Hidden beauty in South Africa: Explore and relax

south africa vacations
Image: groupon.com

The Republic of South Africa has this incredible ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of every visitors with just a glass of wine, diversity of wildlife and a simple sunrise.

And while South Africa’s top tourist spots continue to pop out in every tourist’s bucket list, the country itself is extremely wide and hides a lot of beautiful sceneries and places you might never know existed.

So, when thinking about a vacation in South Africa, forget about populated places such as Cape Town and Johannesburg and look for these mystics and concealed, quiet places where you can relax and explore to your heart’s content!

1. Gamkaskloof / Die Hell

Die Hell or “The Hell” might be a bit scary to visit but it is one of the best places in South Africa where you can unwind and relax. This hidden valley is located about 100 kilometres from Oudtshoorn and boasts over 100 bird species as well as camp and picnic sites, historic houses and so much more!

2. Stellenbosch

A historical and elegant town in the Western Cape filled with Victorian, Georgian and Cape Dutch architecture along its oak-lined streets, the small town of Stellenbosch boasts interesting museums, selection of restaurants, clubs, and bars and quality hotels.

Stellenbosch
Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dlbezaire/5279563946

It is the kind of place where you can spend an afternoon just meandering through rustic streets looking at all the crafts, art and fashion shops. If shopping is not your style then there are theatres, museums, and galleries as well as horse riding tracks as well as hiking and cycling routes for active tourists.

But, if there is one thing that the quiet town of Stellenbosch is renowned for, is its wines. There are several estates scattered around the town, many of which produce world-class wines and offers cheese and wine tasting in the winelands as well as tours in their wineries.

3. Augrabies Falls National Park

One of the most beautiful and impressive natural areas in the Northern Cape, the Augrabies is getting less attention than it deserves. When the Orange River is in its full flood, the Augrabies deafening falls are at their greatest, most impressive state.

Coined from a Khoi term, Augrabies means “great noise” and the strong waters noisily tumble down on starkly eroded granite formations! Plus you can also walk along different trails to the beautiful scenic spots such as Echo Corner and Moon Rock where you can keep an eye out for black eagles, mountain zebra, klipspringer buck, and rock hyrax or dassies.

4. Langebaan Lagoon

Approximately an hour and a half drive north of Cape Town, you will find the Langebaan’s lagoon, a hidden treasure for its warm waters, sheltered and gorgeous white sand beaches, swim-friendly shallow, crystal clear waters, and beautiful rock formations.

Langebaan Lagoon
Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hjuengst/37621072705

It can be busy from August to September, however, the little beaches along the lagoon still remain calm and quiet. It is a great place for kayaking and other water sports activities in its calm lagoon water.

5. Hole in the Wall

Legends and myths of a lovestruck maiden who were denied her honey fill this impressive landmark just south of Coffee Bay— the Hole in the Wall. This rocky archway is situated only a short distance from the coastline. According to geologists, the hole was created about millions of years ago due to the persistent crashing of waves against shale and sandstone.

The local legend spins a more interesting tale, but, regardless of how this hole came to existence, it is still such an amazing sight to behold. A top choice for backpackers and nature lovers, this hidden spot is popular for its friendly vibes and great socializing during sunset.

6. Sani Pass

Only recommended for the tourists who do not fear heights, the Sani Pass is an impressive gateway to the Roof of Africa. Located within the great Drakensberg cliff and wanders through the Lesotho mountain kingdom, this hidden spot peaks at an eye-watering 2,800 meters of 9,186 feet above sea level and is a great location for high-alpine birding in the country.

Sani Pass
Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaizha/8524251238

Moreover, driving conditions are quite challenging and is not recommended for the weak-hearted as you ascend the mountain. The heart-pounding trip will surely provide extreme travellers with plenty of gripping tales to take home.

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