The 25 most beautiful places to visit in South Africa

Afrique du sud

Drawn to South Africa, one of the most beautiful countries on the African continent? We understand! Here are 25 of the most beautiful places to discover!

South Africa is a country whose history has been tormented byApartheid; from this sometimes violent colonial past, this nation considered to be the most developed on the African continent still retains some painful scars.

Today, the country is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, attracting tens of thousands of students, and a large number of visitors come to admire this splendid land.

So, what’s there to do in South Africa? We’ve put together a list of our favorite things to do in the land of the springboks: come on, let’s go!

1. Cape of Good Hope, Western Cape

Contrary to a tenacious legend, it is not the southernmost point of Africa, but this mythical spot remains a choice landmark for sailors and adventurers from all over the world, and above all a nature reserve shared by baboons, ostriches and turtles: a must when you’re looking for something to do in South Africa!

Book your trip to the Cape of Good Hope

2. Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga

The Kruger National Park is one of the largest in Africa, and lends itself to a photo safari in the hope of catching a glimpse of the « Big Five »: lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros. This is a highly recommended activity when visiting South Africa.

Book your safari in Kruger National Park

3. Hermanus, Western Cape


Photo credit: Unsplash – Grant Durr

Hermanus is a spot where tourists from all over the world come to spot multiple species of whales. In this small seaside village, numerous companies offer speedboat tours of these majestic yet fragile animals.

The area is also prized for its beaches and sublime coves.

Book your whale-watching tour

4. Blyde River Canyon, Mpumalanga

Blyde River Canyon

Photo credit: Unsplash – Wynand Uys

Nothing less than… the third largest canyon in the world! It can be explored by following the hiking trails, but the best way is to hire a local guide, who will give lucky visitors to South Africa a unique view of the Three Rondavels or Pilgrim’s Rest, a former mining town.

5. Madikwé, Northwest


Photo credit: Unsplash – Andrew Rice

Madikwé is a private reserve closer to Johannesburg than the Kruger Park, and it’s possible to sleep in luxurious residences where monkeys and other bush animals come to say hello to overnight guests!

6. Drakensberg , Kwazulu-Natal

These mountains are considered to be the African Alps: the lush green meadows dotted with gigantic white mountains are reminiscent of Savoy, right in the middle of southern Africa!

The area lends itself to hiking, ideal when visiting South Africa!

Book your excursion to the Drakensberg mountains

7. Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden, Western Cape

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Photo credit: Flickr – serena_tang

Kirstenbosch is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world: many local horticultural species line its flowery paths, where it is advisable to rest in the shade of a perfectly tended grove to appreciate the serenity of the moment.

A bucolic walk, not to be missed when you’re looking for something to do in South Africa!

Book your visit to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

8. Wild Coast, East Cape

The « Wild Coast » stretches from Durban to the city of Port Elizabeth, and is 300 kilometers long; it runs along the Indian Ocean, and it’s inconceivable to visit South Africa without skirting the cliffs planted in its raging waters.

Splendid hills on the land side are dotted with traditional Xhosa huts – home to the original Xhosa people.

9. Garden Road, Cap-Ouest/Cap-Est

The « Garden Route » is in fact a continuation of the Wild Coast, starting in Port Elizabeth and ending in Cape Town.

Over 200 kilometers long, it too runs along South Africa’s splendid southern coast and is one of the country’s major tourist attractions, provided you have rented a car on arrival: be careful, you drive on the right in southern Africa!

10. Table Mountain, Western Cape

Table mountains

Photo credit: Unsplash – Kevin Healy

Table Mountain is one of the country’s symbols: at 1,085 metres, and 360 million years old, it is considered one of the oldest mountains in the world.

From Cape Town, it can be reached by cable car, but the bravest visitors to South Africa can climb the summit by mountain bike or on foot!

11. Pilanesberg National Park, North West

Pilanesberg National Park

Photo credit: Unsplash – delfi de la Rua

Considered by some to be the most beautiful park in Africa, it offers grandiose expanses and a unique closeness to the animals that inhabit it.

Here you’ll find Lake Mankwe, set in a cirque of mountains: a breathtaking sight when you’re looking for something to do in South Africa.

