What Makes South Africa a Top Tourist Destination?
From its towns, cities, coastlines and cultures, South Africa is definitely a very diverse place to visit. But what makes it such a tourist hot-spot? For one, it has a range of unique and exciting activities that will make you want to book a flight as soon as possible. One of the main attractions is Table Mountain, a beautiful natural phenomenon that you definitely want to see at least once in your lifetime. Luckily you don’t just have to admire its beauty from afar, you can book a spot on a cable car up to the mountain and admire its diverse flora up close, or you could hike up with a guide. Either option is just as amazing. There’s also the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, a beautiful nature reserve with rare plant species, walking trails and mountain views. There’s Robben Island, also known as Seal Island, which you can enjoy as a day outing. There’s Augrabies Falls, a national park with a beautiful and absolutely massive waterfall, then there’s St. Lucia, a small town where you can enjoy game drives and Hippo boat cruises, it’s well known for the hippos that roam the street.
And then, of course, there’s the famous Kruger National Park, South Africa’s first national park which contains significant numbers of all the big five wildlife. There are so many more national parks and beautiful natural places to visit in South Africa.
Monuments and Museums
South Africa isn’t only known for its natural monuments, it also has a very interesting and extensive history, with many places to visit that showcase that. It’s more than likely you know who Nelson Mandela was, a great man who ended apartheid and became our president. To commemorate that South Africa has the Apartheid Museum, which tells the story of 20th Century South Africa and the now-defunct apartheid system. There’s the District Six Museum, another place that tells a story of the apartheid (definition), there’s also The Mandela House, a restored dwelling of the South African leader.
Our history is definitely not only Apartheid, so many historical monuments are open to visitors to learn, and see, all that was and is South Africa. There’s the Castle of Good Hope, an expansive and colonial 17th century castle that is now a provincial heritage site. There’s the Cango Caves, a historical network of caves with large mineral formations. There’s also the Voortrekker Monument which commemorates the Afrikaans settlers who arrived in 1830. There are so many more museums and historical sites that tell South Africa’s story and are amazing places to visit.
South Africa has a great urban lifestyle, and places that city lovers will never want to leave. One of the most popular international sites for tourists is the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, the mother city. Firstly, the Waterfront has a humongous mall that will delight shopping lovers from all over the world. To go with that are five-star restaurants and food markets that you will never want to leave. Not to mention all the activities, from historical walking tours, to boat rides, to the museums and a splendid aquarium of the area. There’s also always a show or two to enjoy, from comedy clubs to bands. Then theirs a smorgasbord of incredible accommodation, since you’ll most likely want to spend at least a week there!
In and Around South Africa
The V and A Waterfront isn’t the only place for activities, South Africa has so many. Being famous for its wine industry, the majority of its vineyards are located just outside of Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschoek are just some that one should venture to. There are many vineyards and wineries to visit for lunch, tastings, and just overall amazing wine and magnificent views to enjoy. There’s Gold Reef City in Johannesburg, with more than 40 roller coasters and thrill rides, an interactive history of gold mining and a 4D Theater, it’s a place that you definitely don’t want to miss with the family. There’s Bloukrans Bridge, one of the country’s most famous site for bungee jumping. There are so many more fun sites and resorts that you need to visit, one of the most famous being Sun City. A beautiful resort with pools, water parks and multitude of restaurants and bars to choose from.
South African Languages
Lastly is South Africa’s culture. South Africa is very rich in, and well known for, it’s many diverse cultures. After all, it’s not known as ‘The Rainbow Nation’ for nothing. South Africa has 11 official languages and 8 other recognized languages, all of these coming from the natives and the colonizers. The original cultures are from the indigenous Khoikhoi and the San tribes, known for their beautiful cave paintings all around South Africa. The San, known as ‘Bushmen’, were extraordinary hunters and gatherers of the land. They were not all of the same culture, there were the Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Ndebele, Shangaan, and Venda, all of which are languages that are still spoken all around South Africa. It is a popular tourist attraction to see these unique cultures through their colorful and interesting way of life. Their culture is seen through their homes, dress, bead work, pottery, arts and crafts and cultural events in the rural areas. Not all the cultures in South Africa are indigenous, many that you see today were brought by settlers from overseas. The European Settlers brought with them the Dutch, French Huguenots, British, and German settlers. Dutch being the most influential of the lot. Dutch became the official European language, slowly transforming into the Afrikaans language that is taught in South African schools today.
South African Development
As South Africa developed, more labor was required and slaves from Madagascar, East Africa, East Indies, India, and China were brought in. The Indian slaves were used in the sugar industry in KwaZulu-Natal and is still home to the largest Indian population. Durban is where one can best experience the culture at the Indian Market. All the different cultures have all kept their languages and beliefs, making South Africa into the culture-diverse place it is today. Visit Chinatown in Johannesburg and Cape Malays in Cape Town to learn more about the different cultures that aren’t originally from South Africa.
After learning all of this it probably comes as no surprise that tourists love South Africa so much, and that you’ll probably love it too.
KwaZulu Natal Attractions
KwaZulu-Natal is a coastal South African province that you have to visit at least one in your life. Known for its beaches, mountains and savannas, it’s a very popular place for tourists to visit. Its most popular tourist attraction is probably Durban, a huge Indian-influenced harbor city and a popular surfing spot. With warm beaches, safaris, and botanical gardens, it’s a place you definitely don’t want to miss.
