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Top 7 Holiday Destinations in South Africa

Top 7 Holiday Destinations in South Africa

South Africa boasts both natural beauty and cultural influence – think Cape Town beaches and mountain trails, lush winelands around Stellenbosch and Paarl, Cape of Good Hope’s craggy cliffs and more!

History comes alive at 350-year-old farms and UNESCO World Heritage sites like Robben Island where Nelson Mandela spent 27 years as a prisoner.

1. Cape Town

Cape Town would make for the ideal city romance: its breathtaking mountain peaks and ocean waves will have you falling head over heels at first sight, not to mention its renowned restaurants, cutting-edge art spaces, vibrant cultural diversity and intricate history. But Cape Town offers much more to keep visitors enthralled: world-class cuisine from world-renowned chefs; ground-breaking art spaces to visit; complex history to uncover; and its warm hospitality make the Mother City something else altogether!

Top 7 Holiday Destinations in South Africa
Top 7 Holiday Destinations in South Africa

Table Mountain dominates downtown Cape Town like no other natural landmark, drawing hikers and mountaineers of all levels up its slopes via the gondola for breathtaking views. Meanwhile, Cape Winelands offer shopping, dining, entertainment, lush forests, pristine wetlands of V&A Waterfront Nature Reserve; while inland exploration includes exploring lush forests and wetlands of V&A Waterfront Nature Reserve or tasting award-winning wines in quaint oak-lined towns or vineyards encased by jagged mountains are great places for tasting award-winning wines encased within its bounds; whale watching takes place year round – you might spot southern right whales along its coast while Bryde’s and dusky dolphins are likely to pop up near Boulders Beach!

Near the coast, whitewashed cottages in traditional Cape vernacular style adorn charming villages such as Paternoster and Jacosbaai where friendly, open-hearted locals welcome you with open arms. Beaches are also an integral part of Capetonian life: lie back on a stretch of golden sand while listening to the roar of waves crashing upon its shores and feeling its cool breeze; take part in watersports such as surfing; meet some of the friendliest people you’ve ever met; all this and so much more await!

2. Johannesburg

Johannesburg is one of South Africa’s most diverse cities, from its vibrant cafes and restaurants to museums and galleries that showcase its history. Winter is the best season to visit this mild climate city – you can still eat outside at iconic Parkhurst cafes while the vibrant purple jacaranda trees bloom their full glory from October-November.

South Africa’s history comes to life at iconic landmarks like Constitution Hill, where Nelson Mandela and thousands of anti-apartheid activists were imprisoned; Robben Island (UNESCO World Heritage Site), where he spent much of his early exile years; 350-year-old wine estates on Cape Peninsula; or taking a guided tour through Soweto township (where Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, among others, once resided).

If you want to combine city with safari travel, visit Pilanesberg National Park. Only an hour’s drive from Sun City, this popular holiday destination feels worlds away and provides access to a selection of Big 5 game viewing lodges.

3. Sun City

Sun City is an iconic resort often described as “mini Las Vegas.” Offering guests an array of hotels tailored to every taste and budget – from family-sized suites to an exquisite 5-star property inspired by ancient mythology that sits atop an ancient volcanic crater – Sun City truly has something for everyone.

Sun City stands out as an exciting South African vacation destination thanks to its glittering casino, exciting water park attractions and world-class golf course – not forgetting the Palace of the Lost City! As such, this destination provides something for every couple looking for romantic escape, families with active children or groups of friends looking for fun adventure vacation.

Sun City provides an ideal starting point for safari trips in Pilanesberg National Park or luxury bush lodges such as Tshukudu or Madikwe that put guests as close to Big Five animals as possible, offering life-altering encounters that provide insight into this incredible country’s wilderness.

4. Durban

Durban is a leisure hub situated within KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), drawing millions of travelers each year. Dubbed “eThekweni” in Zulu, its warm Indian Ocean beaches and subtropical climate make Durban an irresistible attraction.

