South Africa offers so much to see and do! The best part is that you’ll experience places and things not to be found anywhere else on Earth.
So whether you’re a visitor or a new resident, be sure to put these 11 must-do’s on your list:
1. Drive Chapman’s Peak
Chapman’s Peak Drive winds from Hout Bay to Noordhoek and is widely regarded as one of the most scenic stretches of road in the world. Motorists navigate more than 100 bends, corners and curves along the 9km route and enjoy breath-taking views.
Chappies, as it’s fondly known to locals, was constructed during the First World War. In the year 2000 Chappies was closed for much-needed safety upgrades. The route opened again in 2003 and the engineers involved with the project received numerous awards for their ingenuity.
2. Visit Cape Point
When you reach the end of Chapman’s Peak Drive, continue driving until you reach Cape Point. Cape Point is a nature reserve within the Table Mountain National Park and a Natural World Heritage Site.
You’ll feel like you’re at the end of the earth when gazing out over the ocean atop dramatic cliffs that tower above the sea below. Aside from majestic views, Cape Point also offers hiking trails, picnic spots, tidal pools, diverse fauna and flora, and cultural and historical spots. It’s best to set aside an entire day when visiting!
3. Stand at the southernmost tip of Africa
Many people mistakenly believe that Cape Point is the most southern point of Africa. However, that honour belongs to Cape Agulhas which is roughly 220km from Cape Town.
A trip to Cape Agulhas can be turned into a weekend away or even a quick two-day break. Take the scenic route home to explore charming little towns such as Gansbaai, Betty’s Bay, and Pringle Bay.
4. Surf the coasts
South Africa has some of the best surfing conditions in the world. Some of the top spots can be found at Elands Bay, Durban, Llandudno, and Jeffrey’s Bay, who often plays host to some of the biggest surfing competitions in the world. Be sure to pack a wetsuit as some of these spots are along the cold Atlantic Ocean.
5. Visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site
South Africa is home to no less than 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most famous of the sites are Robben Island, the Cradle of Humankind and the Vredefort Dome, which is the largest verified impact crater on Earth.
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is arguably the most scenically beautiful site on the list. It covers an area of more than 200 000 hectares and includes a wide range of pristine marine, coastal, wetland, estuarine, and terrestrial environments that are almost untouched by humans.
6. Explore the Wild Coast
The Wild Coast is one of the most rugged and beautiful parts of South Africa. It lies in the Eastern Cape and stretches from just beyond East London to Port Edward. The area is mostly untouched and uninhabited, from the remote, cliff-lined beaches to the green rolling hills and the river valleys.
7. Go into the wild
South Africa’s many national parks are perfect for anyone who wants to reconnect with nature. You can see the Big 5, bird-watch to your heart’s content, relax around the campfire, and gaze up into clear night skies. At the top of your list should be the Kruger National Park, the Addo Elephant National Park, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, and the Tankwa Karoo National Park.
8. Visit Soweto
Soweto, part of Johannesburg, is steeped in history and culture. Its most famous street is Vilakazi Street where both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu once lived. Another famous Sowetan is Walter Sisulu, an anti-apartheid activist who was also jailed on Robben Island.
Soweto is also home to the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum which commemorates the Soweto uprising on June 16, 1976. Today, June 16th is Youth Day, a public holiday in South Africa.
9. Eat a traditional South African meal
Go the Bo-Kaap, Cape Town’s famous colourful neighbourhood, for ‘koesisters’; tuck into bunny chow in Durban; ask an Afrikaans ‘tannie’ (aunty) for malva pudding and milktart; and take a chance on West Coast bokkoms. Of course you should also try pap and wors, mopane worms, biltong, and the most treasured of all South Africans meals – the braai. Not to be called a barbeque at any time!
10. Appreciate the great outdoors
When we say ‘great’ we mean the vast landscapes you can find within South Africa’s borders. You should head to the Drakensburg, the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, and the Richtersveld. In the Drakensburg you’ll find towering mountains, the Blyde River Canyon opens up the earth beneath you, and the Richtersveld surrounds you with nothing for miles and miles.
11. And for the adventurous…
There are more than enough activities in South Africa to get your adrenaline pumping. You can go zip lining, bungee jumping off Bloukrans Bridge or the Soweto Towers, rope swinging at Durban’s Moses Mabida Stadium, rafting down the Orange River, and so much more.