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Travel guides covering numerous destinations across the globe with a focus on: must-visit cities, places of historical and culture significance including Unesco World Heritage Sites, and opportunities to see wildlife in their natural habitats.

Read up-to-date tips and advice for expats based on my own experiences of expat life including our recent move to Australia.

 

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10 fabulous reasons to visit South Africa

10 fabulous reasons to visit South Africa

There are so many reasons to visit South Africa. It is an amazing country with fabulous scenery, wonderful beaches, fantastic wildlife, delicious food and wines and so much more to offer the visitor.

If you are considering a trip to the incredibly diverse and beautiful continent of Africa I would highly recommend South Africa as a world class destination and a must-do for your itinerary.

Visit South Africa and enjoy safaris and game drives around some of the best wildlife parks in Africa for example Kruger Park. Natural wonders such as Table Mountain dominating the Cape Town skyline and the imposing Drakensburg Mountains will take your breath away. Visit Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner for 28 years and learn about the turbulent history of SA.

These are just some of the top tourist destinations in South Africa.

Everyone I know who has visited has absolutely loved it and they return again and again. If you are considering booking a visit to SA truly  “a world in one country” then read on as I am going to give you 10 reasons to visit South Africa! 


SOUTH AFRICA REALLY IS A WORLD IN ONE COUNTRY

South Africa has so much to offer. From the cosmopolitan bustle that is Cape Town (one of three capital cities!)…. to the beauty of the Drakensburg mountains…. to the wonderful wildlife such as elephant, rhino, lions, leopard, zebra, giraffe you can spot in the Kruger National Park or one of the many private game reserves in South Africa. Beaches, stunning scenery, amazing wildlife, fabulous wines and a wonderful climate are all there for you to experience.

zebra in south africa


THE WILDLIFE

For me there is nothing in the world as exciting as an African safari. Sitting in a Land Rover with a massive bull elephant about a foot away from you or hearing the roar of distant lions. Your heart may be pounding and there is always a little tinge of fear but how fantastic to see these animals up close and personal in their natural habitat!

You many struggle to choose as there there are many parks around the country. Kruger National Park is the most well known and is the second largest game reserve in Africa. It spans 360 km from north to south and 65 km from east to west and is bordered by Zimbabwe to the north. Kruger is found in the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo in the north-east of the country.

There are lots of private game reserves and lodges to stay at around Kruger. One of these is Klaserie River Safari Lodge which forms part of the Jubulani Private Nature Reserve within Kruger National park. You can find out more about the Lodge and exactly why I think this is the place to stay if you are heading to Kruger in the post link below!

Leopard in a tree

 

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Visiting Klaserie River Safari Lodge South Africa


CAPE TOWN

From the age of eight Cape Town was the number 1 destination my bucket list. I have been very lucky to have visited numerous times and it still remains one of my favourite cities in the world. There is so much to do and see in Cape Town and surrounds – fantastic sights, beautiful beaches, great restaurants and hotels, shopping opportunities at local markets as well as the pedestrianised V&A Waterfront.

If you love beautiful gardens then a visit to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens  set in the shadow of Table Mountain is a great addition to any itinerary.

Love penguins? Visit Boulder’s Beach in nearby Simon’s Town to see the colony of African Penguins who call it home! Would you like to spot whales? Head to Hermanus between the months of July and November. It is recognised by the WWF as one of the top 12 places in the world to go whale watching.

For the more adventurous  there is always the opportunity to go cage diving to swim with great white sharks!

And of course head to the Cape of Good Hope for a great IG worthy shot of the most south-western point on the African Continent.

Catch the Blue Train from Cape Town to Johannesburg or alternatively drive along the coast to Port Elizabeth on one of the most spectacular road trips in the world.

 

Cape of Good Hope

You have to have your photograph taken here!

 

READ MORE
An insider's guide to Cape Town South Africa

 


THE GARDEN ROUTE

The Garden Route lies between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth (technically Mossel Bay to Plettenburg Bay)and is an extremely scenic 150 mile drive which will take you along the coast and through some must-see towns such as Knysna, Plettenburg Bay itself (look out for whales in spring), George and Wilderness.

There are a variety of ecosystems (fynbos – the heathland vegetation- is unique to the Cape) and lots of wildlife, flowers and birds to spot. The area is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you want to see ostriches then Oudtshoon, the ostrich breeding capital of the world, is the place to go. Driving the route you will find beautiful beaches along the coast with hills, lakes and ancient forests further inland.

