Blyde River Canyon

South Africa is a land of diversity. Diversity in Cultures, Landscapes, Wildlife and Foods. We as South Africans are really blessed to have so much of this diversity on our doorstep. I wanted to make a pretty substantial list of everything you could see and do in this country. From Towns to Spectacular Viewpoints, to Fun Activities, to Historical Sites to Unique Attractions, this list has it all. I wanted to showcase all areas of the country, so I’ve included Things to See and Do in all of the 9 provinces of South Africa. Let’s Dive In!!!

Things To Do In South Africa: The Ultimate Guide

This is your Ultimate Guide for Things To Do (and See) In South Africa

Western Cape

1. Hike Up Table Mountain

Starting off we have perhaps the most iconic view in all of South Africa. This Flat-Topped mountain is in all the international postcard shops and it’s not hard to see why. It defines the landscape of Cape Town and it makes for a spectacular photo for your Insta feed. Table Mountain, with it’s network of trails, is a popular hiking spot for both foreigners and locals alike. Some of the most popular hikes are hikes to Maclear Beacon, Kasteelspoort and Skeleton Gorge.

Inside Guide has a blog explaining the different options of the hikes on Table Mountain

Natural Wonders of South Africa

2. Or… take The Cable Car up Table Mountain

If you are all for the view from the top but…..not so much for the hike up to the top, you can take the Cable Car up. The ride is a gentle one, the rotating state-of-the-art cable car takes visitors from the lower station to the top in around 5 minutes. It operates seven days a week and trips occur within 10 to 15 minutes of each other. The time of the day’s last excursion varies throughout the year. Atop the mountain is a self-service buffet cafe while you can always pack a picnic and enjoy what still is part of a national park.

Price:

Adults: R420 Return Trip – R240 One-Way, Kids(ages 4-17): R210 Return Trip – R130 One-Way, Seniors: R120 Return Trip – R70 One-Way, Students: R250 Return Trip – R150 One Way

Cost Saving Tip: These prices are the morning rates (8:00- 13:00) after which rates get a little cheaper.

Get all the price info you need and buy tickets over at tablemountain.net

Table Mountain Cable Car

3. Wander Through The Two Oceans Aquarium

The Two Oceans Aquarium is a must-visit for any trip to Cape Town. Named after the confluence of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans where the cold and warm currents mingle and give rise to an unimaginable diversity. Hence the Aquarium showcases this phenomenal array of marine life just like Cape Town’s coastline which is swarming with life.

This Aquarium is big, with over 8000 creatures from 200 different species of marine life, including giant sea turtles, African penguins, and several other endemic species like the leopard toad, spotted gully shark, and puffadder shy shark.

The star attraction is the Ocean Exhibit filled with 1.6 million liters of seawater. Here you will find gentle stingrays alongside languid turtles, gliding gracefully through the water. You will also see shapeshifting jellyfish here, appearing as blobs within a lava lamp, imparting a glow-in-the-dark effect.

Price:

Adults: R250, Students, Pensioners and Teenagers(14-17): R185, Kids (4-13) – R115 and Kids Under 3 are free

Here’s The Two Oceans Aquarium Pricing Page

Read Also | 50 Things To Do In Cape Town: Ultimate Travel Guide

Two Oceans Aquarium

4. Stand At The Edge of the Continent at Cape Point

Cape Point is the Southern most tip of The Cape Penisula and features beautiful views of rugged coastlines and deep blue ocean. Cape Point Nature Reserve hosts stunning beaches and is a popular spot for hikers, photographers, birders and nature lovers alike. Wildlife is in abundance here including chacma baboons carrying their babies on their backs, ostriches, Cape mountain zebras, eland, bontebok and other antelope, and dassies (rock hyrax) – as well as, if you’re lucky, Cape clawless otters, water mongooses, Cape foxes, genets, caracals, porcupines and leopard tortoises.

The Cape of Good Hope. the southwesterly most tip of Africa, is a 3,5km walk and is a great picnic spot. History buffs have some options as well. You can walk to the white tower  monuments of Bartolomeu Dias and Vasco da Gama, the first Eurpean explorers to travel around the stormy Cape. You can also visit 1 of the 26 recorded shipwrecks scattered along the coast or check out the 2 lighthouses.

Inside Guide made a fantastic blog post about everything you can do in Cape Point.

Cape Point

5. Chapman’s Peak Drive

Chapman’s Peak is a mountain on the western side of the Cape Peninsula, between Hout Bay and Noordhoek in Cape Town, South Africa. The western flank of the mountain falls sharply for hundreds of metres into the Atlantic Ocean, and a road, known as Chapman’s Peak Drive, hugs the near-vertical face of the mountain, linking Hout Bay to Noordhoek. Tourists and locals often stop at viewpoints along this road, which offers views of Hout Bay, Sentinel Peak and its surrounds, as well as over Noordhoek Beach. This drive I can vouch for personally as incredibly beautiful.

Chapman’s Peak Drive is part of the route of two of South Africa’s biggest mass-participation races, the Cape Argus Cycle Race and the Two Oceans Marathon.

Chapman's Peak Drive

6. Go on a Wine Tour in Constantia Valley

For the wine conoissours (or if you just want an excuse to get day drunk without judgement) sign up for a wine tour of South Africa’s oldest wine producing region. The Constantia Valley has an appeal that offers something of interest to everyone, from visiting the award-winning wine estates and restaurants, to an array of experiences such as picnics, festivals, tours and adrenaline adventure sports. The mountain ranges and greenbelts offer breathtaking photo opportunities with hiking, horse riding and mountain biking trails.

Book a tour with The Constania Wine Tour

7. Strike a Pose in the Famous Cape Town Yellow Photo Frames

Cape Town loves Table Mountain so much that they set up 7 of these yellow picture frames all around the city to gaze through and check out Table Mountain from every angle. Spend a day hunting them all down and exploring the best spots in Cape Town while doing so.

The 7 locations of the frames are at the V&A Waterfront, Signal Hill, Blouberg – Eden on the Bay, Khayelitsha Lookout Hill, Cape Town Station, District Six and the Silo District.

