Things to See and Do in South Africa
There are lots of things to see and do in South Africa. From national parks and wildlife reserves to historical sites there are amazing places to visit in South Africa;
Along the Wild Coast in South Africa is the small community of Coffee Bay. In this small town you can only find some huts, a trading store, a camping site and a hotel, but there is a stunning coast and untouched beaches between the hills and the sea that compensate for the lack of facilities. Coffee Bay takes its name from a cargo ship that shipwrecked ashore the Bay in the 19th century and spilled coffee beans on the shore.
This Bay offers challenging walks through coastal bush and hills. One of the major attractions is the `hole in the wall’ and its amazing rock formation.
Coffee Bay is accessible by tarred road and is the perfect place for those tourists who are looking for a relaxed atmosphere, with activities like walking, swimming; shell collecting, fishing, surfing and hiking.
Addo Elephant Park
Addo Elephant National Park is an elephant park situated close to Port Elizabeth . It was founded in 1931, in order to provide a sanctuary for the eleven remaining elephants in the area. The park proved very successful and currently 450 elephants, 400 Cape Buffalo , some 48 endangered Black Rhino as well as various antelope species habitat this park. Lion and spotted hyena has also been re-introduced to the park recently. A unique species that is only found in this area is the flightless dung beetle.
The park has been extended from the Sunday River mouth to Alexandria including also a marine reserve. This expansion means that the park contains five of South Africa’s seven major vegetation zones but also that it is probably the only park in the world to house the Big 7 -elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard, whale and great white shark – in their natural habitat.
The Tsitsikamma National Park is a coastal reserve on the Garden Route and is well known for its indigenous forests, the Otter Trail and scenic coastline. Tsitsikamma means place of abundant water. A few of the attractions are Nature’s Valley, Storm’s River Mouth and the Bloukrans Bridge, the world’s highest Bungee jump .
At Storms river one finds various amenities such as a restaurant, shop, chalets, camp site and caravan park, information centre, lookout platform and various trails. While at storms river, walk over the hanging bridge for a thrilling experience.
The Garden Route
The Garden Route is a scenic stretch of coast, which stretches from Mossel Bay to the Storms River. The Garden Route includes towns such as Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley.
The Route passses between the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountains and the Indian Ocean. The Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma indigenous forests offer hiking trails and eco-tourism activities. Some 300 species of birdlife are found in different habitats ranging from fynbos to forest to wetlands.
The Garden Route coast is home to soft coral reefs, dolphins, whales, seals and various other marine lives. The most popular town that offers unique opportunities for whale watching is Hermanus. Whales can be viewed from a walkway on the cliffs where the whales swim just a few meters away from the shore and are very easy to spot.
The Garden Route is best viewed by self driving, but it is also possible to take Africa’s last remaining passenger steam train, the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe.
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve is a nature reserve in the Western Cape Province and lies three hours from Cape Town near Agulhas, the southern tip of Africa. De Hoop is one of the largest Nature Reserves managed by Cape Nat5ure.
The reserve lies on the southern Cape coast, and is renowned for its floral fynbos diversity, abundant bird life, natural beauty and wild antelope. It also offers spectacular whale-watching.
For a memorable experience, explore the pristine coastline, white sand dunes, limestone hills, and the Potberg Mountains. Along several walkways it is very common to meet some very cute dazzies and baboons.
Cape point covers the southernmost area of the Cape Peninsula, stretching from Cape Point and the the Cape of Good Hope in the south, as far north as Scarborough on the Atlantic coast and Simon`s Town on the False Bay coast.
Cape Point is very scenic and is formed by a rocky peninsula with stretches of small sandy beaches. At the southern end of the peninsula are Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope and on the northern end is the famous Table Mountain, overlooking Cape Town.
A must do activity is swimming with the great white shark in False bay next to seal island. There are various companies that offer this excursion and most of them guarantee great white sightings with breaching, early in the morning while the sharks are feeding.
While visiting Simon’s town area, do not miss boulders beach, home to a good number of cute jackass penguins.
Cape Town and Wine Land
Cape Town is the second major city in South Africa and is the provincial capital of the Western Cape. This city is famous for its harbour as well as its perfect setting in the Cape Floral Kingdom, including famous landmarks like Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Town is the most popular South African destinations for Tourism. It also offers various historical, ethnical and cultural attractions. On a visit to Cape Town one must visit the Green market for some good bargains of curios.
The Panorama Route is one of the most beautiful destinations in South Africa which leads through rugged mountain ranges. Here, the inland plateau declines steeply and opens up amazing views of the plains of the Lowveld and is best viewed in the dry winter months.
The most spectacular stretch is the Blyde River Canyon with a loop road a few kilometres north leading to “God’s Window”, which offers a wonderful view of the Lowveld. The Canyon starts at “Bourke’s Luck Potholes” and ends at the “Three Rondavels”. From certain lookouts one has a view of the 33 km long gorge. Bourke’s Potholes are round shaped rock formations, shaped millions of years ago by erosion.
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa covering 20,000 square kilometers and is divided in 14 different zones. The 8 main gates are the Paul Kruger, Numbi, Malelane, Crocodile Bridge, Punda Maria, Orpen, Phabeni, Phalaborwa and Pafuri.
All the Big Five game animals – Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino, Lion and Leopard – are found at Kruger National Park, which has more species of mammals than any other African Game Reserves.In the park one can find a large population of different species of birds, some are residents, others non-breeding migrants. Eagles, hippos, giraffes, wild dogs, hyenas, warthogs, snakes, zebras, many different species of antelopes and many other more wild animals are resident at the Kruger Park.
Kruger National Park offers some of the most Luxurious lodges starting from 5 star accommodation at quite high prices to 4 and 3 star which offer luxury with more basic accommodation. The San Park which is a government organisation, has lodges scattered all around the park with basic accommodation but very reasonable prices. All lodges offer game drives and walks for game viewing. It is highly recommend a minimum of a 2 night stay in a 5 or 4 star private game lodge for an unforgettable and realxing experience.
The Drakensberg is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa, in Zulu referred as uKhahlamba.
The mountain range’s most notable peaks include Champagne Castle, Giant’s Castle and Ben Macdhui and all of these peaks Border the country of Lesotho. Drakensberg Mountains are home to the world’s second-highest waterfall, the Tugela Falls with a drop of 947 meters.
Many of the caves found in the Drakensburg Mountains have Bushmen Rock Paintings. Here one can find the largest collection of such paint work in the world. Around 20,000 individual rock paintings have been recorded at 500 different caves. The oldest painting on a rock shelter wall in the Drakensberg dates back about 2400 years and paint chips at least a thousand years older have also been found.
Where to Stay
Most common accommodations are bed and breakfast, self catering, hotels and lodges. Depending on your budget one can choose to stay at a luxury Game Lodge, found in various Protected Parks, when taking a safari tour which includes all meals, game viewing on foot and game drives.
These Lodges are more expensive but fully worth it. Bed and Breakfast are also highly recommended as they offer excellent treatment and rooms are clean. South Africans cook amazing food, especially meat and game dishes. Overall all, South Africans in the Hospitality Section offer an excellent service.