Top 10 experiences in South Africa

Let’s talk about the top 10 experiences in South Africa (although there are so many it’s hard to choose just 10!).

Scenic splendour

South Africa has some of the most diverse and spectacular scenery in the world. Expect miles of golden beaches and unspoiled coastline; dramatic mountains and mountain passes; 19 national parks; game reserves teeming with big game and hundreds of birds; ancient forests; semi-deserts; oceans and rivers; rolling grasslands; and natural flower fields – all readily accessible and waiting to be explored.

Winelands

South Africa’s vineyards have been making some of the best wine in the world for over 300 years. Wine regions stretch from the Western Cape to the Northern Cape, where you can sample wine at world-famous estates or little-known gems, or visit our renowned port and brandy routes. Where there’s great wine, there’s also great food – so Cheers and Bon Appétit!

Safaris

South Africa has some of the best and most accessible safari destinations in the world. Visitors can splurge on an all-inclusive safari at world-class, award-winning private lodges, take guided game tours, or go it alone in one of our fabulous game-rich private reserves or national parks. You’ll find the Big Five at many of them – buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and rhino.

Kruger National Park

You just can’t beat it. The size of Israel or Wales, with loads of different accommodation options for all budgets, it’s one of the world’s oldest and most famous game reserves and is teeming with game. Self-drive is a wonderful option – there’s nothing quite like puttering gently along a road and coming face-to-face with a herd of elephants, a ‘journey’ of giraffes, a pride of lions, a ‘dazzle’ of zebras, a solitary leopard or a huge rhino. Don’t worry though; stay in the car, respect the animal’s space, and just take pictures.

Struggle sites, rock art and historic battlefields

You can visit our top Struggle sites and museums and follow in the footsteps of some of the greatest freedom icons in modern history, such as Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Mahatma Gandhi, among many others. South African rock art is among the best in the world and easily accessible, and historic battlefields where Boer battled Zulus, Zulus battled Brits, and Brits battled Boers abound.

Marine magnificence

Where else can a person sail beside a whale, or watch whale mothers and babies bask and roll; go eye-to-eye with different kinds of sharks; cage dive with great whites; be charmed by friendly penguins or leaping dolphins; experience some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling in the world; watch giant turtles lay their eggs on deserted beaches; or see the hatchlings making their desperate run for the sea?

Getting to know the locals

Visitors can spend time in Soweto or a city township (they’ll be amazed at the activities and experiences on offer); stay overnight or spend a day at a Zulu cultural village; admire the intricate beadwork, metal neck rings and unique geometric mural art of the Ndebele people; enjoy the hospitality of a South African farm; or just chat to the locals wherever they are – you will be amazed at South Africans’ openness and friendliness to visitors.

Outdoor rush

Gorgeous, sunny weather most of the time, spectacular locations, loads of mega-thrill adventures (including the highest commercial bridge bungee jump in the world), river rafting, abseiling, hiking, horse riding, hiking, paragliding and 4×4 routes – South Africa is known as the adventure centre of the world.

Indulge the senses

Relax and rejuvenate the South African way. You will find health and wellness retreats – many of them globally award-winning – throughout the country. Many use indigenous oils and ingredients to help clients de-stress and wind down – by the beach, in the bush, at a hotel, or wherever they are.

Urban rhythm

Experience the unique rhythm of our cities when feeling the beat of live kwaito, hip-hop or jazz at a local nightclub, bar or township shebeen (tavern); be entertained in our theatres; play at our ritzy casinos; visit our unique museums and art galleries; shop in glitzy shopping malls or African craft markets; or dine in our fabulous restaurants.

Need to know

Can visitors smoke in South Africa?
Yes, but there are strict restrictions. Smoking is banned in public places, but there are usually designated areas where people can smoke. Under 18s may not enter a designated smoking area or buy cigarettes.

Are credit cards readily acceptable?
Yes, almost everywhere. Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted.

Are camera cards, batteries and other camera accessories readily available?
Yes, but it’s always advisable to carry spares, especially if visitors are going into the bush or remote areas.

What exactly does ‘the bush’ mean?
It means areas of natural wilderness such as national parks and game reserves.

Do you need to bring binoculars?
Yes, absolutely essential if you want to get the best out of your South African experience.

Looking forward to welcoming you!