South Africa is a country of extremes, where poverty-stricken shanties exist alongside first-world art galleries, entertainment venues, sports arenas and restaurants. Its magnificent landscapes include snow-dusted mountains, plunging canyons and areas of arid semi-desert; whilst its twin coasts support incredible biodiversity.
Whether you’re looking for a beach vacation, a city break or an escape into the game-filled bush, South Africa has the ability to be all things to all people.
Planning a trip to South Africa? Congratulations! Here are the top reasons to visit this beautiful and intriguing country:
1. It’s whale watching season
From June to November, South Africa’s southern Overberg coastline sees the return of the majestic Southern right whales to calve and nurse their young. It’s a special experience, and the area, with its off-the-beaten-track wineries and the pretty town of Hermanus, is a top-notch destination at any time of year.
2. Cape Town
Unusually, South Africa has three capitals: Pretoria as its administrative capital, Cape Town as its legislative capital, and Bloemfontein as its judicial capital.
The city has stunning natural landscapes, delicious and diverse cuisines and so many activities for all ages. It’s also a cosmopolitan city with a wealth of historical sites, café culture, and lively nightlife.
3. You can sleep under the stars
Book the Malori Sleep Out Deck at Motse Lodge in the Tswalu Kalahari and spend an alfresco night in the heart of the bush. There really is nothing better in life than sleeping under a star-spangled sky, listening to the snuffling wildlife below.
4. The restaurants
From exquisite, Michelin-starred eateries, to braai shacks in the remotest of villages, and more coffee houses than you shake a stick at, South Africa has it all in the way of mouth-poppingly tasty cuisine. The Test Kitchen in Cape Town has even made it onto the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
5. The accommodation is unbeatable
It doesn’t matter where you stay in South Africa, you’ll be blown away by the quality of the hotels and the hospitality you’ll receive. Top of our list are The Cape Cadogan in Cape Town, the Peech Hotel in Johannesburg, Emily Moon River Lodge just outside Plettenberg, and Birkenhead House in Hermanus.
6. Boost your adrenaline
South Africa is something of an adventure destination – you just have to know where to look. Conquer the world’s highest bungee at Bloukrans Bridge on the Garden Route, or dive with great white sharks in False Bay. If that sounds too heart-pumpingly scary, Cape Town offers paragliding and kite-surfing experiences that are hard to beat.