What to do in South Africa? What sites to visit to best discover the Rainbow Nation? Here are must-sees in South Africa for a successful getaway.
What to see and do in South Africa
South Africa is always ideal, and as it ranks third in the world for unique biodiversity (with two oceans, spectacular topography and prevailing winds) it designs for itself an environment that has it all: forests, deserts and lush savannahs.
It is also one of the most exciting places to enjoy African safari travel at its most exemplary.
Every corner of South Africa offers an adventure like no other, and we don’t just mean that visiting this country evokes images of jungles, safaris and places to dream, but for our part there is so much more! Let’s see their experiences and Top destinations.
Must-sees in South Africa: Table Mountain
One of the first things to see when visiting South Africa is Table Mountain. Called Table Mountain in French, this massif in the Western Cape province overlooks the city of Cape Town. It is one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. Table Mountain offers stunning scenery from below and above. Its ascent can be done on foot (2 hours of hiking) or by cable car so as not to miss anything of the spectacular view of the city and the peninsula, at an altitude of more than 1,000 m.
Mandalay advice: Check the weather forecast before planning a visit to Table Mountain, and bring warm clothes as the temperature drops rapidly at altitude.
The Apartheid Museum is one of the must-sees in South Africa. Near the city center of Johannesburg, the country’s largest city, the Apartheid Museum is dedicated to the history of South Africa in the 20th century and more specifically to the dark history of apartheid, from 1948 to 1994, emphasizing the inequalities, violence and repression that “non-whites” may have endured.
Address: Northern Park Way and Gold Reef Rd, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa
Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park, one of the largest reserves in Africa, covers 20,000 km². It is the ideal destination to go on safari in the footsteps of the famous “Big 5” of Africa (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and black rhinoceros). Kruger Park is home to 147 species of mammals which are regularly observed by visitors. Undoubtedly one of the essentials in South Africa.
Or sleep ? For an unusual experience, stay in the private reserve of Lion Sands. You will have the opportunity to sleep among the lions in a perched cabin.
Nelson Mandela’s House
Besides the Apartheid Museum, the Nelson Mandela House is one of the must-sees in South Africa to learn more about the country’s history. In the southwestern suburb of Johannesburg, in Soweto, the former home of Nelson Mandela, in which he lived between 1946 and 1962, contains objects and memorabilia linked to the life of this anti-apartheid activist. The opportunity to dive into the fascinating history of the Nobel Peace Prize winner, through objects highlighting his life, his work and his struggles. There is also another museum dedicated to Nelson Mandela in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape province in the south of the country.
Address: 8115 Vilakazi St, Orlando West, Soweto, 1804, South Africa
Cape of good hope
Among the must-sees in South Africa, there is the famous Cape of Good Hope. This rocky promontory on the Atlantic coast, at the end of the Cape Peninsula, looks like the end of the world. Starting from the center of Cape Town, take the road to the mythical Cape of Good Hope, to have the opportunity to discover some wonders of nature, making several stops. Arrived at the end of the world, climb to the top of the lighthouse for an incredible 360° view of the whole city. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cape of Good Hope reserve offers superb hiking.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
On the way to the Cape of Good Hope, stop to discover the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. On 36 hectares, this botanical garden is the former property of Cecil John Rhodes. You will see several species of plants in a harmoniously arranged space.
Impossible to consider a trip to South Africa without visiting Boulders Beach and its penguins. In the suburbs of Cape Town, in Simon’s Town, Boulders Beach gives you a most unusual experience. It is indeed possible to see penguins near the beach! However, observation points are set up so as not to disturb these small animals waddling on the beach.
Address: Kleintuin Rd, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, 7995, South Africa
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, also known as the V&A Waterfront, sits in the historic center of Cape Town’s harbor. It is the emblematic place of Cape Town where locals and tourists meet to admire the beautiful sunsets. People come here for lunch or dinner in the restaurant by the water, have a drink while admiring the beautiful silhouette of Table Mountain in the distance, or simply to stroll along the seafront.
