Ask anyone what destination is on their bucket list and chances are Africa is somewhere toward the top. The country has always had an allure to travellers with a sense of adventure, but there’s so much more about The Rainbow Nation to be discovered.
South Africa is rich in history, culture and natural beauty and happens to be one of the most photogenic places in the world (#nofilter). Plus their currency, Rand, is very very weak, so most foreigners can travel like royalty!
It was a tough task, but our sister company The Wild Collective managed to narrow down their 5 TOP REASONS including insider tips why you should travel to South Africa!
1. The Big Five
Your heart may skip a beat when a 7 tonne elephant walks so close to your car you could touch it or a huge male lion stares straight into your eyes from just one meter away, but nowhere else on earth can you have up close and personal encounters with such majestic wild creatures. Safari in the Kruger National Park is a must do for any visitor to South Africa and there are game lodges to suit any budget or style, from the most basic tented camp to five star luxury. We recommend a minimum three days stay in the bush to unwind and because the animals aren’t as easy to spot as you’d think! Personal guides will take you on daily safaris so make sure your eyes are peeled, spotting “The Big Five” is considered the ultimate safari experience. Oh and you’ll get more cool cred with the rangers if you can name them on arrival. (Hint: Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard, Lion, Rhino)
*TIP: If you are road trippin’ along the picturesque Garden Route, you can tick off some of your Big Five sightings at Gondwana Game Reserve. How does spotting wild buffalos while lazing in your pool sound? Frightened much? We’d rather call it a little adrenaline rush 😉
2. Table Mountain
The jewel of Cape Town was crowned one of the new 7 Wonders of the World in 2011 and when you see her you will understand why. A stunning backdrop to “the mother city”, her beauty is on show everywhere you turn, but Table Mountain is just as spectacular from the top. Jump on the cableway or hike if you are feeling fit, it’ll take a few hours to summit but the breathtaking 360 degree views will be worth the effort. And there’s even a cafe up there to recharge before the trip down, unless you are really brave and choose to abseil.
*TIP: Views are dependent on weather, so always check the conditions before embarking up the mountain. You can check the weather, cableway opening hours here.
3. Its beautiful Beaches
While the country’s wild side is the first thing that comes to mind when people think of South Africa, the beaches should definitely not be overlooked when planning a holiday here. A scenic drive along the famous Garden Route or down the Cape Town coastline will leave you in awe with every turn. The pristine white beaches and glistening turquoise water is often bordered by incredible rock faces. And don’t even get us started on the liquid gold sunsets every night! There’s abundant marine life and whale watching is always spectacular, as is cage diving with great whites. We have to warn you though, the water can be very cold in Cape Town in particular, but it’s certainly one way to refresh after a big day of sight seeing!
*TIP: Camps Bay is the glamour strip of beaches but if you want something a little more secluded, try Clifton next door. Also visit Boulder’s Beach near Simon’s Town to observe the African penguin colony. But before going swimming anywhere at South Africa’s public beaches, be sure to check the flag for shark warnings!
4. Its diverse Culture
Are you wondering why South Africa is nicknamed the Rainbow Nation? Because there are 11 official languages spoken here, so just imagine how culturally diverse the country is. The people are vibrant and warm and will brighten your day with their mega-watt smiles. And the locals are always smiling, dancing or singing despite many of the hardships they face or witness daily. “Township” tours are a great way to delve into the heart of local culture and can be safely arranged through most hotel concierge desks. The Soweto tour in Johannesburg is highly recommended but you will in fact experience a wide variety of African culture just going about your day to day activities. One thing is for sure, this place does put your small worries into perspective and no one ever leaves here quite the same person.
*TIP: Go for a walk around Bo Kaap area located on Signal Hill where you will find the colourful houses pictured below and have a spectacular view of Table Mountain. The former township and one of the oldest residential areas in Cape Town used to exist of white-only houses until its inhabitants decided to paint them in bright colours in preparation for the celebration of the Muslim holiday “Eid”. Harmony first – Neighbours would often agree on which colours to use to match shades perfectly.
5. Its rich Food scene
A mouth watering foodie scene is growing fast in South Africa so before heading to the busy tourist strips or restaurants for your meal, it’s worth doing research to find the hidden gems. Food markets are buzzing in most major cities and will send your taste buds into a frenzy. The best thing is with the weak Rand, food and service is incredibly cheap for foreign travellers so you will feast like kings! You might need to do an extra hike up Table Mountain to burn off all the calories…
*TIP: Head to City Farm Markets on Granger Bay on a Saturday to check out the hipster scene. There is delicious food, fresh produce and music from 9-2pm. The Old Biscuit Mill is a bit more touristy but great for arts and crafts. The famed wine region Stellenbosch cannot be missed either! Pay Delaire Graff Wine Estate a visit for a wine tasting and local feast – the combination of atlantic sea breeze and mountains is a unique terroir and creates their award-winning wines.
Do you have any recommendations of what to do in South Africa that didn’t make the list? We’d love to hear from you!
Join The Asia Collective – “Luxe Travellers” group on Facebook to share your insider-tips and ask for advice from like-minded travellers.
If you are an influencer and South Africa is on your bucket list – which we are sure you are adding it right now – get in touch with our team over at The Wild Collective to organise your South African experience!