7 Great reasons to visit South Africa

7 Reasons to visit South Africa

Often referred to as the “Rainbow Nation” with over 11 official languages spoken and home to one of Africa’s largest game reserves, South Africa makes a top holiday destination. From sampling delicious wines at Cape Winelands’ historic estates to admiring the breathtaking diverse landscapes, here are just seven reasons to explore South Africa.

1. Cape Town

Whether you’re after sunkissed beaches, spectacular scenery, great food and wine or close-up wildlife encounters, Cape Town has it all. A great city break all-year round, Cape Town has plenty to keep you busy over a long weekend or even a week. Home to one of the most iconic landmarks in the country, take the five minute cable car ride up 1,089 metres to the top of Table Mountain for panoramic views of the city and coastline. Alternatively, if you’re feeling active, hike up along the Platteklip Gorge and admire the flora and fauna along the way. For sightseeing, visit the World Heritage-listed Robben Island. A prison for more than 200 years, and iconic for holding Nelson Mandela captive, today it is a museum, focusing on Mandela and the Apartheid era. Alternatively, explore Bo-Kaap, also known as the Malay Quarter. This distinct neighbourhood features brightly coloured facades of Cape Dutch and Georgian architecture, dating back to the 1760s that was originally leased to slaves from Malaysia and Indonesia. Sample the fresh seafood and local specialities at Cape Town’s waterfront restaurants, washed down with a glass of South African wine and watch the sunset over Camps Bay Beach. Cape Town is also popular for day trips to explore the Cape Peninsula and Cape Winelands.
Admire the magnificent Table Mountain in Cape Town

2. Excellent and cheap food & wine

If you’re a food lover or wine aficionado then you will adore the choice and affordability of South Africa’s food and wine. Influences of its indigenous people along with French, Dutch, Indian and Malaysian cultures, are reflected in its diverse cuisine. Sample boerewors, a traditional South African coiled sausage typically made from beef and a mixture of pork or lamb and spices, and cooked on a braai. For something spicier, try the Cape Malay Curry or why not taste game meats such as ostrich, springbok and kudu. Whilst visiting South Africa, be sure to enjoy a Boma dinner, a traditional African style dinner, enjoyed outside under the stars. Typically a four course meal comprising a sumptuous meat buffet, soups, game strews and dessert, you certainly won’t be left hungry. Sample the wine at the mountainous Cape Winelands region, just north of Cape Town. Home to historic wine estates and beautiful old architecture, sample the wines from over 100 wine producers in Stellenbosch, the birthplace of Pinotage (Pinot Noir and Cinsaut). This is the second oldest region in South Africa with varieties including Cabinet Sauvignon, Syrah and Chenin Blanc. Alternatively, visit Franschhoek, influenced by the French and home to a plethora of art galleries, shops and restaurants. Sample the ‘Cap Classique’ sparkling wine whilst you hop on and off the vintage Franschhoek Wine Tram, a leisurely and fun way to explore the rolling vineyards and charming estate.
Explore Cape Peninsula's Winelands

3. Cape of Good Hope

Originally named the Cape of Storms in the 1480s by the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias, this south westernmost point of Africa was later renamed Cape of Good Hope in a bid to attract more people to this sea route. Positioned where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, the Cape of Good Hope is regarded as one of the most treacherous stretches of water in the world and has been the cause of numerous shipwrecks. Visit the Cape of Good Hope during a tour of Cape Peninsula and visit the seaside villages of Scarborough and Simons Towns, one of the best places to watch Southern Right Whales during the migration season of September to October. Close to Simons Town is Boulders Beach, home to the African Penguin colony. Once known as Jackass Penguins, due to it’s donkey-like call, African Penguins are the only penguins found on the continent.
View African Penguins at Boulder Beach

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4. Safari

One of the major drawcards to South Africa is of course the African wildlife. Keep your eyes open for the Big Five (elephant, lion, leopard, rhinoceros and Cape buffalo) during early morning and evening game drives, the prime times to spot the African wildlife. Kruger National Park is world-famous for its excellent wildlife viewing and is one of the largest parks in Africa. Home to the Big Five along with hundreds of species of cat, antelope, 500 species of birdlife and 100 species of reptile, be sure to bring your camera. Also worthy of a visit is Addo Elephant National Park, the third largest national park in the country. Set up to protect the last of the elephant herds that roamed the Eastern Cape, it’s not just elephants you can view here. Keep an eye out for zebras, spotted hyenas and a myriad of birdlife. In fact, Addo Elephant National Park boasts the Big Seven which includes Great White Sharks and Southern Right Whales, due to its location extending south to Colchester along the coast. Greater Addo Elephant National Park also encompasses the Zuurberg Mountains and The Sundays River Valley, home to one of South Africa’s major citrus producers. 
Watch for lions on safari in South Africa

5. Garden Route

Stretching 300km from Port Elizabeth to Mossel Bay, the iconic Garden Route is a breathtaking coastal road winding along the south-western tip of South Africa. Considered one of the most beautiful regions in the country, take in the rugged mountain and lush green forest landscapes of Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma ranges, with an abundance of shimmering blue lagoons and sparkling lakes as you drive inland. Following the coastline, admire the crystal clear waters of the ocean, with the opportunity to spot migrating Southern Right and Humpback whales, particularly at Hermanus during September and October. Stop at Knysna lagoon for the alluring blue waters, visit Oudtshoorn, known as the “ostrich capital of the world” and be mesmerised by the spectacular Cango Caves, home to some of the world’s largest stalagmite formations.
Road trip along the Garden Route to Knysna, South Africa

6. Spectacular Mountain Ranges

As well as Cape Town’s iconic flat-topped Table Mountain, South Africa is also home to the Drakensberg Ranges, known as ‘Dragon Mountain’,  the highest mountain in South Africa rising 3,482 metres. Stretching over 300km, between 35,000 to 40,000 bushman rock paintings can be found here. Enjoy walks along one of the many hiking trails, admire rugged cliff faces and pass by bubbling streams and river valleys. Drakensberg Ranges also offers great wildlife spotting and was the inspiration behind J.R.R Tolkien’ Misty Mountains in his Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Explore the incredible Drakensberg Ranges

7. The Friendly People

South Africa is home to some of the world’s friendliest people. During your travels throughout this vast country, be greeted by warm welcomes and get to know the locals. Listen to your hosts over the flickering flames of campfires under a starry sky as they recount stories of wildlife encounters and share their culture with you. By the time you leave this wonderful country, you will be left with everlasting memories, and eager to return to South Africa very soon.
Meet the local people

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