11 Breathtaking Natural Landscapes in South Africa

The Blyde River Canyon, situated on the Panorama Route, is a major attraction | Courtesy of South African Tourism
The Blyde River Canyon, situated on the Panorama Route, is a major attraction | Courtesy of South African Tourism
Photo of Carina Claassens
23 December 2017

It’s impossible to list every breathtaking natural landscape in South Africa in a single article, but this round-up is a pretty good indication of what to expect when visiting. From towering cliff faces to awe-inspiring oceanic stretches, here are 11 natural landscapes in South Africa you have to see.

Lisbon Falls, Mpumalanga

The Lisbon Falls are the highest waterfalls in the Mpumalanga province towering 94 metres (308 feet) high and are found on the Panorama Route just north of Graskop. The Falls crash down into a beautiful gorge and is a must-see attraction when in the area.

Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal

The 24 kilometre (15 mile) long gorge is surrounded by tall sandstone cliffs and the area is ideal for hiking and birding. Check in for a night or two at The Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal and soak in the breathtaking scenery.

The Valley of Desolation, Camdeboo National Park

A visit to The Valley of Desolation near Graaff-Reinet is the perfect excuse to veer off the main road and extend your road trip. The Camdeboo National Park also boasts rich fauna and flora and if you’re lucky you’ll spot the endangered Cape Mountain Zebra.

The Drakensberg Amphitheatre, KwaZulu-Natal

The Amphitheatre in the Northern Drakensberg is a geographical wonder and one of the most impressive cliff-faces on earth. Climb to the top of the Amphitheatre in less than two hours and take in the views stretching as far as the eye can see.

The Dolphin Coast, KwaZulu-Natal

The Dolphin Coast starts at the Tongaat River and ends in Zinkwazi Beach and includes popular holiday towns like Ballito, Umdloti and Salt Rock. This part of KwaZulu-Natal got its name due to the large schools of dolphins that frequent its waters.

|Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

The /Ai/Ais – Richtersveld Transfrontier Park might not seem like much more than an arid-desert landscape but it boasts rich plant, bird, and animal life. Unbelievably, the park contains the world’s largest assortment of desert flora.

The Cederberg Mountains, Western Cape

Escaping to the Cederberg Mountains will guarantee getting off the grid completely. Situated approximately two hours from Cape Town, this is the ideal spot to stargaze and explore the beautiful natural surrounds. Follow one of the many hiking routes to reach viewing points and look out for pre-colonial rock art.

Tsitsikamma National Park, Garden Route

Tsitsikamma National Park, which forms part of the larger Garden Route National Park, encompasses over 80 kilometres (50 miles) of stunning coastline. The famous Storms River Suspension Bridge is a major attraction and there’s much to keep visitors busy, from mountain biking to birding, water activities and of course, hiking.

Cape Point, Western Cape

Cape Point is situated in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve within the Table Mountain National Park and boasts 7,750 hectares of rich fauna and flora, towering cliffs, coves and amazing sea views. Take the funicular to the top, or walk if your prefer, and take in the scenery from the Old Lighthouse.

Blyde River Canyon, Mpumalanga

The Blyde River Canyon is renowned as being the largest ‘green canyon’ in the world. Situated on the famous Panorama Route, the area is home to many waterfalls, boasts rich bird life and is a hiker’s paradise.

Cathedral Rock, Eastern Cape

Reaching Cathedral Rock, a free-standing rock formation with a hole through its middle, can only be done on foot. A guided hike takes visitors to this magnificent natural wonder as well as many other unknown spots in the area, from waterfalls to pools.

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