What is the first thing that comes to your mind when I say trip to South Africa? Whether it’s exotic safaris or picturesque deserts or beautiful cities or sunny beaches, then you’re already in love with South Africa, the southernmost country on the African continent . It is one of those places that has a lot to offer you.
That’s especially true if you’re looking for an exciting vacation. It is often called “the world in one country” because of its geographical and cultural diversity. From rich wildlife to breathtaking deserts to poignant museums, you name it, and you’ll find it. This place has it all!
South African cities such as Cape Town and Durban are a melting pot of cultures and cuisines. Moreover, this country itself can give you a roller coaster ride of history and culture.
The climate of South Africa is mainly dry and sunny. However, you can expect temperatures to drop below zero degrees in some places during June and July. The country is also favorable in terms of cost-effectiveness.
South Africa is more or less cheap depending on the exchange rate at the time of your visit. Having said all these basics, let us know about the top 15 tourist destinations in South Africa that you should visit during the holidays:
1. Cape Town
No visit to South Africa can be complete without Cape Town being on the list. It is one of the three capitals of South Africa. Tourists love Cape Town and see the richness of experience this city can offer, and it’s no wonder. This multi-ethnic city is another popular city where tradition and modernity coexist.
Your trip to Cape Town is incomplete without visiting False Bay. This beautiful city is surrounded by nature. It has botanical wonders, high peaked mountains and turquoise sea. It will help if you visit Table Mountain, a flat-topped mountain, while staying in Cape Town. The UNESCO heritage site Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden should also be on the list.
If you want to see endangered African penguins, you have to visit Boulders Beach Penguin Colony. You can walk 10 minutes from the city center to Bo Kap, a suburb with colorful neighborhoods. Urban malls like Canal Walk and Victoria Wharf Shopping Center and excellent restaurants will not let you forget the exciting nightlife in this big city. Other places to visit in Cape Town are the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Two Oceans Aquarium and Lion’s Head.
2. Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is one of the best places to visit in South Africa . It is one of the oldest in South Africa and the largest covering an area of 2,000,000 hectares. It offers a one of its kind wildlife safari experience in the Kruger National Park that you won’t soon forget.
Kruger is home to hundreds of species of animals. The main attractions among them are the Big Five: lion, leopard, elephant, Cape buffalo and rhinoceros. The park offers both day and night safaris. You can also arrange for individual safaris or day tours. You should stay here for at least 3-4 days to experience all the game drives available here.
3. Garden Route
The Golden Route runs along the southeast coast of South Africa. This can somewhat beat any other driving routes in the world in terms of scenic beauty. This scenic route is about 200 km long and stretches between Mossel Bay and Storms River.
Driving the Golden Route is not enough if you want to enjoy its every grace. You should explore this route for a day or two.
Visit the beautiful town of Knysna and its surroundings, the ostrich farms of Oudtshoorn, the Congo Caves, Plettenberg Bay and the Great Route National Park. Knysna Reserve Park is an ideal place to interact with elephants. Visit Garden Route Mall for an amazing shopping experience.
If you want to spend a few days in a peaceful and picture-perfect city, you cannot miss the city of Stellenbosch. The only university town in South Africa, Stellenbosch is also the second oldest. The history of the town dates back to 1679 and you can get a taste of that history by visiting the Village Museum and Stellenirk Museum.
The charming village with its oak-lined streets and Cape Dutch houses will win your mind any day. It is famous for its wide range of wine estates where you can try wine-tasting. You can also enjoy restaurants, nightclubs, cafes and art galleries.
The Drakensberg or Dragon Mountain is the highest mountain peak in South Africa . Located between the state of Lesotho and the province of KwaZulu Natal, the region is about 200 km long and full of waterfalls, caves and mountain streams. Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is famous for its rock art. In Giant’s Castle Game Reserve, you can find around 800 species of flowering plants.
Mountain trails are famous for hiking, biking, rock climbing, parasailing and river rafting during summer.
6. ISimangaliso Wetland Park
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, iSimangaliso Wetland Park is located on the northern coast of KwaZulu Natal Province. In Zulu, “iSimangaliso” means “miracle and wonder”. With more than 526 species of birds and other animals, it is the best place to witness the wonders of nature. This wetland park is a paradise for water loving animals like hippos, crocodiles and turtles. You can also find rhinos, zebras, baboons and buffaloes.
7. Pilanesberg National Park
Pilanesberg National Park is a national park easily accessible from a major city like Johannesburg. It is only a 2.5 hour drive from Johannesburg. If you want a quick safari, you can try this place.
