Many travelers choose to visit South Africa because it is the most modern and one of the most culturally diverse countries on the continent. The well-developed political infrastructure, modern amenities, and chance that many local people will speak English are all major reasons that many people choose to visit this nation. However, the beautiful and varying landscape, the untamed wildlife, and the amazing biodiversity are truly some of the best reasons to make a trip.
Here are just a few of the exciting activities that can be enjoyed in South Africa:
Big Game Viewing
Most visitors to this southernmost nation plan to go on a safari expedition with the intention to see some big game. All-terrain vehicles traveling in South Africa are typically open, the better to view and photograph the many different species of wildlife, such as lions, cheetahs, and rhinos. The most popular location for big game viewing is Kruger National Park, along with adjacent private reserves, although opportunities are available in places such as Madikwe Game Reserve and Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve.
Game Reserve Night Driving
One of the best countries for night drives, South Africa features many nocturnal species that are visible to visitors. Many of the nation’s national parks and safari lodges offer these expeditions to see wildlife such as the leopard.
Although most safari companies and lodges focus on big game drives, there are walking and hiking trails throughout South Africa. Properties in Kruger National Park and Timbavati National Park specialize in walking expeditions, and there are several trekking opportunities through the Drakensberg and Cederberg mountain ranges.
Safaris by Horseback
Travelers interested in exploring the South African landscape on horseback are best served by visiting the Waterberg region of northern South Africa, although there are a few opportunities in the lowland region near Kruger National Park. The majority of these excursions are not through big game territories, providing a more casual and scenic experience.
Local Bird Watching
The vast variety of landscapes and potential habitats in South Africa make it the ideal home for around 900 different species of birds. Ornithology-specific tours are available from Cape Town, although most other birding expeditions are done in conjunction with other safaris. Other key birding locations include KwaZulu-Natal, the Drakensberg Mountains, the Karoo Desert, and the Kalahari Desert.
Visitors interested in observing certain species of wildlife can focus their efforts on the main homelands of those animals. For example, leopards are especially visible around Kruger National Park and its surrounding private game reserves. Other game in that area include black and white rhinos, white lions, and elephants. Travelers interested in elephants can also visit the Addo National Park for its pachyderm-specific viewing experiences. Off the southern coast of South Africa, explorers can see southern right whales, hawksbill turtles, and loggerhead turtles. African penguins, great white sharks, and fur seals are visible along the Western Cape, while dolphins are generally present all around the South African coast.
South African beaches are more than just locations for sunbathing and surfing. The pristine white sands offer the opportunity for many different water activities, including swimming, boating, fishing, and whale-watching. The trendiest beaches, at Camps Bay and Clifton, are in Cape Town, where the aquamarine water is lined with trendy cafes and restaurants. Some of the nation’s finest beaches are located in KwaZulu-Natal, such as Cape Vidal, iSimangaliso Wetland Park and South Beach, Durban. Visitors to the little town of Noetzie, just outside of Knysna on the western cape, will find three romantic castles on the beach, while Hermanus, also on the western cape, features one of the best land-based locations for whale-watching.