If you are an adventurous globetrotter, I’d advise that you take a visit to South Africa, as it has some of the most beautiful places in Africa.
Undoubtedly, South Africa is one of the most beautiful and developed African nations. It is known for its tranquil environments and stunning attractions. It is also is home to the Lost City, which is among the largest theme parks in the world.
From exotic game reserves to picturesque deserts, down to the busy streets of Cape Town, the ”Rainbow Nation” has it all.
10 Best Places to Visit in South Africa
In this listicle, we’ll take a critical look at some of the best places to visit in South Africa, unveiling its gems and must-see attractions that will make your trip memorable.
In no order of importance, below are the top 10 best places you should visit in South Africa before this year runs out:
1. The Garden Route: A Scenic Journey Along the Coastal Plain
Stretching along the southeast coast of South Africa, The Garden Route, formerly known as Eden District Municipality, is a district municipality situated in the western Cape Province of South Africa. This scenic drive is an ideal place for families or couples to visit.
The Garden Route is almost 200 kilometers long. So, the best way to have an amazing scenic view of this coastline is to travel around it in a car or on chartered flights.
Stop by the attractive town of Knysna, known for its stunning lagoon and the iconic Knysna Heads. Explore the Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn, a subterranean wonderland of limestone formations.
2. Cape Town: Where Tradition Meets Modernity
No visit to South Africa is complete without exploring the vibrant city of Cape Town. The Mother City and second-most populated city in South Africa, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Hence, it is one of the best places to visit in South Africa.
South Africa’s oldest city and legislative capital is indeed a lovely place to be, as it is surrounded by nature. It houses the famous Table Mountain and Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, nestled at the eastern foot of Table Mountain.
Immerse yourself in the rich history and breathtaking natural beauty of this multiethnic city. Explore the colorful neighborhood of Bo-Kaap, known for its brightly painted houses and Cape Malay heritage.
Visit the historic Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned during the apartheid era.
3. Drakensberg: A Hiker’s Paradise
Take a trip to the Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa’s highest mountain range, especially if you are a hiker or outdoor enthusiast.
Also known as the Dragon Mountains, it is famous for parascending, rock climbing, hiking, river rafting, and biking during the summer.
As an adventurer, you should be keen to visit Drakensburg to see its escarpments, rugged peaks, and the waterfalls surrounding it.
Embark on scenic trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints, explore ancient rock art sites, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature.
4. Kruger National Park: A Wildlife Safari Like No Other
Kruger National Park, one of the biggest game reserves in Africa, is one of the best places to visit in South Africa. If you are a lover of wildlife, I want to tell you that Kruger National Park is indeed a place to visit.
As South Africa’s oldest [established in 1926] and largest [approximately 2,000,000 hectares] National Park, Kruger is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including Africa’s big five: lion, leopard, black rhinoceros, elephant, and Africa buffalo.
Kruger National Park is one of South Africa’s two most visited tourist attractions. Apart from Africa’s big five game, there are other tons of animals available in Kruger. You will also find crocodiles, giraffes, hamerkops, and different species of birds in this park.
As you travel around Kruger National Park, you can explore the six major rivers and several headwaters that surround it. The six rivers include the Crocodile River, Limpopo River, Oilfants, Sabie, Letaba, and Luvuuhu.
5. Stellenbosch: Wine Tasting in the Cape Winelands
Stellenbosch is a place to visit if you are a wine gourmet. This picturesque town is situated about 50 kilometers east of Cape Town.
Indulge in a sensory delight in the Cape Winelands with a visit to the charming town of Stellenbosch.
Known for its vineyards and Cape Dutch architecture, Stellenbosch offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and culinary delights.
Stellenbosch is renowned for its array of wine estates where you can engage in sommelier-related activities and experiences.
6. Johannesburg: Where History Comes Alive
As South Africa’s most populous city, there is no doubt that Johannesburg would be every traveler’s dream. The City of Gold is a repository for tons of tourist centers and artefacts.
If you are planning to visit Johannesburg, visit the Apartheid Museum, Soweto [Nelson Mandela’s birthplace], and Sandton City. Then visit Lion Park, Holy Hill, and spend an evening at Gold Reef City to see another side of this beautiful city.
7. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: A Wilderness Adventure
Named after the Kgalagadi tribes, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is one of the best places to visit in South Africa. It is a wildlife and desert wilderness situated between Botswana and South Africa. Three-quarters of this part lies in Botswana, while one-quarter of it lies in South Africa.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including springbok, gemsbok, lions, cheetahs, and hyenas. Visit this park and explore its red dunes, sparse vegetation, and occasional trees.
8. Hermanus: Whale Watching Arena
Hermanus, the Whale Capital of South Africa, is a sensational place to spend one’s summer vacation. This small town on the southern coast of the Western Cape province of South Africa is usually bombarded by tourists who want to see whales and dolphins.
The coastal town usually organizes a whale festival for visitors annually in September. Apart from the coastal view, you should endeavor to get a taste of Hermanus by eating some of its local treats at the Hermanus markets.
9. iSimangaliso Wetland Park: A Nature Lover’s Paradise
South Africa’s third-largest protected area, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, is situated along the coast of KwaZulu-Natal Province. While the park may not be seen as one of South Africa’s main tourist centers, I want to personally let you know that it’s an amazing place to visit.
One of the things that makes it remarkable is that it is home to a large number of crocodiles, pelicans, hippopotamus, and flamingos. You can also expect to see wildebeest, zebras, baboons, rhinos, and several other mammals.
10. Mossel Bay: A Coastal Paradise
Massel Bay is a sheltered port situated on the Southern Cape of South Africa. It is home to about 120,000 people. It lies 400 kilometers west of Port Elizabeth, the largest city in the Eastern Cape.
Kickstart your trip to Mossel Bay by visiting Gondwana Game Reserve and Botlierskop Private Game Reserve. Then check in at any of its popular hotels, which include Diaz Hotel and Resort, Point Village Hotel, and Protea Hotel by Marriott Mossel Bay.
If you want to visit any of the abovementioned hotels, it is advisable to consider traveling to Massel Bay between September and November.
This is because hotel prices are usually at their lowest during this period. Above all, Mossel Bay gives you the feeling of a balanced experience of nature and comfortable accommodation.