Located at the southern tip of Africa, South Africa offers varied landscape and endless opportunities to have fun! Home to 21 national parks and seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the country is a treasure trove for anyone who is fascinated by nature, wildlife, and history.
This diverse country is great to visit all year round, but if you’re after beautiful beach days then the best time to visit South Africa is between July and November. The northern regions can be wet from November to February, but this is a good time to travel for if you are a bird-watching fanatic. And, here's a little insider tip, the winter months from May to September are also a great time to explore. While the weather may not be very beach-friendly, it is perfect for going on a wildlife safari plus you won't have to deal with all of the crowds.
Without further ado, here’s a travel guide to the 10 best things to do in South Africa:
10. Go on a Safari in Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park spans over 20,000 square kilometers and is divided into 14 different Eco-zones. It is one of the main tourist destinations in South Africa and also the country’s flagship national park.
There are a lot of safaris in Kruger National Park, ranging from classic ones to photography-oriented and even safaris where you can stay in treehouses.
9. Drive The Garden Route
Stretching from Mossel Bay to St Francis along the Indian Ocean, the Garden Route is one of the most beautiful destinations in South Africa. The main highlights of this drive include: hiking in the national park, visiting the Transport Museum in George, enjoying a safari in Addo Elephant Park, and bungee jumping off Bloukrans bridge. If you aren’t up for the long drive, you can still explore this lush coastal region by train.
Cape Town and Durban are the two best cities to start your trip from but because neither city gets many international flights, you’d likely need to fly into Johannesburg and make your way from there.
8. Learn About Human History at The Cradle of Humankind
Located close to Johannesburg, the Cradle of Humankind is one of the most interesting UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Africa. There are 13 well exposed human fossils and as many as 200 caves.
Take the tour of the Sterkfontein Cave and, during a 2 km (1.2 mile) walk, see early hominids and advanced ape fossils.
7. Try Bobotie
The national dish of South Africa, bobotie features almonds, ground beef, sultanas and egg custard. It is typically served with pilaf rice.
The recipe has been ‘transported’ all over Africa and variations of it can be found in Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
6. Enjoy Wine Tasting at The Cape Winelands
Only an hour’s drive from Cape Town, the Cape Winelands are world famous for their wines. Why not embark on a wine tasting tour in South Africa while you are here?
The wines produced here come from the best wine estates in South Africa. Nearly every vineyard offers wine tasting.
5. Visit The Boulders Beach Penguin Colony
Located just outside Cape Town is Boulders Beach, home to a colony of African penguins, which settled here back in 1982. Although right in a middle of a residential area, this is one of the few places where you can see these endangered penguins in their natural habit and where they can be observed at close range.
The Boulders Beach is the most popular place where you can see them, but for best views head to Foxy Beach, where the newly constructed boardwalks allow you to see them from a very short distance.
4. Hike To The Top of Table Mountain
One of the most iconic landmarks in the country, Table Mountain is one of the most popular places to visit in South Africa. Visitors can either take the cableway to the plateau or hike on one of the many available trails.
The shortest route can take between 1 and 3 hours, depending on the hiker’s fitness level. It can be brutal during summer as it is located on the north facing slope of the mountain. There are longer trails which go via the Back Table.
3. Take A Train Ride Between Cape Town and Pretoria
The Blue Train is one of the best luxury trains in the world and connects Cape Town to Pretoria. Although the main route is Pretoria – Cape Town – Pretoria, there are other options available.
Do your research in advance as the train doesn’t run every day. Prices start at US$1720/ 23250 ZAR per person (for the Cape Town – Pretoria route). Breakfast and dinner are included.
2. Learn To Surf in Jeffreys Bay
Jeffreys Bay is the best surfing destination in South Africa and the perfect choice for a South Africa surf camp. While the best weather is between November and March, some surf camps are open year round. Prices start as low as US$88 for a weekend surf camp (3 nights).
1. Go Whale Watching
The best time to go on a whale watching safari in South Africa is between June and November.
If you don’t feel like taking a safari, then you can just drive to Hermanus from Cape Town, sit on a bench overlooking the beach and try to spot the whales! The 12 km cliff path is an amazing choice for those who want to keep the whale watching on…solid ground.
Are you planning to visit South Africa sometime soon? Then why not choose one of the many safaris in South Africa available on BookAllSafaris.com? We bet you won’t regret it!
*Hero image credit: Hillary Fox