Suppose you have just arrived in South Africa (or you’re just a local) and you are looking for adventure. Of course, you want your adventures to be memorable so you pull out your phone; search for things to do in the country and you come across this article in the search results; what a coincidence. Here is a list of top 10 things to do in South Africa.
Be honest, that was a decent introduction. Give me some credit.
10. Visit Kimberley Mine
It is also known as The Big Hole located in Kimberley and is claimed to be the deepest hole excavated by hand. This fact is however disputed by some people. Diamond was the product being extracted from the site. Extraction began in 1871 and closed in 1914.
The Big Hole has a surface of 17 hectares and is 463 metres wide. It was excavated to a depth of 240 metres but has been filled with water leaving 175 metres of hole visible.
9. Visit Robben Island
This World Heritage site is located in Table Bay, 6km west of Bloubergstrand. It is infamous for being the place where Nelson Mandela was detained. What’s interesting is that the island has been used as a prison where people were isolated, banished and exiled for nearly 400 years. Talk about a sad history.
Be sure to visit the cell where Nelson Mandela was held. It’s the key attraction for most visitors.
8. Hiking at Table Mountain
It is said that a hike on Table Mountain, South Africa rewards you with a good workout, an exceptional view and a feeling of accomplishment. However, the weather at the mountain changes quickly and it’s a steep climb.
There are 5 kinds of hikes you can try based on your willingness to try them. You can read more about it here.
7. Visit the Apartheid Museum
The museum is located in Johannesburg illustrating apartheid and the 20th century history of South Africa. It allows visitors to experience the racial segregation that occured during apartheid by separating them by racial appearance.
Classifications of the racial appearance include width of the nose, the kinks in hair, skin pigmentation and size of lips. Is that right? You mean to tell me that the size of my lips will determine if I belong to another race? Interesting.
6. Explore the Kirstenbosch Gardens
Let’s assume you are at the Table Mountain and you just realized that hiking wouldn’t be a good idea for you. There is something else for you to do while you are there; visit the Kirstenbosch Gardens. It includes a fragnance garden, a medicinal garden, 2500 species of plants, a Protea garden, a braille trail and a cycad ampitheatre.
You can visit the gardens all year round but reports suggest that you’ll see the fynbos at its best from August to November.
5. Visit the Cradle of Humankind
Located in the outskirts of Johannesburg is the Cradle of Humankind; the world’s richest hominin site, home to around 40% of the world’s human ancestor fossils. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.
I’m aware that this site won’t matter to many people but for nerds like me, it proves that the creaation theory is a hoax and that evolution theory is accurate. Besides, it’s interesting to see where we came from before we got so advanced in technology.
4. Take a safari
Isn’t this an obvious thing to do? You’re in Africa, of course you want to see the wild animals. If that’s what you want, Kruger National Park is the perfect destination. Why? It is the largest and oldest park; it is easily accessible; and you can see all of the Big Five animals there.
Just make sure you book your tour and accomodation early; the park gets crowded real quick.
Let’s assume you don’t want to do anything I mentioned above. You just want to have a good time. Well, you’re in luck because the nightlife in Johannesburg and Cape Town are worth admiring in the continent of Africa.
Simply put, all the best entertainment gigs take place in South Africa. All my favorite rock bands perform in the country. Soon enough, I’ll make it there to see 30 Seconds to Mars.
2. Wine at Babylonstoren
Babylonstoren is one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms. It has a fruit and vegetable garden of beauty and diversity, unique accomodation, fine food and wine and a sense of wellbeing. Our focus is on the wine collection the farm has and my word, do they have a collection.
You could also make a visit to their spa or any other activity mentioned above. Remember to taste and buy the wine.
1. Swimming with Sharks
Yeah, count me out. I’d rather do other things in the list but not this. Remember when I mentioned in an old post about the Sardine Run which happens between May and July? Did I mention that the huge migration attracts apex predators like the Great White Shark? And did I also mention that you can actually view one in person and let it get close to you?
If you are brave enough, prepare yourself to be in a shark cage and see the dangerous animal in person. You can get such experiences in Gansbaai, Mossel Bay and Simonstown.