South Africa is the powerhouse of Africa with a vibrant economy and an abundance of rich natural resources. It’s had turbulent history dominated by the apartheid era but the country has settled into a period of growth and transformation since it became a democracy in 1994.
The country offers travellers an endless array of attractions; from the rugged protected wilderness areas in the northern region, to the breathtakingly-scenic wonders of the southern and eastern coastline and the vast uninhabited landscapes of the western and central regions. There’s something for everyone on a tour of South Africa.
The cities and towns of South Africa are vibrant with world-class infrastructure; the country towns are quaint and unique in their own way. Throughout, the people of South Africa are warm and welcoming, although crime in South Africa is an issue and travellers need to take the usual precautions to make their safety a priority. Moafrika is proud to offer the best South African tours.
South Africa is situated at the southern tip of Africa. The icy Atlantic Ocean lies on the west coast and the warm Indian Ocean lies on the east and south Coast, meeting at Cape Agulhas which is officially the southernmost tip of Africa. Most people think the two oceans meet at the Cape Point and for publicity reasons, tourist attractions in the region play on the marketing appeal of the Two Oceans.
South Africa shares a boundary with 6 countries; Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho. The Kingdom of Lesotho has the status of an enclave, which means it’s entirely surrounded by South Africa. It’s an independent state and part of the Commonwealth of Nations, although almost entirely dependent on South Africa.
South Africa’s total surface area is 1.22 square kilometres. It’s the 24th largest country in the world and the 9th biggest in Africa, which is made up of 54 countries. To give you an idea, South Africa is twice the size of France and five times bigger than the United Kingdom. It’s also bigger than any country in Europe, except for Russia.
South Africa has 9 provinces:
In 2019, the estimated size of the population of South Africa was just over 58 million inhabitants.
South Africa covers an area of 1.2 million square kilometres and the population density is about 48 people per square kilometre.
South Africa’s population is regarded as young; where the medium age is 26.3 years.
1994 was a turning point for South Africa when the first ‘free and fair’ elections were held and the country for the first time ever became a democracy. The ruling party that was voted in was the African National Congress (ANC), led by the iconic Nelson Mandela. The country’s constitutional law was re-established with the hope that the people of South Africa would never again experience such struggle and division.
Leading up to that milestone election, South Africa was a divided nation and many of its inhabitants had suffered unbearably under the tyrannical rule of the apartheid government. Firstly, it was under British and Dutch rule that many suffered discrimination and inequality; and then under the National Party (NP).
The National Park was the governing party of South Africa from 1948 until 1994, and was disbanded in 2005. Its legacy included apartheid, the establishment of a South African Republic and the promotion of Afrikaner culture. When FW de Klerk became South African president in 1989, he set about dismantling apartheid, lifted the ban on the ANC and ordered the release of Nelson Mandela from prison.
Mandela led the ANC in its negotiations to end apartheid rule and establish a democratically-elected government. Both Mandela and de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 in recognition of the role they played in this tumultuous period to facilitate a smooth transition to democratic rule.
Mandela was elected South Africa’s president after the country’s first free elections and served as head of state until 1999. He retired from politics after serving only one term but remained a global advocate of peace and social justice until his death in December 2013. The ruling party of South Africa is still the ANC under the leadership of Cyril Ramaphosa, who successfully unseated Jacob Zuma who left behind a legacy of gross corruption and economic mismanagement.
The Rainbow Nation is an affectionate term for South Africa that was coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a fellow Noble Peace Prize winner. Tutu used it to describe post-apartheid South Africa after its first fully democratic election in 1994.
Rainbow Nation captures the unity of a multi-cultural nation that was once divided down the lines of White and Black. The Rainbow symbolism is also associated with hope, peace and a bright future, taken from the Xhosa culture.
Although not intentional, the Rainbow Nation is represented in the colours of the flag of South Africa. When it was designed and adopted in 1994, the bright and instantly-recognisable flag stood to represent unity with its 6 different colours:
Black, white and red symbolises the people of South Africa; green the fertility of the land; blue the surrounding oceans and mighty rivers; and gold the mineral wealth beneath the soil.
According to the latest census, the population of South Africa comprises:
The Black population consists of Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho, Bapedi, Venda, Tswana, Tsonga, Swazi, and Ndebele.
The White population are typically descendants of Dutch, German, French, and British immigrants.
The Coloured people are a mixed race descending mostly from the indigenous Khoisan, Blacks, Whites, Malay, and Indian.
The Asian population are mostly Indian and some Chinese.
As a result of its diverse population, South Africa has 11 official languages. They are English, Afrikaans, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu.
South Africa has the strongest economy in Africa and is the powerhouse of the continent; thanks largely to its mineral wealth, incredible natural resources and tourism. Its GDP represents about 30% of the GDP of the entire Africa. South Africa is renowned for its well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy and transport sectors and the Rand is the world’s most actively traded emerging market currency.