Stroll along Durban’s beautiful promenade under a warm sun, browse boutique shops, and dine on Indian-influenced cuisine at restaurants like Circus Circus. Make sure to try a bunny chow – an irresistibly delicious bunny-shaped loaf filled with curry that originated among Durban’s Indian population – which originated here.

South Africa offers an abundance of diversity. Explore pristine wildlife at Kruger National Park or go wine tasting at a vineyard near Cape Town; or learn about its turbulent past on a tour to Robben Island and a Township.

Visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town for a breathtaking array of plant species – such as its famed yellowwood tree! You can hike to the summit of Table Mountain or venture into the wetlands and mountains of uKhahlamba-Drakensberg World Heritage Site to enjoy beautiful hiking trails that range in length from one day to four days – for added excitement visit Hermanus during whale season to experience whale watching!

5. The Garden Route

The Garden Route is South Africa’s premier coastal holiday destination, boasting miles upon miles of golden sand that stretch for miles upon miles. But this coastal escape has much more to offer, from unique indie shopping and dining in Cape Town, almost endless nature trails and water sports at Table Mountain and Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden’s unparalleled botanical gardens – not forgetting their signature botanical displays that rival any others anywhere around the globe!

Hermanus is an idyllic seaside village where whales frolic from June through November in Walker Bay. For something different, why not visit Addo Elephant National Park where wild elephants roam freely in their natural environment.

KZN’s broad beaches and historic battlefields set against towering mountain peaks have earned it the nickname ‘The Bush and Beach Province’, offering enough outdoor adventures for even the most daring traveler. Combine that with Shamwari Game Reserve near Port Elizabeth for malaria-free safaris, and it becomes clear why KZN is a top holiday destination among South Africans and foreign visitors alike. Wine enthusiasts will also appreciate Little Karoo vineyards offering Segway tours and picnics alongside cabernet sauvignon, pinotage etc; whilst The Drakensberg Mountains must also be seen due to its hiking trails among 500 year-old trees and ancient KhoiSan rock paintings that date back centuries ago!

6. Kruger National Park

South Africa is an expansive country offering an incredible variety of spectacular holiday destinations. From golden beaches and rugged gorges, wild national parks and charming towns – South Africa truly has something special in store for visitors from every background!

South Africa wouldn’t be complete without visiting Kruger National Park – home to four of Africa’s Big 5 safari attractions plus over 100 other species of wildlife such as cheetahs, lions, leopards and hippos – and over one of its 100+ other species of fauna!

Staying at Kruger offers many choices for accommodation, but the best is staying in an official rest camp – a safari lodge or hotel approved by SANParks organization and with electricity, first aid centres, supplies shops, braai (BBQ) areas and restaurants – plus all the comforts of home!

Staying at a private lodge outside the national park offers those on a tight budget the same luxury safari experience, nearer the park gates than lodges within its borders and often offering more authentic experiences like elephant safaris and hot air balloon flights. Plus they’ll get to witness how rehabilitation, breeding and endangered species centres are working hard at saving African wildlife!

7. Soweto

South Africa’s “Kingdom of Pleasure” offers everything a luxurious getaway needs: world-class casinos and golf courses, water theme parks and shops, not to mention an abundance of restaurants and bars where visitors can sample local cuisine.

The Apartheid Museum(link is external) should be top of your itinerary when visiting Soweto. This sober museum tells the history of apartheid through informative displays that are both educational and moving; don’t be put off – this vital piece of South African history shouldn’t be missed!

Walter Sisulu Square(link is external), located in Kliptown – Soweto’s oldest and most historic township – is one of the must-visit spots. Here South Africa’s Freedom Charter was written and adopted, making this historic location essential. Additionally, Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum pays homage to 1976 Soweto Uprising which marked an important turning point against apartheid.

Vilakazi Street is an excellent destination to shop souvenirs and support local artisans, featuring vibrant markets and lively cultural performances. Additionally, visitors can join walking tours that provide insight into Soweto’s history and culture.

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