Create your South Africa travel bucket list with our list of its 10 must-visit places!
1. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of urban Cape Town
A South Africa travel itinerary is incomplete without a visit to Cape Town, one of the most gorgeous urban spaces in the world. When you visit the city, make sure to add its most recognised landmark, Table Mountain to your itinerary. Also visit the historic Robben Island, one of the most famous symbols of South Africa’s apartheid history and home to the prison where Nelson Mandela was held captive for many years.
Also explore Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront . This iconic neighbourhood is chock-full of stunning marinas, markets, and cultural landmarks, such as the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), Portswood Ridge District, and Battery Park. And if you sign up for a sunset cruise, you are sure to some spectacular views that you will never forget.
2. Go wine tasting at the Cape Winelands
From Cape Town, make your way to Cape Winelands, which is the collective name for some of the oldest and most gorgeous towns in South Africa, like Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, and Darling.
These towns, many of which date back to the 1600s, form the epicentre of Cape Town’s burgeoning wine industry. Many of these towns house estates that offer free or inexpensive wine tours, plus views of stunning vine-planted valleys, farmlands, and handsome “Cape Dutch” architecture.
3. Watch a whale (or ten!) at Hermanus
Hermanus, 90 minutes from Cape Town, is the perfect spot for whale-watching in South Africa. Sign up for a boat-based whale watching trip to see this majestic, mysterious “gentle giant of the ocean” in its natural environment. The best time to go whale watching at Hermanus is early June to late November.
4. Say hello to the Big Five at Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is a magnificent game reserve and home to a huge and diverse wildlife population. It is most well-known for housing the “Big Five”: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. You can “meet” many of these animals in their natural habitats on a game drive.
You can also hike along a backpacking trail, stay at a birdwatching hide, go fishing (angling permit required), join a mountain biking group, or book a guided walk. If you plan to stay in the Park for more than a day, we recommend staying in a rest camp, bushveld camp, or safari lodge.
5. Marvel at the green scenes of Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve
The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is one of the world’s largest “green canyons”. Visit Blyde and marvel at its numerous natural wonders, including the Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels, Pinnacle Rock, and God’s Window. If hiking and adventure activities are your thing, you can choose from several hiking trails or sign up for white water rafting or abseiling.
6. Get up close and personal with African elephants at Addo Elephant National Park
Addo is most well-known as one of the world’s largest elephant national parks. View these majestic animals up close on a guided game drive. The Park also offers 4×4 trails with breathtaking views, and activities like fishing, bird watching, horse riding, and marine eco-tours.
7. Go on an adventure at Tsitsikamma National Park
Tsitsikamma is one of South Africa’s best destinations for outdoor adventure activities. Zipline canopy tour, Segway tour, bungee jumping (one of the world’s highest!), tubing, paddle-boarding, kayaking – Tsitsikamma offers all these activities in spades.
The Park also offers plenty of trails, stunning waterfalls, dramatic landscapes, striking coastal scenery, and one-of-a-kind wildlife if you are more interested in exploring South Africa’s natural beauty. You can undertake these explorations by bus, bike, kayak, and on foot.
8. Explore South Africa’s history in Johannesburg
Johannesburg is one of the epicentre’s of South Africa’s history of apartheid (literally “apartness”). Get a glimpse into this history by visiting the Apartheid Museum. Then extend your historical tour by exploring Maboneng Precinct, a vibrant neighbourhood that’s widely considered a “centre of creative energy” for Joburg’s artists and art-loving public.
Some other wonderful places to explore in Joburg:
• South African National Museum of Military History
• Gold Reef City Theme Park
• Joburg Zoo
• The Playground Market
• Nelson Mandela’s House
9. Enjoy outdoor activities at Drakensberg Mountains
If you’re in the mood for hiking or outdoor activities, then Drakensberg is a great place to be. Along its southern and eastern sides of this mountain range, there are several hiking trails, game reserves, national parks, mountain resorts, and camping grounds. Regardless of which spot you pick to explore; Drakensberg will mesmerise you with its breathtaking scenery and unforgettable views.
10. Discover South Africa’s land and marine treasures at iSimangaliso Wetland Park
iSimangaliso is one of South Africa’s 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The country’s third-largest protected area is famous for housing a diverse range of ecosystems: bays, beaches, wetlands, lakes, and of course, wildlife.
The Park’s 10 “jewels” include the Coastal Forest, a collection of beautiful beaches and dune vistas, Charters Creek, a Big Five game area, Lake Sibaya, South Africa’s largest freshwater lake, and Sodwana Bay, a dive destination housing thousands of varieties of fish, underwater seascapes, and marine flora and fauna.
Choose your preferred spot, depending on whether you want to laze on a beach, do whale- or bird-watching, join a turtle tour, go deep-sea fishing, kayaking, or scuba diving. You can also sign up for an estuary boat cruise or game drive, and even simple activities like horse riding and guided walks.
South Africa boasts a multicultural/multiethnic society, as well as a diverse and breathtaking range of landscapes, coastal scenery, ecosystems, and wildlife. Immerse yourself in the culture of this Rainbow Nation, enjoy a thrilling adventure holiday, and achieve one-ness with Mother Nature – with South Africa, you can do all this and more.
Plan your holiday to South Africa with Calculus Holidays. Contact us to get started!