However, South Africa has many challenges, mostly brought on by corruption and economic mismanagement that is the legacy of the ousted president. The country officially entered into a recession in the latter quarter of 2018, its first since 2009.
Challenges that the new head of state will have to address for the country to recover its growth potential include amongst others, declining agricultural and mining output as well as rampant corruption and mismanagement in government and parastatal enterprises.
Another significant challenge is poverty and unemployment, particularly amongst the younger section of the population. Declining healthcare and education standards are a concern, and high crime levels which is the knock-on effect of unemployment.
South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world. Murder, carjackings, violent domestic crime and rape are the ugly scourge of what is otherwise a vibrant and cosmopolitan country. Most violent crimes happen in communities that are deeply neglected and impoverished, and these are not areas that tourists enter into unless taken on a tour with a reputable tour operator.
The international media often represent South Africa in a negative light and describe it as a dangerous place to visit. This is entirely justified if you look at the high crime statistics in the country. However, violent crime is more often a function of poverty and unemployment and is largely restricted to impoverished and neglected townships in South Africa where gangsterism and lawlessness is rife.
These are not areas that your average tourist visits on a trip to South Africa. In particular, if you’re travelling with a reputable tour operator like MoAfrika Tours, your safety is a priority and you should never visit the no-go areas and experience the ugly side of South Africa.
Poor neighbourhoods, informal settlements and derelict inner cities are no-go areas for tourists; you’ll only visit parts of them on a day tour with a reputable tour operator such as MoAfrika Tours who has been taking clients into places like Soweto and Joburg CBD for many years. A township tour is fascinating and a wonderful way to experience South Africa’s rich cultural heritage; however, it’s not advisable to visit these areas on your own.
Political and service protests are common during an election period and often turn violent; but again, tourists will never be put in harm’s way by avoiding these public hotspots. A reputable tour operator in South Africa should keep up-t- date with latest developments if there is political unrest and will make alternative plans to avoid those areas.
Most tourists visiting South Africa head straight to the game reserves in the northern region or head south to the beautiful coastal towns and cities. As long as you’re travelling with a reputable tour operator in a reliable luxury vehicle, you’ll be safe. The most important thing about a holiday to South Africa is that you practice common sense; as you would anywhere else in the world where you may fall victim of petty crime and tourist scams.
Yes, there is malaria in South Africa but it’s restricted to certain regions in three provinces: parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga and north-eastern KwaZulu Natal. These regions lie at a low altitude and experience summer rainfall and hot and humid summer temperatures which are the perfect weather conditions for malaria-carrying mosquitos to exist.
Not all mosquitos carry the malaria parasite. The ones that do belong to the anopheles group. The risk of contracting malaria is highest between May and September, but it’s advisable to take anti-malaria tablets on any holiday to South Africa regardless of the time of year.
Mosquitos are most active - bite more - between dusk and dawn so take the necessary steps not to be bitten. Wear long pants with socks and closed shoes and a long-sleeved shirt in the evening and liberally spray mosquito repellent on yourself and in your room. Always sleep under a mosquito net if provided.
If you experience any flu-like symptoms within 10-15 days of first arriving in a malaria area, go to a doctor immediately and insist on being tested for malaria. The disease is life-threatening and fatal if not diagnosed and treated early.
Travel insurance is highly recommended for South Africa. It should cover theft, loss and medical emergencies and evacuations. Check the small print when taking out travel insurance as some policies don’t cover dangerous activities such as paragliding, scuba diving, helicopter rides and even motorbiking, cycling and hiking.
Medical insurance for South Africa is very important. You can take it out as part of your travel insurance cover or request extra cover from your existing medical aid company. If you need medical treatment in South Africa, you’ll be taken to a private hospital or clinic. The state hospitals are not recommended, unless it’s an absolute emergency.
Private hospitals in South Africa expect upfront payment in cash from foreigners. Find out from your insurance company if they make payments directly to a medical provider or reimburse you when you return home.
One of the crucial things to cover is transport for an emergency evacuation. This might be an ambulance or helicopter. If you need urgent medical help when you are far from a city or town, sometimes the only option is to have you evacuated by air.
The list of places to visit and things to do in South Africa is exhaustive. It’s a vast country that offers something for everyone; whether it’s diving with sharks, going on a Big 5 safari tour or drinking some of the world’s best wines in the beautiful Cape… the choices is endless.
Ask MoAfrika Tours to recommend a perfect tour package to suit your individual needs. Most South Africa tours are a combination of ‘safari and scenery’; with the best that the northern and southern regions have to offer.
South Africa is divided 6 main regions and each area has something unique to offer travellers.
