After the success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, tourism has gone from strength to strength. Whether you go alone or tour South Africa in a small group , here are the top 6 experiences you should try to have while visiting:
1. See the wildlife
Africa is famous for safaris and the 5 most desired animals to be seen are known collectively as the ‘big five game.’ They are the African elephant, black rhinoceros, African Cape buffalo, lion, and the leopard. One of the best and most famous places to see these animals is within Kruger National Park. The great thing about Kruger is that because it’s such a huge area, there’s so much to see. There’s of course all of the different animals to see, but also the different types of scenery and terrain, all located within the one huge area. One tip for taking a safari in Kruger, or for any wildlife spotting adventure for that matter, is to take every opportunity to go out wildlife spotting. You don’t want to skip that tour where a leopard suddenly decides to cross the road in front of the car!
Another great way to see and the wildlife in South Africa is to volunteer in an animal sanctuary or a private reserve. Our Wildlife Conservation, Rescue and Community Projects take place over several different properties to help the elephants, monkeys, vultures, eagles, etc, as well as the children and adults in need in the community. The program incorporates wild, rescued and rehabilitated animals to improve their living and environmental conditions. The volunteers will have the opportunity to interact with some of the animals that will be encountered, in a respectful way and always under supervision.
2. Taste the food
Because of the location of South Africa, there’s a great abundance of different types of food to be tried. With such a huge amount of ocean surrounding South Africa, the most obvious food is fresh seafood featuring huge tiger prawns and giant oysters. Of course one of the best things about travelling to a new country is that you have the opportunity to try some of their national dishes.
The most famous of which for South Africa is the jerky-type air-dried meat called ‘Biltong.’ While typically made with beef, there’s always the opportunity to try some more exotic legally hunted or farm raised springbok biltong. For the really adventurous travellers, the caterpillar-like Mashonzha Worm is worth trying at least once. It can be served grilled, stewed or whatever other way you, or more aptly the chef, decide you would like to try it.
3. Try the wine
Acting as a perfect accompaniment to the food is the South African wine. With a perfectly warm climate, attaining the required sugar and alcohol levels needed to create wine. Since the end of the 1900’s, winemakers have started focusing on the production of red wine, which goes fantastically well with the game available over there. There are a plethora of wine tours available that will bring you around Cape Town and to some of the most famous areas for wine production including Paarl, Worcester and of course Stellenbosch.
4. Explore Table Mountain
As soon as you get into South Africa, you’ll notice the enormous Table Mountain that provides views over the city. Thankfully you don’t have to climb the steep track up to Table Mountain, although you can if you’d like, as there is a cable car that takes you up with ease. A tip for the cable car is that it doesn’t matter where you are standing in the cable car, as long as you end up on an edge. This is because of the fact that the cable car will actually slowly rotate as it climbs up the side of the mountain, giving everyone the opportunity to enjoy the views on the way up and down again. When you reach the top you’ll have panoramic views of the city and the ocean that surrounds it. Give yourself a few days to get up there as occasionally the wind becomes too strong for the cables cars to safely travel to the top. One last tip is to have your camera ready when in Cape Town during the morning and the afternoons so that you have the opportunity to take a photo of the clouds falling over the top of Table Mountain. This is affectionately known as the table cloth.
5. Robben Island and Nelson Mandela
No trip to South Africa is really complete without paying a visit to Nelson Mandela’s prison cell at Robben Island. While it’s not really possible to convey the range of emotions you’ll feel by visiting this historic place, you’re certain to be in awe of the struggles that Nelson Mandela was able to overcome. Whatever your reason for visiting South Africa, ensure that you give yourself enough time to experience the activities mentioned above. By doing so, you’ll be able to get the most out of your trip and give yourself the opportunity to fall in love with this beautiful and historic country.