The African bush and all its wildlife, gorgeous beaches, beautiful cities, forests and mountains, rugged coastlines, vineyards— you see, South Africa really has something for all kinds of travellers.
So, if you are planning to have your next holiday in amazing South Africa, then here are 5 suggestions to fire up your imagination!
1. Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve
Also called the Motlatse River Canyon, the beautiful Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is a favourite stop located between Kruger National Park and Johannesburg. This national park is home to Africa’s second biggest canyon and also comes with a rich diversity of plants and wildlife.
Glistening rivers, waterfalls, lush tropical foliage, and lichen-covered rock formations make a striking canvas of texture and colours. Game viewing here can be particularly rewarding with all the great species of South African primates as well as crocs and hippos. This you can experience when driving one of the many scenic routes or hiking some of the magical trails. Whiteriver rafting and boat trips can be booked or you can experience extravagant panoramic viewpoints like God’s Window and the Three Rondavels.
2. Kruger National Park
One of the most popular safari parks in the whole world, Kruger National Park, is among the oldest game reserves in all of South Africa. It is typically a 3.5 – 4.5-hour drive from Johannesburg and will offer you the chance to see SA’s Big Five— rhino, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and lion. Oh, and you will also get to see a great deal of diverse wildlife!
The park is also home to the bushman rock paintings as well as other archaeological sites. You can explore it on the large network of designated roads, soar over the vast grassland, river systems and gallery forest via hot air balloon, or organize walking safaris.
3. Cape Town
Known as the Mother City and one of Earth’s most breathtaking cities, Cape Town is the second largest settlement in all of South Africa. The city literally has it all!
Nature surrounds this multi-cultural city located between the sea and a range of rugged mountains. For a beautiful view of the city, go on a hike to the top of Table Mountain or just go up via the cableway. An hour-long hike up Lion’s Head will also provide you with panoramic city views. See the magnificent Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens that lie within a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Walking along the waterfront boardwalk, you can see some whales spouting while penguins waddle along the pristine beaches of False Bay. You can also experience a variety of adventures, such as the Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town Kayak Adventures, and The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.
At sunset, find a spot along Chapman’s Peak Drive for a dusk ritual called “sundowners” while you watch the sun sink slowly into the sea.
4. iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Translated in the Zulu language, iSimangaliso means “miracle and wonder”. And I have to say that it is a fitting name for this World Heritage Site. Being the home to Africa’s biggest estuarine system and formerly known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, the iSimangaliso Park lies on the Kwazulu Natal northeastern coast and connects 8 interwoven ecosystems including the savannas, towering coastal dunes, swamplands, lakes, croc-filled rivers, and coral reefs!
And since it is so large, it is not surprising to see such an incredible variety of wildlife! There are over 526 bird species thriving in this reserve as well as loggerhead and leatherback turtles, rhino, leopards and Africa’s highest population of crocs and hippos. iSimangaliso Wetland Park offers a unique chance to combine the classic South African safari experience with great coastal adventures such as kayaking, fishing, diving and snorkelling.
The greatest city, after Cape Town, Jo’burg has it all— couture shopping, arts, headline entertainment, intoxicating nightlife, fine dining, and the Gautrain. This rapidly changing city has a tough history with almost 20 years of decline however its economy has seen an influx of tourism lately.
In Braamfontein and Newtown, you will find theatres, museums, cafes, and restaurants that offer such great energy! The inner city is rapidly becoming a tourist hotspot. Visit the hipster neighbourhood on the eastern side called Mabneng and do not forget to make a stop at the Apartheid Museum if you wish to know more about the country’s history.