7 unique and must-have experience in South Africa



If you have not travelled across South Africa, it’s time that you need to tick off things from our bucket list, which should include destinations, as well as must-try experiences.

And, if you are not sure about the reason to plan your next trip, we are here to help you.

Here is a list of unique experiences that you can enjoy during your next trip in South Africa.

1. Safari

South Africa is home to a wide variety of safari experiences, and opportunities to see the so-called Big Five (lion, elephant, rhinoceros, leopard and cape buffalo). Kruger National Park in the northeastern corner of the country is the best-known safari spot, but there are game reserves dotted throughout the country. Many South Africa vacation packages will include at least one safari stay, with sunrise and sunset game drives each day. This is when the animals are most active.

You’ll choose between safaris in a national park and a private game reserve. The national parks are usually less expensive and may have a wider range of accommodations. Private game reserves are often more luxurious and offer more flexibility on safari (off-road driving to get closer to the animals and night game drives). Many lodges are fully inclusive — meals and game drives are already part of the price.

At night, enjoy a boma dinner around a communal campfire. Don’t forget to look up — the stargazing is also breathtaking.

2. Table Mountain

Pick out a picture frame in one of Cape Town’s many markets — then climb atop Table Mountain to take a photo to hang in that frame on your wall back home.

You can take a cable car from Cape Town and be at the top of Table Mountain in about five minutes. The ride alone can be worth the price for the stunning aerial views as you climb more than 3,500 feet from sea level to “see level.” Once at the top, more than a mile of trails and lookouts allow you to view Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula from a variety of vantage points.

The mountain can often be shrouded in cloud cover (called a “table cloth” by some), we suggest taking advantage of the first clear day to reach the summit and fill up your Instagram.

3. Robben Island

The prison home of Nelson Mandela for 18 of his 27 years of captivity is a humbling reminder of South Africa’s freedom struggle. You can walk in the footsteps of Mandela, see his tiny jail cell and learn about the hard labor endured by the prisoners of the apartheid regime.

It’s a visit that’s moving and memorable, and it really frames the remarkable nature of the nation’s resurgence since these dark days. Consider this: Three of South Africa’s presidents served time as political prisoners on Robben Island, including Jacob Zuma.

Robben Island is a short boat ride from Cape Town and tickets sell out weeks in advance, so this is one thing you want to make sure you plan ahead.

4. The Cape of Good Hope

A short drive from Cape Town is another wow moment — the Cape of Good Hope, so-named by European explorers sailing around the southern tip of Africa. Standing here, staring out at the Atlantic and Indian oceans feels like you’re at the end of the world.

Cape Point is surrounded by a nature reserve, so it’s a mini safari on the drive. (Lock your doors — the baboons may try to join you in the car.) Along the drive from Cape Town, stop at Boulders Beach to see the penguins sun themselves on the sand.

5. Garden Route

A road trip along the coast on the Garden Route is a must. This is a stretch best explored without a schedule, as you navigate winding coastal roads; check out forests and lakes in the conservation areas that dot the coast; visit Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world; and hang out eating fresh oysters in tiny seaside towns like Wilderness and Knysna.

Plettenberg Bay is renowned for whale watching and Jeffreys Bay is a fabled surf spot. The adventurous will want to stop and take the plunge at the Bloukrans Bungee. This is the highest bridge jump in the world at 709 feet.

6. Shark Cage Diving

If witnessing the Big Five on safari or springing off the world’s third tallest bridge isn’t enough of an adrenaline rush, then it’s time to get in the cage.

Shark cage diving off the South African coast is one of those wow moments. It’s almost an out of body experience as you come face to face (behind thick steel bars) with the steely eyed stare of a great white.

7. Blyde River Canyon

The third-largest canyon in the world, Blyde River Canyon is yet another example that South Africa was blessed when it came to handing out stunning vistas. (One is even called God’s Window.)

The canyon is located in the same province as the popular safari spot Kruger National Park. You can drive to viewpoints along the Panorama Route for incredible sights, hike to waterfalls such as Lisbon Falls or Berlin Falls and relive the Gold Rush years in towns like Gaskrop.

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