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The Republic of South Africa is one of the richest countries on the African continent, a country of contrasts that combines primitiveness and modernity. Guides in South Africa present to the guests of the country all the most interesting and beautiful things in this country – stunning beaches, magnificent mountains, deposits of precious stones and metals, wildlife monuments and other unique sights of South Africa. Millions of tourists know what to see in South Africa, coming here for new experiences, where they are warmly received by locals and modern hotels in South Africa open their doors. Each of the 9 provinces of the republic has a unique landscape, the best sights, nature, interesting places and its own ethnic composition, which attracts a huge number of tourists, informative excursions are held in South Africa.
What to see in South Africa in the first place
Of course, a trip to South Africa, like any other trip, must be well planned so that it is known in advance, say, what to see in South Africa in 1 day. To this end, we recommend reading the rating of the main attractions of the country worthy of attention. Where to go in South Africa in the first place?
One of the districts of the city of Johannesburg
Johannesburg is the largest population center in South Africa, where today about 4 million people live. The ethnic composition of the city's population is diverse, but nevertheless, 73% of the population is black. This is the richest city, providing about a third of the republic's gross product. Johannesburg owes such achievements mainly to the richest gold deposits located in the surrounding areas. Today, Johannesburg is the business center of South Africa and is divided into a well-maintained north, a center that has concentrated a lot of attractions, and an unsafe, extreme south.
2. Apartheid Museum
Johannesburg Apartheid Museum Francisco Anzola
At one time, racial discrimination was a serious political problem in South Africa. The Apartheid Museum is a landmark in South Africa, testifying to these sad milestones in the country's history until the 1990s. Today, there are 22 halls inside the museum, of which the most unpleasantly impressive is the Hall of Political Execution, filled with many loops of gallows, testifying to the difficult fate of the fighters against apartheid. In other halls, photographs are presented and temporary exhibitions are held. Externally, the museum building resembles a prison, making a strong contrast against the background of the theme park Gold Reef City, located nearby.
Official website: http://www.apartheidmuseum.org
3. Cape Town
Cape Town panorama
Cape Town is the second largest city in South Africa, with a population of about 3.5 million. It is located right on the Atlantic coast, where wildlife peacefully coexists with ultra-modern shopping centers and Dutch mansions. The oldest building in the city, as in all of South Africa, is the Fortress of Good Hope – it was around it that the city once began to be built. In 1936, a museum was organized in the premises of the fortress, which today is in demand among tourists. In addition to the museum, the South African National Gallery, which exhibits works by French and Dutch masters, is also worth a look.
Official website: http://www.capetown.gov.
< h3> 4. Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
Bird's eye view of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
Today, this embankment is one of the most popular South African attractions in Cape Town. The old port was restored and landscaped in the early 1990s, and since then a whole tourist complex has been organized on this territory. Today the embankment is a lively place with an abundance of restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment venues. Various performances are organized right along the embankment, live music, African drums are played. And ancient historical buildings side by side with the most modern shopping and entertainment centers and other buildings, outwardly designed in the same “antique” style.
Official website: http://www.waterfront.co.za/
5. Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden
A small section of the Kirstenbosch botanical garden
It turns out that one of the largest botanical gardens in the world is located in South Africa – this is Kirstenbosch, and we can safely say that this attraction is definitely worth seeing in South Africa. A rich world of extraordinary flora and fauna is located at the foot of Table Mountain. The history of the botanical garden began in the 15th century, when the first conquerors of these lands decided to settle here. After that, the lands survived many owners, when in the 19th century they were acquired by Cecil Rhodes, who became the founder of the botanical garden. Today, there are about 7 thousand species of plants alone, and the infrastructure is well developed, there are cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops.
Official website: https://www.sanbi .org/gardens
See amazing views of South Africa in this fun video!
6. Kalahari Desert
Reddish sand dunes in the Kalahari Desert
There is something to visit in South Africa and among the hot deserts. Kalahari is located in the basin of the same name with an area of about 600 square kilometers, which, in addition to South Africa, captures the territories of the states of Botswana and Namibia. Kalahari is distinguished by a particularly hot arid climate with a maximum average daily temperature of + 40 ° C. The presence of iron oxides in the Kalahari sands gives the desert landscapes incredibly beautiful pink, brown, red, brown and orange hues. The Okavango River flows through the desert, in the delta of which most of the desert fauna lives – giraffes, gazelles, zebras, lions, cheetahs, hyenas, as well as many rodents and birds.
7. Kruger National Park
Elephant in Kruger National Park
Kruger Park is one of the key attractions of South Africa, as it is one of the largest nature reserves in the world. The vastness of its territories defies description – about 20 thousand square kilometers, located in the northeastern part of South Africa. The park crosses many roads that are attractive for tourism – from here you can observe representatives of various flora and fauna. Large animals include leopards, lions, hippos, elephants, buffaloes and antelopes. Everyone can choose different ways to explore the world of the park – on a rented SUV, with overnight stops at campsites, and many other options.
