The 7 most beautiful places in South Africa that you must see

South Africa is one of the most versatile countries in the world. World-class cities, breathtaking scenery with changing landscapes and a beautiful coastline. Deserts, mountains, culture and wildlife: South Africa really has it all. It is a country where you never get bored and where you always want to go back. Once you have taken a trip to South Africa, you will no doubt want to return to see more. And so it must be, for this country is too large and impressive to do and see all at once. But what are the most beautiful places that you should definitely see? We have listed them for you. These are the seven most beautiful places in South Africa!

1. Kruger Parks

The Kruger Park is a spectacle for the game reserves in South Africa: a gigantic wilderness of almost two million hectares, which stretches over a length of 350 kilometers. Even if the park is fenced, you will not encounter a fence anywhere. In addition to the big five, more than 140 other animal species live here in an unprecedentedly diverse landscape. For the most part, the Kruger Park consists of extensive grasslands, which are packed with characteristic trees such as the baobab. To the south, where rivers divide the landscape in two, it becomes more irregular and hilly. Even though you will find tourist camps in the middle of this wilderness, the Kruger Park is thankfully still untouched for the most part.

In the Kruger Park you can drive around looking for wild animals, but it is not allowed to get out. As in any zoo, you can also go on so-called game drives at sunrise and sunset, where you (along with a group of other people) go out into nature in an open jeep to spot wild animals. If you want to increase your chances of seeing the wildlife – and the complete five big ones – then definitely go on the game drive. Rangers know exactly where to go and also keep each other informed about the location of the wildlife. The experience is a little less unique than when you spot the animals on your own, but when someone points to a leopard at dusk to a leopard bending up in a fig tree, it no longer does, because you forget something so beautiful. the rest of it, your life no more.

Kruger Park is the place to spot the big five in nature

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Magically beautiful; the sunset in the Kruger Park

2. Drakensberg

Naturally, Drakensberg is one of the most beautiful places South Africa has to offer. The space, the silence and the view: it is a relief to be here. Drakensberg is not only the highest mountain range in South Africa, it is also without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in the country. A place where you have no choice, in Drakensberg you have to go out into nature. Drakensberg is about 1,000 kilometers long and forms a natural border between Lesotho and South Africa.

You can spend a complete holiday in Drakensberg and still not have seen everything. What you should not miss is a walk in the northern Drakensberg to the Amphitheater. You then hike to Sentinal Peak at 3,165 feet. Via the Tugela waterfall you can descend to the starting point of the hike. And it is not just any waterfall: with its 950 meters, it is the second highest in the world and also the highest waterfall in Africa. A very impressive place that you must see once!

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Views of the impressive Drakensberg Mountains

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Tip: experience this beautiful mountain range on horseback

3. Cut the Good Hope

When you are in Cape Town, you should spend at least a day of your time visiting Cape of Good Hope, one of the most beautiful places in South Africa. From Cape Town you are there in a few hours and it is also a very nice route to drive (Chapman’s Peak Drive) with many special stops along the way (including Boulders Beach, Muizenberg and Noordhoek). At Cape of Good Hope you will find the famous sign on the southwestern tip of the African continent. But that’s not the reason to go there.

Cape of Good Hope is seen as the southernmost tip of the Cape Peninsula and also a bit like the place where the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean meet. This is not entirely true, as it is a little further away, but this symbolic meaning of the Cape of Good Hope has been preserved. Be sure to check out Cape Point and the lighthouse. You can get there by cable car. The view is amazing!

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Via Chapmans Peak Drive you drive to Cape of Good Hope

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Cape of Good Hope is one of the most beautiful places in South Africa

4. Cape Town

Cape Town is one of South Africa’s three capitals, but is without a doubt the most beautiful city in the country. A city with impressive mountains, beautiful beaches and a vibrant city life. Cape Town is also a city with a turbulent history and a lot of Dutch influence. This is most noticeable when you hear South Africans speak: 9,500 kilometers from home, you can still understand each other. Cape Town has lots of sights. Castle of Good Hope, Company’s Garden and Robben Island are not to be missed. As a tour of a township, Bo-Kaap and District Six Museum. You can also spend days in Cape Town without getting bored for a second.

