By Guest writer: Mark Norman.
South Africa is something truly magical. You can experience the beautiful, vibrant and energetic cities or visit one of many sun-kissed beaches. Breathtaking views, world-class food and wine, the list goes on. In South Africa you’ll find yourself spoiled for choice.
Go on Safari
You can’t visit South Africa without having the full game reserve and safari lodge experience. Home to the Big Five, it offers you the opportunity to experience nature in it’s most beautiful and primal state. It is hard to describe the feeling of spotting your first lion. It is something that simply must be experienced. South Africa is home to the world famous Kruger National Park, which is the ideal place to immerse yourself in nature. You can do a solo safari with or without a guide or relax at one of the many beautiful safari lodges while they cater to your every need.
Visit St Lucia
St Lucia is home to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is renowned for its swamp forests and diverse wildlife. Kayaking allows you a unique view of a few of its truly wonderful inhabitants: crocodiles, hippos and bull sharks. Fun fact! Hippos are the most dangerous animals in Africa. Contrary to their size they are remarkably fast and aggressive. It is also one of the best places to spot leatherback turtles laying their eggs or you can run alongside giraffes and wildebeest by taking a horseback safari.
Spend some time with a Great White Shark
South Africa is home to a unique population of Great Whites, which hunt seals off Seal Island by projecting themselves straight out of the water. It is truly something to behold. There are tours available to view this one of a kind spectacle (from the comfort of a boat of course). You can get even closer by going shark cage diving. Anyone can do it. You don’t need any diving certification. It is exciting and eye opening to see these misunderstood creatures in their natural habitat.
Visit the Cango Caves
The Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn is the oldest tourist attraction in South Africa. There are two tours, standard and adventure. Standard takes you through the massive chambers, but the adventure takes you through narrow passageways (some only 26cm wide). Not for the claustrophobic.
Ride an Ostrich
While in Oudtshoorn why not try something insane like riding an ostrich? The largest bird may not be able to fly, but it sure can run. Go to the Cango Ostrich Farm to meet and learn about these wonderful creatures. To ride them you need to weigh less than 65 kg.
Climb Table Mountain
Cape Town’s most prominent landmark is also the one of the seven wonders of the natural world and a national heritage site. It is a national park filled with incredibly bio diverse fauna and flora. There is a wonderful rotating cable car that takes you up, but by far the best way up is to hike one of numerous routes to the top. Always check the weather because it can change drastically. You may even climb into the now infamous tablecloth, which is a blanket of clouds covering the mountain.
Basically do everything in Cape Town
Table Mountain is something you must experience, but Cape Town has so much to offer. It is the very definition of diversity and you’ll be spoiled for choice. So if you’re looking for a place to spend some time then look no further. Nelson Mandela is synonymous with South Africa. So immerse yourself in some African history by taking a boat ride to Robben Island, which is situated in off the coast of Cape Town, where he was imprisoned for 18 years and is now a national heritage site. Soak up the sun at Camps Bay or Clifton Beach, while Boulders Beach lets you hang out with the local penguins. Enjoy some of the world famous wines by taking a tour of the wine route. You can paraglide of Lions Head or just enjoy the sunset from the top. End it all off with a cocktail at one of Camps Bay’s beachside bars and restaurants. There is just so much to do!
Surf the coast
You’ll find some of the best surf conditions in the world in South Africa. Avid surfers can rent a car and do a surfing tour from Cape Town to Durban stopping at different spots along the way. You can also hone your skills in Muizenberg & Jeffrey’s Bay. The water is cold, but the waves are worth it!
Hot air balloon rides
Just an hour North West of Johannesburg you can experience the full majesty of the sunrise over the Magalies River Valley in a hot air balloon. Truly immerse yourself in your surroundings as you float silently through the air. There’s nothing quite like that feeling drifting on the breeze. Just you and the birds.
Take a canopy tour
There are many zipline tours to choose from, but the premier two have to be in Tsitsikamma and Durban. Tsitsikamma is a large sprawling forest with monstrous trees and the one time home of the famous forest elephants (though there are still a few around). This zipline tour is a great way to see the forest and ideal for beginners. Durban’s Karkloof canopy tour is more for the thrill seekers.
About the Author
Mark Norman grew up on a farm in South Africa and continues to find joy in immersing himself in the great outdoors. Passionate about animals and conservation, Mark is a capable outdoorsman and works at Pondoro Game Lodges where he is able to make a living doing the things he loves most.