Read Also | 50 Things To Do In Cape Town: Ultimate Travel Guide

Cape Town Yellow Frames

8. Visit The District Six Museum

The District Six Museum in the old Methodist Mission Church recalls the life of this once-vibrant, racially mixed suburb and its destruction under apartheid. This museum in Cape Town seeks to reconnect with the spirit of the community and provide a different interpretation of the past. There are many places in Cape Town where you can capture the spirit of a bygone era, but the District Six Museum is where you will find the heart and soul of a broken community.

Housed in adjoining buildings in Buitenkant Street, in the inner city, the museum started out as a place for former residents to meet and discuss grievances, as well as resolve how best to get back to the piece of land they once called home. By 1994, this meeting place, the Methodist Church, had evolved into the District Six Museum. More recently, the museum expanded into the adjoining Sacks Futeran building.

Guided Tours are offered From Monday to Saturday at 9:30, 10:30, 11:30 and 13:30

Pricing: Free for Ex-residents from District Six & other areas of forced removals as well as South African pensioners, Adults: Self Guided – R60 or with ex-resident guide – R75, Guided Site Walks – R130

District Six-Musuem

9. Get a Picture with a Penguin at Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach (also commonly referred to as Boulders Bay) is a sheltered beach made up of inlets between granite boulders, from which the name originated. It is located on the Cape Peninsula, in Simon’s Town. It is a popular tourist spot because of a colony of African penguins which settled there in 1982. Boulders Beach forms part of the Table Mountain National Park.

These African penguins are only found on the coastlines of Southern Africa (South Africa and Namibia) and are currently endangered. As a result, the penguins are under the protection of the Cape Nature Conservation. As a result of this conservation, in just over 40 years this colony has grown from just 1 breeding pair of penguins to over 3000 birds today. Talk about productivity!

Pricing:

South African Citizens and Residents (with ID): R44 per adult, per day – Children R22
SADC Nationals (with passport): R88 per adult, per day – Children R44
Foreign Visitors: R176 per adult, per day Children R88

Stingy Nomads does an amazing job of breaking down everything you need to know about Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach

10. Whale Watching in Hermanus

There are numerous places to do Whale Watching around South Africa but Hermunus is the most well-known spot. So naturally this is where all the whale tours are situated. These tours allow you to get offshore and get very up close and personal with these magnificent creatures.

The whale season starts in June and goes until December so you have a wide window to see them. The most common whales are the Southern Right Whales but you can also spot Humpback and Bryde’s Whales as well as Common Dolphins, Cape Fur Seals and African Penguins. If you don’t want to fork out the cash for a boat tour here are The 9 best spots in Hermanus to watch whales from the shore.

Check Out | Ultimate Guide To The Garden Route – South Africa

Hermanus

11. Ride an Ostrich in Oudtshoorn

How many people can say they’ve ridden an ostrich? If you visit Oudtshoorn in the Karoo, South Africa, and if you dare, you could try to sit on an ostrich, ride the ostrich and perhaps even take part in an “Ostrich Derby” (not for the faint-hearted)!

To ride an Ostrich, visit one of the Ostrich Show Farms in Oudtshoorn, South Africa. Here you can observe large flocks of Ostriches at different stages of development. There are petting areas where you can cuddle the chicks or feed an ostrich by hand, and watch how feather dusters and boas are made.

Professional multilingual guides take you on a conducted tour where you will learn about the birds surrounded by thousands of ostriches. Visit the restaurant where you can try an Ostrich Steak or the Ostrich egg (which feeds 20 people), which can be tasted together with Ostrich Paté and Biltong.

Ostrich Farm

12. Exxplore Cango Caves

Almost 30 kilometres outside of Oudtshoorn in the Klein Karoo, and certainly one of the main reasons for placing this little town on your itinerary, other than the prospect of riding an ostrich, lie the Cango Caves, some of the biggest stalagmite formations in the world. The cave system stretches around 4km into the earth, 1km of which is available to tourists.

The main chambers in the Cango Caves, called Cango 1, contain countless dripstone formations, and Van Zyl’s hall – named after its discoverer – is simply breathtaking, it is so huge.

Cleopatra’s Needle, which stands 9 metres high and is at least 150 000 years old, is one of the main attractions at the Cango Caves, but the beautiful dark grey roof, with its smoothly sculptured hollows and pendants, comes a close second.

 Check Out | 16 of The Best Natural Wonders of South Africa

Cango Caves

Kwa-Zulu Natal

13. Cycle The Golden Mile in Durban

One of my favourite things to do on a Saturday morning in Durbs is to grab a skateboard, longboard or bicycle and go for a cruise along the Durban promenade. The promenade stretches around 6-10km (yes I don’t know why we call it the Golden Mile either) along the Durban coastline. The energy and vibes on the beach are always good. You got runners and cyclists. skaters, surfers, swimmers, dancers and casual strollers all gather here, enjoying the eternal sunshine in Durban.

Check Out | 27 Things to Do in Durban: The Ultimate Guide

14. Take A Hike In The Beautiful Drakensberg

The Drakensberg is the gem of KZN. Many days I have spent hiking and swimming in crystal clear waters (although pretty icy) and many nights I have spent sleeping in caves as you hear baboons howling in the distance. I love the mountains! There is world-class hiking for both the casual day hiker and the intrepid adventurer wishing to get a few weeks away in the mountains, the longest being The Grand Traverse, a 300km trek across the length of the mountain range.

The Drakensberg Mountains, meaning ‘Dragon Mountains’ in Afrikaans, are the highest in South Africa, ranging up to 3,482 m (11,422 ft) in height. In Isi-Zulu, the language of the Zulu People, they are called “uKhahlamba”, the ‘barrier of spears’. They are located in the eastern part of South Africa, running for some 1000 km (600 mi) generally southwest to northeast, with a bend forming the northeastern border of Lesotho with South Africa.

Check Out | Ultimate Guide to the Drakensberg Grand Traverse – South Africa

Best Day Hikes in Durban

15. Safari in iSimangaliso Wetland Park

iSimangaliso Wetland Park is a huge protected area along the coast of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province. The park’s centrepiece is the vast Lake St. Lucia, home to large numbers of hippos, crocodiles, pelicans and flamingos. Elephants, giraffes and leopards inhabit the grasslands and forests of the nearby Western Shores and Charters Creek areas. To the north, Sodwana Bay is known for its colourful coral reefs and makes for spectacular diving.

