When you imagine a South Africa vacation, do you picture roaring lions and other predators on a humid, adrenaline-fueled African safari? That’s certainly possible. Not up for a safari this time? Consider painting a new mental picture.
South Africa travel means something different for everyone.
Featuring attractions that are topping the hottest destination lists — such as Patricia Schultz’s popular book, “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” — South Africa is one of the world’s most inspiring destinations.
Your own South Africa travel adventure could veer off in any set of directions that you choose, whether you’re a foodie or spa dweller, novice or master trekker.
Do you feel more comfortable observing new cultures and surroundings from a distance, or do you like to get up close? The changing landscapes beneath your feet will take you by surprise. You can walk on golden sandy beaches, watch the vast desert turn into the richest floral kingdom in early spring, or ski the continent’s only snow slopes all in one South African vacation.
Untamed South Africa at Its Best
Ease your way into South Africa through Limpopo, the northernmost province containing ancient lands and prehistoric relics from the Stone and Iron Ages. Drive through the dense rainforests of the Magoebaskloof Mountains, where you’ll take in the sounds of mountain streams and roaring waterfalls.
The Magoebaskloof Mountain Bike Classic is an exciting 75 kilometre race through the Woodbush Forest Reserve, past nearby tea plantations and private farmland. The race has been going for 12 years now and is made a success by the work of the Rotary Club of Tzaneen, Round Table and Lions of Tzaneen.
The Panorama Route will take you through nearly 12 million acres of untamed surroundings including the Drakensberg Mountains and Kruger National Park. Nearby is the Crocodile River Ramble, where you’ll find the “Cradle of Humankind,” and an array of galleries, craft shops, health and beauty spas, tea gardens, intimate bed and breakfasts and restaurants. Indulge in Sun City, the internationally renowned holiday town filled with breathtaking architecture, health resorts and luxurious hotels and conveniently located next to many natural attractions including Johannesburg, South Africa.
The pulsing city with a heart of pure gold, Johannesburg is known as Egoli (place of gold), Jo’burg, and today also carries the trendy name of Jozi. A relatively young city, Jo’burg traces its modern history back to 1886 when it sprang up as a gold-rush shanty town.
Today this thriving bustling city is the most densely populated South African city, home to 3,225,800 people and growing.
Jo’burg has a pleasant balmy climate for most of the year and is renowned for dramatic afternoon thunderstorms in summer. The nights can get pretty cool, especially in winter.
Some of the top attractions in and around Jo’burg include the Sterkfontein caves, the township of Soweto, The Apartheid Museum, the Mai Mai Herbalist market and Rosebank craft market.Jo’burg is a shopper’s paradise – there are numerous malls – and the Sandton area is particularly popular with shoppers.
Durban – Durbs-by-the-Sea The settlement of Port Natal only really started in 1823, although Vasco da Gama (yes, him!) ‘discovered’ it back in 1497.
Most people equate Durban with a laid back, ‘chilled’ atmosphere, and also with extremely humid heat, almost all year round. For many Durban is the place to live if you love to surf, but there is more to this city than awesome waves, golden beaches, sugar cane plantations and palm trees.
Durban lies in the heart of the Zulu kingdom, land of King Shaka, which gives the entire region a rich cultural history that can be felt just by walking through the hot streets. A large ‘Indian’ community also calls Durban home, and these people add their own flavor to the city’s effervescent, colorful population.
Durban offers great shopping at malls and markets, historical and cultural attractions and plenty for families to do. Perhaps the most well-known tourist spot is Ushaka Marine World which boasts an aquarium, dolphinarium and snorkel reef, a world of water slides and marine-theme shopping.
Cape Town – The Mother City
Paradise found – between the mountains and the two oceans, Cape Town as an urban settlement began in the mid-1600’s as a trading post for ships passing the tip of Africa en route to The East. Today Cape Town is loved for its breathtaking natural beauty, with Table Mountain dominating the views from almost anywhere in the city. The beaches on both the Indian and Atlantic sides offer crystal blue waters, white sandy beaches and beautiful bodies all summer long.
From any of the chi-chi restaurants, cafes and wine-bars along the coastline you can even enjoy watching whales playing in the bay.
With numerous museums and art galleries, theatres and craft markets, Cape Town is undoubtedly the Culture Capital of SA. If the money is found in Jo’burg, the creativity springs from Cape Town’s vibrant multi-cultural population.
Don’t miss the top tourist attraction in the country – The Victoria and Albert Waterfront – a fabulous development on the foreshore which offers a world of entertainment and shopping.
A lot more laid back than Jozi, but more cosmopolitan than Durbs, Cape Town is the place to be for the arty, nature-loving yet trendy individual.
An Unexpected Exotic Beach Paradise
You’ll find all kinds of hidden treasures on the upper east coast of KwaZulu-Natal, which is known as the “Elephant Coast.” Recently emerging as a tourist hub, St. Lucia keeps on blooming with new restaurants, hotels and shops. Also, around January or February, watch dozens of gigantic turtles make their way from the warm Indian Ocean to nest and hatch their young. At Sodwana Bay, you might also catch the turtles gliding their way up to shore. Scuba divers will find great delight in exploring hundreds of colorful coral reef and fish varieties found here.
Any South Africa travel excursion in KwaZulu-Natal isn’t complete without seeing Cape Vidal, a firm favorite for many beach goers and fishing enthusiasts. Head out to sea and spend the afternoon deep sea fishing or humpback whale watching. At Kosi Bay, you’ll be able to retreat even further into tranquility. Here, you can stay in a guesthouse right on the water and become a part of the locals’ slow-paced life on the sea. There are a number of activities to enjoy such as hiking, bird watching, turtle tours and whale watching.
Experience the traditions of the Zulu culture — have a beer at the nearest “shebeen” or find the cure for any ailment at a witchdoctor’s hut. Sip South African tea and eat “vetkoek” (sweet, deep-fried bread) at a bed and breakfast inn made of tin walls and plastic roofing.
Set off south to the stunning seaboard of the Dolphin Coast. Blessed with copious beaches, green bush and wondrous wildlife, the coastline also contains a richness of culture with its indigenous Zulu community and historic European, Indian and French-Mauritian influences. Thompson’s Bay is one of the best-kept local secrets, where you’ll find Charlie’s Pool, an Olympic-sized tidal pool built by one of the early settlers. For a little bit of luxury and style, go to Ballito, the pearl of the Dolphin Coast that is home to several modern shops and chic restaurants.
You won’t go far before reaching the Wine Region of South Africa, which offers the ever changing colors of the mountains, scenic passes and rivers. This route includes the finest vineyards, where you’ll be able to enjoy your choice of guided wine tours in South Africa.
With surprises around every corner, a South Africa travel experience has everything to match any traveler’s pace — from relaxation to action! Dare to do more than just dream by contacting us today. You won’t have to lift a finger to get the perfect accommodations, South African tours, activities and all of the other vacation extras that’ll make this trip the most memorable of all.