5 unique Valentine's Day date ideas

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Break tradition this Valentine's Day and do something out of the box. Surprise your partner this Valentine’s Day with a date to remember.
The pressure to celebrate your love – or find one – in February is always pretty intense. Also, it's intensely cheesy. This year, think memorable instead of predictable, for a date that leaves a lasting impression. You won’t be sorry.
Rushing through a set menu dinner at a packed restaurant on a deadline for the second sitting, shooing ants off the crackers at your 'romantic' picnic, overpaying for a bunch of roses that won’t survive the week … hardly the date ideas they’re cracked up to be. We take a look at some out-of-the-box ideas that’ll score you mega points with your date for the night.

1. Skydiving for the truly adventurous

If plummeting towards the earth at 220km/h for 35 seconds doesn’t get your adrenalin pumping, few things will. Tandem skydiving is probably about as safe an adrenaline sport as you can get, despite leaping from a plane, 3.5km up in the sky.

After a safety briefing and a surprisingly short – but comprehensive – instructional session on the ground, you and your partner will be strapped to complete strangers and bundled into a small aircraft where you have about 15 minutes for your nerves to fray completely while you climb to 11 000 feet. A countdown and a gentle nudge later, you’ll freefall half the distance back to the ground at nearly double the highway speed limit, before your new best friend yanks the rip cord and your progress slows to a fraction of what it was a second earlier.

The rushing air stills, things go oddly quiet, and you’ll be able to enjoy amazing vistas for up to ten minutes before you lift your legs and prepare to have your instructor land you safely back on terra firma. Resist the urge to kiss them, and head straight for your partner to celebrate instead. Bonus: for an extra fee, most skydiving schools will provide you with a video or pics from your experience so you can prove that you went head-over-heels for each other, up in the air.

Skydive Tandem in Gauteng, Bedfordview Johannesburg is about R1 950 (weekend rates) for a tandem jump.
Durban Skydive Centre in KZN, Durban is about R2 250 for an 8 000ft jump.
Skydive Cape Town in Western Cape, 40km from Cape Town is about R2 850 for a tandem introductory dive.
Skydive Jeffreys Bay in Eastern Cape, Jeffreys Bay is about R2 400 for a 9 000ft tandem jump.

2. Create your own perfume

Pheremones (scents of attraction) play a major role in drawing you towards someone romantically. Your sense of smell is also one of the most effective memory-drivers: a scent can transport you back to the moment you met your person, or a particular event in your life that made a major impression.

Perfume-making workshops are a great way to connect with your partner, learn something new, and have a hand in creating a bespoke signature scent that’ll remind you of them every time you spritz it on.

Fun and interactive, you’ll learn which unlikely ingredients lend your favourite note to a scent, uncover what your trigger scents say about you, and create a fragrant bond between the two of you. Some workshops lead with natural ingredients and ancient methods, while others use cutting-edge technology.

Perfume Power in Western Cape, Somerset West offers perfume-making workshop packages, from 1-hour sessions to full day workshops.
Moodsense Perfumes in Gauteng, Cradle of Mankind is offering a special Valentine's Day Perfume Event on Sunday 17 February for R950 per person, where you can create your own scent and take it home with you. 

3. Take aim in archery

We promise we’re not referencing Cupid at all when we suggest what may initially seem like an odd date choice – archery. Every relationship needs concentration, focus, tenacity and, sometimes, a steady hand – do you see where we’re going with this?

Archery isn’t about being the strongest, fastest or smartest – but it tests you on a number of levels, including your patience! It’s a fun day outdoors as well, as you take on board your instructor’s words and battle your own wits to hit the target board – never mind the bullseye.

Once you get the hang of things, there’s a chance that a little friendly competition may raise its head, which is never a bad thing for kindling a bit of a spark!

Sentient Archery in Gauteng, Randburg offers once-off group introductory lessons at R220 per person, or a private 30-minute lesson for R230.
Kings Park Archery in KZN, Durban offers target archery and full archery courses for the brave.
Protea Sports Club in Western Cape, Cape Town has an indoor archery range and will cost you R120 for a 2-hour lesson with a qualified instructor.
Londt Park Sports Club in Eastern Cape, Port Elizabeth offers a range of sporting activities including archery for the abled and disabled.

4. Try out cable waterskiing and wakeboarding  

Water-skiing or wakeboarding used to require a boat – or a buddy with a boat – and a lot of patience. Lucky for you, the proliferation of cable water-ski parks across the country has made water sports way more accessible and cost-effective for those without boating connections.

A series of cables running above a body of water pull would-be skiers along at moderate speeds, helping you find your feet – or the water, if you struggle. It makes for a thrilling day out, and there are guaranteed to be several spills and thrills to stoke a sense of fun, and possibly that competitive spirit. Plus, nobody looks sexy in a lifejacket, so you’ll have to laugh, even if only at yourself!

StokeCity Adventure Park in Gauteng, Midrand is Gauteng's only cable park and offers a full-day cable pass for R500 per person, which includes a helmet, lifejacket, kneeboard or water-skis.
Blue Rock in Western Cape, Sir Lowry's Pass offers a daily rate of R460 to ski, and a further cost to hire additional equipment such as a wakeboard.

5. Trampoline your heart out

Jumping on a trampoline as a child offered hours of fun as you bounced off the mat again and again. As an adult, you’ll marvel at how fit you must have been, as you try to replicate your childhood tricks and find yourself out of breath after five minutes!

Indoor trampoline parks are popping up all over the country and offer a relatively safe way to defy gravity, improve your fitness and generally have fun. Some even have tricky obstacle courses you can race through, to get your heart racing even more.

21 Jump Street in Gauteng, Johannesburg offers 1 - 3-hour jumps from R100 to R200 per person from Monday - Sunday.
Gravity Indoor Trampoline Park in Eastern Cape, East London & Port Elizabeth charges R100 per person per hour and R60 per person for a second hour.
be.UP Park in KZN, Durban charges R130 per person for the first hour and R115 for the second.
Rush in Western Cape, Cape Town is R130 per person for an hour on Friday - Sunday, an extra charge of R100 for the second hour. 

By Trevor Crighton

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