SOUTH AFRICA What to See and Do

SOUTH AFRICA What to See and Do – Guide 2024

Things to see in South Africa, like those to do in this wonderful country at the southern tip of the African continent, are numerous thanks to its landscape and cultural variety , offering plenty to visit. Passing through its hinterland, populated by the animals of the savannah its a Garden Route during your trip to South Africa!. So let’s see in our guideCape Town, arriving at its capital: with its sheer cliffs and dedicate yourself to adventure along the Cape of Good Hope. Let yourself be amazed by the Stellenbosch and Paarl and the vineyards of Western Cape, to the majestic beaches of the national parks

South Africa, Why Visit It

Visiting South Africa, a country on the southernmost tip of Africa, means taking a trip to a land of many ecosystems. Wonderful landscapes and vibrant cultural activity, thanks to its rich history. Popular destination for safaris in its hinterland in the national parks, but not only. The most curious travelers remain fascinated by this land thanks to its charm and the numerous attractions it offers throughout the year. Furthermore, its landscape offers breathtakingdeserts, mountains, beaches, rugged cliffs and cities rich in art and culture. As well as historical sites and spaces where you can enjoy a holiday full of adventureadventure.

Furthermore, in South Africa we find one of the best climates in the world, generally always sunny and temperate cradle of humanity, as well as theoldest mountains in the world. Here, we will find some of the ruins of the African kingdom and more current traces of the fight against apartheid . In the south of the country, we find Cape of Good Hope, popular for its views. While the Kruger National Park is the most popular destination for safaris and spotting the Big Five. Cape Town, its capital, is a place full of places to discover and culture. Johannesburg, however, is the largest city, where the house-museum of Nelson Mandela is located . But South Africa has much more…

Let’s see together the 10 main things to see in South Africa in this guide, thus making your trip unique.

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Read also: 12 top tourist attractions in Cape Town and easy day trips

What to See South Africa – 10 Things to See

After the introductions, let’s go and see together what to see in South Africa during our trip. This country at the extreme south of the African continent, in fact, offers many things to see and do.

Here, you will find the map of South Africa, with the most significant places highlighted, thus discovering what to see here during your trip. Subsequently, we will analyze them in detail in our guide on Things to Visit in South Africa.

1. Cape Town

Among the first things to see in our guide to South Africa could only be its capital, Cape Town. Located at the foot of the immense Table Mountain, this port city on the peninsula in the south-western area of ​​the country offers many attractions. From the lively port, where ferries depart for Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was, today museum. The spectacular cable car which will take us to the tip of the mountain, from the characteristic flat top, from which to enjoy a unique view of Cape Town. This city has its origins in 1652, as the country’s first European settlement and capital of the Cape Colony until 1910. Until 1994 capital of the province.

This city has also seen very important historical events, from the landing of the Dutch settlers to Mandela’s post-apartheid speech. Traces of its history are also clearly visible from thecolonial and Victorian style architecture. Coming into contrast with the marvelous botanical gardens, such as the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kirstenbosch Gardens, among modern skyscrapers. Among the things to see in the capital of South Africa, don’t miss the oldest building in the country. Built by the Dutch East India Company in 1666, the Castle of Good Hope , and the colorful neighborhood Bo-Kaap; among the oldest and most evocative. Waterfront, the Victorian harbor, is home to the Museum of Contemporary Art MOCAA. To observe its iconic penguins, instead, go to Boulders Beach, near Simon’s Town.

Case Colorate Cape Town
The colorful houses, symbol of Cape Town

2. Johannesburg

In the province of Gauteng and its capital founded in 19th century as a gold mining settlement, Johannesburg is among the most important places to see in South Africa during your trip. Among the main cities of the country, here we find Soweto, a very colorful township where Desmond Tutu and Mandela lived; where his house museum is also located. For this reason, in Johannesburg we also find the Apartheid museum at Constitution Hill. In the past prison, today it allows us to retrace the history of segregation and its struggle. Today, the city does not enjoy a very good reputation, but in reality it is a cosmopolitan city and the economic center of all Africa.

