Exploring South AfricaOur Travel Guide
I lived in South Africa for almost a year in Johannesburg. It was a wonderful experience mixing the ability to go on safari or whale watching with a first-world infrastructure. South Africa has had it’s problems in the past and still struggle, but it offers such a wide variety of experiences that it is a great destination to travel. South Africa is a sovereign state nestled in the southernmost end of Africa. Spread across 471,443 square kilometers, South Africa is a diverse and beautiful tourist destination. Going by the land covered, it is the 25th largest country across the world.
South Africa is a country with distinct ecosystems and varying cultures. It is a delight for travelers with so much to offer. It is home to diverse ecosystems, and an example is the Simangaliso Wetland Park. It boasts five ecosystems collectively housing both zebras and dolphins. Cape Town is one of the most visited tourist destinations in South Africa, and some of the major attractions here include Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Robben Island, and Cape Peninsula. Spotting penguins on The Cape and hippos in the Limpopo River are activities tourists enjoy in South Africa. Additionally, to further add on some more attractions, we list the Kalahari Desert and Kruger National Park. For anyone who loves beach locations, South Africa is a delight.
If your interests lie in stunning nightlife, and beaches then Durban is the ideal pick for you. It is known for its sandy beaches and varying cultures. When speaking of ancient monuments and museums, Pretoria is one of a kind destination. You can witness several musical and theatre events here. Furthermore, one of the most welcoming cities of South Africa is Bloemfontein – the City of Roses. Johannesburg city is the entertainment and financial epicenter of South Africa.
Whether you are interested in a true African safari, whale watching, penguins, wine tours or just experiencing some of the world’s great cities, South Africa has it all.
South Africa at a Glance
Currency: The currency of South Africa is Rand since 1961. One rand equals 100 cents.
Visa: To travel to South Africa, you require a valid visa. Visa for tourism is valid for 90 days.
Language: The common language spoken in South Africa is Zulu, spoken by about 23% of the population but English is spoken throughout the country. The following language is Xhosa, spoken by roughly 14% of the population. Other spoken languages include Afrikaans by 14% and English by around 9.6%. English is the dominant language in media and government bodies. Most of the urban population is comfortable in English.
- Sight Seeing 85% 85%
- Cost 80% 80%
- Ease of Travel 85% 85%
- Activities 90% 90%
South Africa is an amazing destination. A first-world infrastructure allows you to travel throughout the country with ease and experience amazing wildlife and scenery. I loved my time living there and getting to know a warm and welcoming people to an incredible country.
Top Experiences in South Africa
South Africa is a paradise for nature lovers and the African Safari is what brings most people to the country. South Africa features breathtaking landscapes that make incredible memories. Be it lush green forests, deserts, grasslands, or massive mountains, South Africa offers it all. What further adds to the natural surroundings is the abundant wildlife settled in these natural landscapes. South Africa is home to more than 700 public reserves, 19 National Parks, and 200 private reserves.
Wildlife safaris are incredible in South Africa. Many wildlife and photography enthusiasts head to the country for exploring nature and wildlife here. To be able to experience African Lions, Water Buffalo, Cheetah, Elephants and more is the dream of many visitors.
Summers in South Africa last from December to March. Western Cape and Cape Town experience hot and dry summers, unlike the rest of the country that experience thundershowers in summers.
Spend time on the Beaches – One of the most common activities during summers is spending time on the marvelous beaches. South Africa offers an endless number of beaches, including Clifton Beach, Plettenberg Bay, Sodwana Bay, Camps Bay, Durban’s South Beach, and Jeffreys Bay.
Hiking – South Africa offers a wide range of natural landscapes. Hiking is the ideal way to explore these natural beauties. You can choose from gentle hikes to long-duration expeditions while in South Africa. Some of the many renowned hiking destinations include Otter Trail in Tsitsikamma, Amphitheatre Heritage Hike in the Drakensberg, Table Mountain in Cape Town, and Amphitheatre Heritage Hike in the Drakensberg.
Birds Watching – The country houses more than 800 bird species. Birds watching is an activity that tourists indulge in and enjoy in South Africa, mostly during the Summers.
Winters in South Africa last from June to August. Winters are cold, dry, and experiences snowfall in higher altitude regions. The Cape experiences a Mediterranean type of climate due to which it boasts a wet winter.
Winter Festivals – Winters in South Africa comprises cold nights and sunny days. There is an array of winter festivals that one can be part of during the season. Some of the many festivals include The Klein Karo National Arts Festival, Afrika Burn, National Arts Festival, Knysna Oyster Festival, and Robertson Wacky Wine Weekend.
