It’s no secret that South Africa is one of the world’s best destinations for safari . If you come here and go on a safari you will think South Africa is the best country in the world. But wait, there’s much more to this.
South Africa is ethnic and cultural diversity has an exciting and unexpected impact on its cuisine and art. It has breathtaking scenery, from crashing waves to wildflower-carpeted deserts to wildlife-filled bushveld and tropical forests. The country has vibrant cities, charming wine towns, and significant cultural traditions. At several significant sites, the struggles of apartheid are confronted head-on.
Hiking, surfing, kayaking, fishing, whale watching, horseback riding, diving with sharks and crocodiles, and stargazing are all options. The only problem is figuring out how to start planning a trip to this incredibly blessed, multifaceted land.
Here are the top 10 things to do in South Africa to get started.
1. Visit South Africa’s parks to see the Big 5 and even more wildlife.
As the sun rises over the bushveld in the early morning, a herd of elephants thunders past, a leopard eats up in a tree, and a lion stalks its prey. These are the pleasures of going on safari in South Africa, where you have a good chance of seeing the Big 5 (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, and elephant) in the country’s national parks and wildlife reserves.
Kruger National Park is the premier game reserve, covering 19,485 square kilometres (7523 square miles) of bushveld, tropical forests, savannah, and mountains and home to more than 140 mammal species, including the Big 5. The Eastern Cape’s Addo Elephant National Park is the world’s first “Big 7” Conservation Area, home to the traditional Big 5, the great white shark, and the southern right whale.
South Africa has 19 national parks and numerous private game reserves, each offering an unforgettable wildlife experience with no two days being the same.
2. Smell the wildflowers of Namaqua
Most of the year, the remote region known as Little Namaqualand in South Africa’s Northern Cape is dried, a seemingly sunbaked wasteland. However, for a brief period in July, as rains begin to fall, the area explodes with billions of blooms. Endless carpets of flowers of all colours cover its varied topography, which ranges from desert plains to fertile valleys to towering mountains.
But the sheer variety of flowers truly distinguishes this spectacle; over 3500 species grow here, half of them being rare or endemic, meaning they exist nowhere else on Earth. The Arctotis, also known as the African daisy, is the most well-known. Carpobrotus, also known as pigface, creeps along the ground and glows with hot yellow and orange petals. Are you not able to plan a trip to Namaqua or any other places of south africa so you can book a South Africa trip or stay in a South Africa safari lodge. Live your best life today.
3. Climb Table Mountain.
Table Mountain, a 1085m (3560 ft) natural landmark of sandstone and granite,adored for its breathtaking views from the top: glittering Table Bay, historic Robben Island and all of Cape Town’s City Bowl sprawl at your feet.
Several trails wind up the sides of Table Mountain, revealing valleys of fynbos (the local floral kingdom), shady forests, and waterfalls. The most popular (and heavily trafficked) is the Platteklip Gorge Trail, a 2.8km (1.8 miles) uphill push that is nature’s equivalent of the StairMaster, offering breathtaking view after breathtaking view as you progress.
Avoid the crowds by taking the 1.5km (0.9 miles) Kloof Corner hike, which rewards spectacular views of Lion’s Head, the 12 Apostles, and the Cape Town City Bowl. The difficult 2.5km (1.5 miles) India Venster Trail climbs the mountain’s frontal face beneath the aerial cable car. Of course, you can take the cable car, which takes only five minutes to reach the top.
4. Go whale watching on land
With 37 different species of whales and dolphins frequenting South Africa’s shores, it’s no surprise that whale watching is a popular activity. You can board a boat from various locations along the country’s three coastlines to see these behemoths in their natural habitat.
But here’s a twist: in some places, you don’t even need to board a boat to see a whale; you can see them from the shore. View whales from the beach in Lambert’s Bay, Yzerfontein, and Plettenberg Bay, but Hermanus, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) east of Cape Town, is the most famous. Southern right whales stop by on their annual migration from Antarctica between June and November, and they splash, breach, and lobtail right off the coast (slap their flippers and tail against the water). When whales approach the shore, the town even has a whale crier who blows a kelp horn.
5. Taste pinotage in the Cape Winelands
When the Dutch East India Company arrived in South Africa 350 years ago, it established a provisioning station for ships, which required wine! The company collaborated with the French, and vineyards soon covered the valleys in the fertile region now known as the Cape Winelands. Winemaking has evolved, including the perfecting of pinotage, South Africa’s signature red wine that is a rustic cross between pinot noir and cinsault.
