The southernmost nation in the African continent is bounded by the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans and is home to some classic African scenery like the savannahs and deep gorges. With some of the most luxurious game reserves present here, it is a paradise for all wildlife lovers who want to see the Big Five- lion, buffalo, leopard, rhino and elephant. With coral reefs and capes, long mountain ranges and golden beaches and a rich history, this is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world.
The famous Kruger National Park near Johannesburg is the place to visit for sightings of the big five and also some bushman rock paintings and other archeological sites. Walking through the jungle or flying above it to take a birds’ eye view is an experience in itself. The Kalahari Trans-frontier Park is where you get to see the black-maned Kalahari lion, cheetah and hyenas. The beautiful camel thorn trees, the red sands and the deep blue skies make for perfect photos. A hike to the flat-topped Table Mountain gives some panoramic views of Cape Town and is a perfect backdrop to the view of the city when seen from the ocean.
Cape Town is a beautiful city with a harbor from where you can see whales spouting, or relax on the golden sand beaches in False Bay. The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is the place to be for shopping, dining and entertainment shows. The Cape Peninsula is known for its scenic beauty and seeing the waves lash against the rocks here is a treat, especially from the air. The Garden Route is the best place for all nature lovers and this 200km long route passes through lagoons, coastal towns and cliffs, and is a photographer’s paradise. Johannesburg is the largest city in the nation and is aptly called the “City of Gold” for its deposits of the metal and economic prowess. The Apartheid Museum is the place to head to for getting an in-depth account of the apartheid to the birth of democracy. The Constitution Hill is a prison and a fort turned into a museum and also features the Constitutional Court of South Africa. At a short distance from Johannesburg is Soweto, the home to the Mandela House, which is a National Heritage Site and depicts the life of Nelson Mandela.
Fancy walking on long stretches of water promenade? The Golden Mile is where you should head to in Durban, for this tourist magnet is the best point to start the tours in this city. Long beaches with surfers on the crests of waves and others relaxing on the blonde sands are picture perfect sights. The Mini Town gives you a larger than life perspective of Durban with tiny buildings and areas built to give you a bird’s eye view of the city right from the ground. The capital, Pretoria is a city of parks and gardens and is home to the Voortrekker Monument and Heritage Site as well as the well-known Freedom Park, where you can spend your time in marveling at the memorial of freedom and pay your respects to those who sacrificed their lives for the country. A trip to South Africa can’t be complete without a visit to the Robben Island, the very place where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in a tiny cell. Most guides here are ex-prisoners and getting chilling first-hand accounts from them as well as seeing this symbol of oppression is a peek into South Africa’s colonial past.
Imagine seeing a Great White Shark up-close, this adrenaline rush experience can be indulged in by heading to Simon’s Town or Dyer Island among others, where you can dive into the deep blue in a cage and see sharks all around. Bird lovers should head to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which is the largest estuarine system in Africa and here you can witness massive crocodiles in the lakes and have some fine time in kayaking or diving to see the coral reefs. With more than 526 species of birds and leatherback and loggerhead turtles, this place also holds the largest concentration of hippos and crocodiles in Africa, and is sure to make any nature and bird lover drool over it. The beautiful Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is home to Africa’s second largest canyon and the stunning views of the water making its way through the canyon from the hilltops and taking boat trips or going for whitewater rafting for some thrilling experience are the highlights of this place. The popular Dragon Mountains of South Africa in KwaZulu-Natal are home to the highest peaks of the country and jaw-dropping views await tourists visiting this region. Dense forests all around here are filled with gushing waterfalls, lush green foliage and crystal clear streams during the summers and are snowcapped during the winters. Seeing this terrain through a hot air balloon ride or parasailing is the best way to appreciate its beauty.
For some wild adventures, Wild Coast is the perfect spot. With deserted beaches, dolphins, cozy hotels and rugged and untamed ocean clashing against the rocks, you can relax far away from the hustle-bustle of the city and see the sheer splendor of nature. The fertile valleys of the Cape Winelands with their mountains, villages, fruit orchards and of course, the famous vineyards is where you should head to for tasting some of the finest wines and seeing their origins. For the archeology enthusiasts, the Cango Caves in the Swartberg Mountains, which date back by nearly 20 million years, are the places to explore. The solid limestone rocks and stalagmite formations are eye-catching ones and these subterranean tours will surely take you back to the prehistoric age. The Big Hole is the world’s largest hand dug excavation site and you can see the very first South African diamond here along with the enormous water-filled crater here that was once a mine. With attractions for almost every interest group of tourists, South Africa truly ‘inspires new ways’ and the wide array of natural and manmade wonders here are sure to leave every tourist dazzled.