13 February 2017
South Africa is an incredibly diverse country, with a huge variety of landscapes, from nature reserves to unspoilt beaches. Cape Town, Johannesburg and the surrounding areas are spectacular tourist hotspots but there’s so much more to explore in this incredible country. As Travel Counsellor Mary says, "South Africa has it all! It has everything - beaches, scenery, wildlife, great food and wine and fabulous accommodation."
Whether you’re hoping to get up close with some of nature’s most impressive beasts, indulge in gourmet food and wine, or discover the hidden histories of this country’s fascinating past, South Africa is an absolute delight to visit.
If you've already visited Cape Town and Johannesburg or are looking for some of South Africa's hidden gems, read on to discover seven breathtaking spots for your next adventure…
...a wildlife safari?
Try a private game lodge in Limpopo. They’re often more affordable than some of the lodges at the famous Sabi Sands Game Reserve – and you can spot the Big Five here, too. You’ll find accommodation in Limpopo ranging from luxurious retreats to tree houses to bush camps. Don’t miss the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve region of Waterberg, a malaria-free region, is a stunning natural area with important archaeological and palaeontological sites. Travel Counsellor Bianca had a great family holiday on safari and said, "We were fortunate enough to get a glimpse of the Big 5, but never had the luck of watching a kill or seeing the cheetah!"
Head off-road in the Northern Cape and test your driving skills on a 4x4 adventure. South Africa’s largest province is also its least populated and that means a huge expanse of land perfect for an adventure! Expect carpets of flowers, brilliant green shrubs, sand dunes and rugged mountains.
...an intrepid honeymoon?
Try the Northern Cape. The wide-open spaces, semi-desert terrain, and inky blue skies filled with glistening stars will delight the adventurous and eco-adventurers. Two transfrontier parks border Namibia (Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park) and offer incredible landscapes and wildlife.
...the great outdoors?
Don’t miss God’s Window in Mpumalanga. Nestled in the Mpumalanga province, on the Panorama Route, God’s Window lies in the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, known as the largest green canyon in the world. Breathtaking cliffs plunge down 700m and the sweeping views are memserising – on a clear day, you can see over Kruger National Park and towards Lebombo Mountains, on the border with Mozambique.
Travel Counsellor Helen flew from Cape Town to Kruger Airport for part of her South African adventure, before continuing to explore the country: "We had a full day exploring the area including Blyde River Canyon, Bourke's Luck Pot Holes, God's Window and Pilgrim's Rest (old gold mining town). Wonderful history, stories, culture and scenery - take the opportunity if you can, it's not to be missed and says a lot about the history and culture of the South African nation."
...a city experience?
Discover Polokwane, Limpopo. Games reserves, mountains and spectacular wilderness borders the city, so it’s a perfect escape for anyone looking to combine a few days of city life with the great outdoors. While here, visit fascinating art galleries and museums. Hear the dazzling notes of African jazz at the city’s renowned jazz clubs. Sample mouthwatering cuisine from organic nibbles to gourmet delights at the many restaurants. Or, shop ‘til you drop at the shopping centres.
...a stunning beach? Scuba diving?
Step onto the unspoilt shores of Sodwana Marine Reserve Safari, KwaZulu-Natal. One of the world’s top dive sites, scuba divers can discover a spectacular underwater world with excellent visibility. Expect to see exquisite coral gardens, dolphins, rays and female ragged-tooth sharks. There are also reefs to snorkel over, game fishing, and charter boat tours.
From May to November, Humpback and Southern right whales visit the area, while from November to January, leatherback and loggerhead turtles lay their eggs on the beaches. Join a community-guided tour to witness turtles laying eggs on the same beaches they emerged from!
Try Mbombela to Hoedspruit via the Long Tom Pass. A spectacular scenic alternative to the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga, this 250km-route combines breathtaking scenery with culture and history. As you drive along the route, stop at the Sudwala Caves, some of the oldest caves in the world at around 240-million years old, for a tour. As you continue through breathtaking scenery, some of the sights you’ll come across are: a monument to the South African War (Anglo-Boer War); the picturesque town of Sable; the Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve; Horseshoe Falls; a fascinating local history museum in Mashishing; farmlands filled with citrus groves, mangoes and avocados.
Take a peek at our Insider Guide to South Africa for more trip ideas or get in touch with your Travel Counsellor to find out more about tailor-made holidays in South Africa.