South Africa is a vast country that offers a fantastic mix of stunning natural landscapes, great cities, an array of wildlife, and the opportunity to witness some of the most striking landmarks on the African continent, and indeed the world.
We take a look at 8 special experiences found in South Africa, all included in our 16-day epic tour of the country.
1. Blyde River Canyon
Blyde River Canyon is one of South Africa’s most spectacular locations.
Protected within the limits of the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, the River Canyon is known for its green, mountainous features with the Blyde River carving its way at the bottom of the valley.
Key attractions here include the Three Rondavels, God’s Window, Pinnacle Rock, and Bourke’s Luck Potholes.
The Three Rondavels, is arguably the Park’s most striking feature.
Round-shaped mountain tops, the Rondavels appear to have almost flat summits at points.
God’s Window, a name given because of the grand views, is a viewing spot located in the Park.
A hike to reach, the journey is worth the reward at the summit.
With grand views looking out across the nature reserve, only then will the ginormous scale of Blyde River Canyon become apparent.
Standing alone, resembling the ruins of a man-made skyscraper structure, Pinnacle Rock is one of the most photographed sights in the Park.
This special sight is one of South Africa’s greatest natural landmarks.
Bit of Trivia – Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world
A key attraction within the canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes are a great natural spectacle created by water erosion.
The pressure of flowing water has taken its toll on a cliff-face where two rivers meet, resulting in gradual shaping of a pathway through the cliff, leaving pothole-like formations in the water’s wake.
In search of wildlife? Blyde River Canyon is an immensely valuable wildlife habitat, home to Zebras, Hippos, Crocodiles, and Vervet Monkeys, to name drop just some of the locals that call this great region home.
2. Cape Town
South Africa’s capital city, Cape Town on the country’s coast, is a vibrant city whose skyline is dominated by the famed Table Mountain.
South Africa’s most recognisable landmark, Table Mountain has a near-perfect flat summit.
Bit of Trivia – Table Mountain often has its own tablecloth – a group of clouds, hiding the summit from view.
To visit the mountain, we recommend travelling up via cable car where you gaze down upon the city.
Hiking trails are also available to try, ranging in difficulty.
On the city’s coastline, Boulder’s Beach is the perfect place to relax.
Depending on when you visit, you may also stumble across the local population of Penguins that reside along this beautiful stretch of coastline.
Such an occasion can provide the perfect once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness Penguins out in the wild.
An alternative scenic spot close to the city is the Cape of Good Hope.
This breath-taking peninsula is one of the most southern points on the African continent.
From here, the next great land mass is the chilly Antarctic continent.
Heading back in search of Table Mountain, an easy beacon for us to follow, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, on the outskirts of the city, is famed for its lovely, carefully maintained gardens.
With highlights including a bridge providing a great vantage point where you can admire the varied flora that thrives this far south from the equator, the garden is one of many gardens found at the foot of the great Table Mountain.
Across over 500 hectares, this is a colourful natural paradise.
Those with a keen eye will spot a variety of orchids rarely seen elsewhere on the planet.
Historic Johannesburg is actually the country’s biggest city.
Once a historic mining settlement, Johannesburg has rapidly grown into one of the continents biggest cities.
Historically significant, Johannesburg has a long association with Nelson Mandela, the country’s famous former leader.
Learn about South Africa’s history with a visit to the Apartheid Museum where you will be able to browse a variety of exhibitions, all providing you with a fascinating timeline of the country’s period of Apartheid and the struggles leading to its demise.
Alternative landmarks also include Mandela’s former home, and if you have time, the Cradle of Humankind, located some 30 miles outside the city.
Today a museum, Mandela House was the home of the former leader for a period before his eventual imprisonment.
Small, compact, and single storied, the Museum provides a small snapshot of the life of Mandela.
As you browse the museum’s interior, you may start to notice signs of the Apartheid struggles, with bullet holes evident around the structure.
UNESCO-listed, the Cradle of Humankind is one of the most important sites on the African continent.
Protected on the outside by a domed building, the Cradle of Humankind is a memorable experience.
The site where ancient human fossils were discovered in the early 1940s believed to be millions of years old, the Cradle of Humankind consists of a network of caves.
4. Kruger National Park
One of Africa’s biggest game reserves, Kruger National Park is home to a vast range of animals including Elephants, Cheetahs, Zebras, and Rhinoceros.
Best explored by 4×4 vehicle, expert-led tours can provide insight into the lives of some of the most magnificent animals on the planet.
As you travel around the area, take time to admire the land around you, if you are lucky enough you may witness a famous African sunrise or sunset as it seems to just float above this vast landscape.
Swaziland, a small monarchy, is extremely pleasing on the eye.
With wide open spaces dominated by greenery and mountainous peaks watching over close by, the trip to the capital Mbabane is worth savouring.
Highlights found here include the Royal Palace and Parliament House.
The famed Winelands of South Africa is known around the world for their quality produce.
Framed by mountains, endless rows of vineyards and orchard stretch for miles throughout this landscape.
With some wineries dating back three hundred years, the region still features some characteristics added by Dutch settlers hundreds of years ago.
Most notably, you will find signs of European influence on the buildings.
The town of Stellenbosch, a notable university town, is home to a range of period buildings.
7. Cango Caves
A magical South African wonder, the Cango Caves can be found in the foothills of the Swartberg mountain range.
These are some of the best-known caves in the world.
Slowly taking their time to form (over millions of years) a walk around these caves will leave a lasting impression.
With spikey formations hanging overhead and some features hidden in darkness, these caves can sometimes send a chill down visitors spines.
However, we thoroughly recommend visiting this great natural attraction, despite the potentially eerie vibe.
8. Whale Watching at Hermanus
The opportunity to catch a glimpse of one of the largest mammals on the planet is not one to be lightly turned down.
Between July to November, you can often spot Whales along the coastline at Hermanus.
The sheer size of these mysterious mammals cannot be understated.
As they move around the water, often jumping high above the water line, they certainly make a splash.
Have you travelled to South Africa?
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