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WWhether you’re after a cultural expedition, the perfect meal or a thrilling outdoor adventure, these are the South African destinations worth discovering.
1. Port St Johns, Eastern Cape
In the Heart of the Wild Coast, you’ll find Port St Johns, affectionately known as PSJ. The little coastal town is situated close to the Umzimvubu River, along the Wild Coast. With its rocky shores and secluded beaches, the area is the perfect place to reconnect with nature. Do take care when swimming in the sea though, as this is the Wild Coast.
2. Sabie, Mpumalanga
Tucked away in the mountains of Mpumalanga, Sabie is a town well-known for its forestry. The town of Sabie lies on the Sabie River and not far from the Kruger National Park. The Lower Sabie Rest Camp is a popular stay for visitors going to the game reserve. Other natural attractions surrounding the town are the Blyde River Canyon, Lone Creek Falls and the Maria Shires Falls.
33. Coffee Bay, Eastern Cape
This serene seaside village is a family favourite, where you can surf in the Indian Ocean and immerse yourself in Xhosa tradition. Coffee Bay is known for its backpackers, which draw in visitors on a daily basis. An idyllic escape from city life, this magical part of the world is sure to keep you coming back.
44. Kakamas, Northern Cape
Kakamas rests on the banks of the Orange River in the Northern Cape. The town is known for its fertile landscape, perfectly suited to vineyards, and is wonderful for a weekend away. Popular activities include hiking, wine tasting, as well as visiting one of the private game reserves nearby.
5. Nieuwoudtville, Northern Cape
Located in the Upper Karoo is the tranquil town of Nieuwoudtville. There are some wonderful hiking trails in the area and a few kilometres north of the town you’ll find the famous Nieuwoudtville Falls on the Doring River. In flower season you’ll also be able to witness a myriad of pretty blooms.
6. Gariep Dam, Free State
The Gariep Dam is located at a meeting point between three provinces: the Free State, Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape. As the biggest dam in South Africa, it’s not surprising that it attracts lovers of water activities, and is the perfect fishing and boating location.
7. Hogsback, Eastern Cape
Hogsback is a calm mountain village in the Amathole Mountains, and supposedly the inspiration for JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth. It is recognised for its enchanting forests, waterfalls, trout fishing, and the historical town. You will also find Gaikas Kop Mountain here, which at 1 963m is the highest peak in the area.
Underberg offers visitors a bustling farm-town welcome in the foothills of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg – a great base from which to explore this part of KwaZulu-Natal’s many outdoor attractions.
The Upper Karoo Route from Victoria West to Calvinia via Carnarvon offers the beautiful landscape of Northern Cape (strewn with daisies in spring), rare wildlife and a thriving, hospitable culture.
The Tsitsikamma Woodcutters’ Journey on the Garden Route in Western Cape takes you through pristine indigenous forests in one of South Africa’s most beautiful national parks.
Northern Cape is a vast arid province bisected by the Orange River – a superb wedding destination, whether among lush vineyard greenery, spring wildflowers, or the stark dry beauty of the Kalahari.
Northern Cape is South Africa’s driest province, where the arid Karoo merges with the true desert of the Kalahari – but it offers wildlife aplenty, a mighty life-giving river and spectacular scenery.
The Wild Flower Route through Northern Cape province is a wonderland in spring, featuring legendary Namaqualand daisies and thousands more species, and again in autumn when the amaryllis bloom.
Table Mountain National Park in Western Cape: mountain splendour above urban sprawl, from Cape Town to Cape Point – enjoy natural beauty from penguins at Boulders Beach to fynbos at Kirstenbosch.
Aloe ferox – the red or bitter aloe – grows all over South Africa, but Eastern Cape hills are ablaze with orange and red from May to August; the province also produces great aloe health products.