South Africa is one of vibrant countries filled with wildlife, adventure travel (you might like reading about my adventures in Israel too), mountains, canyons and diverse culture. It sure does fill the travel bucket with wonderful memories. A well-made trip can be spread across Johannesburg being the largest city, home of Nelson Mandela with historical Apartheid museum and lots wildlife reserves.
Road along a safari to most renowned Kruger National Park to enjoy Africa’s Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo) spotting various animals and birds in their natural enclosure.
Then signing on to Capetown, mother city along the coastal side with Table Mountain (one of modern wonders of the World), Cape of Good Hope, some of the most beautiful beaches in the world with blue flag status – meeting global standards. Durban city adds extra dimension to the adventure freaks with sites to Skydive, Big Swing from football stadium, Ocean walking and Shark cage diving if you want to dare your adrenaline quest!
In short, you will have the best trip of your lifetime in South Africa, with no regrets whatsoever.
Top Places to Visit:
- Kruger National Park – First place which strikes anyone visiting Africa would definitely be wildlife. Kruger park is the best place which completely fulfills not just spotting animals, but also in their natural habitat. Spend one or two full days doing safari in wild forest hunting new breeds of various animals and birds.
- Blyde Canyon by Sabie – Road trip along the beautiful landscapes of African mountains and canyons. Spectacular views along Three Rondavels, Gods Window, Blyde canyon and Sabie’s got amazing waterfalls on the way.
- Table Mountain – One of the seven modern wonders, located in Capetown and gives you breathtaking views at the top. A cable car takes you to the top of South African heaven where Atlantic ocean and Indian ocean meet. Its quite a scenic location that can never be missed.
- Cape of Good Hope – At the southern end of Cape peninsula is yet another popular tourist point which should be visited. Drive along the coastal shore to experience more of oceanic beauty its got to offer. Climb to the peak and enjoy the sunset views.
- Robben Island – Cruise along Capetown to one of South Africa’s historical place where Nelson Mandela had been imprisoned for almost 20 years. Now Robben island is a world heritage sight and museum offering daily tours. Learn more about Apartheid where black people were kept in Robben island as political prisoners.
- Cullinan/Kimberley Diamond Mines – Another place South Africa has been famous is diamonds. Visit the famous mines and take a tour along underground caves where diamonds were excavated and learn a lot more about diamonds and their history. Shop original diamonds which are quite authentic and given with proper warranty. (If you LOVE to shop, read about Shopping in Ladies’ Market, Hong Kong)
- Wildlife Predator Parks – Spend more time with wildlife and feel close with African predators. There are plenty of sanctuaries where you can roam around, touch lion cubs, tigers, leopards and play with various animals well trained for tourists. Lion and Rhino park, Crocodile park and Pillanesburg national park are good ones to visit.
- Skydive/Bungee Jump – South Africa drives you to a lot of adventures which will make your adrenaline pumping. Johannesburg / Durban / Capetown have their own skydiving centres to book. Bloukrans bridge in Capetown’s got worlds 4th highest bungee jump (216m).
- Shark Cage Diving/Whale watching – Getting more into deadly adventures, South Africa is never short of it. Plunge into an ocean with sharks running around you (Of course inside a cage!). Durban and Capetown has got places where you experience sharks in action, or watch blue whales, dolphins jump around, penguins walking whatever you want.
- Lesedi Cultural Village – Experience various tribal dances and their culture close up with the African locals. Enrich your memories dancing along, trying some local foods and the history featuring various tribes.
2 to 3 weeks would make a good trip giving enough space to cover most places of South Africa. Tourists who are choosy to just wildlife can do 1 week trip covering Kruger National Park and few wildlife reserves around Johannesburg.
Best time to travel to South Africa:
The best time to visit Kruger and most wildlife parks is from May to September. This is the Dry season and animals move around waterholes and rivers. South Africa is generally busiest during the summer months of November – March. Other busy holiday periods are over Easter and during the local June/July school holiday period. For visitors preferring a cooler temperature, fewer tourists and less crowds in general its worth considering visiting in the off-peak months of April/May or September/October You may also be able to take advantage of seasonal discounts at these times.
Best mode of Transport:
Rental car (Avis, Europcar and many). As public transport across South Africa is not upto the mark as in developed countries, its best advised to rent a car and plan along any place of interest.
Cheap and good B&B’s, cottages available across most places in South Africa which could be booked well in advance through sites such as Airbnb, booking.com sites.
Best Flights and deals for a trip to South Africa:
Off-peak period might have some cheap flights. However its best advised to keep checking various sites on regular basis to get good deals. Some of the recommended sites are given below. (Book any flight of your choice Emirates, South African airlines, Air India flights)
What to eat in South Africa:
South Africa is a land for all meat lovers. Non-vegetarians be prepared to keep your taste buds on hunt. Some of the famous dishes are listed below
- Bobotie – South African dish that has Cape Malay origins. It consists of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping
- Braai – For a real taste of South Africa an authentic braai or shisanyama (‘burn the meat’ in Zulu) is an eating experience not to be missed.
- Bunny chow – This street food of Durban has become popular across South Africa. Hollowed out loaves of bread, stuffed with spicy curry were originally created by the immigrant Indian community in the Natal area of Durban and served to workers for lunch.
- Malva pudding – A Dutch import, malva pudding is a sweet and sticky baked sponge pudding made with apricot jam and served smothered in a hot cream sauce.
- Biltong – made from beef or game, such as springbok, biltong (a thinly sliced, air-dried meat) are traditionally eaten as snacks.
- Boerewors – traditional South African sausage made from beef, mixed with either pork or lamb and a mixture of spices.
All in all, South Africa is a destination that will delight and thrill you to no end. So, plan your trip soon!
— This is a Guest Post on Aditi’s Monologue, and I hope to visit South Africa very soon. —
About The Author:
Vijay Ram is a techie and globetrotter with an endless bucket list. More of a bookworm and later turned to wanderlust, exploring as much of the world one can. A pursuit which began on a small venture to Asia with friends and later expanded with work travelling across Africa, Middle East, United Kingdom and a lot in Europe (35 countries, 65+ cities and counting). He says “Choosing to travel places is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I’m glad I’ve come along for the ride till date. To me travel isn’t just about being on a holiday or relaxing in a spa, but all about meeting new people, trying out yummy food, venturing into the unknown, daring out with adventures, experiencing other cultures and doing silly things, at times.” #Travelnbetterblog