January 16, 2020

9 reasons to visit South Africa

Stunning beaches and scenery, safaris, multi-cultural cities … Let yourself be seduced by the country of Nelson Mandela.

1. Its safaris

South Africa is the place to see the Big 5 in their natural habitat:  lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo and rhinoceros.

The National Parks, starting with one of the largest, the Kruger National Park, provide a wonderful opportunity to play savannah explorer without busting your budget.

Before booking a private tour, take a look at the National Parks.

2. Its national parks

South Africa’s 21 National Parks are shrines to the preserved beauty of untamed nature.

Marvel at the rich diversity of the flora and fauna and the open expanses of exotic wilderness.

The Mapungubwe National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Addo Elephant National Park, home to 350 elephants, are among the parks that are particularly worth a detour.

3. Cape Town

No visit to South Africa would be complete without a visit to Cape Town.

The climate is Mediterranean and the legislative capital is proud of its reputation as a green city and especially of its Table Mountain  (one of the Natural New Seven Wonders of the World). Accessible on foot or by cable car (providing it’s not too windy), this spectacular natural landmark dominates the city and a hike or ride up is a must.

A visit to the Cape Floristic Region, an ecoregion known for its abundant floral species, quickly shows the importance of biodiversity. The floral kingdom has the most concentrated variety of floral species in the world, with 1,300 different plants identified in a 10,000 km2 area.

4. Its history

To get under the skin of modern South Africa calls for a trip into its past.

Visit the Soweto township and the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg or the Robben Island Museum where Nelson Mandela was detained for almost 17 years, in order to understand and pause to reflect on the country’s history.

Today these sites attract tourists, but they testify to the social inequalities that continue to plague the country.

5. Its wineries

South Africa’s vineyards bask in a region called Winelands which confidently holds its own against the Napa Valley.

The arid soil and rolling hills of the Winelands make this the ideal home for its 300 wineries.

Test your taste buds and try wines made from the famous Pinotage variety (a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault grapes) and the Méthode Cap Classique, a sparkling wine made using the traditional champagne method.

6. Its cuisine

South Africans love their braai. Their what? Braai, a South African barbecue.

Sizzling meat, fish and vegetables on the braai is a much-loved tradition of outdoor eating with friends and family.  

7. Its beaches

With the Atlantic and Indian Oceans buffeting its Western and Eastern shores, South Africans enjoy an uninterrupted coastline of 3,000 km.

It is no surprise, then, that there is something to delight everyone down on the beach, from a quiet swim and sunbathe to surfing, kiteboarding, coastal cruises and even a date with  the penguins at Boulders Beach.

8. Its whale-watching

Prime whale-watching season is between June and November when the whales gather in the waters off the Overberg district to calve.

A whale route runs along the coast going east from Cape Town, but the seaside town of Hermanus is the best spot for admiring the mammals in all their glory.

9. For thrills

There are plenty of activities for adrenaline-seekers in South Africa, including ziplining, sandboarding down dunes, cave visits in the Western Cape, rock-climbing, ostrich-riding or swimming with sharks! Racing pulses guaranteed!