Top 10 Places to Visit in South Africa

South Africa is the perfect place for the thrill-seeker in your life, with everything from off-roading on a safari to diving with great white sharks. There’s no doubt that this is a diverse land, what with its fantastic variety of species, gorgeous beaches, heavenly vineyards, and majestic mountains.

Top 10 Places to Visit in South Africa

The years of apartheid have ended in southern Africa, but the country as a whole is still struggling economically, and there is a huge racial wealth gap. Museums, excursions to Robben Island, and visits to rural communities all provide excellent opportunities to learn about South Africa’s troubled past, present, and people.

Top 10 Places to Visit in South Africa

Get away of the city, rent a car, and take a road trip across the beautiful Garden Route. Hermanus is a great place to visit since you can see southern right whales from the coast.

See the wild side at Kruger National Park, home to free-roaming lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalo, and take a leap of faith to the peak of Table Mountain for breathtaking panoramas.

You’d be hard-pressed to find another holiday spot with as much to do and see. The top tourist destinations in South Africa are detailed below.

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1. Blyde River Canyon

The Blyde River Canyon is one of the deepest natural canyons on Earth, and it is also the largest green canyon in the world. The canyon is a popular tourist destination because of its proximity to the Panorama Route, a road renowned for its breathtaking scenery.

The confluence of the Blyde and Treue rivers has created a series of enormous potholes in the riverbed, known as Bourke’s Luck Potholes. The Blyde River Canyon is a famous tourist destination due to its beautiful landscape, which includes verdant valleys, stunning mountain vistas (including the Three Rondavels), and breathtaking overlooks (including the appropriately called God’s Window).

Hippopotamuses, crocodiles, and Samango monkeys are just some of the animals you might see on your travels. You might also spot a Cape vulture, African fish eagle, or Knysna lourie. Among the top birding locations in Mpumalanga.

2. Cape Winelands

The spectacular Cape Winelands of South Africa are a paradise for wine lovers. Within half an hour’s drive from Cape Town, you can reach one of the world’s most picturesque wine-producing regions, complete with rolling vineyards and breathtaking mountain scenery.

It’s up to you, but two of the most well-known areas are Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Picnics with a bottle of estate wine and a platter of cheese and biltong (South Africa’s famous dried pork) are perfect in this region, as are alfresco meals surrounded by vineyards.

Tulbagh is great for cycling wine tours, and the nearby town of Montagu is great for relaxing in the hot springs after a day of fantastic wine tasting.

3. Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant National Park was established in the 1930s as a modest sanctuary to conserve 11 of the reddish-colored Addo elephants, but it is now one of South Africa’s largest national parks and arguably one of the greatest places to see these gentle giants.

The park’s popularity and size have led to its division into five distinct areas, each with its own attractions and features. The primary wildlife preserve is located in the Colchester sector. Take part in thrilling self-drives or camp-run game drives to see the park’s abundant elephant, zebra, and antelope populations.

The Kabouga part is restricted to four-wheel-drive vehicles, while the Darlington area is home to a dam that attracts abundant wildlife. The Zuurberg and Woody Cape areas are great for hiking thanks to their many scenic pathways.

One of the highlights is the opportunity to see all seven of South Africa’s “Big Seven” (the Big Five, plus southern right whales and great white sharks along the coast). Visitors to the safari won’t be let down.

4. Hermanus

Hermanus, a once-quiet town in the Western Cape, is now a popular tourist destination because of its proximity to whale-watching hotspots. Each year, pregnant southern right whales make their way to this particular area in Walker Bay to give birth. Whale watching from the cliffs is just as amazing as the boat cruises that are promoted daily.

There are many possibilities to see these gregarious animals, especially during the Hermanus Whale Festival in September, when visitors can stroll along a cliffside path that is 10 kilometres (6 miles) long and equipped with built-in telescopes and benches.

Hermanus features picturesque tiny beaches and the decadent Hemel en Aarde Wine Valley, which is surrounded by magnificent mountains and the azure water of the Atlantic. Heaven and Earth are implied by the term itself. You can enjoy waterfall trekking, lagoon fishing, ocean fishing, or beach horseback riding. When it comes to amenities, Hermanus is set.

5. Durban

While being overshadowed by Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa’s busiest port city, Durban, has enough to offer its own right, especially in the colder months of the year. Winter simply doesn’t exist here, with average temperatures in the mid-20s from June through July.

Thankfully, Durban has a beautiful coastline with some popular sandy beaches lapped by the warm waves of the Indian Ocean, so all that lovely weather isn’t wasted. You can spend your days off surfing the waves on the east coast of South Africa or scuba diving and snorkelling to see what lies beneath the surface.

