South Africa: What to do and see

South Africa is located in the southernmost tip of the African continent. The country has a population of over 62 million people and sits on an area of 122,037 sq km. Bordered by a coastline stretching 2,798 km along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, South Africa is bordered by neighboring countries of Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Eswatini, and the landlocked enclave of Lesotho.

South Africa is the second most populous country south of the equator. Major cities in South Africa include, Pretoria, the administrative hub, Cape Town where the legislative seat is, Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, the judicial cornerstone, where the highest court resides. It is a republic that proudly showcases its biodiversity and diverse ecosystems.


South Africa’s tourism is made by its unique archaeological sites and historic battlefields, creating a story that weaves together the past and the present. And other tourist attractions such as Table Mountain, Cape of Good Hope, Sun City, Kruger National Park, and the Garden Route, Victoria Falls and the Okavango Swamps. All offer a wide range of activities like  whale-watching, wild water rafting, serene hikes, bird-watching, and the adventure of bush survival experiences.

Climate in South Africa

South Africa’s climate is shaped by its location between 22°S and 35°S in the Southern Hemisphere, nestled between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Unlike many sub-Saharan African countries, South Africa has a more limited range of climates due to its higher elevation, especially in the central plateau or Highveld, where cities like Johannesburg are located.

The country experiences milder temperatures compared to other nations in similar latitudes, such as Australia. Winter temperatures can drop to freezing points at higher altitudes, but coastal regions, especially in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, enjoy more moderate conditions. Coastal currents, flowing in different directions, contribute to the climate variation between the west and east coasts.

South Africa boasts ample sunshine, with rainfall averaging about half of the global average. Rainfall increases from the west to the east, creating semi-desert areas in the north-west. The Western Cape follows a Mediterranean climate with winter rainfall, while most of the country experiences summer rain.

Regarding temperatures, South Africa aligns with Southern Hemisphere patterns, with the coldest months falling between June and August. The central plateau, including provinces like the Free State and Gauteng, maintains average temperatures below 20 °C (68 °F) due to its elevation. Coastal regions, especially along the eastern Indian Ocean, remain warmer during winter.

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation influences seasonal weather. The El Niño phase brings hotter and drier conditions to South Africa, while the La Niña phase results in cooler and wetter weather. This dynamic climate, combined with diverse landscapes, contributes to the unique and varied weather experiences across the country.

Culture and people of South Africa

South Africa is renowned for its rich mix of ethnicities and cultures. Almost everyone in the country speaks English to some extent, along with their native languages. English serves as a common language for business, education, and government interactions. With eleven official languages and additional indigenous languages, including Khoisan languages spoken by smaller groups.

The middle class, primarily consisting of white and Indian individuals but also growing in diversity, shares lifestyles similar to those in Western Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

In the past, the Apartheid state categorized South Africans into four racial groups, dictating their living arrangements and enforcing segregation in various aspects of life. Although these laws were abolished in the early 1990s, the impact persisted in South African culture. People still identify themselves and others based on the old racial categories (blacks, whites, Coloureds, and Indians), making it challenging to define a singular South African culture that doesn’t reference these historical classifications.


South Africa is a place where many cultures come together, and one thing that makes it special is its diverse languages. Language is used as a way to communicate and plays a crucial role in making democracy stronger and adding to the richness of South African life in many aspects like social, cultural, intellectual, economic, and political.

In this country, they celebrate linguistic variety with 11 official languages, and each one is given equal importance. It’s common for people in South Africa to be multilingual, often speaking two or more of these official languages.

To make sure language diversity thrives and contributes to unity, a law called the Use of Official Languages Act was put in place in 2012. This law encourages every government department, public entity, and business to set up a language unit and have a language policy. The following of these rules  brings people closer, promotes understanding, and builds a stronger nation together.

Tourist destinations in South Africa


Hluhluwe-iMfolozi is a historic game reserve in South Africa that is a three-hour drive away from the city of Durban. Initially it was established as a refuge for the last remaining southern white rhino population and later became one of the premier destinations in Africa to witness these rhinos and has become a beam of hope for rhino conservation efforts.

Beyond the rhinos, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi offers a diverse array of wildlife as tourists encounter giraffes, elephants  and lions. The varied antelope species, including the elegant nyala.

The proximity of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi to Durban makes it an accessible and rewarding escape from city life. The reserve’s blend of natural beauty and successful conservation efforts creates an unforgettable adventure for wildlife enthusiasts. 


Johannesburg, is the biggest city in South Africa and the capital of the Gauteng province, which has experienced dynamic history that traces back to the 19th-century as a gold rush. It emerged from a gold-mining settlement and has evolved into a cultural diversity, historical significance, and a resilient spirit that echoes the struggles and victory of its people.

