Escape Rooms - The new favourite past time you didn't know you needed in your life.

My first experience with on of these was about a year ago with Alex in Edinburgh. We spent a morning decoding puzzles in "Houdin's Studio" and we've been hooked ever since. The concept originates from Takao Kato's online game. Kato and his team translated the game into reality for the first time in 2007. In brief, your team works together to discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks through a maze of spaces until you eventually get the final key that lets you out of the room you're locked in. These games are always supervised by the organizers via CCTV who will step in to help as needed or let you out if you reeeeally need the loo - so don't let that worry you. The end goal is to complete the challenge within the allocated time frame (usually an hour) or sooner! The concept has become super popular over the last few years and today you'll be able to find a few game centres in almost every major city in the world. Thankfully for us Joburg is no exception!

Why we're hooked:

The thrill of the challenge is fun and becoming fully immersed in these hyper realistic themed spaces is pretty intoxicating. But more than that, it's a great way to practice quick and critical thinking whilst improving team morale and communication... lol. Needless to say Alex and I still spend most of the game bickering over which puzzle piece goes where. But we're practicing and that's all that matters.

Is it kid friendly?

No two games are the same and some that we've tried have certainly been scarier than others. For the most part they are a great activity to do with kids as they develop important thinking skills. But it would be best to double check with the organizers before booking a room and asking which of their rooms are best suited for families.

Is it expensive?

Prices vary significantly from place to place. However, most locations work on pricing per room. So the larger the team the lower the cost to each person. Prices also tend to be higher for rooms that are considered more popular or challenging. Bases on our experience, prices average to around R200 per person.

Try them for yourself:

Escape Room in Dunkeld West

- Check out the website here.

- Check out the location here.

Lostland Escape Room in Sandton

- Check out the website here.

- Check out the location here.

Hashtag Escape in Norwood.

- Check out the website here.

- Check out the location here.

Alex and I have done quite a few in different cities but our all time favourite was the paranormal themed room (Closure ) at Hashtag Escape in Norwood! We booked it for his 30th birthday and had such an amazing experience. Let me know your thoughts of you've tried it or if I've missed somewhere that you would like included on the list. Till then - happy escaping!

I didn't tell him until the last minute what I had booked for his birthday.