extreme, waterfall, adventure

Add these 5 extreme adventures to your bucket list ASAP

Words: Josh Rakic
Photography: Desré Pickers/Red Bull Illume

For those who enjoy extreme heights, gut-wrenching drops and volcanoes, this is for you.

There are adventures, and then there are the adventures you can’t believe you survived and find yourself short of breath every time you have remember them. These five adventures will make you think twice about ever putting your life into the hands of a teenage foreign tour guide ever again – because these adventures can kill you, and a few of them have the unenviable record that proves it.

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Mountain biking Death Road, Bolivia

© YouTube/Ignacio Vela

This winding goat track is located on a cliff’s edge 56km from La Paz has been named the world’s most dangerous road and it has the body count to prove it. With no guard rails and a sheer drop some 600m directly down, it’s scary enough simply riding down it, let alone with traffic coming at you from the opposite direction. Then there’s the heavy fog, waterfalls, rock falls, corrosion and dust. Hence the annual estimated death count of 200-300 people. But with 25,000 MTB-riding tourists visiting each year, the odds of survival are slightly in your favour.

Swimming on the edge of Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River

© YouTube/Samiam2310

Of all the adventures on the list, this is the one most likely to kill you. Your safety rests solely in the hands of local guides in the treacherous water at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. You swim right up to the edge of the world’s largest waterfall, where you should – hopefully – find The Devil’s Armchair, a formation of underwater rocks that resemble a large seat. There’s only a few rocks and a couple of guides between you and a 100m drop to your death just a few centimetres away. While there are many other presumed deaths over the years, few have been confirmed. You’ll need a steel stomach for this one.

Walking the plank on the Mount Huashan Hiking Trail

© YouTube/JukinVideo

It’s called a hike, but the Mount Huashan trail is more of a rock climb as adventurers tip-toe on a weathered plank along a cliff face 1500m in the air with little more than a chain for support. In fact, this makes walking the plank into the ocean seem like child’s play. Of course, there is the option of a harness support on account of numerous deaths that are said to be in the hundreds, meaning only human error or equipment malfunction can kill you. 

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Volcano boarding in Nicaragua

Hiking a live volcano isn’t exactly a form of self-preservation, but if you were to do it, having a quick mode of transportation out would be at least some form of insurance should the beast erupt, which makes volcano boarding in Leon, Nicaragua, actually a little safer than it sounds. But rocketing down sharp volcanic rock on a flammable wooden sled at speed remains a potentially deadly task. But you can rest assured that at least the bottom of the board is metal, so it won’t catch fire but will give you third-degree burns should you lose a glove. No deaths reported as yet, but…

Scuba diving in Jacob’s Well

© YouTube/DiegoA

Barring encounters with great white sharks and monsters of the deep, scuba diving some 30m below the surface is commonplace and a relatively safe experience – unless you’re in a cave, that is. This natural spring and popular swimming hole in Texas has claimed eight lives in recorded history, all of which have been scuba divers. The enormous cave system that opens out below is pitch black and unknown, swallowing unsuspecting adventurers into it.

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