With its patchwork of vineyards and hundreds of wine estates, farm markets, little museums, gastronomic restaurants, and three main wine towns dating from the 17th century: Franschhoek, founded by French Huguenots; Stellenbosch, filled with Cape Dutch architecture; and Paarl, founded by 23 families from Stellenbosch. Delheim, on the slopes of Simonsberg Mountain outside Stellenbosch, and Lanzerac, established in 1692 near Stellenbosch with stunning views of mountains, vineyards, and oak-shaded gardens, are two excellent places to sample pinotage.
6. Sunbathe on the Golden Mile
Durban, with more than 320 sunny days per year, is a popular playground of golden-sand beaches lapped by the azure waters of the Indian Ocean. The Golden Mile (more like four miles) runs from uShaka Beach in the south to Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World in the north and offers beaches and beachy activities for everyone.
Surfers can learn to surf at South and Addington beaches, and fishermen can cast a line at Bay of Plenty Beach. Other stretches of sand, such as Umhlanga Rocks, just north of the Golden Mile, exude a vibrant vacation vibe. Blue Lagoon is an excellent choice for a picnic or simply relaxing with your travel companions. Much of the Golden Mile is lined with a promenade where Zulu artisans sell their wares, and runners, walkers, cyclists, and skateboarders soak up the rays.
7. Get lost on the Wild Coast
The Wild Coast, a 250 km-long stretch of coastline fronting the Indian Ocean in the Eastern Cape, is defined by sea breezes, crashing waterfalls, emerald valleys, and footprint-free, cliff-fringed beaches. This is the place to get away from it all and soak in the pristine nature’s solitude, where cows outnumber people. Be warned: the roads are riddled with potholes, and gas stations are few and far between, but that keeps the less daring away.
Hike, swim, ride horses, canoe, surf, or relax on your private beach. The three-hour hike to Hole in the Wall along the coast winds through undulating hills and local villages before arriving at the fabled rock arch with its swimming lagoon. The Xhosa River is a canoeing paradise with sparkling clear waters and bright Xhosa huts along its banks. SUPers, kayakers, and canoers flock to the mirror-smooth Jbay Lagoon. The Xhosa people have lived in this enchanted land for centuries, and you can see their turquoise rondavels dotting the lush green hills.
8. The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg
The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg is a sobering look at the injustices committed against non-Whites. Shutterstock / Gil.K 8. In Johannesburg, you can learn about South Africa’s apartheid history.
South Africa has begun to atone for its apartheid past through education at various locations. The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg is a sobering but enlightening place to begin. Exhibits use videos, documents, and photographs to take you through the history of apartheid.
Spoken testimonies, videos, and photographs detail the tragic story of a 13-year-old student who became the first victim of police fire in 1976 when students protested their Bantu (black) education system at the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum in Soweto. Nearby, Nelson Mandela lived in a modest four-room house that is now the Mandela House Museum, displaying family photos and personal belongings and providing insight into the beloved anti-apartheid leader who became South Africa’s first democratically elected president after serving 27 years in prison.
9. Experience Cape Town’s culinary heritage.
A parade of cultures has taken root in Cape Town’s long history of colonization and immigration, each contributing its traditions and customs. The city’s diverse, innovative cuisine is the most visible – and cherished – result. Many consider Cape Town to be South Africa’s foodie capital. Dishes influenced by the British, French, Indians, Dutch, Asians, Africans, and others are available.
The Cape Malay community, for example, is influenced by African, Asian, and Dutch cultures; they’re known for their spice-infused birdies (stews), curries, savoury snacks, and porridge (a warm pudding). Braai – derived from the Dutch word Braden, which means to roast – has spread throughout the country. But braai is more than just barbecuing meat: it’s a social gathering of friends and family. A traditional braai experience is available on many township tours. Local chefs recognize this rich cultural heritage. With their innovative twists on traditional fare, Chef Luke Dale-Roberts’ three award-winning Cape Town restaurants – Test Kitchen, Pot Luck Club, and Shortmarket Club – are prime examples.
10. Learn about Zulu culture.
The Zulus ruled much of present-day KwaZulu-Natal as one of Africa’s most brutal empires from 1816 to 1897. Despite their fierce fighting abilities, the British defeated them in the 1870s, and their kingdom was absorbed into the South African Union. The Zulu royal family is still active, reigning (but not ruling) in KwaZulu-Natal, and their culture is strong.
Shakaland, a reconstructed Zulu homestead, allows visitors to immerse themselves in Zulu culture. Some consider Shakaland to be a Zulu Disneyland. Still, its traditional activities, such as dancing, consulting with a witch doctor, sampling homemade beer, and watching spears and shields being made by hand, provide a fairly authentic opportunity to experience – and even partake in – the culture. Visitors can stay in luxury beehive huts overnight.
In the province’s northwest, you can also visit the Battlefields Region, where the Zulus fought 63 battles against a succession of invading forces. These clashes are commemorated by monuments and museums such as Blood River and Isandlwana.
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