If you draw a line across South Africa; the vibrant city of Johannesburg and the majority of the popular safari destinations fall into the northern region. In the south, you’ll find South Africa’s bucket-list destinations which include the glorious Cape Peninsular, Cape Winelands and magnificent Garden Route.
On the western side of South Africa, you’ll find quirky towns and fascinating nature reserves that look out over the icy Atlantic Ocean. And on the eastern side, you’ll find the tropical splendour of the Kingdom of KwaZulu Natal and magical Drakensberg Escarpment a bit further inland.
South Africa is the gateway to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and the splendid national parks in Zambia and Botswana. It’s also a friendly neighbour of Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho which offer fun adventures and beach holidays for the outdoor enthusiasts.
The choice is endless but MoAfrika’s list of places to stay and things to do are good place to start if you’re planning a holiday in South Africa.
The Big 5 and Cape Town draw the most amount of tourists to our shores but there many more places to visit in South Africa and exciting adventures to experience. If you have to narrow it down, these are the most popular places in South Africa that most tourists visit.
Most tourists arrive in South Africa via the state-of-the-art OR Tambo International Airport and are whisked off to the popular game reserves in the north or down to the Cape. If you give yourself enough time to stop over in Johannesburg, you’ll discover what a vibrant city it is and how much it has to offer.
Pretoria is not really a tourist destination but it’s rich in history and a particularly beautiful city in Spring with flowering jacaranda trees as well as beautiful historic buildings. If you have time, Pretoria is worth a visit on an informative day tour.
In Johannesburg and Pretoria, you’ll find be surprised by the first-world infrastructure and facilities. There are a number of massive shopping malls that impress even the most ardent shoppers as well as an abundance of world-class restaurants, vibey bars and delis, art galleries, entertainment centres and quality accommodation to suit every budget.
To get between the two cities and OR Tambo International Airport, you can use the Gautrain. This is a state-of-the-art high-speed train service that links Johannesburg, Pretoria, Ekurhuleni and OR Tambo International Airport.
The best thing to do while staying in the ‘City of Gold’ - or what locals call Jo’burg - is a day tour of the Gauteng Province’s historic destinations. The best day tours offered by the leading tour operators in the city include:
An opportunity not to be missed while staying in Johannesburg is a tour of the Cradle of Humankind which is a UNESCO Heritage Site. Regarded by scientists as the birthplace of humankind, you’ll enjoy a fascinating tour of the Maropeng Visitors Center and Sterkfontein Caves.
Johannesburg and Pretoria are the gateway to the majority of South Africa’s most popular Big 5 safari destinations. The most convenient for a quick trip is the Pilanesberg Game Reserve and Madikwe Game Reserve in the North West Province; both are a scenic 2-hour drive from Johannesburg and located in a malaria-free area so there’s no need to worry about taking anti-malaria tablets.
The popular Pilanesberg Game Reserve is located in the North West Province of South Africa, a comfortable 2-hour drive from Johannesburg. It’s lies tucked between the dry, arid Kalahari Desert and the lush, tropical Lowveld region in a malaria-free ecosystem.
Covering an area of 55 000 hectares, it’s a small Big 5 safari destination if you compare it to the Kruger National Park but you’re guaranteed to see great wildlife sightings on a safari tour of the Pilanesberg because of its high concentration of game. It’s home to in excess of 10 000 animals including elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard which is known as the Big 5.
The Pilanesberg Game Reserve was once neglected and unhealthy farmland which was rehabilitated and restocked through one of the most ambitious animal translocation projects, known as Operation Genesis. Launched in the 1970s, the project re-introduced an abundance of wildlife to the area which had long since vanished from the region.
The geology of the Pilanesberg is fascinating as it’s the site of an ancient volcano, although it didn’t erupt. The ancient mountainous landscape that dominates the game reserve was formed by three concentric ridges or rings of hills which is actually a very rare formation called a ‘ring dyke complex’. There are only three ring dyke complexes in the world and the Pilanesberg mountain is the best preserved of the three by far.
The centre of the inactive volcano did collapse at some stages which formed the crater that the Pilanesberg Game Reserves lies in; and the base creates Mankwe Dam in the heart of the reserve. The area is also rich in cultural heritage and archaeological finds. In fact, the Pilanesberg is a dream destination for archaeologists.
Pilanesberg Game Reserve offers travellers a wide choice of accommodation ranging from camping and caravan sites at two large holiday resorts to luxury accommodation in 5-star safari lodges. Avoid the large holiday resorts in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve such as Manyane Resort and Bakgatla Resort because they get very busy with local holidaymakers and the standards of upkeep have deteriorated in recent years.