16. Take A Tour Of The Zulu Battlefields

The battles fought in the rolling hills and valleys of northern KwaZulu-Natal some 120 years ago changed the course of South African history, and still today, the area now known as the ”Battlefields” seems to echo with the heroic and often tragic deeds of the past. The sites of famous skirmishes that rocked the British, weakened the Boers and broke the mighty Zulu nation continue to draw visitors.

A good place to start and to give some context to your visit to this fascinating and beautiful region of KZN would be to take a guided tour. Other options are to self-drive to each site with a good guidebook and just enjoy the beautiful and often haunting views, or for a wonderfully authentic experience, you can tour some places on horseback. Engaging the services of a qualified tourist guide will bring these sites to life.

A great many forts established by the British during the South African wars have disappeared, while others, such as Fort Durnford near Estcourt, are now most interesting and somewhat quirky museums.

Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift are two of the most famous battlefields in the country, and also perhaps in British history, perhaps because it was here that, in a furious two-hour battle, Zulu forces armed primarily with traditional spears and shields thrashed the mighty British Colonial Empire forces, one of the few times they were ever routed by an indigenous army. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to those who defended Rorke’s Drift.

17. Have A Picnic At Moses Mabhida Stadium

Built for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, Moses Mabhida Stadium, with its architecturally awesome arch, defines the Durban landscape.  The Stadium is named after a South African politician and has 55000 seats. It became a venue for several events, like bungee jumping, concerts, cricket, soccer, golf practice, motorsports and rugby union.

The Stadium used to have Bungee Jumping from the arch, the only one in the world of its kind and a Skycar, a glass cable car that ascended the arch to give you views of the whole of Durban. These activities stopped around 2018 due to decay. Plans were implemented to update the Skycar, but as of 2024, they are currently unavailable. I’ll update this post when things change.

In the meantime, you can enjoy a nice picnic in Moses Mabhida Park where there are playgrounds and soccer fields. Entrance is free.

Check Out | 27 Things to Do in Durban: The Ultimate Guide

Moses Mahbida Staduim

18. Waterpark Fun At Ushaka Marine World

Situated at the end of The Golden Mile uShaka Marine World is a 16-hectare theme park in Durban. It comprises 8 attractions: uShaka Sea World, uShaka Wet ‘n Wild, uShaka Sea Animal Encounters Island, uShaka Beach, uShaka Village Walk, uShaka Kids World, uShaka Dangerous Creatures and Chimp & Zee.

The Waterpark is the perfect place to kick it on a hot Durban day with an abundance of waterslides to keep you entertained for hours. My favourite one is ‘The Drop Zone’, the highest slide in Africa, an 18 meter drop that is guaranteed to get the adrenalin pumping and your heart skipping a beat.

Daddy’s Deals dive into 10 Things To Do at uShaka Marine World and here is Ushaka’s Pricing Page for all the activities they got going on.

Ushaka Marine World

19. Hike To The Top Of The World’s Tallest Waterfall at Tugela Falls

Unofficially The Tallest Waterfall in the World because it’s not technically one continuous waterfall but a bunch of stepped waterfalls. Technicalities. Who cares really? I’m claiming it as the highest.

Anyway, the waterfall with its five free-leaping falls is 947 meters (3110 feet). They are located in the Royal Natal National Park in the Northern Drakensberg. The Tugela Falls are easily viewed after heavy rain from the main travel road into the park, glistening from the reflection of the late afternoon sun.

The best way to summit the waterfall is via the chain ladder hike starting at Sentinel Peak. It’s a 5-hour return hike. This is the only day hiking trail that will get you to the top of the Drakensberg escarpment in a reasonable day. The path ends at the top of the Tugela Falls.

Read Also | Marble Baths Hike – Drakensberg, South Africa

Read Also | Mahai Campsite Review, Royal Natal, Drakensberg, South Africa

Read Also | 16 of The Best Natural Wonders of South Africa

Tugela Falls

20. Take A Drive Through The Valley of 1000 Hills

The Valley of 1000 Hills is situated between the massive urban metropolis of Durban and Pietermaritzburg. The valley is the meeting point of the Umgeni and Msunduzi rivers, making it a place of unrivalled natural beauty. The Umgeni flows from the great Drakensberg to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

This region is also famous for its deep and complex culture and history. The province was once the homeland of powerful Zulu tribes and villages, where the Boers and the British were vying for territory resulting in many bloody battles. Today, the battlefields serve as reminders of the exorbitant price once paid for such magnificent territory. These can be visited on battlefield tours, and the museums in the area are a fascinating addition to any historical tour.

Valley of 1000 Hills

21. Take A Drive Through The Midlands Meander

 In 1985 local artists, potters and weavers decided to join forces to create an arts and crafts route. Soon enough, six studios were opened and the Midlands Meander was born. It is also known as the ‘arts and crafts route’. From humble beginnings, the Midlands Meander has grown to more than 160 places to eat, drink, sleep, shop, and play as well as a diverse and fascinating mix of arts and crafts. Today thousands of people traverse the Midlands Meander each year.

There are weavers, potters, wood crafters, leather workers, artists, metalworkers, box makers, herb growers, cheese makers, beer brewers and so much more. There is very little time to be bored with the array of activities and things to see. These villages are also set in picturesque landscapes offering magnificent views. There is so much to explore in the Midlands Meander. From the vastness of shimmering waters of the Midmar Dam to the looming but breathtaking Drakensberg Mountains, from quiet villages to an array of craft shops, there is just so much to see and do!

Feeling overwhelmed with where to go, Getaway made A local’s guide to the Midlands Meander

Midlands Meander

22. Watch a Bird Show at Umgeni River Bird Park

The Umgeni River Bird Park was designed and built in an old quarry on the banks of the Umgeni River in Durban. Visitors to the park are guaranteed an opportunity to see a large number of bird species on winding pathways through the park, in walk-through aviaries, or out in the open paddocks, surrounded by spectacular scenic beauty and cascading waterfalls. The park has over 700 birds from 200 species.

