South Africans have so much to be proud of. Our colourful nation draws visitors from near and far for its natural beauty, unique wildlife and incredible climate.
The diversity South Africa presents is unmatched to many other countries around the world. You can be lying on a beach in Cape Town in the morning, and by noon you could be on a game drive in the Kruger National Park.
It is no easy task to choose which places to visit in South Africa, so be sure to put these on your list. In no particular order, below are some of the must visit destinations in South Africa:
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park, located in the Limpopo Province, is among the world’s most well-known safari parks and one of the oldest game reserves in South Africa. Visiting Kruger Park would be your best chance to see the “Big Five”, along with an impressive diversity of other wildlife. You will also discover Bushman rock paintings and other archaeological sites. Visitors can explore Kruger Park on the extensive network of gated roads; arrange a walking safari; or fly over the grasslands, forests, and rivers in a hot air balloon.
Table Mountain has become one of the world’s most well known natural icons, with its unique flat top. It offers the option of either a five-minute cable car journey or a day’s hike to the top. Riding up, you are able to appreciate the breathtaking views since the cableway has rotating floors and large windows.
Tsitsikamma National Park
Tsitsikamma is a stretch of 80km coastline, on the Garden Route. With its raging rivers, deep ravines, rainforest this is classified as one of the most magical places on earth.Also found here is the Otter trail, a five-day hiking trail commencing at the Storms River Mouth.
Namaqualand Flower Route
The Namaqualand is known for its burst of colour every spring when nearly 4000 types of flowers blossom and when the semi-desert flatlands of Namaqualand are turned into a sea of colour. You can spend a few days here, driving, hiking or cycling. The Goegap Nature Reserve offers both picnic areas and overnight accommodation facilities.
Blyde River Canyon
Beautiful Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is a popular stop on the journey between Johannesburg and the Kruger National Park. The Reserve is home to Africa’s second largest canyon together with an abundant variety of wildlife and plants. Bountiful subtropical foliage, waterfalls, sparkling rivers, and rock formations result in a dazzling canvas of colour and texture. The ultimate way to discover this incredible park is via the scenic driving routes or by hiking the trails.
Given its name for the shimmering golden colours of sandstone cliffs, the Golden Gate Highlands National Park is situated about 120km from Bloemfontein in the Free State. The park hosts an assortment of wildlife, including zebra, wildebeest, and some rare bird species like the bald ibis and the bearded vulture. Activities are plentiful, and visitors can enjoy game viewing, nature trails, horse riding and swimming.
The views from God’s Window are truly extraordinary. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Kruger National Park as well as South Africa’s border with Mozambique. The steepness of the cliffs as they drop 700m into the gorge below, the lush ravine, canyons and waterfalls are nothing short of magnificent.
Chapmans Peak Drive
One of the most breathtaking routes on the Cape Peninsula is along Chapman’s Peak Drive between Hout Bay and Noordhoek offering some of the most spectacular views in the world. There are many vantage points along the route where drivers can stop and bask in the awesomeness of the scenery.
Sani Pass is referred to as the “Roof of Africa” because the views of the remarkable Drakensberg Mountains as it ascends are rather outstanding. Additionally, located right at the top of the Pass is the highest pub in the world, 2874m above sea level. The journey to the top takes approximately two hours from the town of Underberg. Sani Pass is favoured by hikers, climbers, and mountain bikers.
Coffee Bay is a place where you’ll find uncomplicated sandy coves, steep green slopes, cliffs, thatch-roofed mud sheds and the well-known hole-in-the-wall. Located on the Wild Coast, between East London and Port Edward lies this land of hippies, surfers, hikers along with the Xhosa people. Nothing can beat this extraordinary beachside destination.
Bourke’s Luck Pot Holes
Over centuries, sand and rock transported by the rivers have eroded into these intriguing cylindrical pothole-like sculptures found at the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga, where the Blyde and Treur Rivers join.
There are more waterfalls in this area than anywhere else in South Africa. Mac Mac, Lone Creek, Lisbon, Bridal Veil, Horseshoe and Berlin Falls, to name a few, makes this one spectacular route. These waterfalls are adding further beauty to the river canyons, mountain ranges and bush this province is famous for.
Seven Mile Reef – Sodwana
This is possibly the most remarkable reef at Sodwana with the North Wall and Mushroom Rocks being the most incredible areas. Since it is less often dived, the fish life is magnificent. It is also a high reef, offering the divers a genuine sense of exploring.
Following South Africa’s southeast coast, the Garden Route runs for approximately 200 kilometres through many of South Africa’s most incredible coastal scenery. Stretching alongside the Indian Ocean from Mossel Bay (Western Cape) to the Storms River (Eastern Cape), this preferred driving route passes through green hills, attractive coastal towns, lakes, lagoons, and cliffs.
South Africa has so much to offer everyone; you truly will be spoilt for choice! Pack your bags, rent a car and ride into a beautiful South African sunset!
Adele Kruger is the owner of GoEatExplore.com where she writes about Immigration, Travel and Food.