We’ve travelled to South Africa three times now and loved every single visit. In fact its one of our top 3 favourite countries we’ve visited so far. There are many top things to see and do in South Africa, as there is just SO much to see and do throughout the country, it’ll be hard to fit everything in, as people don’t realise how big the country actually is!
After visiting South Africa on three separate occasions, we’ve put together a list of our favourite experiences and activities to help you plan your own visit to this magnificent country.
No South African adventure would be complete without going on safari. It is definitely one of the top things to see and do in South Africa. We will never forget the first time we saw each of the Big 5, elephants and lions passing within a few feet of our open top jeep. It was exhilarating to say the least.
We went on safari to Klaserie National Park, a private game reserve just West of Kruger National Park. You can find our full review of our safari experience here. Being honest, it was the most memorable travelling experience we have both encountered so far, and we cannot recommend enough staying at Klaserie Sands River Camp!
Drive along the Panoramic Route
The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest in the world, and not surprisingly a significant natural feature of South Africa. It’s located in Mpumalanga, near the towns of Sabie and Nelspruit and easily reached if you’ve hired a car and are driving from Johannesburg towards Kruger National Park.
Along the drive there are multiple scenic lookouts including the famous Gods Window and Three Rondavels. You can also hike and swim in the natural pools along the way. It really is a nature lovers dream, and easily done within a day on your way to Kruger or other game reserves in the area.
If you’re looking for food, make sure to stop by Pancakes in Graskop! Yummiest pancakes ever!
Table Mountain is probably the most famous natural landmark in Cape Town or even South Africa. With the peak reaching over 3,500 feet it is a hiker lovers dream, with panoramic views of the city, ocean and landscape from the summit.
However, if you’re not up for the challenging hike (don’t worry most people aren’t), or you’re short on time, there is a cable car that takes you from the base to summit in 5 minutes. But of course hiking is a lot more rewarding!
The Big Swing
This one is for all you adrenaline junkies out there! The Big Swing is located in Graskop near Gods Window, and isn’t for the faint hearted. Emma did this back in 2013 (if a 16 year old can do it you can too!), and said it was probably the most terrifying thing she’s done! With a 68 metre free-fall backwards at 180 km/h on one of the worlds highest cable gorge swings, it’ll definitely get your hair raising.
What better place to do skydiving than in South Africa? Again, Emma did this back in 2013, and loved it. How does jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet sound, free falling for 80 seconds until a parachute latches on at around 5,000 feet? Sound good!? Then head to South Africa to do it.
Make sure to book with a reputable company, as this type of activity is some serious stuff.
Meet the locals
South Africa is a hugely diverse nation. Johannesburg is home to the famous slum of Soweto, where you can cycle, or walk through the slum with an organised guide. It is fascinating learning about its history and culture as well as meeting the locals in the area.
Make sure not to visit other slums which don’t offer tours, as you’ll stand a high risk of being robbed or exploited. South Africa is generally a safe country if you use your common sense.
Shark Cage Diving
Regrettably we haven’t done this adrenaline activity yet. However, so many of our friends have, and they’ve absolutely loved it (may have been the most terrifying thing they’ve done, but hey!). Great Whites can grow up to 6 metres long and can weigh over 3 tons!
There are lots of companies that offer cage diving around the Cape Town peninsula so make sure to do some research into which ones are the best.
Watch a Rugby Match
Rugby is South Africa’s national sport, its in their blood. We’re huge rugby fans, so for us it was incredible to watch the Springboks on their home turf. If you’re not into rugby, try cricket or another sport, but try and get one sports game in whilst your there. The atmosphere is truly amazing, and South Africans are such friendly people.
Driving along the panoramic route around Sabie to Neilspruit, there are a number of stunning waterfalls where you can go swimming and relax. Lisbon Falls, Berlin Falls, Mac Mac Falls, Bridal Vial Falls are just a few of the amazing waterfalls that encompass the Mpumalanga province.
Make sure to pack sunscreen, a towel, a swimming costume and don’t forget your GoPro for awesome selfies and videos!
Who doesn’t love a bit of wine tasting?! South Africa is home to some of the best wines in the world. Take a scenic drive along the wine route around Stellenbosch and Paarl. The vineyards just outside Cape Town offer amazing value for money, compared to other famous wine regions around the world. From sunset tastings with a sea of stunning mountains in the background to renting a thatched cottage overlooking the vines, you can’t really go wrong when wine tasting in South Africa.
Have you done any of these activities? Or you have any questions regarding what to do in South Africa? We’d love to hear in the comments below!
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