Umgeni puts a significant emphasis on conservation so the park breeds the endangered bird species residing in the park. Young chicks are fed hourly around the clock, and visitors can watch the goings-on in the baby room through a viewing window.

The Free Flight Bird Show features birds from all over the world and is staged from Tuesday to Sunday at 11h00 and 14h00, weather permitting (shows on Mondays during school and public holidays). Afterwards, visitors can enjoy breakfasts and lunches at the Cockatoo Café.

Price:

Adults – R70, Children – R46, Pensioners and Groups – R39

Check Out | 27 Things to Do in Durban: The Ultimate Guide

Umgeni River Bird Park

Gauteng

23. Bungee Jump Off The Soweto Towers

For the adrenaline rush head over to the Soweto Towers for a thrilling Bungee Jump between two 100-meter silos. The towers are situated in Soweto township and were once cooling units, a part of the old Orlando Power Station.

The Bungee Jump is not the only activity to do here. You also got the 100m drop to the ground, the swing or the free fall. The Soweto Bungee Jump sees you falling 33 storeys down, and the Power Swing offers a 40m freefall before the swing cables kick in. The ominously named Abyss, another world-first, is similar to the Power Swing but sees you jumping inside the tower, swinging across the width of its base. There’s also a viewing platform for the slightly less adventurous.

Costs vary depending on the activity you choose. Visit the website for up-to-date prices.

Check Out | 15 of the Best Adventure Activities to do in South Africa

Soweto Towers

24. Explore The Sterkfontein Cave System

Sit­u­at­ed an hour’s dri­ve from Johan­nes­burg and Pre­to­ria, the Sterk­fontein Caves are world-famous for their fos­sil finds and are a pop­u­lar vis­i­tor destination. After an exten­sive facelift in 2005, the Sterk­fontein Caves site is now home to a top restau­rant and con­fer­enc­ing facil­i­ties, offer­ing easy access to the caves with mod­ern walk­ways and a board­walk past the exca­va­tion site where glob­al­ly acclaimed fos­sils such as Mrs Ples and Little Foot have been discovered.  Tours exploring the caves are offered.

Currently, as I am writing this post, the Sterkfontein Caves are closed until further notice so check their website to see when they open up again.

25. Stroll Through Johannesburg Zoo

A great activity for the family, the Johanessburg Zoo spans 55 hectares and has over 2000 creatures from over 320 species.

The zoo is 120 years old, but in the 60’s the zoo underwent major renovations to improve the enclosures of the animals, giving them more natural environments and space to live in. In addition, the zoo has become part of local and international breeding programmes.

26. Check Out The Voortrekker Monument

The Voortrekker Monument is located just South of Pretoria, in South Africa. This massive granite structure is prominently located on a Hilltop and was Built to commemorate the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854.

The Cenotaph, situated in the centre of the Cenotaph Hall, is the central focus of the Monument. In addition to being viewable from the Hall of Heroes, it can also be seen from the Dome at the top of the Building, from where much of the Interior of the Monument, can be Viewed. Through an opening in this Dome, a ray of Sunlight shines, at noon on 16 December Annually, falling onto the Centre of the Cenotaph, striking the words- ‘Ons vir Jou, Suid-Afrika’ (Afrikaans for ‘Us for you, South Africa’). The ray of Light is said to symbolise God’s Blessing on the lives and endeavours of the Voortrekkers.

Voortrekker Monument

27. Ride Rollercoasters in Gold Reef City

The Gold Reef City Theme Park in Johannesburg is an award-winning family entertainment destination that’s been voted South Africa’s coolest theme park.

The theme park offers 16 thrilling rides, 7 family rides, 21 kids rides, Jump City Trampoline Park, an underground mine tour, a variety of dining options and retail stores, and many other attractions. Set in the gold rush era, Gold Reef City Theme Park is one of Jozi’s most iconic family entertainment destinations.

Gold Reef City

28. Take a Walking Tour of Soweto

A day tour of Soweto Township offers you the chance to experience the heart and soul of a busy city that is home to over two million people. Township tours offers the opportunity to spend a day with locals and soak up the electric atmosphere of a South African city that has one foot in a turbulent past and one placed firmly in the future.

Soweto

29. Discover the Street Art of the Maboneng precinct

In a still economically fragmented and racially divided Johannesburg, Maboneng is an innovative urban environment that encourage diversity in terms of uses, races, income, ages. It is also now one of the most renowned creative districts in the world. The Streets are lined with street art galore.

Arts On Main is a well-known place where artists get to display and sell their artistry. On Sundays, there’s usually an open street market right in front of the place.

Dreaming in Arabic created a beautiful gallery of Maboneng.

30. Trace Back Our Origins at The Cradle of Humankind

Turns out South Africa is a goldmine of ancient fossils and bones. Take a deep dive into human history at The Cradle of Humankind, situated about 5okm of Joburg, right near the Sterkfontein Caves.

The Cradle of Humankind is one of 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Africa. Here the landscape is dotted with subterranean limestone caves that have turned up a rich fossil record for human evolutionary studies. These findings have led to the ‘Out of Africa’ theory, theorising that most human ancestors originated from one general spot… Africa.

Many significant fossil finds have been made in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, including the famous fossils “Mrs Ples” and “Little Foot”.

Price:

It’s R175 for Adults to get into both the Maropeng Center and the Sterkfontein Caves, and R104 for Kids under 14. Students and pensioners: R75

Cradle of Humankind

31. Visit The Apartheid Museum

‘Learn from the Past to Change the Future’

The Apartheid Museum showcases South Africa’s 46 years of struggle, division and civil rights movements in a capturing and emotional way.

Beginning in 1948, the white-elected National Party government initiated a process which turned over 20 million people into 2nd class citizens, damning them to a life of servitude, humiliation and abuse. The first democratic election in 1994 brought about a new South African era of unity and hope.

The exhibits in the museum are from film footage, photographs, text panels and artefacts illustrating the events and human stories of Apartheid.

