It seems there is always something new and exciting to discover in South Africa: From mind blowing food and delectable wines to its dazzling array of beaches, the list of things to love about this country is seemingly endless. Here are 5 of our top picks.
It is simply one of the most beautiful countries in the world
This may sound like hyperbole, but SA is blessed with rolling hills, sprawling vineyards, sparkling white sand beaches and some of the most amazing wildlife reserves in the world. Prepare to bask in the glorious African sun before drinking in the vibrant, colorful sunset from atop of Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain.
It is filled with natural wonders such as such as Kruger National Park, the Drakensberg and the Tsitsikamma Forest. The country’s southern tip is a magnificent marine environment, which is world renowned for its biodiversity. There is so much to see and do on the coast: Go diving with sharks, spend time with the penguins at Boulder’s Beach or watch the migrating whales.
It has a fabulous climate
South Africa is sub-tropical and famous for its sunshine. It’s historically a dry country, with an average rainfall of just over half the world average. Summers in SA are hot and sunny. There tends to be very little rain during autumn and nights, especially in Cape Town, are warm. Expect a lot of sun during winter, which makes it almost a year round beach destination.
An unrivaled wildlife experience
South Africa is synonymous with wildlife safaris. Grab the chance to experience the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo) in their natural habitat. It can be expensive, but going on a luxury African safari is well worth the money. Expect to be pampered by some of the best lodges in the world, while expert game rangers take care of your every need out in the bushveld. All you need to do is relax and enjoy the greatest show on earth.
There are cheaper options like going on a self-drive safari in the world famous Kruger National Park, one of the country’s oldest reserves. Winter is the dry season and the best time to spot the Big Five. It extends from June through August.
Safari is not all about the Big Five though: There are an astounding variety of animals that call this country home. Expect to see zebra, wildebeest, hippo, giraffes and other big cats.
South African food has been influenced by many different cultures, such as the French, Dutch, Malaysian and Indian cultures. This country is absolutely bursting with flavor. You must try some of the local dishes, like the Bunny Chow, which hails from Durban. Another South African favorite is Bobotie, which happens to be the national dish. While you are here try out some biltong: A national favorite, which consists of thin slices of meat cured in vinegar, sugar, salt and spice before being air-dried.
The perfect place to hit the road
South Africa is very easy to navigate. Its scenery has no peers. Leaving the city is the only way to see the real SA. Expect snowy mountains, sandy beaches, rural villages and picturesque settler towns. There are some excellent road trips for the intrepid: The Crook’s Corner trip is a 160km drive following the Limpopo River. Baboons love to keep you company on the road as you pass some awe-inspiring sights, such as the ancient baobab trees.
There are plenty of great pit stops along the way. Restaurants, galleries, boutique shops and breweries offer a welcome respite to weary travellers. Experience the South African coast by following the Indian Ocean: Starting at Cape Town you can drive all along the east coast to the famous Garden Route. The Garden route is famous for its stretches of dazzling beaches, indigenous forests and lagoons.
We’ve only just scratched the surface of what this country has to offer. The only way to find out it is to come and experience these wonders for yourself.