There is something for every traveler who heads down south. In this ultimate South Africa travel guide, we will discover South Africa is like a small slice of Europe slapped onto the tip of Africa.
Its elegant towns, superb roads, delicious cuisine, and accessible national parks crown it all.
If you’re thinking about visiting South Africa, the sheer number of places might overwhelm you to see and things to do. With this South Africa travel guide, we summarize some highlights of travel in South Africa and travel tips.
How to Get Around
South Africa is vast, and renting a car is the most convenient and flexible way to explore it. There are many automobile rental businesses to choose from, including major worldwide brands such as Hertz, Budget, and Avis. Do some web research to see if any smaller companies can offer you a good bargain. Remember that many automobiles have manual gearboxes and that you drive on the left side of the road.
If you want to go by bus to see South Africa, there are a couple of hop-on/hop-off buses that stop at all the country’s major tourist attractions. Mzansi offers autonomous bus travel choices where you can construct your trip packages, and Baz Bus is popular among backpackers. Local buses are affordable, but they move slowly and are scarce.
For longer distance travel, minibus taxes are a cost-effective and efficient option. Inquire at your hostel or with local friends about where to find them and whether they are available for the destinations you desire.
For flights, use Skyscanner to find the best day to fly to or from South Africa. Prices will be lower if you book further in advance.
The Big Five, that is; African lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, and rhino, and accessible parks and national reserves, make South Africa one of the top safari destinations. At Kruger, Kgalagadi, and other parks, you can drive deep into the vast wilderness, or accompany khaki-clad rangers on guided drives and hikes.
But wildlife watching here isn’t just about seeing big animals. It also teaches you to appreciate the little things, like a leopard tortoise ambling alongside the road, a go-away bird chirping its distinctive chant in the trees, or a close encounter with seals, whales, or a great white shark along the coast. Hearing the roar of a distant lion as the sun rises on an African morning is one of life’s most thrilling moments.
You can also find most of the endangered black rhino population in South Africa. Lions hunt, elephants trumpet, flamingos turn a blue lake pink, whales breach, penguins waddle, and rhinos stroll through the forest like big prehistoric monsters.
There are countless ways to appreciate wildlife and the soul-stirring landscapes in which they live. With accommodations ranging from family-friendly campsites to luxury safari lodges, You can trek in the bush with highly trained guides, seeking the tiny species that keep the ecosystem ticking,
The ever-changing scenery of South Africa is the ideal backdrop for an action-packed vacation. Try rock climbing in the mountainous Cederberg, surfing off the Eastern Cape coast, abseiling from Table Mountain near Cape Town, bungee jumping from Bloukrans Bridge on the Garden Route, or swinging into Graskop Gorge.
If adrenaline sports aren’t your style, try a hike. There are multi-day treks through wildlife reserves, dusty day walks in the Karoo semi-desert, “slackpacking” paths along the Cape coast, and overnight hikes into the Drakensberg’s sometimes snow-capped peaks.
Paddle kayaks down lily-fringed canals in pursuit of hippos while on safari in South Africa.
If you visit South Africa without understanding its turbulent history, you will miss out on an important aspect of the country’s identity.
Museums from Johannesburg to Robben Island, many of which feature exhibits on the apartheid era, are not for the faint-hearted, but they will help you understand the South African society and appreciate how the country has progressed.
Continue your history education with a township visit to places like Soweto (Jo’burg) or Langa (Cape Town), where you can talk to people and learn that, despite the tragic past, there is much pride and hope for the future.
Culture and Economy
Culture is a huge part of South Africa Travel guide. The country is home to people who speak a variety of languages with different cultures, but the majority are friendly and outgoing. Keep an eye out for trendy slang terms like Broo (short for “bro” or “homie”) and Lekker (short for “love”) (good, cool, fun, basically used in any positive situation).
South Africa has a high level of modernization, particularly in the more populated areas. Shopping malls, casinos, fitness centers, and a variety of popular fast food brands such as KFC and McDonald’s can all be found here. You’ll have to travel to smaller towns and villages to get away from commercialism.
Many villages, towns, and cities have discovered a way to balance traditional culture and modernity. Tourism is flourishing, with cheap backpacker hostels strewn across the country, making travel in South Africa very affordable.
The country also has a relatively stable infrastructure, with paved roads and highways, and widespread internet and phone signal.
When you get to these remote areas, you’ll notice that poverty is rampant. In South Africa, there is a great deal of economic disparity, whereby wealthy people and poor people live close.
A short drive outside of a city center can reveal townships with densely packed settlements of modest homes, many of which are decaying. Townships were set aside for minorities and non-whites during the Apartheid era, and this form of racial segregation may still be seen today.
Much of the country is still locked in these underdeveloped, poverty-stricken neighborhoods, with townships accounting for 38% of the population.
The ultimate South Africa travel guide shows you the diversity of landscapes in South Africa. From jungly swamps to scorching semi-deserts; South Africa is unmatched, as is the abundance of species.
From the scorching Karoo and Kalahari semideserts to the misty heights of the Drakensberg range and the huge Blyde River Canyon, South Africa’s landscapes are breathtaking.
Even in the city, the gorgeous fynbos (indigenous flora) climbing the slopes of Table Mountain can be seen, while two of the world’s most stunning coastline routes lead to Cape Point and Hermanus.
There’s a staggering diversity to enjoy, with vineyards covering the Cape Winelands, old-growth woods along the Garden Route, craggy mountain ranges from the Cederberg to the Swartberg, and Indian Ocean beaches.