Or sleep ? Au Silo, a unique hotel that stands out with its geometric glasses and dominates the waterfront of the V & A Waterfront.
Lion’s Head is one of those must-sees in South Africa. This rocky peak, 669 meters high, owes its name to its shape similar to the head of a lion and whose silhouette of Signal Hill would be the body. For those who wish to gain height, it is possible to climb the famous Lion’s Head, less known to tourists. It offers equally magical views of the city, the Atlantic coast and its turquoise water beaches.
Finally, one does not leave South Africa without immortalizing the streets of Bo-Kaap. This district, one of the must-sees in South Africa, is the most photographed in the Mother City. Its brightly painted houses and picturesque cobbled streets are sure to win you over. Translated from Afrikaans, Bo Kaap means “Above the Cape”. The charm of this neighborhood lies in the blend of Cape Dutch and Cape Georgian architectural styles. You can visit one of the oldest buildings in Bo Kaap, as it has been turned into a museum. The Bo Kaap Museum, which showcases local Islamic culture and heritage, was built by Jan de Waal in 1768 and is the oldest remaining in the area in its original form.
CAPE TOWN The cradle of multiculturalism
Walking through the center of Cape Town and observing the buildings with their unique architecture and their financial centers is already an adventure in itself. With its iconic Table Mountain backdrop and lush coastline, Cape Town is enveloped in a magnificent atmosphere. In 2014, it was named the world’s leading destination to visit (by decision of the famous New York Times), ranked second in the list of most prestigious and important vacation destinations of Travel and Leisure and was also considered the second best city in Africa by the Traveller’s Choice Awards, awarded as the City of Design!
There are more than 20 wine regions around the city . For true wine lovers, the Cape Vineyards is a place of rich culture and vibrant character, where the trend is based on the pleasure of the senses. It boasts an undulating landscape that is one of the most extravagant settings on the Cape (which is why the Cape Vineyards belong to the famous Wine Route). The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront , is also one of its main attractions and offers an idyllic opportunity to enjoy a day of luxurious shopping and dining experiences in a naturally scenic port. And did you know that the famous Simon’s Town beach is home to a large family of friendly penguins?
Beyond its pristine shores of desire, adventurers can enjoy a stylish cruise to Robben Island , the former ‘home’ of Nelson Mandela and several other political prisoners who fought against the Apartheid government. Cape Town is a true paradise for history lovers and a photographer’s dream. Cape Town is fortunately: an adventure in every way.
JOHANNESBURG · Awarded as ‘The City of Gold’.
Johannesburg is one of the youngest cities in the world. Founded in the 1880s after the discovery of gold and diamonds on the Witwatersrand, it is a cosmopolitan city with people from virtually the entire continent seeking global investment and business. As one of the commercial capitals of South Africa, it is one of the most important communication junctions and an unavoidable entry point for many of the emblematic South African destinations. In addition, it is home to the tallest building in Africa: the Hilbrow Tower, with a height of 270 meters! And also, it has the largest hospital in the world: Chris Hani-Baragwanath, with a capacity of up to 3.5 million people.
With its magnificent climate and the green meadows that surround it, it is home to one of the largest artificial forests on the planet, making it a fascinating destination with many faces to show.
KRUGER PARK · The temple of luxury safari.
Kruger Park itself refers to a park full of nature without fences, but it is much bigger and wilder than you could ever imagine . With 2,000,000 acres brimming with untouched wilderness, a wide diversity of wildlife and international award-winning accommodation, it leads the way in luxury safari drives. Its exclusive use conservation areas are world famous for their Big Five sightings (virtually guaranteed), and its estancias offer the icing on the cake in safaris with style, comfort and traditional cuisine.
Its panoramic views are absolutely excellent and fortunately they are home to more than 336 species of trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibian species, 114 reptiles, 507 bird species and 147 mammal species. In short, there is nothing better than a safari holiday in the famous Kruger Park; the perfect getaway in one of the legendary nature reserves in all of Africa that will exceed the expectations of anyone who visits.
MADIKWE RESERVE · One of South Africa’s best kept secrets.
