If you’re planning a holiday to South Africa, we’d like you to make the most of your trip. To help you along the way, we’ve asked seven travel experts to share their favourite South African tourist attraction with us. Here’s what they had to say.
Southern Africa Travel Expert
For anyone heading to Johannesburg, take a day to do a guided tour of Soweto. The township is fast becoming one of South Africa’s top attractions and a guided tour will break any preconceived ideas you had of this vast community.
You’ll discover its history, trace the footsteps of Mandela, engage with the locals, enjoy a traditional meal in a family home, and learn the lingo.
Adrenaline junkies won’t want to miss throwing themselves off the Orlando Towers!
Visiting the Nelson Mandela National Museum in Vilakazi Street, Soweto. Image by Desiree Haakonsen.
South Africa’s beaches
South Africa is filled with so many amazing attractions and there are still many I need to check off my must-do list – but I’m constantly blown away by the beauty of our beaches – from the golden sands of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal through to the windswept West Coast in my home city Cape Town. South Africa has a beach for every season.
Table Mountain from Blouberg Beach, Cape Town. Image by Selene Brophy.
South Africa’s mountains
Creator of #TravelChatSA
I am a mountain lover and my favourite attraction in South Africa will be obviously an outdoor attraction: mountains. South Africa mountain ranges are one of the oldest and most beautiful in the world. I absolutely love Table Mountain (close to my home attraction) – watching our mountain at sunrise and sunset is an unforgettable experience daily.
I also love hikes and cycling on the mountain.
South Africa has an amazing mountain passes. Cathedral Peak, Cederberg Mountains or Swartberg Mountains are just spectacular and should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Many beautiful hiking or cycling trails are available and ready to be enjoyed.
Views from the Swartberg Mountain Range. Image by Patrycja Oosthuizen.
Table Mountain and the Cape Floral Region
I love nature, so it’s no surprise that I’ve chosen a natural attraction above any man-made monument.
Table Mountain is a world-famous landmark at the tip of Africa where you’ll find the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cape Floral Kingdom – a biodiversity hotspot that takes up less than 0.5% of the continent of Africa but is home to 20% of its plants. Nearly a third of them occur nowhere else on earth.
Among the best places for visitors to explore these Cape Town riches are the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and the Cape Point section of Table Mountain National Park.
Beach views of Table Mountain. Image by Roxanne Reid.
Robyn Leigh Elford
Travel and Tourism
There are too many places in South Africa to actually say that one is my favourite tourist attraction, however, there is one place that stands out of the crowd, literally and metaphorically: Table Mountain.
The reason I chose Table Mountain is due to the different ways you can experience it and it can be done on a budget, sometimes even free. If you don’t have the time to actually go visit Table Mountain in person, you can take the most incredible photos of it.
Another way to visit Table Mountain is to hike the actual mountain. You can hike up to the top through many different well-marked routes contour paths, they vary in difficulty from the easy laid back hikers that don’t want to overexert themselves, to the more intense hikers that really want to challenge themselves.
Travellers are also able to catch the cable car to the top of the mountain where you can have some lunch or a glass of wine, watch the sunset and then enjoy the cable car down after you have taken the most incredible photo’s to show the world how unbelievable South Africa and Cape Town really is.
Table Mountain provides a spectacular backdrop when travelling around Cape Town. Image by Robyn Leigh Elford.
Witsand Nature Reserve
Online Community Manager at Marine Dynamics
I’d say my favourite attraction is the Witsand Nature Reserve in the Northern Cape. I’ve only visited the reserve once but I’ve always been keen on going back.
Here, you are surrounded by white sand dunes, far from the city lights, it’s so peaceful! At night you are covered by starry skies, literally millions of stars.
What is most unique about the reserve is that during summer, the sand roars! For this to happen, crazy heat and dry conditions are necessary. Then due to the geographical area of the reserve, thunderstorms occur quite often. When the thunder strikes the sand dunes it causes fulgurites!
The sand dunes of the Witsand Nature Reserve. Image by South African Tourism.
Not only is Camps Bay a visually stunning suburb for local residents and holidaymakers, like myself, but it also attracts tourists for its beautiful long white sandy beach with turquoise-coloured water, spectacular views of Lion’s Head and the Twelve Apostles, and a variety of restaurants that suit every taste.
Camps Bay is also known for its natural beauty and hidden gems that only a local to the area may know about.
The turquoise waters of Camps Bay beach in Cape Town. Image by Loren Cohen.
If you are planning your own trip around South Africa, you might want to have a look at some of the vehicles on offer. Having your own vehicle to travel with is extremely free-ing. Consider car rental Cape Town if it is your starting point or car hire Durban is you want to start there.