Breathtaking natural beauty and wildlife, world-class facilities, exhilarating adventure, diverse experiences, a melting pot of cultures and fantastic weather – South Africa has it all! Whether you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime safari experience, a beautiful beachside break or an international shopping holiday, South Africa will leave you with lasting memories.
Here are five of the top attractions that shouldn’t be missed!
Cape Town, South Africa
Boasting beautiful blue flag beaches, world-class wineries, majestic mountains, and vibrantly-rich culture and history, Cape Town – aka The Mother City – is unarguably one of the main jewels in South Africa’s crown.
Defined by the iconic Table Mountain, which stands sentry over the city, Cape Town is ensconced by two oceans and pristine white sandy beaches on either side.
This fantastic city is all about the great outdoors and is jam-packed with an array of fun activities to enjoy. Head up Lion’s Head at dawn for a spectacular sunrise; spend the day on one of the stunning beaches of Clifton or Camps Bay, or take a ferry across Table Bay to the historic Robben Island.
Drive down the Cape Peninsula to the very tip at Cape Point and see the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, or enjoy an unforgettable swim with tuxedoed penguins at Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town.
The Cape Winelands is one of the top places in South Africa to visit, even if it’s just for its spectacular natural scenery, magnificent mountainscapes, and orchard-filled valleys.
Cape Winelands are made up of several regions, each of which has its distinct character and charm – from the haunting scenic beauty, deep viticulture and fruit-growing heritage of the Paarl Valley to the quaint Francophile village of Franschhoek, which has been hailed as the “Food and Wine Capital of the Cape”.
The pretty university town of Stellenbosch in the heart of the wine industry and its ancient oak-lined streets are well worth a visit, while further afield are lesser-known wine areas such as Elgin, Ceres, McGregor and Montagu, which are also renowned for their award-winning wines and quiet, laid-back ambiance.
Stretching from Cape Town along the beautiful eastern coastline of South Africa, past the seaside towns of Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, and George towards Port Elizabeth, the glorious natural beauty of the Cape’s famous Garden Route seduces everyone.
Stunning white sandy beaches framed by rugged, rocky shorelines and indigo-blue ocean, picturesque lagoons, tranquil lakes, undulating hills and mist-covered mountains make up the spectacular scenery of this magnificent coastline.
Dense belts of ancient indigenous forests line the coast from the Wilderness to Knysna, where one of several extremely rare elephants may be spotted, along with some of the world’s oldest yellowwood trees.
Further along the coastal route, you’ll find pristine beaches and secluded bays, such as Hermanus and Stilbaai, where Southern Right whales visit to calve and play at certain times of the year.
The densely-wooded hillsides and lush, fertile valleys of the Outeniqua Mountains offer an array of outdoor adventure and recreation from hiking, mountain biking, kloofing, camping to fishing, bird-watching and more.
Slightly inland from the coast, in a semi-arid valley, lies the town of Oudtshoorn which is home to the world-renowned Cango Caves and thousands of ostriches that are farmed for their feathers and meat on a grand scale.
Kruger National Park
Sprawled across more than two million hectares in the northern part of the country, and home to over 1000 different species of animals and birds, the Kruger National Park is the pride of South Africa. The world-renowned park has a rich conservation history and is unrivalled when it comes to wildlife.
The Kruger is home, not only to the Big Five; rhino, elephant, buffalo, lion, and leopard, but also to an array of herd animals, other big cats and smaller mammals, along with a wealth of endemic flora.
There are many places to stay within the park, ranging from luxury safari lodges to tented camps. There’s also activities to enjoy like guided game drives, bush walks, ranger-led programs and volunteer experiences for wildlife-lovers.
Drakensberg, South Africa
Forming the boundary between South Africa and the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, the jagged, green panoramic sweep of the Drakensberg offers some of the country’s most awe-inspiring landscapes.
Aptly named uKhahlamba, meaning “Barrier of spears” in Zulu, the Drakensberg’s mist-enshrouded mountain peaks and sheer escarpment, verdant sloped hills and dense yellowwood forests create an airbrushed beauty that has inspired a million picture-postcards and long attracted visitors from around the world to take in its spectacular scenery.
While the dramatic landscapes and striking natural scenery live up to their Zulu name, the Drakensberg’s ethereal and otherworldly atmosphere gives light to the Afrikaans translation of the name, which means “Dragon mountains”. Dramatic mountain storms crash around the lofty peaks during summer, while in winter, the snowy peaks boast surreal beauty.
The World Heritage Site of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park features cascading waterfalls, tumbling mountain streams and myriad caves which overhang and protect a rich cultural legacy of ancient rock paintings created by Southern Africa’s earliest inhabitants, the San Bushmen.
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