South Africa may not be the first place you think of when planning a holiday, but it’s a wondrous place to discover. With incredible wildlife such as elephants and lions roaming the immense national parks, this is one of the best places in the world to go on safari. Plus, the country has an impressive range of breathtaking scenery, ranging from secluded beaches to vast deserts, to dense forests and mountains that touch the sky.
If you’re seeking an adventure to remember for a lifetime, read on to discover three reasons to explore South Africa.
South Africa has a rich history, and arguably the best place to absorb its fascinating story is in the bustling cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg. Situated beneath Table Mountain, Cape Town was colonised by the Dutch in 1652. Since then, its stunning ocean vistas and unspoilt scenery has drawn thousands to enjoy the natural beauty of the capital. Outdoor adventurers adore Cape Town for its vast adventure sport opportunities, including zip-lining, scuba diving, sandboarding and shark-cage diving – there’s plenty of thrills to be found here.
Johannesburg is more of a metropolis, and one that is crucial to the economy of South Africa. Known as the ‘City of Gold’, thanks to its large-scale gold and diamond trade, Johannesburg is a fun, bustling place to explore. There’s a great nightlife scene, mouth-watering restaurants and an amazing collection of art galleries. When exploring Johannesburg, be sure to visit the sobering Apartheid Museum, which is an important monument to the struggles of the people of this amazing country.
A trip to South Africa would surely be wasted without experiencing its fascinating wildlife up close, and you can do just that on a safari through the Kruger National Park. As part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which covers an area the size of Portugal, you’re sure to see impressive animals such as wild elephants, buffalo, lions, leopards and rhinos roaming the vast reserves.
If you explore these protected habitats during the rainy season, you’ll see arid plains bursting into a lush, flowering paradise. However, animals can be harder to see – so most tourists opt for the dry season where crops are sparse and the animals can be found around the many natural water holes, pools and rivers.
The beaches in South Africa are unspoilt havens, and with a coastline of almost 2,000 miles fronting two oceans, you’ll be spoilt for choice. The warm waters of the Indian Ocean border the east of the Cape Peninsula, where golden sands and rocky cliffs paint an idyllic picture of a paradisiacal beach. To the west of the Cape, the Atlantic Ocean brings hoards of penguins to Boulders Beach – a must-see when in this diverse destination. The colony is said to have settled there since 1982, and is a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike.
If you’re looking for a great place to dive or snorkel, head up to Sodwana Bay, near the Mozambique border. Sheltered by a thick forest, the sands give way to crystalline waters teeming with sea turtles, tropical reef fish and even ragged-tooth sharks.
A world in one country
Due to its incredible diversity of sublime landscapes, many travellers coin South Africa with the phrase, ‘a world in one country’. And with such an array of wildlife and impressive scenery to be found here, it’s easy to see why.