8. Tsitsikamma Marine National Park
Suspension bridge over the mouth of the Storm River in Tsitsikamma National Park
There is something to see in South Africa and among other national parks – for example, Tsitsikamma is unique in that it is the first marine national park on the mainland. It is an 80-kilometer strip of the most beautiful coastline with turbulent rivers, ravines, bays, waterfalls, relict forests and a variety of animals. It is also a major tourism center with excellent opportunities for diving, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, rappelling over gorges, hiking and other outdoor activities.
Official site: http://www.tsitsikamma.info/
9. Pilanesberg National Park
Landscape in Pilanesberg National Park
Approximately 2 hours drive from Johannesburg, right in the crater of a former volcano, there is another natural attraction of South Africa – the Pilanesberg nature reserve. The uniqueness of this park is that more than 1 million years ago there was an active volcano here, today rings of hills radiating from the crater remind of this. Today, on the site of the former natural elements, several dozen large mammals, more than three hundred species of birds and more than 60 species of amphibians have found their homes. Today, the park has many picnic areas, as well as viewing platforms and walking trails.
Official website: http://www.tourismnorthwest.
10 Dragon Mountains
The natural beauty of the Dragon Mountains
The Dragon Mountains are the highest mountain range in South Africa and have become a favorite hiking destination for mountain lovers. It is not surprising, because this place can be called one of the most beautiful places on earth: the mountain range, entirely consisting of basalt, stretches for a distance of about a thousand kilometers. The western and eastern slopes of the mountain range have a different climate: if drought prevails in the west, then a large amount of precipitation falls over the eastern slopes. Every year more than 2 million tourists visit these regions, equipping themselves with tents or staying in hotels intended for recreation.
11. Table Mountain
Table Mountain and Cape Town Harbor
A recognizable landmark of South Africa and a visiting card of the republic is Table Mountain. It rises above Cape Town, is its symbol and is depicted on the flag of the city. The height of the mountain is 1,087 km, and its top is a gentle plateau, surrounded by rocks, which is often shrouded in fog. Table Mountain National Park, on the territory of which the mountain itself is located, was recently recognized as one of the 7 new wonders of the world. Tourists flock here to admire the extraordinary local landscapes.
12. Lions Head Rock
Stunning views of the city of Cape Town from the top of Lions Head
Translated from English, the name of the rock Lions Head literally sounds like “lion's head”. The fact is that, together with the Signal Hill hill located nearby, the rock forms a figure that is somewhat reminiscent of the figure of a lion. This small rock rises 670 meters above the sea, and an excellent view opens from the observation deck organized on its top. That is why the rock has become a favorite place for visitors who want to take photos against the backdrop of the Cape Town panoramas and the excellent African sunset, as well as for paragliders flying from here.
13. Big Hole Kimberlite Pipe
Kimberlite pipe “Big Hole” filled with water
The town of Kimberley in South Africa is known for a kimberlite pipe called the Big Hole, which is a depleted diamond deposit. This place of extraction of precious stones is recognized as the world's largest quarry, developed by hand – for about 40 years, about 50 thousand workers worked at the mine, extracting earth from the quarry with simple shovels, picks and crowbars. Over the years, about 22 tons of earth and about 2.7 tons of precious stone have been extracted, which is equivalent to 14.5 million carats.
14. Blyde River Canyon
Blyde River Canyon covered in lush subtropical vegetation
Blyde River Canyon, which is part of the Dragon Mountains, is a unique natural reserve. It was formed as a result of carving a deep gorge by the waters of the Blyde River in the rock. The depth of the gorge reaches 1.4 km, and the length is about 25 km. Unlike other canyons, Blyde River has rich vegetation and wildlife. A notable place in the canyon is the Three Sisters mountain range, which consists of three rounded twin rocks. Another interesting place is the observation deck “Window of God”, which offers a beautiful panorama of the mountains of the Kruger National Park.
15. Cradle of Humankind
Cradle of Humankind Information Center building flowcomm
The Cradle of Mankind is an archaeological monument consisting of limestone caves with a total area of almost 500 sq. km. In total, there are about 3 dozen caves, each of which is of great historical value – it is assumed that the first African tribes originated here. So, in the process of excavations in the caves, the remains of human ancestors – Australopithecus, dating back to 2 million years BC, as well as fragments of various tools used by ancient people were found.
Official site: https://www.gauteng.
16. Garden Route
View of the ocean from Garden Road
Garden Route National Park is a popular attraction in South Africa among wildlife lovers. The Garden Road, 200 km long, leads along the most picturesque South African coast and is distinguished by the beauty and diversity of local landscapes: along the way you meet mountain peaks, azure beaches, quiet bays, dense forests, and mountain rivers. Garden Route offers a wide array of outdoor recreational opportunities such as fishing, diving and mountain climbing.
17. Cape of Good Hope
Beach and observation deck at the Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is the famous southern tip of the African continent, which has its own unique history. To open the way to India across the ocean, since the 15th century, sailors set sail many times, repeatedly suffered wrecks and failures, but continued to search. The cause of the crash was a natural element – the waters of the two oceans, the Indian and the Atlantic, collide precisely in the place of the southernmost tip of the mainland, forming frequent storms. The weather on the cape is unfriendly, strong winds are constantly blowing here, but nevertheless, streams of tourists invariably rush here to see the legendary place with their own eyes.
