7 best places to visit in SOUTH AFRICA
Curious about what are the best places to visit in South Africa? South Africa, one of the most beautiful countries on the African continent, has a lot to offer to its visitors.
South Africa is a land of incredible natural landscapes, beautiful beaches, rich wildlife and large, bustling cities.
The country has multiple UNESCO-designated World Heritage sites, delicious wine, amazing cuisine and diverse culture.
Whether you are an adventure traveller, history and culture enthusiast, or a beach bum, you’ll have a great holiday in South Africa, as there’s something for everyone.
Sounds enticing? So, do you want to come and explore South Africa?
But what to see in South Africa?
To help you prepare for your trip, we have created this list of some of the best places to visit in South Africa.
7 best places to visit in South Africa
Cape Town is the legislative capital of South Africa.
South Africa has 3 capital cities, and Cape Town is home to the country’s legislative parliament.
Founded in 1652 by a Dutch expedition, Cape Town is the oldest city in South Africa.
Cape Town also is the second largest city in the country, after Johannesburg.
The city is situated on a peninsula beneath the impressive Table Mountain, and because of its location and surroundings is considered one of the most beautiful cities by many people.
Cape Town is a unique city — different cultures coexist there. For instance, Bo-Kaap is one of the oldest and the most fascinating residential areas in Cape Town. Also it is home to… Malays which are sometimes also called Cape Muslims. How did they end up here? Dutch settlers sent thousands of labourers and slaves from their colonies of the Dutch East Indies, where most of the population spoke Malay.
If you are visiting Cape Town, do not miss Table Mountain! Take the aerial cableway to the top or hike to the mountain!
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden with its Tree Canopy Walkway is another great place to visit during your holiday in Cape Town.
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is one of the world’s most famous safari parks and one of the oldest game reserves in South Africa. It’s also one of the best places to visit in South Africa.
With an area of 19,485 km2 (7,523 sq mi), it is also one of the largest game reserves in Africa.
Seeing endangered animals roaming free in Kruger National Park is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You can do one day safaris or several day safaris.
All the big five game animals are found at Kruger National Park: the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo.
In the park you can spot also other wildlife, including the endangered African wild dog.
Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve
Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is one of the top places to visit in South Africa.
This nature reserve protects the Blyde River Canyon, including sections of the Ohrigstad and Blyde Rivers and the geological formations in the area, including the Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Three Rondawels, and the famous God’s Window which is a popular vantage point.
Several peaks with an elevation from 560 m to 1944 m above sea level are included in the nature reserve too.
Not only the reserve is known for its magnificent rock formations, it also has a rich fauna, including numerous bird, primate and antelope species, as well as hippos and crocodiles.
Several recreational activities are available in the reserve, including boat trips and panorama tours.
Simon’s Town with Boulder’s Beach penguin colony
Simon’s Town is one of the best places to see penguins up close in South Africa. The town boasts one of the most remarkable mainland colonies in the world.
Head to the Boulders Beach where a colony of over 2500 birds live.
South Africa Wine Region – Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek
Good news for wine lovers! There’s great wine in South Africa!
A wine tour is a great thing to do in South Africa if you’re a fan of wine.
Head to South Africa Wine Region to taste the amazing South African wine! The most popular places in the region are Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek.
Stellenbosch and Parrl are busy cities, but the surrounding wineries should be on your must-visit list!
Franschhoek is much quieter. It’s a quaint beautiful town with relaxed vibe, white buildings and beautiful views of the surrounding hills.
Discover the distinguished wine estates and the breath-taking scenery of Franschhoek by an open-side hop-on-hop-off tram.
Hermanus is the whale watching capital of the country, and is considered by many one of the best spots for whale watching in the world.
Whale season in Hermanus is between June and December. Three different species of whales come to Hermanus to give birth to their young.
How you can see whales in Hermanus? You go on a boat trip or watch the whales from the cliffs. There’s a cliff-side walk with built-in telescopes and benches which offers visitors plenty of opportunities to view the whales.
Besides the three species of whales found in Walker Bay, there are numerous other marine animals found in Hermanus: great white sharks, the cape fur seal, penguins and dolphins.
Driving the Garden Route is one of the most popular things to do in South Africa.
The Garden Route is more than 300 km long scenic road that runs along the coast. The starting point is Witsand, and the destination — Storms River in the Eastern Cape.
The route boasts stunning coast, towering cliffs and lush mountains.
Many travellers start the drive from Cape Town. Then it takes around 4 days to do the drive. We suggest stopping at various places along the way to enjoy the scenery to the max.
South Africa travel tips
- Citizens of many European nations don’t need a visa to travel to South Africa. Check out Visa Policy Map before booking a trip to South Africa! Travellers from non-visa exempt nations need to apply for a visa from a South African Embassy or Consulate in their home country (or the nearest Embassy if there is no Embassy at the home country).
- Unfortunately, some places may be very dangerous in South Africa. Find out what are the dangerous neighbourhoods. Stay at a safe location.
- Protect yourself against theft. Do not wear flashy jewellery and expensive clothes. Don’t flash cash when buying things from street vendors. Consider taking a smaller, less fancy camera.
- Rent a safe car, not a convertible or a super-flashy car. When driving keep your doors locked. Don’t keep valuables on the backseat or on the passenger seat.
- If you’re going to party or visit a bar in Cape Town or Johannesburg, always take an Uber and don’t walk around at night even if your hotel is just a couple of blocks away.
- Taxis and Uber are widely available and are cheap. Use metered taxis to avoid being scammed.
- It’s perfectly safe to drink right from the tap. So you don’t have to buy bottled water at all.
- South Africa has 4 seasons, only they are flipped from the seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. Summer is December to March, autumn — April to May, winter — June to August, and spring is September to November.
- Get yourself a Cape Town City Pass for access to the Aerial Cableway and over 90 other attractions. There are 2, 3 or 5 day passes available.