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South Africa


Great Destination:


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Total Stars:


Personality Types that Like it Best

Well liked by most groups on the Venturesome side of the scale, less so by pure Authentics

Did You Know … ?

  • De Beers, the world’s largest diamond company, coined the phrase “Diamonds Are Forever.”
  • South Africa has three capitals and 11 official languages.
  • The Bloukrans Bridge has the world’s highest commercial bungee jump (709 feet).
  • The Route 62 Wine Route is the world’s longest with 69 stops for visitors.
  • The Vredefort meteorite, which hit South Africa eons ago, forced gold to the earth’s surface.

Kruger lions, Ndebele art

Tourists are drawn to South Africa for many reasons, beginning with the country’s great natural beauty and the exotic plants and animals found inside and outside the national parks. Some visitors seek adventurous outdoor activities or pursue an interest in the area’s prehistoric past, its recent history or modern tribal lifestyles.

They may take time out to linger over fine foods served with South African wines, perhaps while accommodated at an outstanding city hotel, a one-of-a-kind boutique property or one of &Beyond’s upscale game lodges. Another alternative is Sun City, a kind of Las Vegas in the bush.

South Africa boasts nearly two dozen national parks, but Kruger is the most visited. It is home to the large mammals game viewers traditionally seek, and they include the Big Five (buffalo, elephant, hippopotamus, lion and rhinoceros).

Western Cape province is rich with attractions, including Cape Town, with one of Mother Nature’s finest settings for urban life; Table Mountain, a natural wonder; whale watching; vineyards and attendant wine trails, and the Garden Route, a striking mountainous stretch of the South African coastline, encompassing ancient forests, artist communities, craft centers, mountain hideaways, plus beaches and golf courses.

The province includes the Cape of Good Hope at the southern end of Africa. It also is the site of Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and other activists were imprisoned during the apartheid era. Tourists can visit the former prison.

Travelers also may head north to see Soweto, the city outside Johannesburg known for its part in the liberation struggle, and the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. In the same area, tourists can tour the Cullinan Diamond Mine in Dinokeng or visit portions of the 116,000-acre Cradle of Humankind, where hominid remains were found.

Tribal cultures also attract tourist interest. The Ndebele are crowd pleasers because of their tradition for brightly painted houses in geometric designs — painted freehand — and similar designs in the women’s beaded handicrafts.

Unfortunately, South Africa has a crime problem. Although the vast majority of visitors travel without incident, theft occurs routinely and is often violent. Visitors must be attentive to the issue while in South Africa.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Make use of the bungee jump at Bloukrans Bridge.
  • Sign on for a community tourism project. There are many choices.
  • Go to De Aar or Kuruman in the Northern Cape province to do some paragliding.  You’ll have to complete a four-day course before stepping into the sky.
  • Take a wildlife safari on foot.
  • Visit Soweto, a community best known for its role in the struggle against apartheid.
  • Charter a boat in Cape Town or Durban and go deep-sea fishing.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Ski during North America’s summer on South Africa’s only ski slopes at Tiffindell ski resort.
  • Look for whales of several species, especially near Plettenberg Bay on South Africa’s southern coastline.
  • Plan a travel itinerary around one of the country’s several crafts routes. These are detailed in the Due South Craft Route travel guide, sold locally.
  • Satisfy your inner bird-watcher. South Africa has a number of options with names like the Caledon Blue Crane Route and the Diamond Birding Route.
  • View game in Kruger National Park or in one of several other options in the country.
  • Select one of South Africa’s wine routes and follow it.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Ride the Blue Train, a five-star luxury passenger train that offers fine dining and luxurious sleeping suites inside and gorgeous views of the countryside on the outside.
  • Play golf on one of the courses found on the Garden Route, accessible from Cape Town.
  • Look for the world’s largest baobab tree (about 6,000 years), in Modjadjiskloof. Or, look for any baobabs and be amused by their appearance; they seem to be upsidedown.
  • Visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and other enemies of apartheid were imprisoned. See the nearby Table Mountain, also a World Heritage Site, on the same day.
  • Go the theater in Johannesburg or Pretoria. Or, take in your entertainment (and some gambling) at Sun City.
  • Visit the colorful Ndebele people; buy some of their beadwork as souvenirs and gifts.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult South African Tourism at and, to find travel agents who are South Africa Travel Experts, at the home page, click the box that says Click Here to Find a Certified South Africa Specialist.