There is also an increase in rcreative realities and there is a pulsating sub-urban culture Rosebank, the cultural center of the city.Newtown Braamfontein to Nelson Mandela Bridge, international cuisines and many clubs. Among the other neighborhoods not to be missed here in South Africa, we find it connected to the restaurants is also worth a visit, discovering a place full of Melrose, bargain and enjoy street food. The quiet neighborhood of local crafts, where you can discoveraAfrican Craft Markets . Among the things to visit and do in this South African city, don’t miss the

Nelson Mandela Bridge Johannesburg - What to see in South Africa - What to see in South Africa
Il Nelson Mandela Bridge, a Johannesburg

3. Pretoria

The administrative capitalof South Africa and a city worth seeing during your trip, Pretoria has a lot to offer the most curious traveller. Located along the Apies River and reaching east, under the Magaliesberg mountains , is also known as Jacaranda City due to its vegetation. The first settlement in the area dates back to 1855, by Marthinus Wessel Pretorius and, until 1902, it was the capital of the independent Boer state of the Transvaal. Here, important historical events also took place, such as the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging, which ended the Anglo-Boer War. Among the places to see during your trip to South Africa, between wonderful green areas and modern residential neighborhoods, we also find important Universities, such as that of Pretoria and the South Africa.

City of culture and home to the country’s National Library and state archives, it hosts the Transvaal Museum, with important collections regarding natural history. To delve deeper into South African art, head to the Municipal Art Gallery and the Pretoria Art Museum to observe the Flemish art that developed here in the 17th century. In Pretoria we can also pay a visit to the South African State Theatre, a huge complex with various theaters inside, where concerts, shows and ballets are held . Not just a cultural city, but also where you can breathe in the nature of the country, as at the National Zoological Gardens or in its Botanical Gardens. Finally, don’t miss the Kruger Museum; ancient residence of the president of the former Boer Republic, dating back to 1884.

Pretoria City Hall
Pretoria City Hall

4. Cape of Good Hope

Between history and legend, the Cape of Good Hope is among the things you absolutely must see during a trip to South Africa. Not only for its importance, but above all for the spectacle that will unfold before your eyes. First reached in 1487 by the Portuguese Diaz , it was only Vasco da Gama in 1497, however, to then also reach the Indies. Also included in one of the main works of Portuguese literature, The Lusiads, where the journey is compared to classical mythology and the place called Adamastor, becoming a rock giant as punishment for his love for Thetis. Furthermore, this place in the 17th century was at the center of the legends about theFlying Dutchman, ​​however sunk before managing to overcome it.

Today, it is found in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. It covers over 7,000 hectares along the coast and, since 1938, has hosted many animal and plant species. Incorrectly, this place is considered the southernmost of the continent, separating the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, but in reality this title belongs to Cape Agualhas, 200 km from here. Admire the breathtaking view along the coast and the cliff above 200 m above the sea. Furthermore, here you can admire whales and dolphins! For lovers of trekking, however, there are many routes available for various difficulties.

Cape of Good Hope - What to Visit in South Africa - Things to Visit in South Africa
Cape of Good Hope

5. East

In the Zulu language the place where the Sun rises, Mpumalanga, known until 1995 as Eastern Transvaal, for various reasons is among the things to see in South Africa. The province is located in the north-eastern area of ​​the country, covering only 6% of its surface area and the capital is Mbombela. Mpumalanga and its beauty will leave you breathless thanks to the gems it contains within it, offering numerous things to do and see here in South Africa. From the Dragon Mountains, the canyons, including the third deepest in the world, and the Olifants and Blyde rivers, which over the millennia have shaped the surrounding landscape.

As seen, despite being a very small province, it is also full of things to do and see thanks to its landscape variety. An unmissable destination for lovers of outdoor sports, there are rope descents along beautiful waterfalls, facilities for canoeing, tubing and rafting, but also routes for cycling and walking, immersed in nature. Furthermore, from here it is possible to enter the Kruger National Park. In addition to hosting the ancient and deep canyons, national parks and theoldest caves in the world, Madagascar and Antarctica were found here 4 billion years ago they are divided.

Bourke's Luck Potholes Mpumalanga
The geological attraction of Bourke’s Luck Potholes, in Mpumalanga

6. Garden Route

An absolutely unmissable destination among the things to see in South Africa, the Garden Route offers travelers wonderful landscapes and natural beauty about 300 km long. Starting from Mossel Bay, arriving at Plettenberg Bay, from west to east . Along this road, among the things to visit and do in South Africa, we can find beautiful beaches along the coast, hills , lakes and mountains in inland, dividing the Garden Route from the Little Karoo. The paths that wind from here offer trekkingtrekking routes for every level, its rivers canoeing adventures and forest itineraries among the ancient trees. Thanks to its worldwide popularity and the current offer, today here we find tourist facilities of high standards and restaurants of all kinds.

