Things to do in South Africa

Things to do in South Africa


Our top activities in South Africa

Explore the Garden Route

Extending around 1,000km along Africa’s southern coast from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, the Garden Route encompasses many of the best things to do in South Africa in one neat package. The Mediterranean climate, abundance of accommodation, safe beaches, lagoons and wildlife make for easily accessible adventures, while short detours can take you off to see the Big Five, monkey sanctuaries, and whales and dolphins in the glorious bays of the Indian Ocean. There are plenty of activities too – from kayaking and surfing to mountain biking and canopy tours. The side roads offer some of the most unusual discoveries – from the curious fynbos ecosystem and birdlife to the Oudtshoorn ostrich farms.
Tim Winkworth, from our supplier the Family Adventure Company, explains more: “To my mind, they named the Garden Route wrong because it makes it sound as though it’s full of lovely little gardens. But it’s stunning. It’s mountainous, it’s forested, there’s a great forest part that has the waves crashing in as well as tall trees that kids can climb. So the Garden Route is a lovely trip – and it’s all malaria free.”

Kruger National Park

The king of safari parks is on most Africa Bucket Lists. Easily accessible, with paved roads, it’s the Big Five for beginners

One of Africa’s oldest, largest and most diverse national parks, Kruger has over 500 bird species and more mammals than any other park on the continent. Its luxury lodges, top-end safaris, campsites and self-drive tours mean that Kruger really is open to all. Don’t miss the San rock paintings as a fascinating cultural addition to your safari.

Discover the History

South Africa may be muddling along quite happily these days – but that doesn’t mean the past is not worth revisiting. The fact that so much of the country’s “history” is so recent makes it all the more relevant, and many of the storytellers you meet along the way will be sharing first hand experiences, from the former political prisoners of Robben Island, to the inhabitants of the townships such as Soweto and Khayelitsha. Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum is deeply moving, and intended for local residents as much as curious tourists. Cape Town’s District Six, which saw 60,000 residents “resettled,” is also a compelling destination. Step further into the past in KwaZulu-Natal’s Battlefields, where superb guides bring to life the Anglo-Zulu Wars in which thousands lost their lives.

Stay with the locals

Scattered throughout Zululand, many homesteads welcome visitors, who can stay in traditional “rondavel” thatched huts. They give an enlightening glimpse into contemporary Zulu life, including the local food, music and dance during evening cultural programmes. Alternatively, stay at a safari lodge run by clan members, or simply go on a guided visit to a local school, community or herbal healer.
Photo credits: [Discover the history: thomas_sly] [Stay with the locals: Retlaw Snellac Photography]
Written by Vicki Brown
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