1. Kruger Park Safari, 2. Cape Town, 3. Cape Winelands, 4. Garden Route, 5. Madikwe Game Reserve, 6. Eastern Cape, 7. KwaZulu-Natal, 8. Johannesburg, 9. Sun City, 10. Pilanesberg National Park. South Africa is the ideal destination for any adventurous traveler, with everything from off-roading on a safari to diving with great white sharks. There's no denying that this is a land of diversity, with its diverse wildlife, beautiful beaches, divine vineyards, and magnificent mountains. Here are some of the Best Tourist Attractions in South Africa.
- Kruger Park Safari
- Cape Town
- Cape Winelands
- Garden Route
- Madikwe Game Reserve
- Eastern Cape
- Sun City
- Pilanesberg National Park
Kruger Park Safari
It doesn’t get much better than a safari in the Kruger Park. Kruger offers award-winning accommodation, smooth-running logistics, and some of Africa’s best trackers and guides, ready to take you on Big 5 game drives and thrilling walking safaris.
Home to the widest diversity of wildlife in South Africa and delivering some of the best game viewing in the world, Kruger offers award-winning accommodation, smooth-running logistics, and some of Africa’s best trackers and guides, ready to take you on Big 5 game drives and thrilling walking safaris.
The country’s largest and most well-known national park is home to the country’s most diverse wildlife. It is one of Africa’s oldest conservation areas, with healthy wildlife populations and highly sought-after cheetah and wild dog sightings. But the highlight of the Kruger is an almost-certain encounter with Africa’s iconic Big 5, the safari circuit’s super-celebrities. Throughout the year, you can expect to see elephants, buffalo, rhinos, lions, and leopards up close. The Kruger National Park is one of the best vacation spots in South Africa, offering unrivaled safari experiences.
- Location: Western Cape, South Africa
The city of Cape Town is situated on a rugged peninsula between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, with the iconic Table Mountain as its backdrop. It is one of the world’s most spectacular settings. Short drives take visitors to white sand beaches, traditional fishing villages, and wild mountain ranges, while day trips to must-see destinations like Cape Point, the Cape Winelands, and Hermanus, the whale-watching capital, are all easy day trips. With so many beautiful places to visit, you only need to visit Africa’s favorite city once, and you’ll be planning your next trip to Cape Town before your tan has faded.
Cape Town will appeal to just about anyone looking for a vacation: romantics and honeymooners will adore the exquisite accommodations and idyllic views; families with children will enjoy sharing a beach with curious penguins; adventurers will relish the chance to discover the secrets of Table Mountain – one of the world’s seven natural wonders! – and gourmets should not miss out on South Africa’s finest food and wine experiences, served up at an affordable price.
It’s a destination with many faces that deserves to be discovered. There are dozens of scheduled tours available, but many visitors prefer to travel to Cape Town and explore this friendly and slow-paced city on their own time: browse African craft markets in the walkable city center, visit the colorful Cape Malay suburb of Bo Kaap, relax on the city’s best beaches, and stroll around the ever-popular V&A Waterfront with its shops, restaurants, and luxurious hotels.
- Location: South end of Africa
The green valleys surrounded by craggy mountains in the Cape Winelands are as much a treat for the eyes as they are for the palate. With this stunning scenery as your backdrop, sip, swirl, and sample award-winning wines, savor gourmet farm-to-table cuisine, or stroll down oak-lined streets to local art galleries. Even though it’s only an hour’s drive from Cape Town, a night or two in this tranquil patchwork of vineyards and mountains will help you forget about the city. It is truly one of South Africa’s most beautiful destinations.
There are more than 20 wine-growing regions in the Cape Winelands, but the term refers to the three most popular: Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, and Paarl, which are all set in rolling countryside with spectacular Alpine-style views. Wander the oak-lined streets of Stellenbosch, stopping in at art galleries and quaint coffee shops, or dine at one of South Africa’s undisputed culinary capital, Franschhoek.
The Cape Winelands are an obvious choice for a honeymoon or romantic getaway, but you might be surprised to learn that children enjoy them as well. There’s a wide range of family-friendly lodging options, as well as outdoor activities like mountain biking, horseback riding, and quad biking, and many wineries have large picnic lawns.
- Location: east of Cape Town
The world-famous Garden Route is a beautiful stretch of coastline that stretches from a couple of hours outside Cape Town to just after the seaside town of Plettenberg Bay, and is a firm favorite when it comes to South Africa vacation ideas for families. Renting a car and driving yourself is the best way to see all of the Garden Route’s sandy beaches, rocky shores, quaint towns, and indigenous forests – though charter flights are available between destinations if you don’t have the luxury of time. Don’t miss Knysna, a charming town known for its fresh oysters and sunset boat cruises.