This route will offer you one of the most beautiful coastal stretches in the country, even if its actual start is still disputed between Witsand, Albertina and Stilbaai, ending in the Tstisikamma forest. Among the places to see along this stretch of South Africa, don’t miss the Cango Caves, natural chambers and limestone caves near Oudtshoorn, capital town of the Klein Karoo in an arid valley and habitat of ostriches. Other unmissable stops include Mossel Bay, George and the city of Knysna, where the oyster festival is held. Finally, a popular destination for hikers, we find the Wilderness National Park.

Garden Route - Things to See in South Africa - South Africa Things to See
The fascinating Garden Route

7. Deserto del Kalahari

The sixth largest desert in the world, the Kalahari extends into Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, and it is one of the places you absolutely must visit during your trip. With a surface area of ​​approximately 930,000 km², it is an arid place with a steppe climate, characterized by red sand a> a>, such as the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Khutse Game Reserve.numerous nature reserves. Furthermore, this desert also contains

This apparently inhospitable area is also the home of theancient Bushman people, who have still been gatherers and hunters for twenty thousand years. Furthermore, the Kalahari desert is divided into different areas: the fertile area called Green Kalahari< at i=6>, along the Orange River, and the arid zone. Furthermore, this place is one of the most popular places to see in South Africa for a safari, but also in the world. Here, in fact, we find lions, hyenas, antelopes, birds and reptiles, as well as unique vegetation, including acacias and grasses.

Zebras Kalahari Desert
Zebras in the Kalahari desert

8. Limpopo

The northernmost province of South Africa, Limpopo, is among the places that cannot be missed among the things to see. Furthermore, it is located on the border with Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Waterberg.Lapalala area on decidedly less busy routes. Here, in fact, we find Marakele National Park and the Welgewonden Game Reserve, despite being private, and thebetween history and legend, but we can find, among the things to do and visit in South Africa, an immense heritage cultural Mpumalanga. Still outside the major tourist itineraries, despite being close to Mapungubwe civilization with the ruins of the ancient archaeological site. In this province, we also find an Unesco in a protected natural area and Reserve 15,000 km². This mountainous group extends over over of the biosphere, hosting the Botswana

This South African province, thanks to its still rooted traditions, is also the ideal place to discover thecrafts of the area and and ruler of the ancient people of Fundudzi lake, such as horse riding and spotting the Big Five.sports climate, we find the cultivation of avocados and macadamia nuts. This place is also a paradise for lovers of subtropical. In its southern area, thanks to the and theSacred Forest of the indigenous people, can make the rain fall. Furthermore, we also find ancestral places with spiritual significance, such as thebond system of government and they believe that his queens, thanks to an occult matrilineal tribe, still today, has a Bantu. The Balobeduqueen of the rain, Makobo Modjadji VI

Blyde River Limpopo - What to do in South Africa - Things to do in South Africa
Il fiume Blyde, nel Limpopo

9. Winelands

Among marvelous vineyards, a paradise of excellent wines, companies, farms surrounded by mountains and luxuriant valleys, we find the area of ​​Winelands, or Capewinelands by the French Huguenots.Franschhoek by the Dutch and Stellenbosch, when 18th century. Activity present in the area since the times of colonial settlements, in the viticulture to allow ideal present is microclimateinland, gradually rising in altitude between the mountain ranges. Here, the City of Head extends from plateau. Among the things to see absolutely in South Africa especially because of its wonderful landscapes, this

Thanks to its historical heritage, in Paarl we can observe ancient colonial houses, savor excellent cuisine throughout the area, accompanied – obviously – by excellent wines and observe breathtaking landscapes. Furthermore, among the things to do here there is no shortage of outdoor activities, such as mountain biking, paths to do on foot or on horseback, in the various companies to enjoy a unique, hands-on experience with the territory.harvesting activitiese wine safari

The landscapes of the Winelands

10. Hermanus

In the past a fishing village, today Hermanus is a lively city, among the things to visit in South Africa during the trip and where there are numerous tourist facilities. About 120 km from Cape Town, this is among the most popular destinations in the country for excursions a> without taking a boat.whale-whatching, making it the best place in the world for Walker Bay area from June to December in the for South Africans thanks to its wonderful beaches. But the popularity of the location is above all due to the presence of many Southern Right Whales holiday resort and as a