The best places to stay in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve are:
Bakubung Bush Lodge
Bakubung means the ‘place of the hippo’ and the resident hippo pod is a tourist delight. The resort offers the best of both worlds; the solitude of the bush and the luxury of modern amenities that make it an unforgettable holiday for the whole family. The resort offers guided safari tours, flood-lit tennis courts, a stunning swimming pool and panoramic views from every room. A shuttle service takes visitors to and from Sun City and the local airport.
Black Rhino Game Lodge
This luxury lodge is nestled in a thicket of Tamboti trees on the private Black Rhino Reserve. A ‘fence drop’ initiative with the North West Park & Tourism Board allows guests traversing rights throughout the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. The Tamboti trees attract the elusive black rhino and a wide variety of bird species which makes it a game and birding paradise. The sweet veld vegetation of this low-lying reserve complements the Pilanesberg predominately mixed sour veld and sightings of elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard are common.
Buffalo Thorn Lodge
The exclusive use of this fully-serviced intimate, five-star lodge comes complete with a private safari vehicle, a personal game ranger, outdoor boma and housekeeper. A swimming pool at the edge of the bush offers a glimpse of the Big 5 poolside. Buffalo Thorn Lodge can accommodate up to 10 guests in spacious suites.
Ivory Tree Game Lodge
This spectacular lodge lies snuggly in a natural amphitheatre and is known for its award-winning Amani African Spa. The lodge is surrounded by foothills and immersed in riverine woodlands that are dissected by ancient elephant trails. A large pool, spa, outdoor dining and luxurious suites make this an ideal tourist destination for the discerning traveller.
Kwa Maritane Lodge
This hotel and timeshare resort is a mixture of relaxation and adventure. The lodge has a game viewing hide situated on a private waterhole, with hippos in residence. Bush braais are organised for a spectacular dining option under the African night sky at the resort’s popular Bush Boma.
Morokolo Game Lodge
Morokolo Game Lodge is situated on the northern slopes of the Black Rhino Reserve portion of the Pilanesberg, in one of the most remote and exclusive areas of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Guests have the choice of two camps; each with 8 luxury double suites with modern bath, en-suite facilities, a private courtyard and outdoor showers.
Pilanesberg Private Lodge
This private lodge sits on the western border of the Pilanesberg National Park with access limited to paying guests only. It’s a private retreat that has recently been established in the Black Rhino Reserve and lies at the foot of the majestic Pilanesberg mountain. The lodge has 5 luxury units connected via paved pathways and bridges to the communal area, each designed to offer spectacular views of the surrounding bush.
Shepherd’s Tree Game Lodge
This state-of-the-art establishment is located in a private concession adjacent to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Private game viewing, gourmet dining under the African skies and magnificent views combine with the luxury of an award-winning health and beauty spa. The featured architecture and interior design are the hallmark of the whole lodge, and flawless finishes leave no detail overlooked. The lodge offers commanding views of the distant bushveld amphitheatre and offers guests exciting walking trails in this untouched environment.
Tamboti Game Lodge
Contemporary elegance combined with the ultimate in safari luxury makes this a much sought-after lodge in a private concession adjacent to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. You have the choice of dining under the stars around a raging fire in the boma or you can have a delicious meal brought to your private suite. This intimate lodge promises luxury and every occasion is thoughtfully planned and memorable. The luxury suites are surrounded by striking Tambuti trees and offer spectacular bush views.
Tshukudu Bush Lodge
Tshukudu Bush Lodge offers unforgettable luxury and is one of the most romantic settings in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Nestled high within the crater of an ancient volcano, visitors enjoy spectacular views of the ancient volcanic crater. Tshukudu Bush Lodge overlooks a waterhole with the savanna plain stretching out in the distance; sightings of the Big 5 are common from your private suite.
Sun City is an artificial city that’s located in the North West Province of South Africa, in a region that was originally an independent state known as Bophuthatswana. It’s the next door neighbour to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve and an easy 2-hour drive from Johannesburg. It’s located in a malaria-free area and offers a world of entertainment for the whole family.
This incredible holiday destination in South Africa was developed by a visionary hotel magnate, Sol Kerzner, during the height of apartheid when world sanctions has been imposed on the country. Sun City Resort & Casino was opened in 1979 with the dream of offering South Africans and international tourists a fantasy escape and the freedom to play and relax in a top-quality environment. It included the extravagant Palace of the Lost City which was a masterpiece in architectural design in its day.
The best attractions at Sun City are:
Places to stay in Sun City range from budget-friendly self-catering chalets at the Sun City Vacation Club to high-end luxury hotels. There are four stunning hotels; all designed to the highest architectural standards with fantasy themes and mystical garden surrounds. Choose accommodation at Sun City that is located close to the entertainment hub or something a bit more private away from the busy crowds.
