With a rich cultural heritage and spectacular landscapes, sun drenched South Africa is an exciting destination for laidback sightseeing and adventurous thrill-seeking alike. Aside from the major urban attractions of Cape Town and Johannesburg, you won’t want to miss the following key destinations.
Before You Go:
Whether you’re interested in viewing native wildlife on a Safari, experiencing the vibrant art scene of Cape Town, or catching some epic waves along the country’s sandy beaches, you’ll find plenty to see and do. You might want to leave the cell phone at home, as friends and family can place low cost calls to South Africa using Skype or calling cards. Leaving these reminders of the daily grind behind can really free you up to enjoy the natural side of South Africa.
Enjoy panoramic views of Cape Town with a refreshing hike to the top of Table Mountain. The top is flat, as the name suggests, giving you a breezy outlook on the natural landscapes. For those travelling with small children or short on time, a cable car can make short work of the journey. Explore the surrounding Cape Peninsula for a chance to see Southern Right Wales on their annual migration, or even colonies of African penguins.
The Cradle of Humankind
Located approximately 50 km away from Johannesburg, the Cradle of Humankind is a group of ornate and ancient limestone caves. Researchers have found fossils dating back to humankind’s origins, including a 2.1 million year old skull named “Mr. Ples” and a skeleton dating back 3 million years. Guided day trips depart from Johannesburg regularly.
Take a closer look at South Africa’s political past by visiting Cape Town’s Robben Island, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nelson Mandela and other activists were imprisoned here, as were many of the tour guides. This provides visitors with a unique chance to hear first-person stories about what it was truly like to be imprisoned at Robben Island. Before its use during Apartheid, the island was used to house soldiers, mental patients, and even a leper colony.
If you’re looking for a laid-back destination to soak in the sun and surf culture of South Africa, the city of Durban is a golden opportunity. This relaxed and friendly city attracts surfers from around the world to its “Golden Mile” of beaches, which are notable for being shark-free. Further attractions include an extensive aquarium and world-class restaurants.
Safety Tips for Travel in South Africa:
As you travel around the country, it’s important to be aware of the current political issues and crime statistics in South Africa. By keeping your wits about you and following a few basic safety rules, you can lessen your chances of getting robbed. Like many other destinations, travellers to South Africa will want to avoid displaying flashy jewellery or expensive mobile phones. You can place low cost calls to South Africa or wherever you call home using an international calling card or SIM card instead. Keep car doors locked when driving, avoid hitchhiking, and check with hotel staff or police before you travel to remote areas to find out whether they are safe. With a bit of common sense, you can enjoy all the natural beauty of South Africa without worry.