The 24 most beautiful places to visit in South Africa

South Africa is a country with a history tormented by Apartheid ; From this sometimes violent colonial past, this nation considered the most developed on the African continent still retains some painful scars.

But we cannot reduce this fantastic land to its historical failings: today, the country is one of the most touristic in the world, attracts tens of thousands of students, and a large number of visitors come to admire this splendid territory. .

But then, what to do in South Africa? We have concocted a list of our favorites in the country of the Springboks: come on, let’s go!

1. Cape of Good Hope, Western Cape

Cape of good hope

Photo credit: Unsplash – Victor Smits

It is not, contrary to a stubborn legend, the southernmost point of Africa, but this mythical place remains a landmark of choice for sailors and backpackers from all over the world, and above all a nature reserve shared by baboons, ostriches and turtles. : a must when looking for what to do in South Africa!

2. Parc national Kruger, Mpumalanga

Kruger

Photo credit: Unsplash – Tobin Rogers

The Kruger National Park is one of the largest in Africa, and is happy to organize a photo safari in order to hope to see the “Big Five”: lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros. It is an activity of choice and quite recommendable when you come to visit South Africa.

3. Hermanus, Western Cape

Hermanus

Photo credit: Unsplash – Grant Durr

Hermanus is a spot where tourists from all over the world come to see multiple species of whales. In this small seaside village, many companies will make you discover these majestic but also fragile animals, by speedboat.

The place is also popular for its beaches and sublime coves.

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4. Blyde River Canyon, Mpumalanga

Blyde River Canyon

Photo credit: Unsplash – Wynand Uys

Nothing less than… the third largest canyon in the world! It can be explored by following the hiking trails but the best is to call on a local guide, who will allow the lucky ones who have come to visit South Africa the unique view of the Three Rondavels or Pilgrim’s Rest, an old mining town .

5. Madikwe, North-West

Madikwe

Photo credit: Unsplash – Andrew Rice

Madikwé is a private reserve closer to Johannesburg than Kruger Park, and it is possible to sleep there in luxurious residences where monkeys and other bush animals come to say hello to the tenants for an evening!

6. Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal

Drakens berg

Photo credit: Unsplash – Rosan Harmens

These mountains are considered to be the African Alps: these green meadows dotted with gigantic white mountains are reminiscent of Savoy, in the middle of southern Africa!

The place lends itself to hiking, ideal when you come to visit South Africa!

7. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Western Cape

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Photo credit: Flickr – serena_tang

Kirstenbosch is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world: many local horticultural species line its flowery paths where it is advisable, to appreciate the serenity of the moment, to rest in the shade of a perfectly maintained grove.

A bucolic walk, not to be missed when looking for what to do in South Africa!

8. Wild Coast, Eastern Cape

Wild coast

Photo credit: Flickr – steve mcnicholas

The “Wild Coast” extends from Durban to the city of Port Elizabeth , and its length is 300 kilometers; it runs along the Indian Ocean, and it is inconceivable to visit South Africa without skirting the cliffs planted in its raging waters.

Splendid hills, on the land side, are dotted with traditional huts sheltering the Xhosa – the original people of the place.

9. Garden Road, Cape West/Cape East

garden road south africa

Photo credit: Flickr – Christopher Griner

The “Garden Route” is in fact the continuity of the Wild Coast, since it begins in Port Elizabeth and ends in Cape Town .

More than 200 kilometers long, it also runs along the splendid southern coast of South Africa and is a major tourist attraction in the country if you have rented a vehicle on your arrival: be careful, you drive on the right in southern Africa !

10. Table Mountain, Western Cape

Table mountains

Photo credit: Unsplash – Kevin Healy

Table Mountain is one of the symbols of the country: from the top of its 1085 meters, and its… 360 million years, it is considered to be one of the oldest mountains in the world.

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Leaving from Cape Town, you can reach it by cable car, but the bravest people who have come to visit South Africa can climb the summit by mountain bike or on foot!

11. Pilanesberg National Park, North-West

Pilanesberg National Park

Photo credit: Unsplash – delfi de la Rua

Some consider it the most beautiful park in Africa; it is true that the place offers grandiose expanses and a rather unique proximity to the animals that inhabit it.

There is Lake Mankwe , sunk in a circle of mountains: a striking sight when you are looking for what to do in South Africa.

12. Knysna, Western Cape

Knysna

Knysna – sadly famous with the French since the 2010 Football World Cup – is in fact a small territory made up of a marshy lagoon where migratory birds come to rest, and terrifying cliffs which constitute a unique point of view on the Indian Ocean !