Do not miss a day at the beach (choose Camps Bay or one of the smaller Clifton beaches). Like a nice climb: Taffelbjerget and Løvehovedet are the city’s two mountains, and climbing them is not only a good exercise, but it is also one of the most fun things to do. Does Cape Town really have it all? Yes I think so. You will not find a more complete city anywhere else in the world.

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View of the Lion’s Head from the top of Table Mountain

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For insanely beautiful beaches you need to be in Cape Town

5. The Panorama Route and Blyde River Canyon

The Panorama Route is the most beautiful route you can drive in South Africa. It’s not so much a place, but an entire region that you should not miss. The route owes its name to the most beautiful panoramas you will see in South Africa. The road runs along the Blyde River Canyon, a giant green canyon that is considered to be the largest green valley in the world. There are plenty of special vantage points: The Three Rondavels are perhaps the most famous. Anyone who has to drive this road would like to stop uninterrupted because one view after another passes by.

You do not have to drive the Panorama Route in one go, but you can also stop at cozy places like Pilgrimsrast, Hazyview and Graskop. In any case, be sure not to skip this route, as it is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in South Africa!

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Views of Blyde River Canyon
© mayonnaise – Adobe Stock

6. The garden route

The garden route is certainly just as beautiful. It is the road (or rather the combination of roads) between the cities of Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. A route of about 700 kilometers. Most people who run the Garden Route make stops in the towns of Mossel Bay, George, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. And with good reason: they are among the most beautiful places in South Africa. Also on the route is Addo Elephant National Park, which is seen as the most famous game park in South Africa after the Kruger Park. Here you can see all kinds of wild animals. For the big five, go to other game parks, but the diversity of animals and landscapes you will see here is unprecedented.

You should also not miss Tsitsikamma National Park, sometimes called South Africa’s most beautiful nature park. It is a paradise for nature lovers. You can go hiking, scuba diving, kayaking, ziplining, horse riding and bird watching. And the city of Knysna is also impressive. It is the place where seawater flows into the land through two giant cliffs. You can see more than two canine fish species, including the unique South African seahorse.

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Things to do along the Garden Route: To see elephants in Addo Elephant National Park

7. Northern Cape & Kalahari Desert

The North Cape is a region in South Africa that not many people know how to find. It is the best kept secret in the country. The South African North Cape is a giant no-man’s land where wildlife lives, where you can drive for hours through the desert without meeting anyone, and where you can see the most spectacular waterfalls in the country. The Northern Cape is the largest province in South Africa, but also the least populated. With fiery red sand dunes, vast green vineyards and the Orange River steaming right through it, it is one of the most beautiful places in South Africa. A place you must visit once.

On the North Cape you will also find the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and the Kalahari Desert. A gigantic nature reserve of almost 40,000 square kilometers (twice the size of the Kruger Park). This desert is called a semi-desert: there is just a little too much rain to call it a real desert. You will therefore also find more plants and greenery than you will find in the Sahara, for example. It makes it a spectacularly beautiful place to keep an eye on. Not only of the most beautiful places in South Africa but also in the world.

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So beautiful: driving through Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

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The North Cape is South Africa’s best kept secret

Travel to South Africa

Have you started wanting to go on holiday to South Africa? Then these tips might help you book your trip.

Plan your trip

  • It is best to fly from Amsterdam to Johannesburg or Cape Town
  • It is about 11 hours flight to Johannesburg and 12 hours to Cape Town (direct).
  • There is only one hour time difference between the Netherlands and South Africa.
  • You can find cheap flights via Vliegtickets.nl or via Momondo.
  • A good rental car is of course indispensable. Book this through Sunny Cars and you are 100 percent insured.
  • You can book a complete holiday to South Africa at TUI.nl.
  • Or see (group) tours in Djoser and Sawadee.
  • You can book individual building blocks or customized South Africa trips on VanVerre.nl and at Riksja Travel

Marloes de Hooge

Marloes is the editor-in-chief of Travelvalley. Author of Bucketlist Travel and Bucketlist City Trips. She enjoys writing, traveling and running. Mail:…

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