18. Kango Caves
Tourists in the “Organ Hall” formed by stalactites
Kango caves are several grottoes with a total length of about 4 km. Especially striking is the age of the caves, which is about 20 million years. There are many very narrow passages and difficult sections, which are very difficult to overcome. Inside, a real magical country opens up to the eyes of visitors – a complex of halls decorated with natural limestone formations. Together with a successful backlight, it all looks truly fabulous. Some of the halls are striking in their size: some are up to 30 meters high, 100 meters long, and the largest stalagmite is 9.5 meters long.
Official website: http://www. cango-caves.co.
19. Franschhoek Wine Farms
Vineyards and wineries Franschhoek
It is worth noting that South Africa ranks 3rd in the world in terms of wine supplies to the world market. And one of the best local wines is produced on the farms of the Franschhoek village. This place is in great demand among wine connoisseurs – the grapes here grow in sandy soils, and ideal natural conditions allow it to acquire an unsurpassed taste. Every year, up to 8 thousand tons of wonderful wine are supplied from the farms of Franschhoek. There are a number of wineries operating here, which have their own centuries-old wine-making traditions dating back to the 17th century.
20. Robben Island
View of Robben Island and Cape Town from the mountain < p>12 km from Cape Town is Robben Island, which is an open-air prison museum. For 400 years, this island was a place of confinement – starting from the 17th century, crazy and leprous patients, political and social outcasts of society were exiled here, and in the 20th century, the famous fighter for the rights of black people, Nelson Mandela, was imprisoned here for 18 years. Today the prison is a national monument and a UNESCO heritage site. A museum now operates on the territory of the former prison, where the conditions of the prisoners' stay are clearly demonstrated.
Sights of South Africa: what else to visit in South Africa
Every sight of South Africa is worthy of attention, and even after traveling through the main places of interest that form the first impression of the country, there is always something to see in South Africa besides this. To do this, we offer a review based on the positive reviews of tourists and including recommendations for other equally interesting sights.
21. Sun City Resort
The fabulous city of the Sun among the rainforests
What to visit in South Africa for comfortable rest and entertainment? In the north-eastern part of the republic, in the very center of the dormant volcano, today there is an entertainment tourist complex, which has all the possibilities for a good rest. Its territory of 150 square kilometers is occupied by comfortable hotels, tropical gardens with a rich collection of flora and fauna, an artificial lagoon, as well as all kinds of casinos and restaurants. Recreational opportunities here are incredibly diverse – from gambling and spa treatments to active recreation on water skiing, golf and windsurfing.
22. Augrabis Falls
Streams of Augrabis Falls looking into a rocky gorge
Augrabis can rightfully be called one of the wonders of nature: from high cliffs, a strong water stream at a speed of about 1000 cubic meters per second falls into the abyss. Admiring the waterfall with your own eyes is not so easy: this place is surrounded by the sands of the Kalahari Desert. The Orange River, originating among the Dragon Mountains, merging with the Vaal River along the way, first breaks into many streams, the main of which falls into a narrow stone gap and collapses down onto the granite foot. The magnificent spectacle is complemented by a rainbow sparkling in the water spray as the sun rises.
23. Tugela Falls
Falling narrow ribbon of the Tugela Falls from the cliff of the Dragon Mountains
Surprisingly, on the hottest and driest African continent, there is something to see in South Africa among the waterfalls – for example, one of the highest Tugela waterfalls in the world, located on the territory of the Natal National Park. This waterfall is cascading, and its waters, falling down, pass through five ledges. There are two ways to get to the waterfall. An extreme path to the summit leads from a nearby parking lot and ends with high suspension stairs in the last section, while another path, about 8 km long, leads through the forest of the national park and a suspension bridge.
Official website: http://www.nature-reserve.
24. Boulders Beach
Boulders Beach – famous penguin beach
On the territory of the Table Mountain National Park, the amazingly beautiful Boulders Beach is located, which has become home to thousands of penguins that have been living here for about 30 years. I must say, the penguins get along peacefully with numerous tourists who just come here to look at these charming inhabitants of the beach. In addition to penguins, Boulders is famous for its magnificent natural landscapes and views of the sea. Another notable feature is the huge stone boulders that protect the beach from strong winds and sea waves.
25. Golden Mile Beach
Golden Mile Beach – coastline in Durban
One of the popular attractions of South Africa in the Durban area is the Golden Mile Beach, which is a wide edge of golden sands near the sea coast, where you can enjoy the mild sun of the subtropics and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. At the northern end of the beach is the Sunny Beach casino for all fans of gambling. It so happened that during the holiday season various bright events are constantly held on the beach.
Dense subtropical forests, warm coasts, savannahs, hot deserts and snow caps of high mountains – the friendly state of South Africa is ready to share all these riches. Hospitable inhabitants of all skin colors and religions inhabit the republic, and it is not for nothing that the flower of the protea has become the symbol of South Africa, whose name comes from the name of a deity capable of taking the form of thousands of living beings. Read also about the best sights of Tunisia and get inspired for your next trip to Africa!