Garden Route in South Africa

 

READ MORE
80 things to do in South Africa Part 1

 


THE DRAKENSBURGS

The Drakensburgs (meaning dragon mountains in English) is the main mountain range in South Africa and runs parallel to the south eastern coastline for about 700 miles. It extends to Mpumalanga/Limpopo provinces in the north to the Eastern Cape in the south. It passes through the province of  Kwa-Zulu Natal and the country of Lesotho – also known as the Kingdom in the Sky because of its high altitude.

One area in the Drakensburgs to visit is Cathedral Peak. The beautiful chapel found at the Cathedral Peak Hotel is absolutely stunning – look at those views. The area has lots of beautiful walks to enjoy.

The Maloti-Drakensburg Park which is composed of 2 National Parks –  uKhahlamba Drakensburg National Park in SA and the Sehlathebe National Park in Lesotho is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Chapels Peak in the Drakensbergs


WINE

If you like wine then you are going to be spoilt. There are many fabulous wine producing areas in South Africa with the largest concentration situated in the Western Cape. In and around Stellenbosch and Franschhoek you can discover some of the larger estates. Wineries offer wine tastings and some also gourmet food and accommodation.

4 glasses of red wine


THE FOOD

From the national dish of bobotie to the fantastic seafood South Africa is a food lovers paradise.  If you are invited to a braai (BBQ) you will most certainly get the chance to try boerewors which is a seasoned sausage and very tasty.

Biltong (air dried meat) is probably South Africa’s most well known food. This can be made from beef, ostrich or game and if you haven’t tried it before your visit be sure to try some when you are there. South Africa has a bounty of wonderful foods – game, fruit, vegetables and seafood and there are no shortage of fabulous restaurants to visit.

Check out some great South African recipes and try some of the amazing SA food before your trip!


NO JETLAG (IF YOU FLY FROM EUROPE)

If you are flying from the UK the average flying time is around 10 hours. South Africa is GMT+2 so the time difference is minimal which means no jet-lag. Sorry if you are from the USA! But even a little jet lag is worth it to spend time in SA!

View from an airplane of clouds

It may be a 10 plus hour flight but from Europe jet lag is minimal


THE RAND

The currency in South Africa is the Rand (divided into 100 cents).  The exchange rate is extremely favourable if you have a strong currency and makes South Africa a very affordable destination.

Rand notes


SPORTS

If you love golf or are into more extreme sports then South Africa is a perfect destination. There are beautiful golf courses across the country. Sun City’s Gary Player Golf course is one of the most well known with the Million Dollar Challenge (now the Nedbank Golf Challenge) held there.

Sun City itself is certainly worth a visit (the afternoon tea at the Lost Palace Hotel is fabulous). It also borders the Pilanesburg National Game Park so you can go for a game drive too.

If you like your sport a bit more adrenaline inducing then there are plenty of opportunities for abseiling, paragliding, bungee jumping, surfing and diving along the coast.

a man jumping silhouetted by sun

 

READ MORE
Cape Town to Cairo - A journey through Africa

 

I hope those 10 reasons to visit South Africa will be enough to convince you to book a trip as soon as possible. If you have already been what were the highlights for you?

 

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PIN FOR LATER – REASONS TO VISIT SOUTH AFRICA

10 REASONS TO VISIT SOUTH AFRICAFrom tracystravelsintime - 10 reasons SOUTH AFRICA should be your next travel destination!

 10 reasons to visit South Africa 

Author: Tracy

Working my way around the globe for 30 years – teacher, traveller, and train lover. Sharing authentic experiences from my travels and life as an expat in Australia.

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64 Comments

  1. September 29, 2016 / 5:10 pm

    Love it! Thanks for sharing your love of travel & of South Africa! 🙂

    • September 29, 2016 / 6:28 pm

      Hi I am so glad you liked my post! Always finding reasons for people to travel to southern Africa (I don’t need any) but I am so keen for others to experience South Africa!

