Top Attractions to Visit in South Africa

Discover South Africa’s Top Attractions

South Africa offers a multitude of diverse landscapes, attractions, and activities. Here, you’ll find two oceans, towering mountain ranges, vast savannahs, and lush forest to explore.

Wherever you go you’ll meet with a warm welcome, whether it’s in the major modern cities or tiny hamlets that still sport only gravel roads.

These are the best places to visit in South Africa to enjoy the country’s astonishing natural wealth, warm hospitality, and interesting pastimes.

Kruger National Park

Africa’s seventh-largest game conservation area sprawls across the north-eastern reaches of the country offering 2 million hectares of staggering diversity.

It’s a place of unrivalled nature sightings, the home of the Big Five, and a must-see item on any itinerary when visiting South Africa. There are 145 mammal species, 500 different birds, and hundreds of reptiles and insects resident in the park.

You’re free to go in search of sightings at your leisure or you can join in one of the daily guided game walks and drives.

There are 13 self-catering rest camps within the boundaries of the Kruger Park, as well as a host of luxury lodges scattered in prime spots both inside and outside of its confines.

Although it’s the best-known, Kruger National Park is one of many national parks in South Africa, each boasting its own charms and attractions.

Cape Town

Cape Town is the first stop on many a trip to South Africa and the country’s most-visited city by far. This bastion of art, culture, and fine dining offers a staggering array of attractions and activities that appeal to every traveler.

The city boasts excellent opportunities for shopping, stunning white sand beaches, and multiple sporting facilities and event spaces.

Some of Cape Town’s most famous attractions include:

  • Table Mountain
  • The Castle
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • Iziko South African Museums
  • Cape Point
  • Chapman’s Peak Drive

The V&A Waterfront is the most-visited site in the city, attracting millions of tourists and local travelers every year.

V&A Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront is an enigma, showcasing some of the best that Cape Town has to offer. You’ll find big brand name boutiques here, excellent restaurants, plush hotels, fresh food markets, craft stores, and supermarkets.

The V&A’s also home to several amazing museums, like the Rugby Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Diamond Museum. You’ll also find one of Africa’s best art galleries, the Zeitz MOCAA in the Silo District of the V&A.

Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the Two Oceans Aquarium while you’re there, where you can see over 300 different undersea denizens.

Apart from all these things to do at the V&A itself, a host of tours also depart from here. These include city explorations on excellent tour buses, boat rides, and outings to discover Robben Island.

Robben Island

Robben Island’s a small and forbidding place off the coast of Bloubergstrand. It once housed numerous prominent political figures, including Nelson Mandela who spent 18 years incarcerated there.

Today Robben Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site and welcomes curious tourists who want to see this piece of history for themselves. You get there by ferry from the Nelson Mandela gateway and the tour takes about 3.5 hours from start to finish.

Throughout your trip, you’ll have the services of a knowledgeable guide who’ll show you around the cells, quarries, and graveyards still evident on the island. The piece de resistance is a chance to visit Nelson Mandela’s prison cell and learn more about his time in isolation.

Cape Winelands

The Western Cape boasts the most extensive wine route in the world, comprising 18 official journeys of discovery through these verdant landscapes.

You’ll find some of the world’s finest wines in these parts and a multitude of ways to enjoy them. You can pair wine with cheese, chocolate, nougat, or exquisite artisan picnic eats, haute cuisine or farm-to-table fare.

Apart from eating and drinking to your heart’s content, the Cape Winelands also offer diversions such as horse rides, walks, and mountain biking trails spanning the surrounding hills and dales.

Garden Route

The Garden Route stretches along the forest belt of the Western Cape from Mossel Bay to Plettenberg Bay. This is the playground of whales, dolphins, and energetic travelers.

Here, you can leap from the world’s highest commercial natural bungee jump at Bloukrans Bridge, hike the expanses of the Tsitsikamma, surf the world’s best right-hand surf break at Jeffrey’s Bay or relax on golden beaches.

The Garden Route boasts a temperate climate, a warm ocean, and welcoming locals living in quaint seaside towns.

Drakensberg

Another one for adventure seekers, the massive peaks of the Drakensberg offer fantastic opportunities for exploring, climbing, and hiking.

You’ll find plenty of high end as well as low key places in this part of the world, surrounded by glorious waterfalls to admire and caves filled with San paintings to explore.

The Drakensberg forms part of the uKhahlamba World Heritage area, which is singled out due to its staggering ecological and historical significance.

The Drakensberg splits South Africa into the dry highveld and more tropical lowveld and is one of the few areas in South Africa that boasts snowy peaks in winter.

Blyde River Canyon (Molatse Canyon)

The Blyde River Canyon’s located in the highveld region, overlooking the lower levels of the country and boasts magnificent crags and peaks towering over the Blyde River.

The canyon is the largest green canyon and the third largest canyon overall worldwide. It’s covered in lush greenery and boasts staggering views along its course.

The canyon starts at the Bourke’s Luck Potholes and stretches all the way to the Three Rondavels, both significant scenic areas. Other lookout stops along the way include Pinnacle Rock, as well as Devil’s Window and God’s Window.

Durban Beaches

Durban’s a warm, friendly city on South Africa’s east coast, famous for its miles of golden beaches and warm weather.

The city boasts numerous attractions and hosts significant sporting events like the Comrades Marathon, Vodacom July Horse Race, and world-class surfing events in its northern reaches.

Durban’s beaches might owe their fame to the waves, but they also offer a funfair, flea markets, local craft stalls, ricksha rides, a casino, waterpark, and oceanarium on the water’s edge.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is one of Africa’s most unique national parks, spanning the South African and Botswana borders to create one conservation area along the border with Namibia.

Located in the north-western areas of the country, the park boasts entirely different landscapes compared to the Kruger National Park and a host of different species.

You’ll come across black-maned lions, graceful oryx, energetic springbuck and unique flora during your travels among the semi-arid grasslands of this park.

Discover More of the Best Places to Visit in South Africa

Are you planning a trip down south soon? With so many interesting places to see in South Africa, you need expert planning to fit it all in.

Browse our blog for inspiration about what to see and do in South Africa or get in touch for more information.

Disclaimer

Please Note: The details shared herein around products and services, are correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.

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