In summer, as mentioned, the bay, thanks to its mild temperatures and little wind, becomes the ideal place to relax in paragliding, dedicated to the relationship between the city and whales.Old Harbor Museum. Finally, in the center of the city we find the , a place popular worldwide among those who practice Fernwood. Also nearby we find the nature reserve of swimming with white sharks, a popular destination for Gansbaai on the shore. Furthermore, near Hermanus, we find the town of sunset under the sun or stop in a café here to watch the beach

Hermanus Panorama - What to See in South Africa - What to See in South Africa in 10 Days - What to See in South Africa in 15 Days
Panorama of Hermanus

What to do in South Africa, the 5 experiences not to be missed

During your stay in South Africa, in addition to visiting the main attractions and islands described previously in our guide, we would also like to point out the trip to South Africa will surely unite the desires of all travellers.local food and history, adventure, culture to do here, thus making your stay truly unique. Between activities

So let’s not waste time and discover together the 5 experiences not to be missed in South Africa!

1. Adrenaline-filled activities

As we have seen, among the things to do in South Africa there is no shortage of proposals for outdoor activities; especially those dedicated to adrenaline lovers! From lovers of water sports, trekking and climbing, everyone will find what they want in a true natural paradise. At Jeffreys Bay, in the Eastern Cape area, we find the perfect waves . A popular destination for surfers in a fishing community, it is known worldwide and the surfing season starts from April in September. Near the city of Clarens, however, we find the Ash River, where rafting is popular , while moving to Golden Gate Highlands National Park we find excursions on horseback, on foot or by mountain bike, along wonderful rocky landscapes and among ancient rock paintings.

In the Soweto neighborhood of Johannesburg, the Orlando Towers offer the experience of bungee jumping while remaining in the city and in safety. For those seeking real adrenaline, however, by moving to Dyer Island or Hout Bay from April to October, we can dive for swimming with great white sharks; obviously protected inside a cage. Furthermore, in South Africa among the things to do it is also possible to experience the zip line in the gorges of the Kruger National Park , climb along the walls of the Sudwala Caves and go diving in Kwazulu -Natal.

Kayak Storms River
Kayak adventure on the Storms River, along the Garden Route

2. Safari in Kruger National Park

Obviously, among the most popular things to do in South Africa during your trip, we find a safari inside the Kruger National Park. A unique experience to discover not only wonderful animals, but also incredible nature, among unique landscapes, different ecosystems and finding ourselves very close to its wildlife . A secret dream for many people and an unforgettable adventure that will remain in your hearts forever. This national park, in fact, is a paradise for those who want to observe wild animals in their natural habitat, especially the Big Five: rhinos, buffaloes , leopards, elephants and, of course, lions!

The history of the park is ancient and fascinating, being explored for the first time by the Dutch East India Company and becoming a protected area in 1898 by the government of the Republic of South Africa, under the name of Sabi Game Reserve; as a hunting reserve. Following its opening to the public in 1926, the park could only be visited until 1982 by a train that stopped in the park for a day. Today, inside we find numerous tourist facilitiesand it boasts as many as 6 ecosystems . For entry, there are 11 gates and it is necessary to pass through one of them. For the safari it is possible to choose between self-drive or with specialized guides; definitely the best way to discover the park.

Kruger National Park Elephant Safari - South Africa What to Visit - What to Visit South Africa
Elephants al Kruger National Park

3. Trekking along incredible routes

An increasingly popular destination among hikers from all over the world, tekking cannot be missing among the things to do in South Africa. Thanks to unrivaled mountains in Africa, although in Lesotho we find Kilimanjaro and it is the highest country in the world, in South Africa we find over 3,700 trekking routes and suggestive trails. Among unique landscapes, mountains, coast and many biodiversity, we also find routes that do not require guides, allowing us a perfect backpacking trip. Among the oldest routes, dating back to 1986, and the most popular ones, we find theOtter Trail.