Price:

Adults: R85, Pensioners and Students and Kids: R70

32. Browse The Neighbourhoods Market

A popular hotspot in Joburg The Neighbourhoods Market Is Known For Speciality Street Food & Bespoke Design Goods, and is a great Meeting Point To Swop Ideas & Be Inspired By The People & Energy Of Joburg!

Eastern Cape

33. Safari in Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant Park is one of the most renowned National Parks we have and it’s also huge, the third largest in South Africa. Suitably named Addo Elephant Park has large elephant herds wandering the park, which you can see at any of the waterholes. The park also has the rest of the Big 5 here.

The park is a 30-minute drive from Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth).

Check Out | 16 of The Best Natural Wonders of South Africa

Elephants

34. Climb The Big Pineapple

“OOOOO WHO LIVES IN A PINEAPPLE UNDER THE SEA!!!!”

Standing at 17m tall, the “Big Pineapple” outside of Bathurst, South Africa is the world’s largest pineapple building.

The surrounding area is mostly agricultural land known for its pineapple production. Farmers who settled in the area in the 18th century struggled to successfully grow crops until they began planting pineapples. So, naturally, locals decided to honour the fruit and the sweet earnings it brought by erecting a massive building in its shape. The Big Pineapple was constructed by members of Bathurst’s agricultural community in the 1980s.

The building itself is three stories tall. It’s made of metal and fibreglass and features an observation platform. The inside of the pineapple contains a museum dedicated to the fruit with a variety of pineapple products available for sale.

35. Surf at Jeffrey’s Bay(J-Bay)

J-Bay is world-renowned for its surf as it has the best right-hand break out there. Surfers make the trek from all areas of the globe to surf at Supertubes. Surfers have turned this mecca into a town of craft and art shops. Couple this with the never-ending sunshine and white sandy beaches and you have a great place to be any time of the year.

36. Explore Tsitsikamma National Park

On the border of the Eastern and Western Cape is Tsitsikamma National Park an absolutely stunning Park along the Garden Route. The Tsitsikamma National Park, is a place where you can experience the outdoors, stunning marine life and an adventure-filled vacation.

The boundary of the Tsitsikamma National Park stretches some 5km (3 miles) out to sea, protecting a wonderland of inter-tidal life, reefs and deep-sea fish. Beautiful Dolphins play and surf in the breakers. The Southern Right Whale visits these waters in season, coming inshore to breed. The park has two rest camps, one at Storms River Mouth and one at Natures Valley.

There are many hiking trails of varying lengths and nature walks in this region, the most famous of them being the Otter Trail, one of the best in the world. For those who prefer not to rough it, there is a “slack packing” route, the Dolphin Trail, which is fully inclusive and includes portage.

Bloukrans Bungee

Here’s an item to add to the adrenaline bucket list. Bloukrans Bridge Bungy is one of the world’s highest commercial bungy jumping sites at 216 metres above the Bloukrans River. Make sure to book your jump a while in advance as this is a popular activity. There is also a Skywalk, where you get to hang out over the edge of the bridge and gaze at the river far below.

Storms River Suspension Bridges Walk

The walk to the suspension bridges is an easy 2km hike. There are 3 bridges, the longest one reaching 77 meters.

Price:

 R272 for international visitors // R68 for locals and residents with ID

Check Out | Ultimate Guide To The Garden Route – South Africa

Bloukrans Bridge

37. Drive Along Route 62

Route 62 is a tourist route in South Africa that meanders between Cape Town, Oudtshoorn, the Garden Route, and Gqeberha (formerly Port-Elizabeth), offering the scenic alternative to the N2 highway.

38. Roadtrip The Wild Coast

The Wild Coast in South Africa stretches along the Eastern Cape province’s northern coastline between East London and the Kwa-Zulu Natal border.

As its name suggests this strip of coastline, which reaches from the Mtamvuna River in the north to the Great Kei River in the south, is an untamed wilderness. It offers incredible views of the dramatic coastline, jagged cliffs, sheltered bays, wild beaches and rolling hills and valleys. This is a hikers’ paradise and can also be enjoyed on horseback.

It is renowned for being one of the most beautiful places on the planet and is the heartland of the Xhosa people. Ancient forests filled with cycads and yellowwood trees abound with bird and animal life. Bird watchers can go in search of the approximately 320 bird species that make this area their home, while anglers can catch the big one whilst deep sea, rock, surf, fly and spear fishing. Fishing licenses must be acquired from any local post office.

The Wild Coast is also known for its shipwrecks, a legacy of its wild and tempestuous nature. Water activities like snorkelling and diving give a spectacular experience of the world beneath the waves while spotting lost treasure and other relics from shipwrecks.

For a full list of attractions to see along the Wild Coast check Visit Eastern Cape’s blog

Wild Coast

39. Visit the Donkin Reserve Pyramid

The Donkin Reserve, Pyramid and Lighthouse includes a Stone Pyramid Monument with a touching inscription erected by Sir Rufane Donkin in memory of his late wife, Elizabeth, after whom Port Elizabeth was named, as well as palm-lined walkways and benches.

The Pyramid is approximately 10 meters high and the sides at the base measure about 8 meters each.

The Lighthouse, which was built in 1861, also houses Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, the official Tourist Information Centre. The Lighthouse is open to the public on request between 08h00 & 16h30 on weekdays and Saturdays from 09H30-15H30. Please report to the Tourism Office for access.

The Donkin Reserve forms part of Route 67 and the Donkin Heritage Trail.

40. Check Out The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum

If you want to discover the rich and vibrant South African culture and how local tastes in art have evolved over time, a trip to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum in Eastern Cape province is an eye-opening experience.

The museum is home to an impressive collection, ranging from British and Asian art to international printmaking and the art of the Eastern Cape. Even Port Elizabeth’s St George’s Park, at the entrance to which you’ll find the museum, is a piece of art created by Mother Nature herself.

The limited exhibition space means that there is a constant rotation of artworks among the museum’s large, permanent collection, so there’s always something new to see at the gallery.

Mpumalanga

41. Blyde River Canyon

Blyde River Canyon is one of the most spectacular landscapes in South Africa. It’s vast as well, the third biggest canyon in the world in fact, after The Grand Canyon and Fish River Canyon. It’s a green wonderland rich in wildlife and fauna.

