South Africa: Unique Sites and Activities
If you’re going to be visiting South Africa for the World Cup festivities - and since there’s a good chance that you won’t be returning any time soon - it’s smart to include as many of this unique country’s exciting sights and attractions as possible. South Africa is positively brimming with gorgeous scenery, thrilling activities and heavenly vistas. Better yet, the people of South Africa are warm and welcoming. Make a point of setting aside some spare time to explore these seven unbeatable South Africa attractions.
Kruger National Park
African safaris don’t get much better than those at Kruger National Park. Established in 1898, it is the oldest wildlife park on the continent. From Johannesburg, it takes approximately five hours to drive here - but the journey is more than worth it. A stunning variety of wildlife can be viewed within the boundaries of this sprawling park, including giraffes, cheetahs, hippos and crocodiles. Roads are well maintained, eliminating the need to rent a 4X4. Consider taking a tour of Kruger National Park’s main sights when visiting South Africa.
Oenophiles will be in seventh heaven when they explore this popular area to the east of Cape Town. The scenery here couldn’t be more stunning, with purple mountains, stately oaks and a bounty of colorful flowers dotting a large proportion of it. Mile upon mile of neatly arranged vineyards are proof positive that this region is serious about its wine. Beyond the Winelands’ high wine output, it also produces some of the most delectable wines in the region. Whether you choose to sip a glass at a local restaurant or bring a bottle back to your hotel, you’re sure to be charmed by the Winelands.
Of the many intriguing cities in South Africa, Cape Town deserves its place at the top. Several World Cup matches will take place here, but you should make a point of exploring this vibrant city beyond the stadium. Table Mountain is Cape Town’s most beloved landmark; no trip to the city would be complete without visiting its summit and taking in the incredible view. At Boulders Beach, you can check out African penguins; at Cape Point, you can bask in the glory of pristine, untouched nature. Cape Town is an alluring place that you shouldn’t miss during your South African sojourn.
East of Cape Town, you’ll find South Africa’s famed Garden Route; in the heart of it, you’ll find Knysna. Tucked between the Indian Ocean and the Outeniqua Mountains, Knysna boasts many wonderful hiking opportunities in its nearby forests; its lagoon provides some of the best water sports and beach locations in the region. The town itself is charming and welcoming. Once you’ve been here for a day, you won’t want to leave. Best of all, its slow season falls right during World Cup - you won’t have to contend with any crowds.
Although you’re probably going to want to fill most of your South Africa vacation up with fun-filled adventures, you should take a minute to witness its less glamorous side. On the outskirts of Johannesburg sits Soweto, a sprawling community that more than 3.5 million people reside in. During the years of apartheid, a great deal of the action occurred in these slums. Today, guided tours of Soweto are available; sign up for one to learn more about South Africa’s apartheid history in a dramatic and memorable way. You won’t soon forget what you see in Soweto.
Stretching over more than 600 miles, the Drakensberg Mountains are located in eastern South Africa - and roughly between Durban and Bloemfontein, two 2010 World Cup host cities. Set aside a day or two to explore these verdant and majestic mountains in order to enjoy some phenomenal outdoor activities. Canopy tours are available, where you take views from the tops of towering trees; fishing, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, golfing, rock climbing and bird watching are all popular in this region of South Africa. If you’re eager to be active during your South Africa vacation, the Drakensberg Mountains are a great place to do so.
If time is not an issue, consider heading over to South Africa’s Western Cape to spend a day or two in Hermanus. This charming city used to be a small seaside fishing village; today, it retains much of its small town qualities while still being engaging enough to keep visitors on their toes. The top thing to do in Hermanus is whale watching; there are cliff paths from which you can view the surprisingly graceful creatures. If you’d like to add a thrilling nature experience to your South African journeys, stop by Hermanus at some point.