What to do in South Africa: the highlights
From wildlife & wineries, to mountains & beaches: South Africa has it all!
South Africa has such a wide variety to offer. In addition to the large amounts of wildlife, we were mostly surprised by the rough mountain landscapes, the endless plains and the beauty of the country. And besides all this: Cape Town… wow! The capital is hip, relaxed and delightful, all at the same. It’s great traveling around South Africa, rent a car and make a self-driven safari, spot some animals, make an occasional big walk through the mountains or along the beach or visit a picturesque fishing village or vineyard. It’s really nice. Plus, and you may not expect it, it is still doable for a reasonable price. These are our must-sees, our highlights of South Africa!
The South African capital has always been on my bucket list. And for good reason, it turns out. Wherever you are in the city, you can always see the impressive Table Mountain from anywhere. Add to this the beautiful beaches, the cozy terraces, the colorful markets and the trendy restaurants. Yes, I could live there.
Through one of the most beautiful car trails in the world, the Chapman’s Peak Drive, you drive up the peninsula. Make a stop at Simon’s Town for a swim with the penguins. Continue your route through the beautiful nature towards the rugged shores of Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point. You can make beautiful walks around here.
Wineries & Vineyards
Around Stellenbosch lies the wine region of South Africa. And even if you are not such a wine drinker, this area is still highly recommended. Drive through the wine route between Stellenbosch and the picturesque villages Franschhoek and Paarl. Visit some enjoyable wine farms, that are located in old cape-Dutch buildings. It’s a piece of history in some beautiful surroundings.
The Garden Route is a popular route that leads you along South Africa’s south coast. Along the way you will find astonishing fishing villages, amazing bays and national parks, where you can walk around and enjoy the beauty. To make a long story short, there’s enough to experience. The route extends roughly from Mossel Bay in the west to Port Elizabeth in the east.
Addo Elephant Park
You really should not miss this. In Addo Elephant Park you can see huge herds of elephants. A group of 75 of them together is not even an exception. There is much more to wildlife (yes, the big five), so there’s more than enough to spot. Try to stay at least for 2 days, and preferably spend the night in the park.
Tip: Go to Hapoor Dam between 10 am and 12 pm. You’ll have a good chance to see a whole gang of elephants there.
Valley of Desolation
This is a special landscape: the Valley of Desolation. When you find yourself on top of the rock, you’ll understand why they named it like that. You walk over 120m of steep rocks and look at the endless plain below you. That’s a real kick! You can find this natural wonder at Graaff-Reinet in the Camdeboo National Park.
This is a separate kingdom, so you have to cross the border. But if you make a trip through South Africa, you definitely should not skip Lesotho. It feels like going back in time. The population lives in typical round huts, rondavels, and moves around, wrapped in warm blankets, by donkey. You can take a nice walk or make a long donkey ride through the beautiful nature.
Kruger National Park
This is thé most known park of South Africa and probably one of the reasons why you want to make this trip anyway. Frankly, we expected it quite busy and touristy, but that was not even the case. It’s breath-taking! There are huge herds of animals to spot, anything you want. Make sure to go on an evening safari when the animals go hunting. The best campsite is located at Lower Sabie.
Highlights of South Africa: Johannesburg
Often, Johannesburg is skipped because it is supposed to be a dangerous city. But maybe that’s when you’re in the wrong neighborhood. We have had a crazy time in the Melville district. We have been hanging around in the city, visiting the Apartheid Museum. Yes, we found it an interesting place.
West Coast National Park
The west coast is often skipped during a trip through South Africa. But if you have enough time, it really makes sense to go here too. You will find authentic fishing villages like Lamberts Bay and Paternoster, the Cederberg, where you can walk around in peace and you have the West Coast National Park. Bring your swimsuit along, because you can swim in the azure blue lagoon.
If you want to find out more about South Africa, or other destinations, visit hipontrip.nl