Traveling to South Africa, a place with so much to see and do can get a little overwhelming when it comes to travel planning. But one thing to remember is that it’s impossible to see and do it all in just a few weeks. To make it easier for you, we have curated a list of the ‘must-do’ places, sights and experiences around the country, all of which will leave you feeling satisfied to know you’ve seen the best South Africa has to offer.
1. Go on safari in KZN
You cannot visit Africa without going on a wildlife safari. This is what the continent is known for, and trust us, it is one of the most remarkable experiences on earth. The Kruger National Park in Gauteng is often the favorite for safaris, but it’s also for this reason that many would rather safari elsewhere. The Kruger Park can get very overcrowded, making it difficult to get close to the wildlife as there are tens of vehicles surrounding almost every sighting at any given time. We’d recommend visiting smaller, more intimate and exclusive safari reserves, like ThandSafari – there are many scattered throughout the country, however, some of the private game reserves in KZN are known to be the best in the country.
2. Go up Table Mountain in Cape Town using the cable car
Most tourists who visit South Africa make time to stay in Cape Town because it’s one of the greatest cities on earth, in fact, the city has won countless travel awards to support the claim. People flock to Cape Town for the beautiful beaches, wine farms, hiking trails, art galleries, you name it. But there’s one that stands out from all the rest (quite literally): majestic Table Mountain. Either you can marvel at the beauty from afar, but we’d highly recommend you take a trip to the summit of Table Mountain using the cable car. It’s a magnificent and breathtaking experience. Most take a trip during sunrise or sunset as this is the best time for photography; Cape Town shines under the early morning sun and is made golden beneath the sunset.
3. Visit Robben Island
Nelson Mandela is one of the greatest leaders ever to live and is not only honored in his home country of South Africa but around the world. Because many people associate South Africa with Nelson Mandela, people are always eager to take tours and visit landmarks which tell the story of his life and demonstrate his struggle against the Apartheid regime. One of the greatest tours you can do is to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his 27 years prison sentence. Here, you’ll take a guided walk around the prison and learn more about what he and other stalwarts had to endure for the freedom of South Africa. You’ll also visit Nelson Mandela’s prison cell, which is an eye-opening experience. Boats depart from the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, and the trip is around 40 minutes. It’s essential you keep abreast of the schedules as the tours do not run every day.
4. Visit the UNESCO Cradle of Humankind in Gauteng
The Cradle of Humankind in Gauteng South Africa is really worth visiting, it gives visitors a chance to learn more about the early humans, where we came from, as well as evolution. The site is known to hold 40% of the world’s human ancestor fossils, making it the world’s richest hominid site. It is about 90-minutes drive from the center of Johannesburg, but it is well worth the trip. It is a day that you can also enjoy with the family or friends as the venue hosts many activities; you can wine and dine in beautiful surroundings, see the culture and crafts as well as wildlife, birds, and plants.
5. Take a road trip down the Garden Route in Western Cape
Taking a road trip down the Garden Route in the Western Cape to Mossel Bay, Knysna, George, Plettenberg Bay, Port Elizabeth, etc., is one of the most beautiful scenic routes to take. You need not rush to a Garden Route destination but stop and stay over at some of the towns that you pass. Each has its own rewards as far as beauty, forests, rivers, lakes, and beaches. It is a pleasure driving the Garden Route as there are many viewpoints, picnic stops to stop at, take photographs and simply just enjoy the absolute beauty that surrounds the area. Stop at the Wilderness National Park, Harkerville Forest, Storms, and Kaaimans Rivers, each has something on offer that will keep you exploring this wonderful area.