And within Johannesburg there is Soweto town, a residence for  historical and resilient leaders like  Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. The Soweto town was later transformed into the Mandela House museum, offering visitors a glimpse into the life of the anti-apartheid hero. The walls of this museum echo with the courageous spirit of Mandela and the journey towards freedom.

Soweto further unfolds various museums that recount the laborious struggle to dismantle segregation. The Apartheid Museum stands as a solemn testament to the dark era of apartheid, providing a comprehensive and emotionally charged portrayal of the injustices faced by the South African people. Visitors are guided through the museum’s exhibits, immersing themselves in the stories of resistance, resilience, and the ultimate victory over oppression.

Another significant tourist attraction in Soweto is Constitution Hill, a former prison complex that has been transformed into a symbol of justice and democracy. Once a site of incarceration for political activists, including Nelson Mandela, Constitution Hill now stands as a beam of hope, housing the Constitutional Court of South Africa. The juxtaposition of the past struggles within the confines of the prison walls and the current pursuit of justice in the courtrooms creates a powerful narrative of transformation.


Hermanus city is located on the southern coast of the Western Cape Province in South Africa, it combines the fisherman’s village with modern amenities and fantastic resorts and positioned between the sea and the land. The city  is renowned as a prime location for whale watching and offers various attractions such as the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, Hermanus Golf Course, Gansbaai, and the Franschhoek Wine Tram  with its abundance of adventure activities, stunning landscapes, whale watching spots, hiking trails, and wine tasting opportunities.


Nestled near Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga, South Africa, Hazyview is known for its small farming and boasts lush tropical banana plantations.

Hazyview offers a number of tourist attractions for instance; God’s Window, the stunning Blyde River Canyon, the renowned Kruger National Park, Pilgrim’s Rest, and The Three Rondavels. 

Garden route game reserve lodge

Nestled near the cities of the Garden Route close to towns like Cape Town, Mossel Bay, George, Wilderness, Sedgefield, and Knysna makes it an ideal stopover for a relaxing and enjoyable visit.  The Garden Route Game and Nature Reserve stands out as one of South Africa’s stunning backdrops of the Langeberg Mountain,and harbors flora and fauna that features Africa’s Big 5.

The Garden Route Game Reserve also plays a part in promoting cheetah survival through a reptile center and cheetah outreach program.

Numerous wildlife sanctuaries, such as Jukani, Monkeyland, and Birds of Eden in The Crags, find their home in the Garden Route Game Lodge. The lodge hosts a variety of wild species, including giraffes, zebras, and antelopes like kudu, bontebok, eland, red hartebeest, impala, springbuck. 

Drakensberg Mountains

The Drakensberg Mountains are South Africa’s highest peak and stands at 11,400 feet and Stretches across 700 miles from northeast to southwest. The mountains have various peaks whichinclude; the Giants Castle, Cathedral Peak, and Mont-Aux-Sources which are accompanied by numerous smaller peaks that are scattered towards the foothills.

The Drakensberg region, located in KwaZulu Natal, covers a vast area of 243,000 hectares and is recognized as a World Heritage Site and the place is renowned for its plateaus, passes, and slopes. Within the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, a sanctuary in KwaZulu Natal, it exposes the waterfalls, meandering mountain streams, rock pools, and caves. Further, the  park covers around 600 San rock paintings, turning the area into a renowned tourist place in South Africa.

Tourists engage in different adventurous activities, for instance, mountain hiking, horse riding  and an adrenaline rush with white-water kayaking. As you explore, let the serene beauty and lush green landscapes dominated by towering peaks and high passes be your backdrop for leisurely breaks.

Cape Winelands

The Cape Winelands located in Cape town, South Africa is a tourist place that has several vineyards. As exploring the Wine estates tourists have opportunities to go to territories of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek near Cape Town which are renowned as major wine producers in South Africa. Adding to the charm are Paarl, Tulbagh, and Wellington, forming the backbone of tourism in the Cape Winelands. These vineyards in Cape Town lie in the Mediterranean climate and the cool winds from the nearby ocean which favors the growth of grapes.

Embarking  on the Stellenbosch Wine tour, tourists are able to visit oldest vineyards that were for Dutch settlers in South Africa during the 1600s. And one experiences the tradition of winemaking that  was introduced by the French in Cape Town’s Franschhoek area.

Cape town

Cape Town is located along the coastline on the southwest coast. This South African port city originally served as a supply station for the Dutch East Indies. Today, Cape Town is a bustling hub of tourism due to extensive shores and breathtaking beaches that offer plenty of entertainment.

Cape Town apart is popularly known for its wine tram tours amidst the vineyards. These tours offer different activities such as wine tasting, cheese tasting, day picnics, and the chance to savor the best authentic wines of South Africa. Conveniently located, Cape Town serves as a gateway to renowned attractions like Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, the Garden Route, and Game Lodges, providing a diverse range of experiences from leisure to sightseeing and adventure for travelers.


