Top 10 Places to Visit in South Africa
South Africa is a country filled with a diverse range of fauna and flora. The country is divided into 9 provinces, each with their own unique attractions. The various cultures that you come across in this country are astronomical. In this article, we will highlight an attraction from each province with a little bit of history to give you a clear picture.
1.) Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – Northern Cape
The Northern Cape is the largest province in South Africa. The size of the province, however, is not indicative of a large population as this province has the smallest number of inhabitants. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is one of the main attractions of the province with an abundance of springbok, gemsbok, and other antelope as well as predators, such as the famous black-maned lion and cheetahs, to name but a few. Combined, South Africa’s previous Kalahari Gemsbok Park and Botswana’s Gemsbok National Park make up the first transfrontier park in Africa to be declared as such and is a must see for any nature lover.
2.) Cape Town – Western Cape
The Western Cape is the fourth largest province in South Africa, both in population and square kilometers. Cape Town is the capital of this province and with so many attractions within easy driving distance, this is a definite ‘must see’ for tourists. From the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden to the view from the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, the beauty of the land is undeniable.
3.) Garden Route – Western Cape to Eastern Cape
Another area of the Western Cape that travelers can’t and shouldn’t miss is The Garden Route. Stretching from Mosselbay (Western Cape), through Knysna and George and into the Storms River (Eastern Cape), this traveling route has a diverse scenic attraction as well as a few places to see along the way. A bit further north on this route you will also find Oudshoorn, well known for its huge ostrich population where the adventurer could even book a ride on an ostrich.
4.) “The Friendly City”: Port Elizabeth – Eastern Cape
Port Elizabeth is the largest city in the Eastern Cape province which was the landing place of the 1820 settlers. Rich in history and culture, this city has numerous attractions that will cater to your every need. From fishermen’s dream to nature lover’s paradise, this city, and surrounding suburbs is the ideal place for families to visit as it will entertain any and every age.
5.) Golden Gate Highlands National Park – Free State
Well known for its golden, orange-hued sandstone cliffs, this park covers 340 square kilometers (130 square miles). Although not void of wildlife, this park is more well known for the unique sandstone cliffs and the beauty of the landscape. It is also home to a number of predatory birds, such as the Cape vulture, Bearded vulture, and Secretary bird. Various snake species can also be found in the park.
6.) Gold Reef City – Gauteng
Gauteng is the smallest province on the map but as of 2015, is the most densely populated province in South Africa. There are many attractions in Gauteng, from the Cradle of Humankind to the Apartheid Museum or Constitution Hill, Gauteng offers you many a varied attraction. Gold Reef City is rich in history, culture and for the adventurer, it boasts more than 30 thrill rides. Take the Heritage Tour where you descend 75 meters underground and enjoy a history lesson about the discovery of gold on the reef.
7.) The Dullstroom Bird of Prey and Rehabilitation Center – Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga is well known for its beauty and wildlife, from national parks to water parks like Badplaas, this province boasts a wide variety of attractions. The Dullstroom Bird of Prey center was established in 1997 and moved to its current location in November of 2004. The aim was to teach the public about raptors and to promote awareness of the growing possibility for them to become an endangered species. In recent times, the plight of other endangered species has risen and the center now aims to aid all indigenous species that face this threat.
8.) Kruger National Park – Limpopo
One of the most famous attractions in South Africa, the Kruger National Park. Stretching from the border of Zimbabwe all the way down along the Limpopo province and into the Mpumalanga province, the Kruger National Park is nearly 2 million hectares in size. Abundant in wildlife, the Kruger National Park should be explored and discovered over a period of days. Visitors to the park are urged to share their animal sightings with other visitors by placing color-coded markers on maps at the various camps. If you see a lion, you mark on the map where it was sighted and other visitors will consult the map and then go to the area to also see the lion. Fauna and Flora of a diverse range can be found in the Kruger National Park; The Big 5, African Wild Dog, Ground Hornbill and various bird species, as well as Baobab and Marula trees, just to name a few.
9.) Sun City – North West
World famous, Sun City is located in the North West province of South Africa. If you are looking for a family friendly holiday, Sun City is the place to stay. The Valley of the Waves offers entertainment for both young and adult while the Golf course offers mom and dad that relaxing afternoon (or morning) activity. Sun City Casino, one of the most famous casinos in South Africa, offers a wide variety of slots and tables.
10.) uShaka Marine World – Kwazulu Natal
If you want to spend the day with your whole family, uShaka Marine World is the place to go. With water activities at ‘uShaka Wet ‘n Wild’, beautiful sands at ‘uShaka Beach’, various marine shows at ‘uShaka Sea World’, a unique outdoor shopping experience at ‘uShaka Village Walk’ and a fun place for the young ones at ‘uShaka Kids World’, this Marine World has everything that you could possibly need for the day out.
All in all, South Africa is a beautiful country with lots to offer. Come and experience the different cultures or just enjoy a day out with family.