  2. November 22, 2016 / 11:18 am

    I loved reading this! It’s always so good to read advice from someone who has lived in the country. Please keep it up! x

  3. January 15, 2017 / 2:54 pm

    There are so many reasons why I should visit South Africa and you’ve pretty much listed them all: great wildlife, stunning scenery, delicious wines AND one of the few countries right now offering us Brits a good exchange rate. I’m very jealous you’ve been so often. Thanks so much for sharing this on #FarawayFiles
    Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) recently posted…Faraway Files #13My Profile

    • January 15, 2017 / 8:19 pm

      I lived there and revisit as often as I can. I do love it!

  4. Mark Tallett
    January 15, 2017 / 8:26 pm

    Think you may have started to win me over Tracy!!! It really does look amazing.

    • January 16, 2017 / 4:09 pm

      Brilliant Lyn I am so pleased you loved it – i think once you have been it is somewhere you have to keep returning to again and again it just has so much to offer!I am glad you saw the penguins too!

  5. January 16, 2017 / 8:24 pm

    Africa will be my next continent I am sure. My brother lives in Tanzania and I would like to combine a trip there with one to South Africa. The landscapes, wildlife and wines are the biggest drawcards for me. Thanks for the inspiration on #FarawayFiles Tracy
    Katy recently posted…Faraway Files #13My Profile

    • January 16, 2017 / 9:54 pm

      That sounds fab Katy! Enjoy visiting – and once you have been once you will keep returning. Africa does that to you!

  6. January 17, 2017 / 1:00 pm

    Would love to see South Africa. It does seem to have so much to offer! Thanks for sharing this corner of the world for #FarawayFiles – cheers from Scandiland, Erin

    • January 18, 2017 / 4:56 pm

      It really does have so much for visitors – you need a few weeks (at the very least) to even scratch the surface.

  7. February 3, 2017 / 10:27 pm

    Wow! Amazing! South Africa seems so far away. I’m not sure about the animals being so close… I once lept across the passenger seat and out the door of my own car in my effort to escape a bee… good thing it was parked! #theweeklypostcard
    Hilary recently posted…Les Jardins de ParisMy Profile

    • February 4, 2017 / 9:36 pm

      Yes I have been a little scared when lions/elephants/rhino get a little close. We also once had a large male baboon nearly join us in the car when we left a door unlocked! Lesson learnt!!

    • February 4, 2017 / 9:35 pm

      Its cheap when you get there though thats the advantage! Great place to visit!

    • February 4, 2017 / 9:34 pm

      Ah yes of course! I wrote it from a European perspective – its totally worth a little jet lag though!

  8. February 4, 2017 / 12:11 pm

    South Africa is already on my list and this post helps reaffirm my thinking. I want to see the wildlife, the natural beauty, and try some of the wine. Penguins are a nice bonus! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

  9. February 22, 2017 / 9:17 pm

    Oh how I would love to visit SA someday, and your list has just convinced me more! Definitely the garden route for me 🙂

  10. February 23, 2017 / 1:23 am

    South Africa is definitely on my must-see list – and now I have a few other reasons to bump it up on the list! I’d love to photograph the wildlife, and I’ve heard great things about the food – and now that I know there are wineries all over? Yes!

    • February 24, 2017 / 8:00 pm

      It has everything – a world on one country is so true!

  11. February 23, 2017 / 2:26 am

    One of my students studied abroad in South Africa, and she really loved it. She lived with a couple of different host families throughout the country and had fantastic experiences everywhere she went. It definitely has me intrigued to visit!! She also brought me some amazing chocolates. 😉

  12. February 23, 2017 / 3:37 pm

    I certainly didn’t know about the penguins and I also didn’t know that the time difference is so minimal! Clearly I need to visit and discover what else South Africa has to offer. It seems absolutely fascinating!!

    • February 24, 2017 / 7:57 pm

      It will be very different to Norway Van! Definitely somewhere to visit!

    • February 25, 2017 / 9:29 pm

      It is somewhere that needs to be revisited again and again! Time for me to go back soon I think!

  13. February 25, 2017 / 8:28 am

    The scenery is breathtaking from mountains to the ocean. I’ve always wanted to see the ‘big’ animals of Africa, particularly the big cats. I did not realise the currency was so low making it quite affordable to travel to South Africa
    Rhonda Albom recently posted…Photo Tour of the Gothic Monastery in Alcobaca PortugalMy Profile

    • February 25, 2017 / 9:27 pm

      Very affordable! And a great destination!

