A nation of stunning and breathtaking beauty, South Africa is home to natural wonders, impressive vineyards, fantastic animals, and thriving cities. A country of contrasts and cultural diversity has plenty of surprises in store for anyone who is curious to explore it.
Tourism in South Africa has become an important industry which generates a considerable amount of revenue. According to a report by the World Travel and Tourism Council the tourism industry supported 10.3 percent of the jobs in 2012, a number that has likely risen in recent years. To attract more international tourism, the government of South Africa will introduce the South Africa Visa, an electronic travel authorization that will simplify the process of getting a visa. Applying for the South Africa e-Visa will be a straightforward and simple process and travelers will simply need a valid passport and an email address.
As South Africa continues to work on growing its infrastructure and modernizing their visa system, foreign visitors will have plenty of incredible attractions to visit. We’ve carefully researched for the best spots to discover while visiting South Africa.
10 Must-see Attractions in South Africa
Narrowing down the top attractions to see in South Africa was no easy task. From wildlife to beaches to trendy restaurants, South Africa will enchant any traveler.
This is our top 10 list of attractions in South Africa!
1. Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is one of the largest wildlife-watching spots in the entire world. The park is home to a number of incredible animals which include elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, rhinos, hippos, zebras, and giraffes, just to name a few. There are over 500 varieties of birds and another 137 species of mammals, all living in this impressive area. Additionally, the park is also home to bushman rock paintings and archaeological sites.
Visitors can explore the park on a large network of sealed roads. They can also join an organized walking safari or even better, hop on a hot air balloon. The park offers accommodation that ranges from campsites to lodges.
2. Boulders Beach
Animal lovers will easily fall for Boulders Beach. Situated near Simon’s Town in False Bay, Boulders Beach is famous for its resident penguin colony. Other perks include white sand and clean, clear water. The beach is home to at least 3000 African penguins. To take great photos, visitors can head to the Foxy Beach boardwalk, where they’ll find an ideal viewpoint. Whales and dolphins can be spotted swimming off shore. To access the park, both adults and children will need to pay an entry fee which goes toward protecting the penguins.
3. Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is a highly popular attraction in South Africa. Located in the vibrant city of Cape Town, the waterfront welcomes around 25 million visitors a year. It is considered the most visited spot in the country. While visiting, travelers can head to the WaterShed and Two Oceans Aquarium.
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is where the city meets the sea. The 123-hectare hosts hotels, retail stores, restaurants, bars and other leisure and entertainment facilities. Here people can work, live, eat and play.
4. Sun City Resort
Sun City Resort is known as Africa’s Kingdom of Pleasure. This casino and resort is a 2-hour drive from Johannesburg. Sun City has 4 hotels, 2 championship golf courses, and two casinos. Furthermore, it is an ideal destination for families. The complex is home to 2 water theme parks, one dedicated to slides and rides and the other to water sports. The main attraction is the Valley of the Waves, which looks like an island. There are plenty of entertainment options and events to choose from.
5. Table Mountain
Table Mountain is an extraordinary natural flat-topped mountain which overlooks the city of Cape Town. To get to the top, many visitors use the cableway while others opt for hiking to the top. Whichever option visitors prefer, standing above the city is a unique experience. Table Mountain is an iconic attraction and worth anyone’s time. The cable ride is only five minutes, while the hike will take up an entire day. The cableway offers stunning views and the cableway has rotating floors and large windows. There’s a self-service restaurant at the top.
6. Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve
Officially Motlatsi Canyon, Blyde River Canyon is an important and beautiful natural feature in South Africa. The canyon is about 2,461 feet deep and consists mostly of red sandstone. It is one of the largest canyons on earth and it might be considered the “greenest” as it has lush subtropical foliage. There are walking treks that will allow any visitor to explore its rich and diverse flora and fauna. There are stunning waterfalls and escarpments as well. Hippos and crocodiles can be found newat the wetlands of Swadini Dam.
The picturesque town of Stellenbosch is one of the best preserved towns from the era of the Dutch East India Company. Travelers will encounter farms, charming old oak trees, and white-washed Cape Dutch wellings. Stellenbosch today is a university town which offers lively energy and plenty of dining and entertainment options. Some of the best restaurants in the country can be found in this lovely town.
For a bit of history, a great ideas is to visit the Village Museum, a group of 4 restored houses and gardens that date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. South African artists are featured at the Rupert Museum. If you want to feel closer to nature, you can hike or bike in the surrounding area or at the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve.
8. The Garden Route
On the southeast coast of South Africa, the Garden Route stretches for miles! It is one of the most astonishing coastal sceneries in the entire country. The Garden Route stretches from west to east along the Indian Ocean from Mossel Bay to the Storms River. When passing through it, locals and travelers will find green hills, lagoons, lakes and coastal cliffs. A must-see while driving through this charming route is the town of Knysna set between deep forests and a lagoon. Regarded as one of the most beautiful regions in the country, the route gets its name from the Garden Route National Park that it covers.
9. Robben Island
Robben Island is listed as a World Heritage Site, and with good reason. The island is a reminder of the injustices and horrors of apartheid. This is where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years imprisoned in a tiny cell simply for standing up for people’s rights. One of the most interesting things about Robben Island is that the guides are ex-prisoners who can share all of the horrible events they experienced. The tour begins with a multimedia exhibitions at the Nelson Mandela Getaway at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. After, visitors take a boat to the island to continue to rest of the tour.
10. Durban’s Golden Mile
The Golden Mile is a famous and popular beachfront in the city of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, including its gorgeous promenade.The gold-sanded beach draws in many visitors, especially swimmers and surfers. The promenade features high-rise hotels, shops, restaurants and fancy entertainment spots.