Madikwe is the fifth largest game reserve in the country and one of the lesser known parks, but not least. Situated on the edge of the Kalahari Desert and close to the Botswana border, this sprawling 75,000-hectare nature reserve comprises vast open plains of grasslands, forests, rocky outcrops and unique mountains.
It houses an impressive mix of animals. The authentic ‘Big Five’ safari is on display at Madikwe Park , ensuring sightings of lion, elephant, leopard, rhino and buffalo, and even the rare privilege of spotting the African wild dog. In addition, the accommodations have a great family atmosphere, their expert guides provide enviable hospitality and every day of adventure is absolutely unbeatable.
SUN CITY · ‘La Vegas’ of Africa.
Deep within the rugged jungle of the Pilanesberg National Park, lies one of the most exclusive resorts in the world. Sun City is internationally acclaimed because it is a fantasy city that has a unique atmosphere typical of African luxury. Its casual elegance, glamor and theatrical extravagance provide endless entertainment and multiple opportunities for a truly unique vacation. We are not exaggerating if we say that Sun City is one of the places most frequented by stars and celebrities worldwide with High Standing accommodation options and impeccable service, it offers a dream experience for large families and couples who want a honeymoon like no other. other.
But this does not stop; Sun City’s nightlife is transformed into a dazzling hub of restaurants, luxurious casinos and spectacular live entertainment. This magical South African destination offers a dazzling holiday that is hard to beat.
GROOTBOS NATURE RESERVE · The land of natural wonders.
Grootbos is a fantastic nature reserve nestled in the foothills of Walker Bay: an ecological paradise showcasing the incredible Cape wildlife alongside unrivaled floral and botanical diversity. This exclusive eco-reserve hidden between mountains, forests and sea offers an infinite number of outdoor activities. It offers sophisticated accommodation overlooking the enchanting Overberg skylines, earning Grootbos an outstanding example of sustainable tourism and 5 Star luxury in the Western Cape.
As one of the temples of the Five Great Marines (whales, sharks, dolphins, seals and penguins) it surrounds the unique atmosphere of Gansbaai, the world capital of diving with the Great White Shark, which offers an absolutely unforgettable experience under ocean waters. . You will discover never-before-seen fynbos species, the world’s largest Milkwood forests , beaches lapped by crystal clear waters, historic caves and breathtaking landscapes.
Any adventure seeker with an affinity for nature and luxury, Loves Grootbos.
GARDEN ROUTE · The pinnacle of safari and beach trips.
The Garden Route, the majestic expanse of forested coastline between The Mother City and Port Elisabeth , offers one wonder after another. The perfect combination of magical beaches, dappled forests, calm lagoons, fishing villages and beautiful cosmopolitan cities.
Among its most outstanding destinations, we will rank Hermanus in first place, one of the 12 best places in the world for whale and dolphin watching.In second place, Knysna reflects the best things in life: impressive lagoons and mountains where its destinations offer craft shops, markets and cozy restaurants that invite the charm and hospitality of a small town in the Garden of Eden. In third place in the ranking: Cape Agulhas is the southernmost point in all of Africa and one of the most visited destinations worldwide due to the fantastic scene where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. One of the places that also deserves to be visited is the World Capital of the Ostrich: Oudtshoorn. And in addition, it is home to the spectacular Cango Caves, the largest cave system in all of Africa!
In summary, the Garden Route offers an endless list of unique destinations, an experience that will mark a lifetime memory for those who are passionate about true natural temples.
A route on the most luxurious train in the world? Introducing Rovos Rail.
Since its creation in 1986, Rovos Rail has achieved a worldwide reputation for its journeys of true luxury, style and comfort. One of the starting points of their routes is at Capital Park Station in Pretoria (the fabulous Edwardian-style station and the only private railway station in South Africa); the extravagant Rovos Rail connects some of the biggest and most iconic destinations in southern Africa. Their voyages are not only famous for their elegant carriages and spacious suites, but also provide first-class service on board and a unique dining experience. Rovos Rail brings back the romance and atmosphere of a bygone golden age, a ‘luxury on rails’ experience like no other.