstrous waterfall. Of course, you’ll be completely in control of the speed of your descent; you can even stop mid-drop and admire the view if you want.
The water from the falls makes abseiling here a slippery trip, so you’ll have to work to keep your feet on the wall. Or, you could simply let yourself drop. That’s an option. Watch out for the birds that seem to come darting straight out of the mist around you, too. On the other hand, you might be so caught up in the thunderous power of the falls and the coalescing rainbows of color you might not see them at all.
The trip down will take you, at minimum, ten minutes to make it to the ground. At the foot of the falls you’ll be ensconced inside in a mist so thick it might be hard to see your own feet. The abseil ends in a cave tucked beneath the waterfall, where (hopefully) someone will be there to greet you and get you unhooked.
Of course, once you’ve done it once you’ll probably be itching to get back up top to have another go at it.