Can be done in approximately five days, it runs along the coast between Storms River Mouth and Nature’s Valley, within the Garden Route National Park. In about three days, for about 40 km, from April to October we find trekking in the Augrabies Falls National Park< /span>. This route is divided into 9 parts, each lasting approximately 7 days.between Cape Town and George. A route between valleys and mountains in the Western Cape, along the Cederberg and Outeniqua ranges, Rim of Africa; traveling through incredible desert scenery. Furthermore, for the more experienced hikers, we find the guided trekking of the

Trekking Cape Town
Trekking a Cape Town, sulla Table Mountain

4. Enjoy traditional cuisine

Among the things to do in South Africa, you cannot miss ataste experience among the flavors of its cuisine. South African dishes, in fact, are the fruit of the numerous ethnic and cultural influences present in the area, as well as the legacy of its colonial past. In the country, thanks to external influences and the numerous trade exchanges between Asia and Europe, a unique cuisine of its kind has been created. Furthermore, most of the dishes are meat-based and barbecue is used a lot . True melting-pot experience known for its variety such as Rainbow Cuisine.

South African dishes have flavors reminiscent of Indonesian, Portuguese, French, Dutch and German cuisine, but also Asian and Malaysian. Among the most popular dishes, we find the Gatsby, a stuffed and elongated sandwich typical of Cape Town. Another very popular dish are samosas, coming from Indian cuisine, Boerie Rolls, similar to hot dogs, and among the desserts the Melktert, Dutch heritage. Another very common type of cooking, beyond the grill, and in stew or using the Potjie: a large pot cooked on the fire.

Potjiekos Typical Stew - South Africa Things to See
Potjiekos, typical South African food cooked in a small pot

5. Watch whales in Hermanus

Finally, among the best experiences and unmissable activities to do in South Africa, you cannot miss seeing the southern right whales in Hermanus. Beyond the Big Five, in fact, not everyone knows that this country at the southern tip of the African continent is also the best place to spot these incredible animals. The town of Hermanus, 115 km from Cape Town, overlooking rugged coastsoffers approximately 14 km of cliffs, panoramic sheer paths and many related tourist attractions to the relationship between the city and the whales. Furthermore, it also offers unique panoramic points that allow the most adventurous travelers to spot whales.

Huge animals, but in water with incredible elegance for a unique show and an unmissable experience during your trip to South Africa. The best period for sightings in Hermanus is from June to November, while the migration period is from July to October, moving from the cold waters of the ‘Arctic to those of South Africa. For this event, the Whale Festival >, celebrating the return of the whales to Walker Bay with a calendar full of events, always respecting nature and the environment. Absolutely among the things to visit in South Africa, perhaps during this incredible eco-festival.

whale watching - south africa what to do see visit
Whale watching in Hermanus

What to See in South Africa, Recommended Itineraries

So, after seeing what to see, visit and do in South Africa you are ready to pack your bags and go!

Therefore, let’s discover the itineraries together based on your needs. Here’s what to visit in South Africa!

South Africa What to See in 10 Days

To discover South Africa in about 10 days through a cultural tour from Cape Town to Johannesburg, we recommend our Classic South Africa Tour. The journey dedicated to those who want to experience all the emotions of the Rainbow Country, including cultural testimonies and natural attractions.

Classic South Africa Tour

In brief: South Africa 10 days group tour to discover the country.
Itinerary: Cape Town , Pretoria, Mpumalanga, Karongwe Game Reserve.
Duration: 10 days – 7 nights

Japan What to See in 15 Days

If you have two weeks at your disposal, however, we recommend adding a visit to the wonders of Zimbabwe to your South Africa Tour, arriving at the Victoria Falls with our South Africa and Victoria Falls Tour. The trip will also end with a Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi River.

Tour South Africa and Victoria Falls

In brief: South Africa and Victoria Falls 12 days group tour.
Itinerary: Cape Town, Mpumalanga, Victoria Falls.
Duration: 12 days – 9 nights
Confirmed Departures
Code: SAARCH1201

How to Visit South Africa?

Now that you have a clearer idea of ​​what to see on your trip to South Africa, before leaving we recommend that you find out as much information as possible about the documents needed for entry. Visit our Safe Travel section for all the necessary information and the various restrictions.

Furthermore, considering the latitude of South Africa, before organizing a trip to the country it is important to also take into consideration its climate, organizing yourself in based on the areas we want to visit. For those who want to experience a safari here, the ideal period is from April to October, while for the Western Cape area, the best is from November to March.

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Read also:10 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Pretoria

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