Blyde River Canyon Reserve is situated against the Greater Drakensberg escarpment and includes natural wonders such as the Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels, Pinnacle Rock and God’s Window. Many visitors to this region enjoy the visual splendour of combining the Panorama Route with exceptional game viewing in the Kruger National Park to create a spectacular itinerary in Mpumalanga.

These unique geological features are all easily accessible on tarred roads from the picturesque village of Graskop. There is ample accommodation throughout the area. Several hiking trails meander through the reserve and cater for all ages and levels of fitness. There is also a variety of adventure sports such as white water rafting and abseiling as well as quieter activities like fly-fishing.

Check Out | 16 of The Best Natural Wonders of South Africa

Blyde River Canyon

42. Safari in The Kruger National Park

Few visitors leave South Africa without visiting the Kruger National Park or one of the private reserves along its borders but it is also frequented by locals in their own vehicles, as you can drive yourself around and stay overnight in one of the many public rest camps. There are also a few exclusive private lodges that have been granted concessions within the Kruger National Park. Kruger has 12 main rest camps, 5 bushveld camps, 2 bush lodges and 4 satellite camps.

The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this national park is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies. Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals.

Lions

43. Exxplore the Sudwala Caves

Sudwala Caves are some of the oldest known cave systems in the world and they stretch for over 30km into the earth. The Sudwala series of caves are dominated by a roughly circular chamber, 70 metres in diameter with a height of 37 metres, the PR Owen hall, known also as the amphitheatre because of its natural acoustics and ‘air conditioning’ provided by a constant source of air from outside, the source of which is unknown.

You can find the caves, near Nelspruit, in part of the Drakensberg escarpment that separates the highveld from the lowveld of the Mpumalanga Province.

There’s a tour that takes you 600 meters into the caves and about 150 meters down. The tour takes an hour to complete. There is also a crystal tour for the more adventurous, which involves an excursion into the bowels of the earth, 2000 metres into the cave, to a crystal chamber with dazzling examples of sparkling aragonite crystals – a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It does however involves stretches of crawling through tunnels, some of which contain water.

Check Out | 16 of The Best Natural Wonders of South Africa

44. Sudwala Dinosaur Park

If you’re a fan of dinosaurs, then a visit to the Sudwala Dinosaur Park is a must-see destination. This park is home to a range of life-sized and scientifically accurate models of dinosaurs, making it an ideal place to learn about these incredible creatures. It is set in a beautiful natural park, surrounded by stunning views of mountains and forests. The park is the largest dinosaur park in Africa, with more than 30 life-size models of dinosaurs on display.

The park offers guided tours that are suitable for all ages and provide visitors with an immersive and educational experience.

The park offers an interactive 4D cinema experience that takes visitors on a virtual journey through prehistoric times. This immersive experience is both educational and entertaining and is a highlight for many visitors.

45. Roadtrip The Panorama Route

The Panorama Route is a scenic road in South Africa connecting several cultural and natural points of interest. Studded with numerous waterfalls, spectacular viewpoints, geographical phenomena and a breathtaking canyon, it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular tourist destination.

The route starts at the foot of the Long Tom Pass just outside Lydenburg, following the natural descent from the Great Escarpment to the Lowveld, and ending at the border of the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces near the Echo Caves. It passes through Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and God’s Window.

Wild Wings Safari made a fantastic travel guide to the Panorama Route

Northern Cape

46. Kgalagadi Transfontier Park

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a vast wildlife preserve in the Kalahari Desert region of Botswana and South Africa, bordering Namibia to the west. It’s characterized by red dunes and dry rivers. Wildlife includes migrating herds of wildebeest and springbok, plus predators like raptors and black-maned Kalahari lions. Various lodges and wilderness camps offer game-viewing drives and guided walks with park rangers.

Wildebeest

47. Visit The Big Hole in Kimberley

150 years ago, the site of the Big Hole (seriously who named this thing?) was a featureless, flat-topped hill. When word spread that diamonds had been discovered, thousands of prospectors, armed with nothing more than picks, shovels and hope, descended on Kimberley and created the largest hand-dug excavation in the world.

Price:

Adults: R100 – Kids (4-12): R60 – Students and Pensioners: R80

Big Hole, Kimberly

48. Take a Photo With Calvinia’s Giant Postbox

Situated in the small town of Calvinia is this overly-sized but perfectly functioning postbox. It’s over 6 meters tall and every letter that gets posted here gets a hand-stamped flower on it. This is significant because Calvinia is one of the areas that erupt into bloom every year, as veld flowers blanket the whole of the Namaqualand.

It is situated on Hoop Street, which is also home to some beautiful historical buildings and a few restaurants.

49. Explore Augrabies Falls National Park

In close proximity to Upington, Augrabies Falls National Park is situated on the banks of the mighty Orange River. The Khoi people called it “Aukoerebis”, or “place of great noise, as the powerful flow of water is unleashed from its rocky surroundings.

Klipspringer and quiver trees stand in stark silhouettes against African skies in this unique geological environment, where only those that are able to adapt ultimately survive. The Park is home to the majestic Augrabies Falls, which freefalls 56 meters into the spectacular gorge below.

Augrabies Falls National Park

50. Drive the Flower Route

The Wild Flower Route in South Africa’s Northern Cape province is a springtime vision that will colour your imagination for the rest of your days. Here, Namaqualand daisies and more than 3,500 other floral species emerge in spring – from early August to the end of September – to offer one of the world’s greatest flower shows.

A 3-hour journey up the N7 from Cape Town, branching at Vanrhynsdorp, takes you to your first stop: the 6 200-hectare Hantam National Botanical Garden, just outside the village of Nieuwoudtville. While most visitors come to see the spring flowers, autumn (March and April) in Nieuwoudtville offers another spectacular flower display, when the Amaryllidaceae species – the beautiful, lily-like amaryllis family – come out to play.

