South Africa is one of the most geographically diverse countries on the planet. When visiting the country, you can expect to experience varied landscapes, from the vast savannahs in Mpumalanga to the beautiful Drakensberg Mountain peaks. Regardless of which corner of the country you visit, you are bound to find something unique that will surprise you.
South Africa is home to over 20 national parks and 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the Cradle of Humankind and Robben Island. Visiting all of these sites on a single vacation can be a task hard to accomplish. Fortunately, there are several escorted tours to South Africa that tourists can join to explore the most beautiful parts of the country. In the meantime, here is a list of the off-the-beaten-path places to visit.
- Cederberg Mountains
The Cederberg Mountain range is in the Western Cape and is just two hours from the heart of Cape Town. Cederberg is vastly different from the city with its rocky mountains and kaleidoscope sunsets. At the mountain resort, you can engage in a range of activities such as bird watching, visiting the Skimmelberg farm, hiking, cycling, and more. For those who are looking for a trace of heritage, you can attend a bread-making workshop and rooibos tea tastings, visit the Cederberg wine cellars, and see the Sevilla Rock Art Trail. Cederberg encompasses over 71 000 hectares of wilderness, ensuring that you will be occupied throughout your visit.
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- The Big Hole
The Big Hole is also known as the Kimberley Mine. It is a popular tourist attraction in Kimberley in the Northern Cape. The Big Hole is a diamond mine and has become the world’s largest hand-dug excavation. The mine spans 17 hectares and is 463 meters wide with a depth of 240 meters. The Kimberley Mine is no longer active. However, many tourists flock to the area each year to see the site. When visiting the mine, you will have the opportunity to go on a tour that includes a 20-minute movie, a spectacular view of the Big Hole, an underground experience of the mine, the diamond vault, and more. As part of the tour, you will have the chance to ride a train and learn about the Kimberley mine and life as a miner.
- Kruger National Park
Visiting the Kruger National Park is a must when coming to South Africa. The park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa and is in northeastern South Africa. It spans over 2 million hectares and includes a mix of historical and archaeological sites. The Kruger National Park is home to a vast number of species of animals, including the Big 5 – elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, and buffalo. The park has a range of safari tours that allow you to learn about and see the different animals of the park. The park also has modern accommodations for tourists that want to stay over several days.
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- The Otter Trail
It is a 41-kilometer hiking trail that covers the Garden Route coast of South Africa. This trail is one of the oldest hiking trails in South Africa and is named after the Cape clawless otter that you can find in the region. The hike takes around 5 days and 4 nights, allowing hikers to cross several rivers, including the Elandsbos and the Bloukrans Rivers. The trail does have two huts at each overnight stop along the trail. However, hikers are responsible for bringing their own things, such as pillows, blankets, food, and clothes. The Otter trail is one of the most accessible trails in South Africa, and it allows hikers to witness breathtaking views of white-sand beaches and cliffs.
- Birds of Eden
Birds of Eden is an animal sanctuary in Plettenberg Bay in South Africa. This place has a two-hectare dome covering an indigenous forest gorge. The dome houses over 3 500 birds from more than 200 bird species.
Birds of Eden allows previously caged birds to live a life of free flight with zero restrictions. The birds in the sanctuary are a mix of exotic and African birds. When visiting Birds of Eden, you can join a guided safari tour where you will walk the forest and have the chance to learn and interact with different animals.
Discovering the Hidden Gems in South Africa
South Africa is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. As a result, you will experience some of the most awe-aspiring landscapes and views across the country. Whether you are looking to see some of the indigenous wildlife or wondrous mountain views, you will definitely find it in South Africa.