Durban has many sights you would want to see and places you would want to visit. Including beautiful nature reserves and parks. One is the Durban Botanical Gardens, Durban’s oldest public institution. There’s the Umgeni River Bird Park, an expansive bird center with exotic species which offers educational programs and shows. There’s Paradise Valley, a beautiful place with a waterfall which offers hiking programs. There’s Beach wood Mangrove Nature Reserve, proclaimed in 1977 and protects 76 hectares of a natural estuarine system. There’s Bluff Nature Reserve, Durban’s oldest nature reserve. More Nature Reserves are Burman Bush, New Germany Nature Reserve, North Park Nature Reserve, Palmiet Nature Reserve, Virginia Bush Nature Reserve and Pigeon Valley. And this is just in Durban!
If you’re not really one for nature, you don’t have to worry. Durban has many other attractions, at least a few which will interest you. Durban has some historical sites which tell the extensive history of the city and the province. There’s the Port Natal Maritime Museum which houses exhibits of local maritime significance as well as early exploration. There’s the Durban Natural Science Museum, featuring exhibits on the history of the Earth, it’s a place that should be on your radar. There’s the Kwa Muhle Museum which showcases the history, culture and hardships of the city of Durban and its people. If those weren’t enough there’s also the Local History Museum, the Durban Holocaust Centre and the Old Court House Museum.
Once you’ve seen the natural beauty of Durban and learnt all its history, it’s time to indulge in some real fun and relaxation in the city. Visit uShaka Marine World with the family for the sea-front aquarium and visit the water park for snorkeling and shark cage diving. There’s the Mitchell Park Zoo which features a variety of small animals, an aviary, a playground, a tea garden and more. There’s the Kings Park Stadium, located in the Kings Park Sporting Precinct. There’s Mini Town which offers the city and other landmarks in 1:24 scale, and a snack stand. Lastly there’s the Sun-coast Casino and Entertainment World, a spacious casino offering a hotel, restaurants, shopping, games and other entertainment.
Durban isn’t the only thing KwaZulu-Natal has to offer. Probably one of the biggest attractions of the province is the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. A huge protected area along the coast of KwaZulu-Natal. The centerpiece of the park is the beautiful lake and town of St. Lucia. Home to a large number of hippos, crocodiles, pelicans, flamingos, elephants, giraffes and leopards. You can book boat tours and safaris to see these beautiful creatures up close. Also if you stay in the town you may see a few hippos roaming the streets at night, something they’re known to do.
The capital of KwaZulu-Natal is Pietermaritzburg, not quite as big as Durban but still just as fun. The top sites for tourists are the KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden, established in 1874 and situated along Mayor’s Walk. There’s the Kwa-Zulu Natal Museum, which ranks among the Top National Museums in South Africa. There’s the Tatham Art Museum, one of the major art museums in South Africa which dates back to 1903. There’s Butterflies for Africa, a tropical butterfly center with a walk-through Butterfly House, a butterfly theme store, an art gallery, a coffee shop, a nursery and a butterfly garden. There’s the Golden Horse Casino which combines the thrill of the casino, entertainment, dining and horse racing in one destination.
You may not have time to visit every place in KwaZulu-Natal that was previously mentioned, but there are popular tourist destinations that you’ll definitely need to visit if you plan to explore KwaZulu-Natal and get the most out of your trip. I already covered the iSimingaliso Park and St. Lucia, which are very popular places to visit. The most popular destination is, of course, Durban. You don’t necessarily have to visit all the popular sites and places, a simple trip to Durban’s warm beaches and shorelines will be enough for a lovely trip, especially if you’re only planning a weekend there.
Africa’s oldest game reserve is Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, which offers safaris that are definitely worth your while. It’s home to ‘the big five’ which is made up of rhinos, elephants, buffalos, lions and leopards; all of which are beautiful animals that most people would want to see sometime in their life. You can also go camping near the park at the camp site.
Umhlanga, a residential, commercial and resort town North of Durban, is well known for the Gateway Theater of Shopping which is the largest shopping mall in the Southern Hemisphere. It also has the second tallest skyscraper in South Africa, named Pearl Sky. It will stand 183 meters upon completion in early 2018. It has two beaches, Bronze Beach and Main Beach, and is one of the fastest growing cities in South Africa. Ballito is another town located in KwaZulu-Natal. It is a holiday town which has the nickname Dolphin Coast, since dolphins are a common sight on the North Coast shoreline.
Lastly is the Tembe Elephant Park, which was developed in 1983 to protect elephants which used to migrate between Maputuland and southern Mozambique. The elephants were troubled by poaching during the civil war in Mozambique, so the park was only opened to the public in 1991. It is now home to over 250 elephants. It is a National park of South Africa.
After reading about all the amazing things do to and see in KwaZulu-Natal, you probably want to book the soonest flight. KwaZulu-Natal is a beautiful place and will serve as no disappointment for the holiday of a lifetime.
Heritage Tours & Safaris
African Big 5
In Africa, the term African Big 5 refers to the African Lion, Leopard, Elephant,Rhino and Buffalo. The Term "Big 5 or African Big 5" was realized by Big game hunters and refers to the most difficult 5 animals to Hunt by Foot.
Full Day Safari Option
Ever imagined Lion's roaring, Elephants trumpeting or merely enjoying an African Sunrise. No matter which option a full or half day safari will undoubtedly change your perspective while out in the bush. This is true bush country, rolling hills as far as the eye can see. Hides the ideal place to just sit relax and enjoy the wonders of wildlife nearby. Gravel roads taking you deeper into the bush with unexpected encounters around each corner.
What is a Safari Park
A Safari Park is a area, parkland in which animals are kept and have the ability to roam freely. The area is open to visitors and may observe the wildlife all the while driving through the area, Hluhluwe Game Reserve is 96000 hectares in size and offers incredible sightings and scenery.