Leave the concrete jungle and hustle and bustle of the city behind and escape to Africa, a vast continent where animals roam free through spectacular landscapes.
But WAIT. There is so much more to see than just the wildlife. And you don’t even need binoculars.
Yes spotting the ‘BIG 5’ (Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Lion, and Rhino) is an unbelievably awesome experience, but don’t forget there is even more on offer beyond the amazing wildlife.
Here are 6 of our favourite things to do when you step off that plane.
1. WINE, WINE & YES, MORE WINE
Locals have been cultivating wine in South Africa since the 17th century, and their drops are now some of the best in the world.
Most vineyards in South Africa enjoy a Mediterranean climate, and some of the best wine-growing regions in the country are the Constantia Valley, just south of Cape Town, and the Stellenbosch district, to Cape Town’s east.
Check out Stellenbosch Vineyards for more information.
2. CONNECT & LEARN ABOUT ZULU CULTURE
The Zulu nation is as legendary for their courage and discipline in battle as much as their exotic customs and traditions. Singing, dancing, colourful costumes: Zulu culture is South Africa’s heart and soul.
Visit a traditional village for a taste of this thriving culture. To see how Zulu culture has embraced modern city living, take a township tour of Durban, a laid-back, multi-cultural city with a thriving urban Zulu culture.
Check out Tripadvisor Durban for more information.
3. GO ON A SAFARI – (DUH!)
Okay, so South Africa is way more than just the animals; you’ve read that above and will continue learning that below. But no trip to South Africa is complete without going on a wildlife safari and getting amongst the continent’s wild animals.
For something a bit different, jump in a hot air balloon and go on a safari over the savannahs and national parks teeming with wildlife, such as the Pilanesberg National Park.
Check out Pilanesberg National Park for more information.
4. HIKE, CRISE & FLYE IN BLYDE RIVER CANYON
At around 25km long and 750 metres deep, the Blyde River Canyon is one of the largest canyons on the planet and easily one of the most impressive natural features of South Africa.
Explore this natural habitat on one of the many hiking trails, take a boat cruise along the river, or see it all from the best vantage point ever: on a helicopter flight.
Check out Mpumalanga Helicopter Company for more information.
5. GO SHARK CAGE DIVING
Yes, we’ve all seen Jaws. But don’t let that put you off.
Cage diving with great white sharks is worth the trip to South Africa alone. I mean, how many other people can boast about getting as close as safely possible to these majestic apex predators? And they are simply majestic.
A shark cage diving experience will also teach you about these misunderstood creatures of the sea and how we can do better to protect and respect this vital part of the marine eco-system.
Check out Shark Watch for more information.
6. DISCOVER VIBRANT CITIES & LAID BACK VIBES
From gastronomy heaven to shopping, galleries, bars and clubs, the South African’s have got it sorted when it comes to living large or laid back.
Capetown’s Long Street is the place to party, while shopaholics should head to 210 on Long Street for some design cool and for those who like some consciousness with their retail habits.
Meanwhile, in Durban, there’s hip S43 to discover, which is a microbrewery renowned for its global street food including burgers, pulled-pork tacos and, of course, bunny chow. After hours, head to ‘The Chairman’ Lounge to kick back with a cocktail listening to jazz amongst antiques, game trophies and random paintings adorning the walls.
Check out Time Out South Africa for more information.