The Cradle of Humankind is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with one of the richest concentrations of early human fossils in the world. There are 15 major fossil sites in the Cradle of Humankind with Sterkfontein Caves being the most famous attraction to visit.
Sterkfontein Caves is the home of Mrs Ples and Little Foot; fossils of the earliest human ancestors known to man. In addition, there are thousands of fossils of hominids, plants and animals. More hominid fossils are found in the Cradle of Humankind than anywhere else in the world.
The protected heritage site spans an area of 47 000 hectares, lying on a bed of dolomite deposited around 2.5-billion years ago. Similar fossils have been found at other sites in south and east Africa but the Cradle of Humankind has produced more than 950 hominid fossil specimens.
The Maropeng Visitor Centre is located in the heart of the Cradle of Humankind and showcases the development of humans over millions of years with exceptional exhibits that transport visitors back in time. The most impressive is an underground boat ride that takes you on a tour of 2 500 square metres of exhibits.
The main exhibition is housed in a state-of-the-art facility called Tumulus building. The pathway to the entrance passes an archaeological excavation of a Stone Age site where geologists found early stone tools belonging to the Acheulean period. These tools belonged to the early hunter-gatherer tribes that used the local rocks to make their tools. Some of these tools have been dated back to between 1.0 and 0.5 million years; an era before the appearance of modern Homo sapiens.
The Kruger National Park is an iconic destination in South Africa. It’s Africa’s largest protected wildlife reserve and the flagship of national parks in South Africa. The vast wilderness region stretches 352 kilometres from north to south with Mozambique lying on its eastern border and Zimbabwe lying on its far northern boundary.
The Kruger Park is home to the Big 5 which includes elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion and leopard and is a protected refuge for an abundance of animals as well as 500 recorded bird species. The region is also rich in history and renowned for its San rock art paintings and significant archaeological sites such as Masorini and Thulamela. You’ll discover the best that Kruger Park has to offer on glorious early morning and late afternoon game drives.
Other things to do in Kruger Park include guided wilderness trails, 4x4 adventure trails, photographic safaris and golfing tours. The national park boasts 6 diverse ecosystems and 17 biospheres with vegetation, wildlife and birding changing from one ecozone to the next. Where you go in the Kruger Park depends on what interests you and what safari experience you prefer.
Accommodation in the Kruger Park ranges from the popular rest camps which are affordable and comfortable but somewhat dated, to ultra-luxury 5-star safari lodges located on the private concessions. You can pitch your tent in one of the popular caravan and camping sites in the Kruger Park or you can sleep under the stars as part of a magnificent wilderness trail in a remote corner of the Park. The choice of places to stay in the Kruger Park suits all travel budgets.
The Kruger National Park is managed by SANParks which is a governing body that was established in the early 1920s. The organisation is responsible for 21 national parks in South Africa which combined add up to some 4 million hectares of the most incredible precious land in the country. The Kruger Park is the oldest national park in the SANParks portfolio and the most popular tourist destination in South Africa, together with Table Mountain National Park in the Cape.
Luxury accommodation for the discerning traveller is offered by the safari lodges built on the private concessions in the Kruger National Park. They offer guests a more authentic and intimate safari experience as well as outstanding wildlife sightings on daily game drives.
The private concessions in the Kruger National Park include:
The Greater Kruger National Park adjoins the Kruger National Park but are entirely different entities. The Greater Kruger is an extension of the national park where 180 000 hectares comprising 18 unfenced private game reserves located to the west of Kruger Park were added to make up a massive protected wilderness region in the north-eastern region of South Africa.
Game is free to roam between the two magnificent Big 5 wildlife areas. However, the same cannot be said for travellers. Visitors staying in the Kruger Park may not freely drive across the private lands in the Greater Kruger which is home to a collection of some of the finest private safari lodges in southern Africa. Guests staying on a private game farm in the Greater Kruger travel a short distance to one of the main gates into Kruger Park and pay the standard entry fee.
The Greater Kruger National Park forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park which in turn forms part of the Kruger2Canyons Biosphere which is designated by UNESCO as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve.
The safari lodges in the Greater Kruger Park are exclusively marketed to the high-end traveller. You pay a premium to stay at these ultra-luxury safari lodges and are guaranteed outstanding wildlife sightings with no traffic congestion on game drives. One of the main differences is safari vehicles operating on the private game reserves in the Greater Kruger are allowed to go off the park roads into the bushveld to get closer to game sightings. This is not allowed in the Kruger Park.
The standard of guiding is exceptional on the private reserves in the Greater Kruger and guests enjoy unparalleled safari tours in pristine bushveld; particularly in reserves such as Sabi Sands which is known as the “Leopard Capital of South Africa”.