Whale Watching – Winters are the best time for watching activity in South Africa. You can experience this thrilling activity in Cape Town.
Surfing – Home to several beautiful beaches, South Africa is well-known for varying water sports. Surfing is one of the most common outdoor activities that people indulge in while on the beach locations.
Wildlife Safari – Winters are the best time to head out on wildlife safaris. It is a great time to spot animals. In places like Kruger, Pilanesberg, Madikwe, and KwaZulu-Natal parks, animals are easy to spot close to water sources. In winters, when the weather is dry, animals reach out to water sources often.
Cities and Towns
Cape Town – Cape Town, the capital city of the Western Cape Province, is a major tourist attraction. It is renowned for its golden beaches, the Table Mountain, widely spread seas, and alluring vineyards. People here indulge in activities like hiking, paragliding, surfing, mountain biking, etc. Cape Town also boasts natural offerings like lush gardens, underground caves, towering boulders, floral beds, etc. Furthermore, the residents of Cape Town are party lovers, and the city flaunts some exclusive nightlife and delicious cuisines.
East London – East London is a unique city that dates to the British colonialism times. East London is surrounded by water bodies on three sides. It features beautiful sandy beaches with calm waters for one to unwind. Several resorts sit by the beautiful beaches where you can book yourself a stay.
Durban – Durban is a cheerful and bustling city. Durban is one of those cities of South Africa that feature diverse cultural offerings. It has a combined population of Indians, urban Zulu culture, and South Africans with English speaking skills. Durban is also known for its beautiful beaches and the subtropical climate. With several Indians, Durban has an Asian vibe. Some of the many places to visit in Durban include Mahatma Gandhi Settlement, The Golden Mile, Durban Botanical Gardens, Crocodile Creek, Berea, and City Hall. On the other hand, there is a wide range of entertainment offerings like casinos and golf courses.
Mossel Bay – If being outdoors is your thing, then Mossel Bay makes for a great vacation destination. It has some lovely beaches and surfing is one of the most practiced water sports here. Sunbathing on the soft golden sands, taking a walk by the calm waters, and skydiving are some other outdoor activities you can indulge in while exploring Mossel Bay.
Sun City – Sun City is a well-known gaming location. It attracts tourists who enjoy spending vacations full of entertainment and fun. Along with gaming opportunities, you also get to enjoy sightseeing excursions. Sun City is a hub of adult entertainment in the Northern Province. It lies merely 2 hours’ drive away from Johannesburg, and both cities can be visited back to back. Sun City has something for all age groups. It has water sports, spa facilities, safaris, and other fun activities. The climate here is moderate, featuring pleasant winters and hot summers. For nature and wildlife lovers, Sun City houses Madikwe Game Reserve and Pilanesberg National Park. These places offer wildlife safari opportunities to visitors. What adds more to the offerings of the city is a wide range of shopping opportunities.
Grahamstown – If old architecture is what gets you crazy, then this is the place to visit while in South Africa. It features some ancient churches and architectural beauties. While here, you can engage in varying outdoor activities. The renowned National Arts Festival is hosted here, and you can be a part of it if desired. Additionally, there are various natural reserves a little away from the city where you can head for a day’s excursion. Heading to these wildlife locations, you can expect to spot animals like lions, rhinos, buffalos, leopards, and elephants. Not to forget, there are restaurants, cafes, bars, and stunning nightlife.
Johannesburg – Johannesburg is yet another brilliant tourist destination that flaunts a perfect blend of a modern pump and traditional culture. Johannesburg is the capital city of the Gauteng province and the largest city of South Africa. Some of the many largest art institutes are housed in Johannesburg. A hustling city, Johannesburg is a hub for everything modern and artistic. Be it nightlife, exotic cuisine, or sightseeing attractions, Johannesburg offers it all. Johannesburg is surrounded by natural landscapes, and one can plan short trips out and about as and when desired.
Pretoria – Pretoria is another city that lies close to Johannesburg. The city streets are dotted with establishments flaunting ancient architecture. It is a contemporary city with various museums. These museums boast collections of different cultures for visitors to explore. While speaking of nightlife, Pretoria is stunning. One can visit museums during the day and dance to mind-blowing music during the nights.
Our Final Word
I loved my time living in South Africa. The country has so much to offer. I was mostly interested in heading out on safari and experiencing the different areas of the country. South Africa was unique in southern Africa offering a first-world infrastructure with unsurpassed nature. Whether you go for the beaches, marine wildlife, safari or just to get to know a unique biodiverse country, South Africa cannot be beat.
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