From Nieuwoudtville, head back up the N7 to the 150,000-hectare Namaqua National Park, where flowers bloom as far as the eye can see. There are several floral hotspots along the way, including the Skilpad Wild Flower Reserve at Kamieskroon. This route leads all the way through the Namaqualand town of Springbok to the Goegap Nature Reserve, which covers nearly 7,000 hectares.

Hiking, eco-trails, day drives, mountain-biking and 4-wheel drive routes are all on offer in and around both reserves.

Check Out | 16 of The Best Natural Wonders of South Africa

Namaqualand Flowers

Free State

51. Check Out The National Museum in Bloemfontein

The National Museum was founded in 1877 at which stage its exhibits and displays were made up of rarities from around the world. Since then the museum has developed a stronger focus on South African issues of interest and grown into an institution of international stature.

Most of the museum’s collections now includes the natural history and cultural history sciences as well as art. Through an intensive process of research and acquisition in these varied disciplines, valuable and important collections have been established.

The National Museum has grown significantly over the years and now comprises 13 research departments, an information services section, and 3 technical departments.

Among the many strengths of the museum is undoubtedly its natural history exhibits. Among the choice items on display, are life-size fibreglass elephants, a cast of the world-famous Florisbad skull including fossils and stone tools from Florisbad, the only complete skeleton of Euskelosaurus in the world (one of the earliest known dinosaurs), and a ‘working’ beehive and live reptiles in the new Herpetology Hall.

52. Admire Human Engineering at Gariep Dam

The Gariep Dam is truly a great feat of human engineering. It’s immense! 88 meters high and 914 meters along the crest and it’s the biggest storage dam in South Africa. It is a life force for the Great Fish River, the Sundays River and the Orange River providing water to many fields and people along these banks.

The Gariep Dam is pretty much smack bang in the middle of South Africa so it’s a great stop off point along the N1 between Joburg and Cape Town.

The Gariep Dam area is known for its quiet and relaxed atmosphere fresh air and beautiful stars at night. It is a key attraction with tourists all over South Africa and the focus is on water sport and nature.

Gariep Dam

53. Explore Golden Gate Highland National Park

Golden Gate Highlands National Park is secretly tucked away in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains and surrounded by breathtaking scenery of wildlife and lush vegetation.

It’s located in the northeastern part of Free State and derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the sandstone cliffs, especially the imposing Brandwag rock. The area is famous for its captivating scenery, invigorating climate and the accommodation offered in hotel rooms, rondavels (round huts) and self-catering chalets.

Golden Gate Highlands National Park was established in 1963 to protect the sandstone rocks were once shelters for the Bushmen. Guests can view many of their cave paintings that are well preserved.

Its is one of the last refuges of the rare Bearded Vulture and the rare bald ibis which breeds annually in Cathedral Cave. The park is also home to a variety of mammals that include Burchell’s Zebra, Black Wildebeest, Eland, Blesbok, Springbok and the threatened Oribi. Some 140 bird species have been identified in the park, and a hide at the Vulture Restaurant enables bird lovers to view these creatures closely.

Golden Gate Highlands National Park

54. Gaze at the Universe at the Navel Planetarium

The Naval Planetarium situated in Blomfeintein takes you on an immersive digital experience from the smallest atomic particles to the largest cosmological scales. The Planetarium is owned and managed by the University of Free State. The Planetarium offers a variety of shows about different topics. To find what shows are showing at the planetarium head over to their Facebook Page for monthly updates.

Price:

Adults: R 50, Students (with valid student card): R 30, Pensioners: R 30

55. Check Out an Ancient Meteor Site at Vredefort Dome

Imagine an asteroid the size of Table Mountain heading for Earth at a speed of 20km per second. Packing more punch than multiple nuclear bombs, it penetrates 17km deep into the Earth and leaves an impact crater so large it’s been declared a World Heritage Site.

Well you don’t have to imagine it. It happened, but thankfully the meteorite collision that formed the Vredefort Dome happened a long time ago, more than two-million years back, before life as we knew it existed.

In its wake, pulverised rock powder rained down on the Earth for months, blotting out the sun. But, curiously, scientists speculate that the incident may have increased the planet’s oxygen levels to the point of making life possible. The cataclysmic event left behind the Vredefort Dome, a South African World Heritage Site.

You’ll come upon the dome near the Free State town of Parys, where the meteorite, some 10km in diameter and heated from its passage through the atmosphere, ploughed into the Earth as a blinding, hissing fireball. On impact it forced layers of rock outwards and downwards to form three rims of crumpled ridges that today stretch as far as Johannesburg and into the North West province. Simultaneously, granite and gold were forced to the surface – all in a matter of minutes.

Vredefort Dome

North West

56. Get Some Awesome Photos at The Upside-Down House

Looking for a unique experience in Harties? Or what about taking super cool pictures for Instagram that’ll have your friends asking how you did that? This place is sure to amaze, delight, and even confuse your sense of gravity. Gather your friends and explore the Upside Down House in Hartbeespoort for a day out of the ordinary.

All the furniture is planted securely on the ceiling and the house is built on an angle so it makes for some very cool-looking photos. Go check their Instagram page for some awesome inspiration and tag them to get featured.

There’s also an onsite restaurant where families can grab a bite to eat in between exploring the house, taking awesome pictures, and enjoying the other activities on the premises.

Operating Hours:

Monday to Friday – 09:00 – 18:00

Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays – 07:00 – 18:00

Price:

Adult: R120/pp, Kids(4-7) and Pensioners: R70/pp, Babies(0-3) and Elderly(80+): Free

57. Safari in Pilanesberg National Park

Pilanesberg National Park is a 3-hour drive from Joburg, situated near the town of Rustenburg.

The relatively small size of the park, and its unusual ecological richness, dramatically increase your chance of encountering the Big 5 in their natural environment. Enjoy a leisurely Safari experience or a surprise weekend escape: Pilanesberg allows you to choose your own adventure.

Pilanesberg National Park exists in a transition zone between the dryness of the Kalahari and the wet Lowveld vegetation. This rich transitional zone attracts an incredible variety of game animals, flora and fauna that are not often found living side by side. Virtually all of the animal species native to southern Africa can be found here, including the Big 5, Wild Dog, Roan, Tsessebe, Sable Antelope and more than 360 species of bird.