The best known private game reserves that make up the Greater Kruger National Park are:
The exclusive nature of the private game reserves in the Greater Kruger Park means that guests on safari don’t experience the “queue to view” issue that’s sometimes a problem in the busy sections of the Kruger Park. The whole safari experience is authentic and unashameably the domain of the discerning traveller.
The tourist hub of the Greater Kruger National Park is Hoedspruit, which is serviced by the Eastgate Airport. You’ll be astounded at what you’ll find in Hoedspruit which is fast turning into a tourist destination in its own right. Hoedspruit is vibrant and warm-hearted with a fantastic restaurants, pubs and delis as well as a great selection of shops and a wide range of accommodation.
Most safari tours that take guests to the Kruger National Park or the private game reserves in the Greater Kruger Park usually travel back to Johannesburg taking the scenic Panorama Route. It takes guests on a breathtakingly-scenic drive that winds its way along the edge of the forested escarpment through the historic towns of the gold mining era to end in the lush Lowveld city of Nelspruit. Stop along the way for pancakes at the famous Harry’s Pancake restaurant, look out of God’s Window, relax at Bourke’s Luck Potholes and gaze down at the incredible Blyde River Canyon.
There’s no rush to get back to Johannesburg because the Panorama Route is a tourist destination on its own; with an enormous amount of things to do in the area which range from gorgeous forest hikes to toboggan rides, the Big Swing and venturing down into the Graskop gorge for a delicious lunch.
The most popular tourist destinations along the Panorama Route include:
Cape Town is affectionately known as the Mother City. It’s the oldest city in South Africa, rich in history and one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world. It’s also the legislative capital of South Africa and capital city of the Western Cape.
Standing sentry in the heart of Cape Town is the iconic Table Mountain which falls within the Table Mountain National Park. This iconic biosphere straddles the Cape Peninsula which is a rugged stretch of land that runs some 52 kilometres from Mouille point in the north to the Cape Point in the south.
Highlights of a tour of Cape Town include:
A natural amphitheatre created by the mountains of Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak; where you’ll find the central business district, Port of Cape Town, the Company’s Garden, District Six and Bo-Kaap.
The Atlantic Seaboard lies on the western side of the Cape Peninsula, running north to south from Green Point, Mouille Point, Three Anchor Bay, Sea Point, Fresnaye, Bantry Bay, Clifton, Camps Bay, Llandudno and Hout Bay.
A gorgeous scenic drive winds its way through the suburbs of the Atlantic Seaboard, running parallel to the glistening Atlantic Ocean. The area is renowned for its beautiful Blue Flag beaches, seafront promenades and a cosmopolitan mix of restaurants, bars and delis. It also boasts the highest number of high-priced mansions in South Africa.
To explore what the locals call Cape Town’s ‘Riviera’, start at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Green Point; it’s the entertainment hub of Cape Town and part of the historic harbour. Don’t miss an opportunity to catch a ferry across to Robben Island; it’s an island in Table Bay that’s rich in history and now a UNESCO World Heritage. It was famously where Nelson Mandela and other struggle veterans were incarcerated during the apartheid era.
Continue southwards to the Cape Point at the tip of the Cape Peninsula, stopping at the beaches along the way and lunch at the historic Hout Bay harbour. The magnificent slopes of Lion’s Head and the Twelve Apostles are on your left and the splendid Atlantic Ocean radiantly bright on your right.
The Southern Suburbs of Cape Town lie in the shadow of Table Mountain National Park on the eastern side; running north from Rondebosch, Newlands and Bishops to Wynberg, Constantia and Hout Bay in the south. This verdant belt of suburbs is the gateway to the quaint and hugely popular coastal towns situated along the route to Cape Point.
The two most popular tourist attractions in the Southern Suburbs are Constantia which is renowned as a notable wine-growing area and for its rich Cape Dutch heritage; and Kirstenbosch Gardens which is acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world. The Constantia Wine Route takes you to historic wine estates which were originally established by Simon van der Stel, the first governor of the Dutch Colony.
You’ll find an excellent choice of accommodation, restaurants and world-class shopping centres in the Southern Suburbs as well as the famous Newlands Cricket Grounds and the Newlands Rugby Stadium. It’s the oldest rugby stadium in South Africa and the second-oldest rugby stadium in the world.
Places you’ll love to visit if you’re staying in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town include:
The Cape Peninsula is a rocky peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean at the south-western tip of the African continent. At the very southern end, you’ll find Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. At the northern end, you’ll find the iconic Table Mountain. It stretches 52 kilometres in length, and has been an island on and off for the past 5 million years when sea levels fell and rose with the ice age and global warming cycles.
The Cape Peninsula has exceptionally rich biodiversity. Its vegetation consists predominantly of several different types of Cape Fynbos (meaning fine bush), including the critically endangered Peninsula Granite Fynbos, Shale Renosterveld and Afromontane forest.