Vast grasslands and the artificial lake Mankwe Dam have made the region suitable for wildlife habitat. Apart from the big five, this national park is home to zebras, African wild dogs, antelopes, giraffes and hundreds of species of birds.
Harmanas is a small yet touristy town in the Western Cape. It is rightly called the Whale Capital of South Africa. Tourists come here only to see whales and dolphins. Whale watching boat tours are exceptional, but you can also see them from the reef.
The best time for whale watching in Hermanus is from June to December. Hermanus also hosts a whale festival for visitors in September every year. In addition to whale and dolphin watching, a balmy evening walk along the cliff-side walking path can make your South Africa trip memorable.
9. Kagalgadi Transnational Park
Kgalagadi Transnational Park is located in the northern part of South Africa between South Africa and Botswana. The park came into existence in 2000 by merging Kalahari Gemsbok National Park and Botswana Gemsbok National Park. The national park is home to South Africa ‘s national animal, the springbok, and the gemsbok, famous for its V-shaped horns.
Predators like Kalahari lions, cheetahs and hyenas can also be found here. Barren desert, red dunes and extraordinary wildlife make this national park unique among others.
Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa in terms of population . It is called the “City of Gold” because it started as a gold mining colony. Some of the top attractions in this city are Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill and Gold Reef City.
The Collector’s Treasury in Johannesburg is an eight-storey building filled with rare books. It is the largest rare and second-hand bookseller in the whole of Africa. If you love shopping and a vibrant atmosphere, you should visit Neighbourgoods Market.
If you are in Johannesburg, you must visit the township of Soweto, birthplace of Nelson Mandela. Soweto Bay is home to the Orlando Tower, which has been used for bungee jumping since 2009. Satyagraha House is the house where Mahatma Gandhi spent his days in South Africa. Now it is used as a guest house.
11. Mosel Bay
Mosel Bay is famous for some of the best beaches in South Africa . Santo Beach is the most prominent among them. While in Mossel Bay you should try water sports, skydiving and shark cage dives.
Also, don’t forget to visit the Bartholomew Dias Museum and the Post Office Tree. Located in the museum complex, the Post Office Tree is a nearly 600-year-old milkwood tree and is believed to be South Africa ‘s first mailbox. Cape St. Blaise Lighthouse Complex, Garden Route Casino and Point of Human Origin are other favorite tourist spots.
Just 45 minutes from Cape Town, Paarl is a small town with a rich historical and cultural heritage. The city is situated on the top of Paarl mountain. Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and Cape Dutch buildings are spread throughout the city.
You will also find cafes and restaurants on the main road of the city. Drakenstein Prison, where Nelson Mandela spent his days in captivity, is located on the outskirts of the city.
Other places to visit at Paarl are Goat Tower of Fairview Cheese and Wine Farm, Afrikaans Language Monument and Wine Estate.
Durban is a city in South Africa with a rich cultural connection. The city is a melting pot of both indigenous and European cultures. You can stroll around Golden or visit uShaka Marine World or Durban Botanical Gardens. Durban Botanical Garden is home to the world’s loneliest plant: the Wood’s Cycad.
Your visit to Durban is incomplete without tasting local delicacies like Bunny Chow, Sheesa Nyama, Bombay Crush and other traditional African and Zulu dishes.
14. Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth is a port city in the Eastern Cape Province. It is located on the banks of the Bakkens River. The beaches here are among the most organized and best in South Africa . You can go for a swim at Wells Estate Bridge, Humewood Beach or Kings Beach. If you love wildlife, you can visit Addo Elephant National Park, Cape Recife Nature Reserve and Kragga Kamma Game Reserve.
Port Elizabeth is also famous for its parks. Among them, St. George’s Park is the most notable. Donkin Reserve, Route 67, Storms River Bridge and the Boardwalk are also other notable places to visit.
Like Stellenbosch, Franschhoek is another beautiful village founded in 1688. The name “Franschhoek”, or French Corner, comes from its French settlers. With beautiful streets, cute street cafes, a motor museum and the Franschhoek wine tram, it can be your perfect place to relax for a few days. The wine tram will take you to several wine estates. There are also many restaurants in the village where you can try delicious food
Even the smallest towns in South Africa have a branch office of their tourism department to find a local map and other necessary details. So, South Africa is ready to welcome you.
You just need to pack your bags and say goodbye to your monotonous life for a few days. Now, you are aware of the best and unique places to visit in South Africa, so find the best South Africa holiday packages on EaseMyTrip and get the best deals on vacations. You can book your vacation in advance and travel whenever things are normal due to Covid-19. Don’t forget to follow all safety measures and get vaccinated before your travel date.