Located on the southern tip of the African continent is a country famed for, among other things, its wildlife and wine. South Africa offers one of the most diverse holidays in Africa. You can tick off the Big Five, hike Table Mountain, taste world-class wine, and enjoy the landscape of the Garden Route all in one trip. With so much on offer, we could write a list of 100 reasons to visit South Africa, but to whet your appetite, here are 10. Banner image: Lekkerwater Beach Lodge, South Africa
1. Tick off the big five
A safari in South Africa offers some of the best game viewing on the African continent. It is home to the Big Five – the lion, the leopard, the rhino, the African elephant and the Cape Buffalo. There are a handful of national parks you can visit for a South African safari – with the Kruger National Park, Sabi Sands, Madikwe National Reserve, and Timbavati Private Reserve to name a few.
2. Malaria-free safari destinations
The benefit of a South Africa safari, over other safari destinations on the continent, is that some national parks and reserves are malaria-free. This is a huge advantage, and the deciding factor of where to go on safari for some people, especially families with young children. The Eastern Cape Reserves are private, accessible and malaria-free, which are also easily combined with a stay in Cape Town.
3. Sample some of the best wines
South Africa is renowned for having some of the best wines in the world. The Cape Winelands is an area about one hour from Cape Town, and comprises areas like Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl. A visit to the winelands includes a guided tour around the vineyards, learning about the history and production of South Africa wine, and of course, a generous amount of wine to sample. A visit to this region is highly recommended.
4. Enjoy some incredible hikes
For active travelers, South Africa is a fantastic destination to head to. Of course, there are iconic hikes to be done, such as Table Mountain and Lion’s Head in Cape Town. These can be done during your stay in Cape Town, and the views at the top are simply breathtaking. South Africa is also home to the Drakensberg Mountains which are the highest in South Africa. This area has a strong history behind it, with 2,000-year-old San Bushmen rock art to be seen, as well as the beautiful views and landscapes you’ll pass through.
5. Whale watching in South Africa
For many, wildlife in South Africa is immediately associated with a safari. Of course, the game viewing on safari is exceptional, but South Africa also has an abundance of marine wildlife and species. Whale watching is particularly good in Hermanus – the whale capital of the world. Approximately an hour up the coast of Cape Town, Hermanus is home to the Southern Right whales which are incredible to see from the boat.
6. Learn about South Africa’s history
Like other African countries, South Africa has a wealth of culture and history. During your stay in Cape Town, we’d highly recommend visiting Robben Island which is a historic site and the former location of a remote prison. This was where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years and today, is a well-visited landmark for the history he created. Robben Island is a very popular tourist site so it’s worth booking this well in advance if you know you want to visit.
7. Enjoy adrenaline-fueled activities
Among exciting activities like game drives, bush walks, and hiking, South Africa is home to an abundance of adrenaline-fueled activities. These include bungee jumping, shark cage diving, and sky-diving to name a few. These can be seasonal and depend on the weather conditions so if shark cage diving for example, is something you definitely want to do, try to plan a longer period of time in Cape Town to leave you more opportunities.
8. Road trip the garden route
One of the great things about a trip to South Africa is that it’s possible to hire your own car, and enjoy the beautiful scenes of the famous Garden Route. This route, which takes you from Cape Town through to the other side of the Eastern Cape, is regarded as one of the best road trips in the world. Hiring a car and driving in South Africa is very easy to do, and something that is complimented nicely with a safari or stay in Cape Town.
9. Enjoy a night under the stars
While the safari camps and lodges in South Africa are truly beautiful, have you ever considered sleeping under the stars in a sleepout? Many lodges will set up luxury beds on raised platforms for guests to sleep under, with nothing but the sounds of the bush and the sights of the glistening sky to fall asleep to. This is certainly a memorable experience, and one that would be fantastic for a special occasion or a honeymoon.
10. Enjoy unique wildlife experiences
A safari is of course one of the most popular things to do in South Africa, but the country is also home to a wealth of unique wildlife experiences. For example, visiting boulders beach allows you to see penguins on the beach – a very rare sight, especially in Africa! Near the town of Oudtshoorn you can also visit a family of habituated meerkats. As part of the ‘shy 5’, these meerkats are certainly friendlier than others in the wild.
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