Top 5 places to visit in South Africa

I have been fortunate enough to grow up in this extraordinarily beautiful and vibrant country. South Africa is an exciting travel destination where you’re able to find a little bit of everything. Whethere you’re looking for malaria free Big Five game reserves, adventure activites, unspoiled beaches, the longest wine route in the world or cultural attractions – we have got it all here for you in South Africa.

My top 5 places to visit in South Africa would be the following:

1. The Wild Coast and the Eastern Cape

I may be bias as this is my home province however, I find the Adventure Province to be the most diverse province of all as it is extremely beautiful with so much to offer. If you’re interested in cosmopolitan first world cities, this is probably not the best province for you but if you’re looking for nature, beauty and adventure – this is the place for you. Travelling in the Eastern Cape is super accessible after you’ve joined us at one of our many projects in the province, these include:  Vets Go Wild , Conserving White Rhino , Conserving Big Five at Shamwari, Conserving Dolphins and four of our five Accredited Courses.

The Eastern Cape offers bush and beach escapes with some of the best malaria-free game reserves in South Africa as well as some of the most secluded and pristine beaches. My favorite destinations in the Eastern Cape would have to be between the start of the Garden Route (Tsitsikamma and beyond) and the Wild Coast. You can read our blog on the Eastern Cape Getaways for more information on all the escapes that are easily accesible within the Eastern Cape.

2. Cape Town and the Winelands

This city is my personal favorite in the country and a firm favorite across the world.  If you’re interested in the more cosmopolitan escape, this is the place for you – although there is something for everyone in Cape Town. With many hip cocktail joints, adventure and wildlife activities, cultural tours and museums, and shopping spots, this is the place to be. You’ll also find some of the most beautiful scenery here and who can forget one of the most famous mountains in the world  – Table Mountain. Check out all the awesome activities in Cape Town.

It’s a bonus that some of the world’s top wine farms are around the corner and at the start of the world’s longest wine route in the world!

Cape Town and the Winelands are easily accessible from our Conserving Great Whites project in Gansbaai or you could easily visit Cape Town from our family project at Conserving Cape Leopard.

3. Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park

Mpumalanga is an incredibly beautiful province and is home to the world renowned Kruger National Park where you’re able to go on safari. The KNP is alot busier than the Eastern Cape and is in a malaria area but the wildlife in completely different so it’s worth the visit.

Mpumalanga is also home to the biggest rhino orphanage in the world where you can get involved and Conserve Orphaned Rhinos with us.

The Blyde River Canyon, which is our cover photo for this blog and the second largest canyon in Africa is a hidden jewel in South Africa – go hiking, waterfall chasing or just admire the views. Not too far from from the Blyde River Canyon is Hoedspruit. Hoedspruit is home to two of our projects, Conserving Big Cats and our rehabilitation centre, Conserving Cheetahs. Weekends are available to explore all the sites and activites  in the area while volunteering.

4. Drakensburg

The Drakensberg escarpment rises up and acts as a natural border between South Africa and Lesotho.

Another area famous for its hiking as well as waterfalls. If you’re a lover of the outdoors, this is the place to be.  Take a bumpy road trip up the Sani Pass to the highest pub in Africa but don’t forget your passport, this pub is in Lesotho.  Visit the Royal Natal National Park which is home to some of the best views in Africa, visit Cathedral Peak, Champagne Castle or go fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking, horse-riding and more.

5. The Garden Route

Being just a short road trip from Port Elizabeth, I am fortunate to have explored this area on numerous occasions.

The Garden Route extends from Tsitsikamma right through to Mossel Bay.  A visit to the Garden Route National Park is a firm favorite. Visit the Storms River section of the park where you can hike the world famous Otter Trail. This trail can take a few days and it will need to be booked in advance. You can do the beginning section of the Otter Trail and hike to the waterfall which will take a few hours. A visit to the suspension bridge that extends over the river mouth is a must! There is a section on Tsitsikamma in our Eastern Cape Blog which has good advice on the area as well as the extended Garden Route up to Plettenberg Bay.

The entire Garden Route is easily accessible from our Conserving Whales project which is situated in the centre of the route in Plettenberg Bay.

By Bianca Eke, Conservation Experience Consultant for Worldwide Experience