13. Vineyard Region, Western Cape

Stellenbosch

Eh yes ! We do not have a monopoly on the vintage: in South Africa, famous vineyards extend over thousands of hectares in these amazing valleys located in the Western Cape.

You can taste the local products there, visit Stellenbosch or Franschhoek , towns renowned for the wine sector, or simply enjoy a peaceful walk in the heart of the vineyards.

14. Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal

Hluhluwe-Umfolozi

Photo credit: Unsplash – Luca Zanon

What to do in South Africa when you want to observe rhinos, white or black? Head to this superb national park, in the heart of the Zulu kingdom, and considered by many to be one of the most beautiful animal parks in southern Africa.

15. Montagu, Western Cape

Montagu

Montagu is a special place: its white houses, located very close to a famous tourist route, are just as worth the detour as the natural hot springs of the villages, accessible from a hotel, but which it is preferable to appreciate during of winter.

In summer, it would be too hot for people coming to visit South Africa!

16. Simangaliso Wetland Park, KwaZulu-Natal

Simangaliso Wetland Park

Photo credit: Flickr – Darren Glanville

This park of more than 275,000 hectares is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site: it stretches along the entire coast, above the city of Durban, and there are crocodiles and hippopotamuses paddling in an ideally preserved nature.

17. Gansbaai, Western Cape

Goose Bay

Photo credit: Flickr – Adam Brasher

It is in Gansbaai , a small village two hours by car from Cape Town, that you can treat yourself to the great thrill: here, you can indeed dive, in a cage, right in the middle of white sharks!

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The boldest now know what to do in South Africa.

18. Maputaland, KwaZulu-Natal

Kosi Bay

Photo credit: Flickr – Andrew Ashton

Maputaland is a beautiful tropical region spanning almost a million square kilometres; when you are looking for what to do in South Africa and want to discover the country while taking your time, you come here to hike around the lakes of Kosi Bay, or dive off Sodwana Bay .

19. Hole in the wall, Cap-Est

Hole-in-the-Wall

Photo credit: Flickr – jbdodane

Here, it’s a bit like the Etretat of South Africa: a unique geological curiosity, made up of a hole in a wall – the name will definitely not deceive anyone – of shale. This legendary wall is located very close to Coffee Bay , and represents a symbol of the country.

You can rest there on the many places provided for picnics, ideal for enjoying a meal in complete peace of mind!

20. Golden Gate Highland National Park, Free State

Golden Gate Highland National Park

Photo credit: Unsplash – Claire Brear

This national park is located in the heart of the Free State, a region close to Lesotho near the Maluti. If we tell you about it, it is because its landscapes, both desert and mountainous, have the particularity of greening up during the spring season; no doubt, the best time to admire the place!

21. Oudtshoorn, Western Cape

Oudtshoorn

Photo credit: Flickr – Anne-Mette Jensen

This unpronounceable name is a mecca for breeding… ostriches: here, we discover many farms scattered in the hills, which we reach by taking superb roads overlooking the valleys.

If this animal fascinates you, and you want to learn more about it, go for it!

22. Wilderness, Western Cape

Wilderness

Photo credit: Flickr – South African Tourism

This small seaside resort, known for its magnificent beaches, is relatively preserved from mass tourism: here, you can swim, but you can also go on great hikes.

Visiting South Africa in Wilderness is choosing a rather intimate stay.

23. Coffee Bay, Eastern Cape

Coffee Bay

Photo credit: Flickr – Pieter Edelman

Coffee Bay is a famous surf spot in the middle of the Wild Coast; very wild, this small village seems lost in the middle of a wild nature, and has few shops and boutiques.

You will therefore have to do your shopping beforehand if you want to prepare a picnic!

24. De Hoop Nature Reserve, Western Cape

De Hoop Nature Reserve

Photo credit: Flickr – Atelier Design Studio

This micro-reserve has nothing less than seven different ecosystems! Since you want to know what to do in South Africa, superb bike rides are possible on the trails that run through it, and you can come across antelopes and zebras without scaring them with car engines.

A peaceful break in the heart of the Overberg!

25. Cederberg, Western Cape

Cedar Mountain

Photo credit: Unsplash – Philippe Verheyden

Cedeberg is a mountain range whose highest peak rises to more than 2000 meters. A pretty mountain road crosses it from side to side, and we recommend that you visit it in the spring in order to take advantage of the flower season; moreover, the route is not often used!

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Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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