Back on solid ground, Durbs (as it is fondly known) serves up some of the best curries in the world. The city has the largest non-Indian Indian population in the world! Bunny chow, or curry in a half loaf of bread, is a staple food and a rite of passage for locals.

6. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (literally “Great Thirst”) stretches over the border between South Africa and neighbouring Botswana, and it is a desert wilderness with extremely rare topography.

Wildebeest, springbok (South Africa’s national animal), and gemsbok (its original namesake) are just some of the plains game that populate the Kalahari, which is home to salt pans, bushveld, and rust-red dunes.

There is nothing but unspoiled wilderness around, therefore the chances of seeing wildlife are excellent. The Kgalagadi was originally divided in two, but in 1999 the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa and the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana were officially merged to form a single park known as the Kgalagadi.

Parts of the Kgalagadi are so large that they can only be reached by four-wheel drive vehicle, and even then it’s an adventure. Many guests choose to stay in one of the park’s campers and take advantage of the free game drives and guided bush walks that are offered there.

Nevertheless, if you’d rather go at your own pace, you can find numerous routes along the Nossob and Auob riverbeds in South Africa. Kgalagadi is the name given to this area of the desert by the Khoe people who once lived here; now, some of their descendants reside here in communities like the Mier Community and the Khoe-speaking Khomani Community, so be sure to pay them a visit!

7. Garden Route

The Garden Route is one of the world’s most scenic routes, winding past fishing villages, game reserves, forests, lagoons, and beaches fringed by white sand and azure water. The majority of foreign visitors to South Africa follow the popular tourist route from Mossel Bay to St. Francis.

You’ll need at least five days, preferably more, to fully appreciate everything along the Garden Road has to offer. Visit the quiet beach in Wilderness and the world’s highest commercial bungee jump at Storms River, or go up close to African elephants at the Knysna Elephant Park.

Robberg Nature Reserve, which overlooks the ocean and is located in Plettenberg Bay, is a great place to go trekking or wildlife viewing. Both Birds of Eden, home to the greatest collection of free-flying tropical birds, and Monkeyland, where you can stroll through a forest populated by squirrel monkeys and capuchins, are within easy driving distance.

8. Drakensberg

The Drakensberg Mountains are located in the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa. The Drakensberg, also known as “The Berg” by the locals, literally translates to “Mountains of the Dragon.”

When you take in the majesty and power of these mountains, you begin to appreciate the significance of their dramatic name. Waterfalls and hiking paths can be found in both the northern and southern parts of this section of the Great Escarpment.

Because of its mild winters and summers, the Northern Drakensberg is a popular tourist destination. Almost no snow ever falls on this side. Hike to the Amphitheater in a day or two, then check out Royal Natal National Park and UKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, where you can see Tugela Falls, the world’s second-highest waterfall.

The Southern Drakensberg is where explorers should go. Visit the highest pub in Africa, or join up for a tough trekking or mountaineering tour, both of which involve a hair-raising drive across the Sani Pass, which leads to landlocked Lesotho.

9. Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park is a paradise for those who want to see exotic animals up close. Kruger National Park, located in the north-east of the country, encompasses a massive area of ecosystems that provide a home for a wide variety of animals.

The park was constructed in 1898, but it wasn’t accessible to the public until the 1920s. Since then, Kruger National Park has become a must-visit for everyone wishing to see one of the Big Five animals.

The rebuilt Iron Age ruins of Masorini settlement and spotting hippo and crocs from the Crocodile River viewpoint are two of the highlights. Kruger is a great game reserve to explore on your own, and there are frequent park-run game drives available.

Keep a watch out for lions, rhinos, elephants, buffaloes, and leopards as you go along the Sabie and Crocodile rivers. You should bring your binoculars because Kruger is also a great place to watch birds.

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10. Cape Town

Beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, and warm locals make Cape Town, also known as “The Mother City,” a must-see on any trip to South Africa. While it is only the second largest city in the country, its name is synonymous with global recognition.

Cape Town, South Africa, is a beautiful city with a mild Mediterranean climate and a stunning location on the southwestern tip of Western Cape Province. Cape Town, a city in South Africa, is surrounded by mountains and overlooks the iconic Robben Island.

It is rich in history, culture, and the great outdoors. Have a lunch at the botanical gardens after wandering the colourful streets of the Bo Kaap (a Cape Malay neighbourhood). Or combine the two on a wine-tasting and sightseeing tour of the city!

The South African Houses of Parliament have a prominent location in Cape Town, the country’s political hub. The National Assembly and the infamous old assembly used during Apartheid are open to the public for free tours every day. Drive out to the wild and rocky Cape Peninsula and visit the Cape Point Natural Reserve if you have some free time.