12. Knysna, Western Cape


Knysna – infamous among the French since the 2010 Football World Cup – is in fact a small territory consisting of a marshy lagoon where migratory birds come to rest, and terrifying cliffs that offer a unique view of the Indian Ocean!

13. Vineyard region, Cap-Ouest


That’s right! We don’t have a monopoly on cru: in South Africa, renowned vineyards stretch over thousands of hectares in these astonishing valleys in the Western Cape.

Here, you can sample local produce, visit Stellenbosch or Franschhoek, renowned wine-producing towns, or simply enjoy a soothing stroll through the vineyards.

14. Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal


Photo credit: Unsplash – Luca Zanon

What can you do in South Africa if you want to see rhinos, white or black? Head for this superb national park, in the heart of the Zulu kingdom, considered by many to be one of the finest wildlife parks in southern Africa.

Book your excursion to the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Reserve

15. Montagu, Western Cape


Montagu is a very special place: its white houses, located just off a famous tourist route, are just as much worth a visit as the village’s natural hot springs, accessible from a hotel, but best enjoyed in winter.

Summer would be too hot for visitors to South Africa!

16. iSimangaliso Wetland Park, KwaZulu-Natal

This 275,000-hectare park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site: it stretches along the entire coastline above the city of Durban, and is home to crocodiles and hippos splashing about in an ideally preserved natural environment.

Book your trip to iSimangaliso Wetland Park

17. Gansbaai, Cap-Ouest


Photo credit: Flickr – Adam Brasher

Gansbaai, a small village two hours’ drive from Cape Town, is the place to go for a thrill: here, you can dive in a cage, right in the middle of white sharks!

The more daring now know what to do in South Africa.

18. Maputaland, KwaZulu-Natal

Kosi Bay

Photo credit: Flickr – Andrew Ashton

Maputaland is a magnificent tropical region covering almost a million square kilometers; when you’re looking for something to do in South Africa and want to take your time discovering the country, you come here to hike around the lakes of Kosi Bay, or dive off Sodwana Bay.

19. Hole in the wall, Cap-Est


Photo credit: Flickr – jbdodane

It’s a bit like the Étretat of South Africa: a unique geological curiosity, consisting of a hole in a wall – the name will fool no one – of shale. This legendary wall is located very close to Coffee Bay, and is a symbol of the country.

There are plenty of picnic spots, ideal for enjoying a meal in peace and quiet!

20. Golden Gate Highland National Park, Free State

This national park is located in the heart of the Free State, a region close to Lesotho and the Maluti. The reason we mention it is that its desert and mountain landscapes turn green during the spring season, which is undoubtedly the best time to admire the place!

21. Oudtshoorn, Western Cape

This unpronounceable name is a Mecca for… ostrich farming: here, you’ll find numerous farms scattered across the hills, reached by superb roads overlooking the valleys.

If you’re fascinated by this animal and want to learn more about it, go for it!

22. Wilderness, Cap-Ouest

This small seaside resort, known for its magnificent beaches, is relatively unspoilt by mass tourism: not only do you swim here, but you can also do some great hiking.

Visiting South Africa at Wilderness means choosing a rather intimate stay.

23. Coffee Bay, Cap-Est

Coffee Bay is a famous surfing spot right in the middle of the Wild Coast; very wild, this little village seems lost in the middle of the wilderness, with few stores and boutiques.

If you’re planning a picnic, you’ll need to do your shopping in advance!

24. De Hoop Nature Reserve, West Cape

This micro-reserve boasts no less than seven different ecosystems! If you want to know what to do in South Africa, we’ve got some great bike rides along the trails, where you can meet antelopes and zebras without scaring them off with car engines.

A serene stopover in the heart of the Overberg!

25. Cederberg, Cap-Ouest


Photo credit: Unsplash – Philippe Verheyden

Cedeberg is a mountain range whose highest peak rises to over 2000 meters. A pretty mountain road crosses it from one side to the other, and we recommend that you visit in spring to take advantage of the flowering season; what’s more, the route is relatively uncrowded!

Map of hotels and accommodation – South Africa