The Cape Peninsula is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with an estimated 2 200 species of plants that are confined to the Table Mountain National Park. They are endemic to these mountains and are not found anywhere else in the world.
To explore the Cape Peninsula, book a day tour with MoAfrika Tours which will take you on a circular route starting and ending in the Cape Town City Bowl. You’ll stop at the main attraction along the way on a spectacular route that’s regarded as one of the most scenic in southern Africa.
The main destinations on a Cape Peninsula day tour are:
The Cape Winelands is located in the Boland region of the Western Cape and home to a selection of the finest wine estates in the world. The largest towns in the winelands district are Paarl, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Robertson, Worcester and Wellington.
In addition to being the place to visit if you’re a wine fundi, you’ll also be impressed by it’s incredible scenery, rich cultural history, Cape Dutch architecture and vibrant city life. It’s renowned for its world-class restaurants and is also the “Culinary Capital of South Africa”. Combine wine tasting with cheese tasting and enjoy the delicious olives, export quality fruit and organic produce that’s produced in the area.
The most popular wine routes in the Cape Winelands are:
The busy coastal towns of the West Coast lie north of the Cape Town City Bowl, hugging the Atlantic coastline and looking across Table Bay. These include Bloubergstrand, Milnerton, Tableview and Big Bay. It’s a popular weekend destination for locals who enjoy windsurfing, long walks on the beach and eating out at a selection of great restaurants.
Taking the ‘road less travelled’, you’ll continue northwards on what is marketed as the ‘Cultural & Foodie’ Route of Cape Town. It’s the perfect road trip to take at a slow pace; renowned for its outstanding biodiversity, warm and friendly locals and quaint seaside towns.
Popular places to visit on a West Coast roadtrip include:
Did you know?
A Ramsar site is a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. The Convention on Wetlands, known as the Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental environmental treaty established in 1971 by UNESCO, which came into force in 1975.
The Boland Mountain Complex falls within the Cape Floral Region which is one of 6 formal botanical kingdoms on the world. It’s renowned for its rich biodiversity and is home to hundreds of endemic fynbos species that are not found anywhere else in the world.
The Berg River and Breeder River are two main rivers which run through the catchment area. The incredible mountain ranges, beautiful rivers and rolling landscapes makes the Boland a popular holiday destination for South Africans who love hiking, nature walks, cycling and photography.
The Boland Mountain Complex comprises a number of superb nature reserves:
The Garden Route is an breathtakingly-beautiful region that stretches some 300 kilometres from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape. It’s aptly named because the verdant region is one of the most ecologically diverse in the country. In 2017, the Garden Route was added to UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
The Garden Route is sandwiched between the Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean. The landscape is a magical blend of indigenous forests, inland lakes, wetlands and ocean bays as well as a selection of some of the finest beaches in Africa.
The popular coastal towns of the Garden Route include:
Inland, you’ll find the quaint towns of the Klein (Little) Karoo which includes Oudtshoorn, the “Ostrich Capital of the World” and home to the famous Cango Caves. You take the historic Swartberg Pass to reach Knysna from Oudtshoorn.
Apart from being mesmerisingly-beautiful, the Garden Route is hugely popular for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The choice of things to do on a holiday in the Garden Route is endless; from nature walks and hiking to bungy jumping, river rafting, fishing, surfing and scuba diving. It’s rich in fauna and flora and paradise for nature lovers and birders.
The most popular destinations on a Garden Route tour are:
The Wild Coast is a rugged and splendidly-scenic stretch of coastline on the eastern side of South Africa that stretches north of East London to the Great Kei River in the south. It’s renowned for its striking sea cliffs, wind-swept deserted beaches, lush subtropical forests and rolling hills cloaked in green grasslands.
It’s located in the Eastern Cape Province which is the ancestral grounds of the Xhosa people. During the apartheid era, the Wild Coast was part of the Transkei which was one of four territories which were declared independent states.
You need a 4x4 vehicle to explore the Wild Coast as the terrain is rugged and the infrastructure is not well developed or neglected. To truly appreciate the beauty of the Wild Coast, you can join a guided hike that takes you on a journey that hugs the coastline and passes through the coastal villages of Coffee Bay, Port St Johns, Chintsa and Morgan Bay.
The Wild Coast is paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Some of the things to do on a holiday on the Wild Coast include:
The Great Karoo is located in central South Africa and is a vast semi-arid region that covers an area of some 400 000 square kilometres. It stretches over the provinces of the Eastern, Northern and Western Cape. It’s renowned for its endless landscapes, magical mountains, crisp air and picturesque towns as well as its famous Karoo lamb.
