There are a lot of things to do in South Africa, many of which are infamous tourist destinations. Everything from going on a safari to enjoying the Cape Wine Route is well known to attract tourists from across the world. There are a lot of things that are hidden from the average tourist though and sadly they can only be enjoyed fully by those that have experienced the popular tourist experiences.
To get everyone to enjoy the true South Africa the simplest thing to do is create a list of the four things that every tourist has to do before they should see the real South Africa:
4. Explore the capital city, Pretoria
South Africa is old, the Europeans discovered it in the early 17 century and it was colonized with great haste. The Boer’s soon settled in the Transvaal, establishing Pretoria and Johannesburg, where some of the largest battles happened between the Boers and the Zulu’s and the best triumphs won. While near the end of the Anglo-Boer war, many concentration camps were set up for the Boer settlers in and around Johannesburg and Pretoria.
To get to the capital city of South Africa you simply have to take a left at O.R. Tambo International Airport and head for Pretoria. Pretoria sits close to the heart of South Africa and has been the capital of the country for several years. This has filled the city with monuments, museums and a long history.
Next to Pretoria is the financial capital of the country, Johannesburg, which can teach you about the more recent struggles of the country, simply visit the Apartheid Museum to learn about these. However if shopping is more your style Sandton is filled with the best shops in the country and promises to show you the South African flair for style.
3. Safari in the bush with a sun-downer
Ask almost anyone that has been to South Africa and they will tell you long stories of driving through the bush looking for a lion or being surprised by a seven-ton elephant. South Africa is filled with all kinds of wild animals and they are all impressive. Everything from the Fastest Cheetahs to the tallest giraffes can be seen walking through most of the nature reserves.
This lends to the thrill of visiting South Africa with animals that are always amazing to see and friendly people around you. You have to go on a safari at least once before you go to see the marine side of South Africa’s Wildlife.
2. Go to KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal is home to some amazing cultures, the Zulu’s saw their empire rise and fall here while the British and the Boers colonised it as a convenient port on their way to India. With the British came their slaves, Indians that were forced into the slave trade. Luckily that dark history is long past and it has caused an amazing mix of the African, British, Boer and Indian cultures to mix into what is today called the city of Durban.
Great food, friendly locals and parties throughout the year. While the weather is perfect at all times, only getting stormy for a few weeks during winter but never getting cold. At the beginning of every year the beaches are empty and the entire east coast takes a massive breath of relaxation.
However this might be the only time during the year that the coast is relatively empty. During the South African winter a lot of families’ head to Durban to escape the cold of the inner continent and almost directly after winter the metric rage festival starts. Thousands of students and teenagers swarm towards Durban and Margate to enjoy the clubs, the warm ocean water and the entire party atmosphere.
After this influx of students the December holidays start, this marks the time of families heading into Durban and enjoying some quality time with each other. All of this is why you have to enjoy Durban first before you go to the smaller coastal towns. You can easily have fun and get lost.
Nothing will prepare you more for the rest of SA than a week in Durban.
1. The Cape Wine Route
If you want to see true Afrikaans culture, Dutch architecture or if you enjoy wine tastings at various vineyards then Cape Town is the location for you. There are a lot of wine farms, a lot of hot lazy days and above all a lot of history. With Robben Island just a short boat trip away, the Mother City is like no place on earth.
You can create a custom wine route or you can join one of the pre-planned routes from the many guides. Every one of them promises to be amazing and they will leave you with a thousand great memories.
Going along the Cape and seeing one of the most beautiful places on earth is something that will stay with you forever. Ever had wine from a semi-arid environment? How about heading to the vineyards in the Klein Karoo. A little surprising, perhaps – that grapes can grow in a semi-arid area – but grow they do in this region, renowned for its extremes in soils and climate.