Safari, exotic animals, Zulus, football, rugby, extreme sports, incredible beaches, parks, hotels and restaurants of the highest quality, some of the best wines in the world and an overwhelming history. These are just some of the ingredients that have transformed a country until recently associated with apertheid and street violence in one of the most coveted tourist destinations of the world. Here are 10 reasons why you should put South Africa on your bucket list.
1. Kruger National Park
The area considered a veritable heaven for thousands of years, for South African hunters and gatherers, Kruger National Park has become today one of the largest and most famous nature reserves in the world. With an area of 18,989 square kilometers, the park has a length of 360 kilometers from north to south and 64 kilometers from east to west. A huge and exciting stretch where tourists can be witness to a spectacle full of wildlife. In fact, one of the most popular clips ever posted on YouTube, Battle at Kruger, was recorded in this national park. Is also one of the most popular tourist destinations of South Africa, equipped with 21 camps and 15 cottages for safari enthusiasts.
2. The biggest baobab in the world
South African natives believed that baobab offended the Creator, therefore, he planted the tree upside down. If you’ve seen a baobab, especially in winter, when its branches str like some huge roots that ascend to heaven, you will certainly understand that ancient African saying. Baobab is a solitary tree, with a gigantic trunk that can live perfectly adapted to the African environment for thousands of years. The boggest baobab tree is situated in Modjadjiskloof, small town in the north, and is one of the main tourist attractions of the municipality Limpopo. Its age exceeds 6000 years, making it even older than the Egyptian pyramids.
3. Südwind Caves
Located in Mpumalanga province in eastern South Africa, Südwind caves are considered the oldest caves in the world, with an age exceeding 240 million years. Moreover, the rocks that make up the walls of caves dating from the Precambrian, were formed 3.8 billion years ago. The caves were used as shelter because of this constant source of fresh air that exists in these underground rooms. In modern times, Südwind caves were rediscovered in the nineteenth century by Somquba, son of King Sobhuza I (1780-1839), when he sought refuge from the army of his brother, Mswati II.
4. Beaches in Durban
Palms, golden sand, huge waves, ideal for surfing or lagoons with calm waters where you can spend time with family, five-star hotels, luxury apartments and one of the largest and richest ports of the world, all in a warm climate all year round, specific to Indian Ocean … these are the ingredients that made the Durban beaches one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa South. Locals call them Miami Beach of Africa.
5. Robben Island
Do not expect to find Island beaches, prehistoric sites or, at least, a sample of the ancient history of South African natives in Robben Island. You will not find any of them. In fact, Robben Island, with an area of only 5 square kilometers, it seems, rather, a forsaken place, dominated by huge and famous political prison where were imprisoned the fiercest opponents of Dutch colonialism. This is, in fact, the tourist attraction of the island. It must be said that here on Robben Island, among other famous prisoners brought, was jailed for decades the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.
6. Blyde River Canyon
60 kilometers of wildlife, waterfalls, unique geological formations, almost 40 kilometers of caves and caverns, all spiced with expeditions organized by the authorities. It is considered one of the greatest natural wonders of the world and at the same time, it is the third largest canyon of the Earth after the Grand Canyon in the US and Fish River Canyon in Namibia. It is, however, the only “green” canyon of the planet. Excursions included in the negotiated package travel can take you through a veritable paradise, home to thousands of species of plants, fish, birds, mammals and reptiles, many of which being endangered in the rest of the world.
7. Garden Route
Garden Route, one of the most spectacular images of the South African nature is a sample of what can offer a trip to the southern African country. Formed at the crossing of the Indian Ocean and the Outeniqua Mountains Tsitsikamma, Garden Route is, undoubtedly, a proofof the beauty created by nature.
Indigenous forests, swamps and areas of low vegetation are one of the favorite destinations of safari enthusiasts. Why? Imagine that only in this area there are 10 nature reserves, each containing a different ecosystem, from the sea, which abounds in seals, dolphins and coral, and to those located in the heart of the mountains.
8. Stunning Cape Town
Cape Town, once named Cape of Good, is today one of the largest and most spectacular cities of South Africa. Tourists who choose this destination must know that Cape Town have probably the most famous restaurants in the world, at least in terms of cuisine based on seafood and some of the world’s most famous stores.
Beaches are one of the main attractions of South. Locals offer you the full range of entertainment. From sea voyages on board yachts, to sail and fishing boats, fishing, tracking and photographing whales, surfing, snorkelling or scuba-diving ….
9. Amazing Johannesburg
Those who visit for the first time Johannesburg would probably expect an urban jungle. It would be amazed to see just a huge forest. Because, yes, Johannesburg is the most “green” city in the world, with over 600 parks and the largest urban forest in the world. Once on the ground, you will wake up in one of the most populated and industrialized cities of Africa. It is curious that, when the first settlers founded the city, there were no trees in Johannesburg. Only the discovery of gold in the area and huge demand for wood construction has led locals to plant a huge number of eucalyptus, oak or other hardwood trees.
It is certainly the best place full of tradition all over South Africa. It is one of the ideal places for bird-watching safari, activities in which you can enjoy the view over 650 species of rare birds and the Five Giant of Africa: lion, elephant, rhino, African leopard and buffalo.
A trip to the Zulus land can take you face to face with one of the truly fascinating cultures of the world. The lucky ones may even assist to local weddings and enjoy the proverbial hospitality of Zulus. Zululand is, at the same time, a model of civilization and the perfect blend of old traditions with modern influences.
Here are some photos with this amazing part of the world. Discover South Africa!