There are numerous accommodation options for overnight stays ranging from tented camps to luxury lodges.

58. Live It Up in Sun City Resort

Sun City is a luxury resort and casino, situated between the Elands River and the Pilanesberg, National Park, about 140 km northwest of Johannesburg, near the city of Rustenburg. It is made up of a number of themed sub-resorts with hotels on each, including the original Sun City Resort, The Cabanas, The Cascades and the Lost City (The Palace).

This resort has it all, including 2 golf courses, a bustling casino, a theatre, shops, restaurants, an arcade, spas and even a full waterpark. Whether you’re looking for a romantic stay with your partner, a fun weekend getaway with friends or a North West holiday with the whole family, Sun City Resort has it all.

Sun City Resort

59. Hot Air Balloon over the Magaliesberg Mountains

Spend a beautiful sunrise high up in the sky admiring the stunning Magaliesberg Mountains from an angle few get to see. Bill Harop’s Balloon Safari offers a truly unforgettable experience soaring high above the African bush. If you feel like splurging on a once-in-a-lifetime luxury experience this is a great option.  A bucket list experience for sure!

Check Out | 15 of the Best Adventure Activities to do in South Africa

60. Learn about The Anglo-Boer War at Mafikeng Museum

Mafikeng attracted global attention during the Anglo-Boer War when Boer soldiers were warded off for 217 days by a small British garrison. Anglo-Boer War and ethnographic exhibits are showcased at the Mafikeng Museum, where visitors can learn more about this time period.

The Mafikeng Museum’s exhibits are designed to showcase the area’s cultural, political, and military history, and visitors can expect to see a range of fascinating artefacts and displays. The museum’s collection includes items such as traditional African weapons, tools, and utensils, as well as colonial-era firearms and clothing. There are also displays on the Boer War and the Siege of Mafikeng, as well as exhibits on the region’s indigenous San people.

Other historical sites can be visited like the Kanon Koje (a fort built in 1885 during the Warren Expedition), The Kgotal of the Barolong Boora Tshidi (Chief Montshoia’s tribal meeting place), and a monument that honours Barolong (who was killed in the Mafikeng siege).

Limpopo

61. Visit The Biggest Baobab in South Africa, Sagole Baobab

The Sagole Baobab is a Champion Tree (individual trees or groves that have been identified as having special significance, and therefore protected) and is the largest baobab tree in South Africa. This giant tree has been carbon-dated to be around 1200 years old

It is located east of Tshipise, in Vendaland, Limpopo Province and has a trunk diameter of 10.8 meters and a circumference of 32.89 meters and it is 20 meters high. For context, it would take 18–20 people to encircle the tree with open hands. This is also the stoutest tree in South Africa, after two other large baobabs, the Glencoe and Sunland Baobabs, collapsed in 2009 and 2016 respectively.

The tree holds spiritual importance to the Venda people. They call it Muri Kunguluwa which translates to ‘the tree that roars’. They believe the spirits of their ancestors inhabit the baobab and hence the tree often plays a central role in ceremonial rituals and sacrifices.

A breeding colony of mottled spinetails are resident in the tree

Price:

To view the tree, there is an entrance fee of R 50 per adult and R 25 per kid.

Check Out | 16 of The Best Natural Wonders of South Africa

62. Bakone Malapa Open-Air Museum

Nothing displays the richness of history like a live museum. The Bakone Malapa Open-Air Museum is a living testament of the Bakone tribe, a sect group within the northern Sotho tribe. During this fascinating experience, you will learn how to make traditional beer, grind maize, and make a fire. Although the tour guide does not charge much for his services, any donations would be appreciated by tour guests.

Opening times:

Monday – Friday: 8 am – 3.30 pm;

Saturday, Sunday and public holiday tours must be arranged via appointment.

Price:

Adult: R18, Kids: R12

Address:

R37, Chuenespoort Road, Polokwane

63. Learn About Wildlife Conservation at The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre

The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre is a haven for rare, vulnerable, or endangered animals, focusing on cheetahs and rhinos. At the same time, the centre is a non-profit organisation that relies on donations from visitors and sponsors. Furthermore, this venue offers guided tours and game drives. As a result, you can get up close with the animals and learn about the conservation efforts made by this centre.

Opening times:

Tours are daily at 9 am and 11 am (the duration is 2 hours, by appointment only), Cheetah focused tours occur between 7.30 am – 8 am only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Price:

Adults pay R500, Pensioners R350, Children between the ages of 6-12 R250 and Children under 6 enter for free.

Contact:

015 795 5203

Address:

Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, R40, Hoedspruit, Limpopo

64. Relax at Bela Bela Hotsprings

Venture into one of Limpopo’s lesser-known treasures—Bela-Bela. Cradled in the embrace of the Waterberg mountains, this age-old town is famed for its thermal springs. Once revered by the Tswana community for their curative powers, these springs have evolved into enticing thermal retreats across various resorts

Bela-Bela Resort

65. Exxplore Mapungubwe National Park

Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site is the ideal location for anyone interested in wildlife and birds, to those in search of serenity, identity and the extraordinary history of this Park…

Discover the ancient African Kingdom, Southern Africa’s first kingdom, established at Mapungubwe Hill between 1200 and 1290 AD. Home to a powerful tribe that flourished on trading with Eastern cultures such as China and India, Mapungubwe saw the rise and fall of this great civilisation more than 700 years ago. This is the place where archaeologists excavated the famous golden rhino and other evidence of a wealthy African kingdom.

Mapungubwe National Park

So There You Have It. Your Ultimate List Of Things To Do in South Africa.

It’s definately a long one, but I wanted to be as extensive and detailed as possible and give all the provinces a chance to show off a little and strut their stuff. So wherever you are in South Africa you have options.

Now Keep in Mind that this list is an ever evolving one. As I find new cool things to do in South Africa I’ll add them in here. Every few months I’ll come back and check that all prices and infomation is accurate and up to date. So save this post and check back in every once in a while to see what’s new.

With that being said let me know what belongs on this list that I forgot and if you found this blog helpful share it with a friend. It would mean the world. See you Next Time Peeps!

 

– Chase The Adventure –

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