Why do we travel? Often times, we are flying away from our regimented lives in search of some thrill or at least a change of scenery. The destination of choice is one that can fulfill a holiday dream of being a temporary explorer, photographer, food critic or whatever takes our fancy.
And no matter what your holiday persona is, chances are, South Africa has something for you. Aside from its rich culture, the diversity of South Africa’s landscape and wildlife along with a vibrant nightlife and foodie scene make the country an ideal destination for all types of travelers: thrill seeker, safari enthusiast, wine lover or simple wanderer.
Check out our top 10 things to do in South Africa.
1. The KGalagadi Transfrontier Park is part of the Kalahari Desert in the north of South Africa. Look for the Meerkat, Antelope, Lion, against a spectacular backdrop of red sand dunes: a wildlife photographer’s heaven.
2. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens: discover new plants and learn about the area’s diverse vegetation by walking through the 36ha of gardens; which is now part of a World Heritage Site.
3. Cape Wine tours: foodies and wine lovers will enjoy following the “wine trail” that starts outside of Cape Town. Head to the towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, among others, for wine tasting paired with gourmet meals.
4. Cape of Good Hope: admire the stunning coastal scenery: the converging Indian and Atlantic oceans and huge waves crashing against the cliffs.
5. De Hoop Nature Reserve: the reserve is a destination of choice on the sole merit of its beauty: sand dunes and beautiful coastlines. It also doubles as a favored choice for bird and whale watching, cycling and hiking.
6. Cango Cave: the complex system of caves and tunnels is located near the town of Oudtshoorn. It takes an hour to explore the geological wonders and limestone formations. The thrill seekers can sign up for the adventure tour.
7. Addo Elephant Park: drive, hike and ride through the park to see herds of Elephants and other animals including Lion, Zebra and Buffalo.
8. Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park: the park is a World Heritage Site and a true place of preservation. It is a sanctuary for several endangered species and its mountains harbor the rock paintings that are the only traces left of the San people – the first inhabitants of the area.
9. The Isimangaliso Wetland Park has been declared a World Heritage Site both for its beauty and its exceptional bio-diversity. Dive along the cost to discover a submarine life and coral reefs of rare beauty. There is an activity for watersports fans almost all year long.
10. Kruger National Park or a world of superlatives. It stands as the most famous and biggest park in South Africa with nearly 20,000 square kilometers. Experience nature in its most diverse form with over 500 bird species, 50 fish species, and 147 mammal species. The best way to get a feel for this is to go and immerse yourself in this extraordinary natural world.
Bonus: It was difficult to stick to only a ‘top 10 things to do’ so here are 5 bonuses:
Robben Island: the notorious jail is now open as a museum.
Umnini Craft Village: On the “making trail”, stop at this craft market to shop for wire basket, jewellery, sculpture, pottery created by the local community.
Botshabelo Historical Village (Middleburg outside Johannesburg): the Ndebele culture, renowned for its beads work and vivid geometric mural art, is intrinsically linked to South Africa. Visit the Botshabelo Historical Village in Middleburg to admire the reproduction of a Ndebele village and learn more about the culture.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park: the oldest of the national parks is also a sanctuary for the white Rhinoceros, although you can see the other members of the infamous “African big five club” there: Elephant, Buffalo, Lion and Leopard.
Durban: is a cosmopolitan city on the eastern coast of South Africa. Its location and architecture make it an ideal destination for family and surfers alike.
Have you been to South Africa? Share your experience with us and let us know what you enjoyed the most.