South Africa is a beautiful country fittingly situated on the southern tip of the African continent. Its coastline hugs the convergence of two significant bodies of water, the Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. Gaining its independence in 1910, South Africa is a former European colony of both the British and the Dutch. With its rich colonial history in addition to over 100 years of independent development, South Africa has become one of the most popular tourist destinations on the continent. The country boasts breathtaking landscapes and coastlines, exotic wildlife reserves and authentic safaris, posh wineries, and a rich cultural heritage that fuses both native African and European colonial ideals. It is a unique location for an adventurous getaway and worthy of any traveler’s bucket list.
Hotels and Lodging
South Africa is easily accessible via air travel. The most popular cities for arrival are either Johannesburg to the north, or Cape Town, the capital city, located on the southern coast. Both towns offer excellent accommodations to meet any traveler’s budget. Johannesburg offers a range of downtown lodging options, and Cape Town has both luxury and budget hotels, many of which offer a scenic coastal view. When visiting South Africa, it is common to plan itineraries that encourage tourists to travel throughout the country and even across its borders. As such, it is likely that you may be including both cities as part of your stay.
Getting Around South Africa
Traveling within South African depends upon having planned a trip offering a tour bus, renting a car, or relying on local and public transportation. The country is navigable by roadways once you familiarize yourself with its geography. For currency, South Africa uses the Rand. Converting from common currencies like the American dollar, the British pound, and even the Euro allow for a rather comfortable visit. A dollar can be stretched pretty far here. During your stay, there are several locations, landmarks, and experiences worth including in your itinerary. Some of the greatest highlights for vacationing in South Africa are listed below.
What’s Worth Seeing in South Africa?
The capital city of South Africa, Cape Town, offers many exciting activities for tourists. Cape Town has many luxury apartments and hotels for travelers from all over the world. Its coastal location makes it a prime destination for those seeking beach activities and water sports. It is also an excellent location for those seeking to appreciate South Africa’s natural geological formations and wildlife. Table Mountain offers spectacular aerial views of the city and coast. The Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point also offer breathtaking oceanic scenery and mountainous views. Boulders Beach is another popular place to visit. This particular beach is a well-known spot for viewing a growing population of indigenous African penguins.
Johannesburg is a historical center for South Africa. This northern city is home to the South African National Museum of Military History, the Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill, and the Nelson Mandela House. These landmarks offer profound insights into the country’s sociopolitical development after its independence. Johannesburg also features a zoo, botanical gardens, and a bird sanctuary. This city continues to grow and develop, and it recently has demonstrated burgeoning neighborhoods for access to high-end and alternative eateries, shopping venues, music festivals, and art galleries.
Paarl Valley Wine Tour
Located just outside of Cape Town, Paarl Valley is a common destination for visiting wineries and tasting some of the finest wines grown on African soil. Franschhoek and Stellenbosch are two of the most popular towns in this valley for appreciating rustic architecture and large, famous estates. All varieties of classic wine grapes are grown in Paarl Valley. Pinotage is a particular style unique to the area. However, tourists will find South African varieties of traditional wine staples. These include Shiraz, Semillon, and Chardonnay. Tours of the wineries make for a perfect day trip excursion for relaxing and enjoying South Africa’s rural scenery. There’s also a tram that connects many wineries, where guests can hop on and off at their desires making it a safe option for those who don’t have a designated driver!
Kruger National Park
For aficionados of wildlife in its natural environment, Kruger National Park offers a spectacular, sprawling reserve home to lions, cheetahs, elephants, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, and zebras. In total, the park features over 135 kinds of mammals and more than 500 species of birds. The park is in the country’s northeastern corridor, bordering both Mozambique and Swaziland. Both countries are also viable options for additional excursions and side trips. At the park, though the lines can be long to wait for safari tours, they are definitely worth the patience and paying extra for a tour guide. Contrary to viewing these exotic animals in the zoo, this experience offers the one of a kind capacity to witness these creatures thriving in the wild in their natural habitats.
Though a former European colony, South Africa is a less traditional exotic getaway that continues to rise in popularity and its number of tourists visiting per year. The country’s spectacular scenery, profound history, and natural wonders provide plenty of opportunities for rich, immersive experiences during a vacation. With the hospitality industry driving much of its modern economy, everything is set up for the perfect getaway. You will not regret vacationing here at the southernmost tip of the African continent.
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