Johan Radcliffe

If there were anything new you’d like to learn this year, what would it be? If you could experience any new adventure where do you think this might lead you?

These are some of the questions Johan Radcliffe, publisher of the Dirty Boots Adventure Guide, would like people to start asking themselves at the start of the new year. It was also what he was hoping to achieve when he and his partner, Darron Raw, more recently set the HI-TEC Dawn-2-Dusk Adventure World Record of participating in the most adventure activities in one day.

The duo stayed true to the course and completed 18 adventure activities in a day, among them hang gliding, paragliding, sandboarding, Jeep 4x4ing, tandem skydiving, abseiling, toboganning, mountain biking, coasteering and kayaking.

“Both Darron and I turned 40 recently and decided it was high time we took a break and participated in some of the many adventures out there. Darron’s birthday presented the perfect opportunity, and it got me thinking how many activities one could fit into a single day. After all, we live in an age of immediate gratification, yet so many people out there end up not doing anything adventurous because they think they do not have the time.”

Starting at 5.30 in the morning and ending at sunset, the world-record attempt saw Johan and Darron cover the length and breadth of the Cape Peninsula including Bellville, Melbosstrand, Camps Bay and Simons Town and visiting almost every popular landmark in the Cape Peninsula from Table Mountain and Lions Head to Tokai Forest and Boulders.

Recalling the sunrise quad biking experience Johan said: “I’ve never been to Atlantis before and it was really pleasant. The light was right and everybody said they were glad they got up for it because the scenery was so stunning.” He also spoke highly of the Adventure Centre in Noordhoek. “They have a zipline and foofy slide. All our family members were there. The kids did the zip line and that was great.”

Over and above all the adventure activities undertaken, Johan’s favourite was mountain biking at Tokai Forest. “I always enjoy mountain biking because going uphill is so physical and you’re getting your heart-rate up, but then when you come downhill you go fast and you’ve got to be quick with your reactions. You never know when you’re going to fall or whether you’re going to make it around the next corner – so I enjoy the mountain biking: it’s the one activity you can go out and do all day long.”

Looking back on the experience Johan said: “It was fun doing it with Darron. Any adventure I do with him is a bonding experience. We were exhausted by the end of the day, but I think it was more because of the sun, a bit of dehydration and also not having time to sit down and eat something properly, than because of the activities themselves. We were constantly on the go and with every new activity more and more adrenalin was pumping into our systems, but all in all it was a buzz.”

Johan said he was also surprised that everything ran so smoothly. “The event took a lot of organising and a lot of hours of pre-planning to get it all together, but all the people who supplied the activities were there on time, waiting for us – there was never ever a hold-up, and with 18 different companies that can easily happen,” said Johan.

Friends for years, Johan and Darron are no strangers to adventure, having circumnavigated the 550km border of Swaziland on foot and with two trusty mountain bikes in 2009. They were also the first to paddle the Great Usutu River from South Africa to Maputo, and have paddled along the Kunene River. One of just five perennial rivers in arid Namibia, the Kunene River winds its way from Angola to the desolate Skeleton Coast, forming the natural border between Angola and Namibia.

“Darron and I have done some very serious, life-threatening adventures; we watch out for each other. Darron is very extreme, he is afraid of nothing and never says no to an adventure. We’re a good team,” said Johan.

“People always ask us why we go and do these things. For me it’s about getting out there - it’s fun - but it’s also because I don’t want to reach 70 and look back on my life and feel that I’ve wasted my days. I’m terrified that one day I’ll reach that stage when I can’t do anything anymore and will feel that I haven’t done enough.”

Johan hopes that the HI-TEC Dawn-2-Dusk Adventure World Record he and Darron set will serve as a reminder to people to start living their lives to the full.

“It’s important to start adding adventure to your life in whatever form that takes for you. The word adventure may mean different things to different people, so learning to swim could be an adventure for somebody, but for someone else it could be learning to climb the backface of a waterfall or even learning how to drive a car. As long as it’s learning to do something new or something different, as long as it’s out of your comfort zone, you’re experiencing an adventure.

“Either way, make sure you don’t lie on your deathbed wishing you had wanted to do more with your life or thinking: “I wish I had travelled to see the pyramids; I always wanted to do that and never did”.

“You could find a thousand excuses not to try out new things, but the adventures are out there. You’ve just got to make the decision to do them, and in Cape Town you won’t be short of ideas.”