  14. February 25, 2017 / 3:11 pm

    Love reading all of this!! You’ve convinced me to go to South Africa! We’ve been thinking of and trying to plan a South Africa trip for a while now, but pretty certain it will be next year now. Loving all your ideas and tips. I never thought about the jet lag from the UK, Phil will be really pleased to know there isn’t any!
    Garth recently posted…Hoi AnMy Profile

    • February 25, 2017 / 9:26 pm

      I am so glad you are planning to go! I am sure you will love it – and I bet it will be somewhere you will want to return to once you have been!

  15. February 26, 2017 / 9:50 am

    Reading your posts on South Africa brings back so many wonderful memories for me. It was the continent I started to travel in first and did a 2 month expedition through 7 countries then returned 2 years later to do a few more. Game Drives are my favourite, the Game reserves are incredible and yes, the thrill of looking for wild lion, elephant, giraffe, rhino etc just can’t be beaten. I have just typed up my hand-written journals from my travels and scanned all my photos so Africa once again is at the forefront of my mind! Fantastic post, loved this. #feetdotravel

    • February 26, 2017 / 10:42 am

      Thanks Angie! I bet that was an amazing adventure you had!

  16. February 26, 2017 / 1:55 pm

    So many things to see and do – South Africa is such a beautiful country and there are many many reasons to visit – I am not sure why I’ve been putting it off! Really need to visit soon! I love animals and seeing some of them in the wild would be just incredible. Thanks for sharing

    • February 26, 2017 / 8:44 pm

      Many reasons! And I am sure you will really love it!

  17. February 26, 2017 / 3:05 pm

    South Africa is such a beautiful place to visit. I have it on my list but I rather save it for when I have more time to spend as there are loads of places to visit. The wildlife is safari is impressive, I cannot wait to see it. Thanks for sharing.

    • February 26, 2017 / 8:45 pm

      Yes the next time I go it will be for at least 6 weeks (generally I always go for that length of time)as my husband has yet to see any of it!

  18. March 1, 2017 / 7:07 am

    I’m really looking forward to visiting South Africa. Your 10 reasons are good enough for me but I’m sure you could come up with more. A great post to get the wanderlust happening.

    • March 1, 2017 / 9:54 pm

      I can – keep your eye out for another post! 🙂

    • March 3, 2017 / 8:30 pm

      haha yes I am! they are very strong! luckily!!

  19. March 3, 2017 / 4:27 am

    Sounds great, Tracy! I have always wanted to visit and want to do so now even more. Would love to climb on top of table mountain and go on a safari with big cats, elephants and zebras! Your photos are stunning and I love the ones of the youger you aswell! Well done!

    • March 3, 2017 / 8:29 pm

      Thanks Kreete – I am sure you will love SA!

  20. March 7, 2017 / 6:08 pm

    South Africa is on our bucket list! Food, wine, hikes, wildlife, we are more than convinced! Awesome post. Thanks for sharing

    • March 7, 2017 / 8:37 pm

      It is a lovely country! Enjoy it when you visit 🙂

  21. March 11, 2017 / 10:37 am

    Not that I needed further convincing, but a great reminder that I need to visit South Africa! I’ve heard great things about The Garden Route and everyone raves about Cape Town. Plus, you know, the wildlife! Great list, that has me itching to get down there!

    • March 11, 2017 / 3:12 pm

      Great! There are more posts coming to make that trip to SA a must!

  22. March 15, 2017 / 8:54 am

    haha ‘no jetlag’ definitely a good reason!!! For real though, I never thought about how diverse SA was!! My mum went when she was my age during apartheid, so I’ve always been really fascinated in going and seeing how it’s changed from her stories 🙂

    • March 15, 2017 / 4:47 pm

      I would definitely encourage anyone to visit. No jetlag is such a bonus!

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HI THIS IS ME – TRACY

Hello from Australia

Traveller, teacher, train lover, and milkshake connoisseur.Now living and working in my 7th country and experiencing life as an expat in Queensland, Australia.

I write to inspire others whatever their age to explore the world - near and far!

I have travelled for over 30 years including solo in my 20's , as a single parent in my 30's and now in my 40's and beyond with my husband. House sitter and aspiring grey nomad a life of location independence is my goal.

Over 40 years ago I dreamt of a life well travelled and that is the life I live!

Dream it, plan it, do it!!

Tracy

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