Things to see in South Africa

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South Africa Attractions

South Africa is a sightseer's paradise, with plenty to see and do no matter what your interests, time frame, age, or inclination.

There is natural splendour in abundance, including the beautiful beaches and iconic Table Mountain of Cape Town, the magnificent Drakensberg Mountains, the Blyde River Canyon, the stunning scenery of the coastal Garden Route, the pristine coastline of the Transkei, and the sweeping vistas of the Highveld. Of course, the animals of South Africa, especially the Big Five, are a big draw for tourists and game safaris are a very popular diversion; The Kruger National Park is the country's most famous wildlife reserve and a must for many visitors.

South Africa has a complicated and dramatic history and the legacy of the pioneer wars, slavery, colonialism, the Boer War and Apartheid is still strongly felt. There is no shortage of interesting historical sightseeing, with sites like Robben Island - where Mandela was imprisoned - and the battlefields of the Boer War attracting many visitors. The country has many quaint historical towns, like Franschoek in the Cape Winelands, and Grahamstown in the 'frontier country' of the Eastern Cape. South Africa also has its share of museums and galleries, and the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg is particularly noteworthy.

The country is easy to get around with competitive low-cost carriers, long distance buses, good value car hire and the best roads in Africa (although some of the worst drivers!). Road tripping is a wonderful way to experience the hugely diverse landscapes and cultures of this vast country.

South Africa is one of the few global destinations that can offer the complete holiday experience, with a huge variety of world-class attractions and compelling experiences, and incredible value for money to boot.


Kruger National Park, South Africa

Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park is South Africa's oldest, largest and best-known wildlife conservation area, home to a huge variety of wildlife and most famous for its 'Big Five' viewing opportunities. Visitors have an excellent chance of seeing lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhino among...  see full details



Cape Town panorama

Table Mountain

Cape Town's most popular tourist attraction is also its most famous physical feature. The flat-topped mountain that stands as a sentinel over the city. Table Mountain has been proclaimed a nature reserve, protecting its diverse floral species, some unique to its slopes.

The views of...  see full details



Kirstenbosch Gardens, Cape Town

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Five miles (8km) south of the city centre lie the magnificent Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, covering a huge expanse of the rugged southwestern slopes of the Table Mountain range. Kirstenbosch was bequeathed to the nation by mining magnate Cecil Rhodes in 1895, and today...  see full details



Llandudno

Cape Town Beaches

Cape Town has some truly gorgeous beaches, but the most glamorous are on the Atlantic Ocean where the water is unbelievably cold. Even the locals tend to keep their swims short. The most popular choices include Camps Bay beach, a long, wide stretch...  see full details



Robben Island and Table Mountain

Robben Island

Robben Island is seven miles (11km) from Cape Town in the centre of Table Bay, easily seen from the shore. For nearly 400 years, this tiny rocky island was utilised as a place of banishment, exile, isolation, and imprisonment for numerous categories of people...  see full details



Chapman's Peak Drive, Cape Town

Chapman's Peak

Chapman's Peak Drive is one of the most spectacular coastal roads in South Africa and the world. It links the seaside community of Hout Bay to the Noordhoek Valley along the Atlantic Coast, with breath-taking views from along the narrow, winding road blasted into...  see full details



V & A Waterfront, Cape Town

Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront

This working harbour, historical site, and shopping and entertainment development, has become one of Cape Town's most visited tourist attractions. The Waterfront offers everything from shopping malls t0 arts and crafts markets, live music amd buskers to a variety of festivals throughout the year.

There...  see full details



Cape Point, Cape Town

Cape Point

Most visitors to Cape Town are keen to make the short, 40 mile (65km) daytip from the city centre to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. The land at first appears bleak, but visitors will soon discover a region rich in floral...  see full details



An Elephant in Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant Park

The most popular game reserve in the Port Elizabeth area is the Addo Elephant Park, just a 45-minute drive from the city. The park is situated in the ruggedly beautiful Eastern Cape region, which is still being discovered by tourists, allowing for an...  see full details



Jeffrey's Bay

Jeffrey's Bay

A short drive to the west of Port Elizabeth is the surfing paradise of Jeffrey's Bay, known colloquially as J-Bay. This determinedly laid-back seaside town is most famous for Supertubes, one of the best right hand point breaks in the world, considered South Africa's...  see full details



Blood River, South Africa

Zululand Battlefields

Zululand is the ancestral home of the Zulu people. It is the site of many a bloody battle between the British, the Afrikaaners, and the Zulus during the 19th century, is best explored as a self-drive adventure, although many tours are available from Durban.

Almost...  see full details



Greater St Lucia Wetlands

iSimangaliso / St Lucia Wetland Park

In the far north of KwaZulu-Natal are a string of nature reserves and game parks, of which the largest and most exciting is the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, formerly called the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park and often still known by that name.

Dominated by...  see full details



Drakensburg, South Africa

Drakensberg Mountains

The jagged peaks of the Drakensberg (Dragon Mountains) tower over KwaZulu Natal's eastern border, providing a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The Drakensberg, the highest mountain range in southern Africa, abounds with hiking trails, climbing routes, 4x4 trails, pony treks and adventure pursuits, all accessible...  see full details



The Market Theatre, Newtown

Newtown Cultural Precinct

This complex of buildings in the city centre has been upgraded and restored as part of the city fathers' urban renewal policy and includes several attractions. The Market Theatre and Museum Africa, for instance, are housed in a Victorian building in Bree Street that...  see full details



Valley of the Waves

Lost City

Situated in the Bojanala region of the North West Province, the 'Las Vegas of South Africa' is one of the largest entertainment centres for adults in the world, with casinos, golf courses, live shows, and the architectural wonder of the Lost City.

The vast...  see full details



Blyde River Canyon, South Africa

Blyde River Canyon

The spectacular vista of the Blyde River Canyon, with its sheer cliffs dropping into a bush-covered valley, is part of the scenically breath-taking Panorama Route, worth doing as a self-drive trip from Nelspruit, or on a bus tour.

Other sights on the route include...  see full details



Storms River Mouth, Tsitsikamma

Tsitsikamma National Park

Tsitsikamma is a word of the indigenous Khoi-San people meaning 'place of many waters', accurately describing the beautiful 50-mile (80km) stretch of coastline that makes up the Tsitsikamma National Park. The park is Africa's oldest and largest marine reserve.

The park contains many attractions,...  see full details



Franschhoek Valley, South Africa

Franschhoek

Fleeing religious persecution in France in the 1700s, more than 200 French Huguenots arrived in the Cape and were settled in the valley that soon became known as Franschhoek (French Corner), which is today situated in the heart of the Cape Winelands region.

Many...  see full details



Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg

The Apartheid Museum

Situated near Gold Reef City, the Apartheid Museum chronicles South Africa's tragic and shameful history of black oppression. On display are relics of the apartheid system, an abhorrent regime which denied non-whites basic freedoms and an equal life in the country.

Visitors often describe the...  see full details



Hermanus

Hermanus

Locals and international tourists alike make the pilgrimage south of Cape Town to Hermanus, just a few hours' drive down the coast, to enjoy the seaside charm of the place. The town is known for its whale watching, as Southern Right Whales migrate...  see full details