South Africa is a diverse and culturally rich country and if possible, it’s worth exploring every nook and cranny of its beautiful landscapes. If, however, you need to choose one destination, we’re here to help. Read on for our guide on where to go based on your personality.
Cape Town is quickly becoming known as a top global foodie destination and there’s no doubt why. The Mother City boasts some of the most renowned restaurants in the country including Test Kitchen, The Roundhouse, Bistro Sixteen82 and The Pot Luck Club. Needless to say, book well in advance to avoid missing out. The bustling markets are also worth a visit and we probably don’t have to tell you that the seafood is always fresh. So if food is your reason for travelling, eating your way through Cape Town is a must.
Forget about Napa Valley, head to Stellenbosch and its surrounds for the best wine tasting in the country (and some might even say the world). Imagine clear blue skies, warm weather and a glass of wine all the while being surrounded by rolling vineyards. The quaint student town is filled with many restaurants, beautiful accommodation options, and it has a busy nightlife. The Spier Wine Farm is one of the most popular wine tasting venues, plus there’s a cheetah sanctuary next doors. With over 150 wine farms on the Stellenbosch Wine Route, this is every wine connoisseur’s dream come true.
The City of Gold is South Africa’s financial hub so it’s no doubt that it’s the place to go if you thrive in an urban environment. The shopping experiences in Johannesburg are far and wide, from massive malls like Sandton City and Mall of Africa to independent stores in gentrified neighbourhoods, you’ll find everything you need and desire, in Johannesburg. There are so many restaurant options that narrowing it down to where to grab a bite is often easier said than done. The city also boasts many historical sites, Soweto is a must-visit and so is Constitution Hill. Needless to say, there’s no time to get bored in this happening city.
KwaZulu-Natal is known for its balmy, tropical weather which allows locals and visitors alike to laze away on beautiful beaches and swim in the warm Indian Ocean. One of the most popular beaches is North Beach, part of the Golden Mile, which is lined with eateries and is, needless to say, always busy. The beach is frequented by both swimmers and surfers and visitors spend hours lounging around while soaking up the rays.
South Africa is a rugby hungry country, and Pretoria is home to many fans. This is the place to go if you want to see the teams live in action. Loftus Versfeld Stadium is home to the Blue Bulls team and locals are avid supporters. Memorabilia is seen around every corner and street hawkers sell merchandise at just about every traffic light. Whether you shout for the same team or not, there’s nothing like watching a rugby match with a Blue Bulls fan.
Port Elizabeth is known as the friendly city, mainly due to the hospitable residents that welcome any newcomer with open arms. If you’re travelling solo you’re bound to meet amazing people and even form lifelong friendships. There’s also much to do and see in this coastal city, from its Blue Flag beaches to getting some retail therapy and visiting the scenic Kragga Kamma Game Park.
Situated on the Kruger National Park’s doorstep, Nelspruit is surrounded by natural wonders, breathtaking landscapes and offers some of the best outdoor experiences in the country. A visit to South Africa is incomplete without a trip to the Kruger National Park where you’ll get a chance to spot the Big Five and many other animals in their natural habitat. The Panorama Route is also a must as it allows for uninterrupted views over some of the country’s most awe-inspiring landscapes, including the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and God’s Window.
Known as the whale watching town of South Africa, tourists flock to this charming seaside town, approximately 120 kilometres from Cape Town, to see the largest mammals on earth from up close. Whether from a kayak in the water, standing on a view point or grabbing lunch at one of the many amazing restaurants, Southern Right, Humpback and Bryde’s (pronounced ‘broo-dess’) whales can be spotted from just about everywhere between the months of June and December. Although they’re the main attraction, visitors also spot penguins, seals, bottlenose dolphins and, if you’re lucky, orcas.
The Garden Route has endless options when it comes to hiking routes. From challenging trails stretched over multiple days to short and easy, child-friendly options, there’s something for every hiker and fitness level. If you’re after an indescribable experience, book a spot for the 43 kilometre (26.7 mile) Otter Hiking Trail. The five-day trail is the oldest official hiking trail in South Africa and starts at the Storms River Mouth Rest Camp continuing through the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park.