The Battlefields in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal region stand as a significant historical draw for travelers. These lands witnessed intense clashes during the 19th century, involving the British, Boer, and Zulu warriors, resulting in battles and loss of life. The remains of this intense period are still evident, marked by white stone piles serving as the final resting place for many who fell during the conflict.

The Battlefield landscape is characterized by rocky that expands in open areas, framed by mountain ranges on the horizon. Journeying through this historical region offers tourists a glimpse into the past, where echoes of violence still linger. Notably, sites like Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift played pivotal roles in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, making them ideal for those keen on exploring this bygone era and the history of British rule.

Search into the narratives of the armed forces that clashed with Zulu warriors and the fighters who stood for victory. The tribal war saw the destruction of British arms, turning the Battlefield into a site that preserves the struggles of the tribes. Amidst the landscape, stone forts and remains from the past provide a tangible link to the incidents, narrating a detailed history of the battles that unfolded.


Pretoria,also known as the Jacaranda City due to its purple-blossomed trees, located in Gauteng City south africa along both banks of the renowned Apies River and reaching into the western foothills of the Magaliesberg on the east, the city lies approximately 55 km from Johannesburg. The city serves as the administrative capital of the Republic of South Africa. 

Once the focal point of the apartheid regime, Pretoria has undergone a transformation, now hosting a mix of civil workers and foreign embassy personnel and has evolved into a significant industrial town, educational center, and cultural hub. 

Pretoria offers a wide range of attractions including historic buildings, monuments, museums, botanical gardens, and nature reserves, tourists indulge in an abundance of activities to keep them enthralled throughout the day. Additionally, the city offers delectable cuisines, providing an opportunity to interact with the locals and gain insights into the place and its culture.

Sun city resort

The luxurious Sun City Resort, located in the North West province  between the Pilanesberg and Eland River and stands as South Africa’s most renowned attraction, offering access to an imperial estate. The resort was established in 1970 as a privately-owned property, Sun City Resort quickly gained recognition as the premier holiday destination in South Africa. 

With a range of nearby attractions, entertainment options, and top-notch facilities, the resort provides a luxurious stay, impressive infrastructure, and unparalleled comfort for leisure travelers. Sun City tour packages are often combined with adjacent attractions like Victoria Falls, Cape Town, or Kruger, creating a comprehensive experience for both leisure and adventure seekers.

Sun City Resort caters to various preferences, making it suitable for honeymooners, family outings, and groups of travelers seeking an exhilarating getaway. From The Palace of the Lost City and the Cascades to the Nedbank Golf Challenge and the Valley of Waves, Sun City offers a diverse array of experiences, making it an ideal destination for vacationers.

Plettenberg bay 

Plettenberg Bay is found on the border of the Eastern and Western Cape in South Africa, The town’s close to George and Port Elizabeth airports.

Plettenberg Bay offers activities like, hiking, boat cruises, canoeing, abseiling, parachuting, and bungee jumping. It also offers options for a self-drive so one is able to encounter adventurous places. 

Port Elizabeth 

Port Elizabeth, also known as Nelson Mandela Bay is located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa near the Indian Ocean. It occupies a part of Cape Town and Durban. The city’s moderate rainfall contributes to its thriving tourism industry, offering outstanding serenity in and around the area.

With its sandy beaches and scenic beauty, a tour of Port Elizabeth stands out as the finest destination for a comprehensive South African excursion. Activities such as safaris, beach tours, and sightseeing enhance the overall experience of traveling around Port Elizabeth. The city also provides opportunities to explore its historical landmarks, offering insights into the rich culture and traditions.

Port Elizabeth offers eco-parks and bio-reserves with game reserves like Shamwari, Amakhala, Lalibela, and Kwandwe as the must-visit destinations during a tour of South Africa. The city’s diverse vegetation is showcased through hiking trails, historical heritage sites, and an array of wildlife, making Port Elizabeth a true representation of the beauty of South Africa.


Oudtshoorn, also known as the ostrich capital of South Africa, is the largest town in the Little Karoo. Situated on the garden route, the town is renowned for its abundance of ostriches and ostrich farms.

When it comes to attractions, Oudtshoorn is home to specialized ostrich breeding farms such as Highgate Ostrich Show Farm and Safari Show Farm. These farms allow visitors to feed ostriches and observe them closely during day trips. Further, there are other tourist attractions like; the Cango Caves and Klein Karoo wine route

Pilanesberg national park

Located in the North West Province of South Africa, west of Pretoria, close to Sun city. Pilanesberg National Park stands as a top tourist attraction drawing visitors from around the world as it is renowned for its geological features formed by volcanic eruptions 1300 million years ago.