The Karoo is divided into two regions; the Succulent Karoo Biome to the west, and the Nama Karoo Biome which covers most of the interior. The Succulent Karoo stretches along the coastal strip of southwestern Namibia and the Northern Cape Province in South Africa. It’s regarded as the world’s richest site of succulent plants and harbours about one-third of the world’s approximate 10 000 succulent species.
The Nama Karoo is predominantly farming land with little urbanisation. The main agricultural activity in the area is sheep and goat farming. Irrigation is restricted to the Orange River valleys. It’s a desolate and arid region but spectacular in its own way; providing photographers with endless sunrises and sunsets to photograph.
The top 4 attractions in the Karoo are:
Durban is the capital city of KwaZulu Natal and the third largest city in South Africa. It’s known as the “Playground of South Africa”, offering holidaymakers a wide choice of gorgeous beaches, nature reserves and cosmopolitan coastal suburbs. It’s also an important industrial centre with the Port of Durban servicing the country’s import and export industry.
Forged on a turbulent history with clashes between the British traders, the Boers (Afrikaans farmers) and Zulu tribes; Durban is rich in cultural history. It’s the heart of Zululand and also has a strong Indian population who arrive in droves decades ago to work in the sugarcane plantations.
The list of places to visit and things to do in Durban are endless but the most popular attractions are:
This is a malaria-free region located north of the Dolphin Coast, extending up to Richard’s Bay along the north coast of KwaZulu Natal and inland into the rural heartland of the Zulu Kingdom. It includes Pongola in the north and the towns of Ulundi and Vryheid that lie on the border of the Battlefields Route.
The lush tropical region is renowned for its gorgeous game reserves and wetland parks which are home to the Big 5 and abundance of wildlife and birds. The Zululand Birding Route boasts over 650 species of birds with 70 popular birding spots situated along 14 local birding routes.
The most popular tourist attractions in Zululand include:
Located in the heart of KwaZulu Natal, the Drakensberg is a world-acclaimed mountainous region that’s breathtakingly beautiful and one of the most popular outdoor destinations in South Africa. The word Drakensberg means “Dragon Mountains” in Afrikaans which aptly describes the regions jagged peaks and deep valleys.
The magical mountain region includes the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the Royal National Park which is famous for its natural amphitheatre, 5 kilometre-long rock wall and one of the highest waterfalls in southern Africa. The 3 282 metre-high Mont-aux-Sources rises in the background which is the source of many of South Africa’s mighty rivers.
Not only is it incredibly scenic and rich in cultural history, the Drakensberg is a favourite destination for local holidaymakers who flock to the area for mountain biking, fly-fishing, hiking, wilderness trails, rock climbing and abseiling and river rafting. The majority of popular holiday destinations in the Drakensberg are a scenic 3-hour drive from Durban.
The main natural attractions in the Drakensberg include:
The Midlands Meander lies in the heart of KwaZulu Natal and is a collection of arranged routes that offer travellers an assortment of excellent accommodation, conferencing and wedding venues, historic landmarks, fun local events, fabulous restaurants and an assortment of arts and craft destinations. It’s an easy 2-hour drive from Durban and the perfect retreat for an idyllic weekend away in idyllic lush surrounds.
The Midlands Meander was created over thirty years ago by a group of craftsman in the area who wanted to put the small businesses in the lush, sleepy valley on the map. It’s grown to over 150 members and offers local holidaymakers and international tourists an endless list of places to go to and quality handcrafted goods to buy; from sheepskin and leather shoes and handbags to woven baskets, pottery and ceramics, woodwork, batik prints and bronze sculptors.
The Midlands Meander is also famous for its great food and excellent accommodation; ranging from rustic B&Bs on country farms to 5-star guest lodges on country estates. The meander is divided into 5 routes and there’s not enough time to see everything; which is why people keep coming back year after year to enjoy the Midlands hospitality.
The main attractions along the Midlands Meander include:
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is the most popular tourist destination in the Northern Cape Province, otherwise as known as the “South African Outback”. It’s the largest province in the country and the most sparsely-populated. The region itself is known for its endless arid landscapes, russet red dunes and startling blue skies; as well as the carpets of kaleidoscopic wildflowers that appear in the Spring.
Formerly known as the Kalahari National Park, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier was established in 2000 when the protected wilderness region merged with the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana. This created one of the largest conservation areas in the world, covering an area of some 3.6 million hectares.
The Kgalagadi is most famous for its black-maned Kalahari lions as well as strong numbers of leopard, cheetah, gemsbok, meerkats and a vast array of birds. This includes the sociable weavers which construct giant nests in the stark trees that grow in the dry, arid surrounds.
Other popular destinations in the Northern Cape region include:
Moafrika Tours specialises in day and long-stay tours to the major destinations and tourist attractions in Southern Africa which includes South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. We offer a wide array of affordable tour packages created to suit your travel budget and needs. Contact us today for our 2019/2020 rates and prices.