Established in 1979, Pilanesberg National Park is one of South Africa’s largest game resettlement projects, home to the famous Big 5 mammals and boasting an ecosystem where the Kalahari meets the bushveld. The area around Mankwe Dam features rocky outcrops, open grasslands, wooded valleys, and thickets, creating a diverse overlap of animal and bird habitats. The park is a habitat to over 7,000 animals, including 24 larger species. In addition to the Big 5, endangered species like the nocturnal Brown Hyena, the swift Cheetah, the majestic Sable, Giraffe, Zebra, Hippo, and Crocodile can also be found.

Kruger National park

Kruger national park is the largest national reserve located  in the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo harboring a variety of creatures ranging from the big five to a diverse array of birds and mammals. Kruger is a record-holder, boasting more than 145 mammal species, 335 tree species, 110 reptile species, and 30 amphibian species. These include; lions, elephants, leopards, cheetahs, Buffalo-weavers, martial eagles, owls, and endangered antlions  one can spot during safari.

Sabi sand game reserve

Sabi Sand Game Reserve is situated close to Kruger National Park in the Lowveld of Mpumalanga, South Africa. The park derives its name from the Sabie River along its southern boundary and the Sand River that flows through it. Covering an area of 62,308 hectares (623.08 km2), the reserve shares an unfenced boundary of 50 km (31 mi) with Kruger National Park to the east.

The protected place is officially known as Sabi Sand Wildtuin and  and comprises a collection of private reserves which include; Buffelshoek, Lion Sands, Djuma, Elephant Plains, Cheetah Plains, Dulini, Singita, Chitwa Chitwa, Nkorho, Simbambili, Arathusa, Londolozi, Umkumbe, Nottens, Sabi Sabi, Mala Mala, Kirkman’s Kamp,Exeter Leadwood, Inyati Game Lodge, Idube, Leopard Hills, Savanna, and Ulusaba.

In addition there are different gates that can be used to access the reserve, these include;  Newington Gate that lies west of Kruger Gate and Skukuza camp in Kruger Park, with additional entrances at Gowrie Gate in the far north and Shaw’s Gate in the south. 

Further the wildlife in the reserve includes the Big five game, along with cheetahs, hippos, wildebeests, zebras, giraffes, hyenas, and Cape wild dogs. Sabi Sand shares a plethora of plant varieties and all animal species with Kruger National Park, hosting 45 fish species, 500 bird species, 145 animal species, and 110 reptile species.

Tsitsikamma National Park

Tsitsikamma is located inCacadu District of the Eastern Province, earning its name from a Khoi word meaning “The place with an abundance of water.”

As an integral part of the Garden Route, a tour of Tsitsikamma unfolds along routes that are surrounded by shimmering water bodies with indigenous wildlife, dense forests, and ancient vegetation. Thus creating a landscape adorned with fynbos, yellowwood, stinkwood, hard pear, and ironwood.

The diverse ecosystem of Tsitsikamma transforms into an exploration of a green rush that is  often regarded as the private backyard of the entire Garden Route. There are also cliffs, waterfalls, river gorges, pristine coastlines, and enchanting tree canopies.


Located in the north of South Africa’s Dolphin Coast also known as malaria-free zone, Zululand is often referred to as the heart of the Zulu Kingdom. Zululand combines many tribes and clans that united to form a kingdom governing KwaZulu-Natal. This region is a living testament to the symbolism and traditions of Zulu culture, drawing visitors from diverse backgrounds.

There are two main villages, Shakaland and Dumazulu, serving as gateways for travelers  interested in the cultural experiences. In addition they offer a modern lifestyle that is infused with traditional African culture, creating an atmosphere that demands exploration. Zululand is dotted with parks, farms, nature reserves,and boasts over 650 bird species.

Umfolozi big 5 game reserve

The Umfolozi Game Reserve, situated to the South of the Hluhluwe Game Reserve, boasts Big 5 status in both sections. The reserve can be accessed through either the Nyalazi Gate or the Cengeni Gate since it stands out as the more popular entry point, allowing visitors to explore both the Umfolozi and Hluhluwe sides of the park. However, the choice of gate may vary depending on your personal game ranger and the sightings available on the day.

The reserve showcases a diverse range of fauna and flora, featuring open grasslands, Savannah-like plains, and denser bush areas that create an ideal habitat for predators. The presence of Black Umfolozi River offers tourists an advantage for observing wildlife which include; the Big 5 and others like wild dogs, cheetahs. This experience is led by Game Rangers with years of expertise, rest assured they’ll guide you to the best spots within the Umfolozi.

Further, this reserve played a crucial role in the save the Rhino campaign during the early ’60s when the planet had fewer than 100 Rhinos left