The Garden Route’s secret is that it combines the excitement of a traditional bucket-and-spade vacation with unforgettable African adventures. Visit a monkey or bird sanctuary, or take a forest canopy tour. Dolphins and whales can be seen off the coast in season, and for even more wildlife thrills, combine your beach vacation with an authentic Big 5 safari in one of the nearby – and malaria-free – Eastern Cape Province reserves.
While outdoor sports and activities take center stage on a Garden Route vacation (don’t forget that the Garden Route is home to several of the country’s best golf courses), fine dining is never far away. At the ever-popular Knysna Waterfront or a restaurant overlooking the beach in neighboring Plettenberg Bay, indulge in fresh-from-the-boat seafood.
- Location: coastline from Mossel Bay in the west to Storms River in the east
Madikwe Game Reserve
Madikwe is one of South Africa’s lesser-known game reserves, located about a five-hour drive or a short charter flight from Johannesburg. Its Kalahari grasslands and woodlands are surprisingly densely populated with animals, providing a safe haven for the Big Five and the endangered wild dog. Desert specialists such as the brown hyena and the rare aardwolf thrive here as well. Madikwe offers fantastic South Africa vacation ideas for families, as well as incredible game viewing and luxurious safari lodges. It’s also a great choice for couples because it has a variety of romantic retreats and honeymoon suites.
On a Madikwe safari, you have a good chance of seeing Africa’s Big 5, and it’s also one of the best places in the country to see the critically endangered African wild dog. Furthermore, Madikwe’s lodges operate as one big family: expert guides communicate via radio to share sightings, and because Madikwe is a private reserve, your guide is allowed to go off-road for up-close sightings and conduct spot-lit night drives.
Madikwe is ideal for families because it is located in a malaria-free safari region. Many of favorite lodges are especially family-friendly, with specially designed game drives and safari activities for children. But there’s also plenty of romance: hand-picked collection of secluded and luxurious bush retreats caters to honeymooners.
Madikwe, which is only an hour and a half drive from Sun City, complements the championship golf courses, water parks, and world-class hotels of South Africa’s most popular holiday destination. You could also add a few days on the beaches of Cape Town or Mauritius to your safari. Simply browse our Madikwe safaris and accommodation options, or contact one of our Africa Safari Experts, who will create the perfect vacation for you.
- Location: North-West Province of South Africa
The Eastern Cape’s most appealing feature is its reserves. This once-overlooked province has now established itself as a top big game destination in its own right as the newest addition to South Africa’s safari circuit. Most of its reserves have easy-to-see Big 5 habitats and offer a variety of safari activities such as game drives and river cruises, as well as horseback and walking safaris.
The Eastern Cape is also one of the best places for a stress-free family safari because it is malaria-free. Many of the lodges cater to children’s specific interests, such as guided nature walks and treasure hunts under professional supervision, as well as educational opportunities.
But it’s not just families who fall in love with the Eastern Cape: any visitor on an Eastern Cape safari will enjoy expertly-led game drives in search of big game, the diverse and beautiful scenery, and the pleasant temperate climate. Traditional thatched lodges, romantic tented camps, and stylish boutique hotels with indulgent spa treatments, butler service, and private plunge pools are all options for lodging.
Simply talk to someone who’s been there to plan the perfect Eastern Cape safari: Africa Safari Experts can give you personal recommendations and put together a holiday to suit your style and budget. And if you want the best of both worlds, combine the Eastern Cape’s reserves with a self-drive journey along the Garden Route, starting or ending in South Africa’s favorite city, Cape Town – just ask us how.
- Location: southern spur of the Drakensberg
Locals are often said to have the most knowledge. When South Africans go on vacation, KwaZulu-Natal is frequently their first choice (KZN). KZN has some of the best South African vacation spots for bush and beach combinations, from the broad beaches of its sunny subtropical coast to historic battlefields among soaring mountain peaks and beautiful Big 5 game reserves.
It’s a great holiday destination, and if you’re looking for a self-drive vacation, KwaZulu-Natal is a great choice. Well-maintained roads run all the way up the coast and into the interior, allowing you to easily swap the beach for the big game reserves. Unlike the Garden Route, you can also include activities like scuba diving, battlefield tours, and horseback riding in the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains on a KwaZulu-Natal vacation.
In the province’s north, South Africa merges with Africa. Traditional Zulu homesteads cluster together on steep hillsides near historic battlefields, and wild, footprint-free beaches line some of the country’s best game reserves. Country lanes wind through the English shire-like pastures of the Natal Midlands and down to the vibrant city of Durban as the landscape softens further south.
With so much to offer, KwaZulu-Natal, a compact and beautiful province in South Africa, truly offers a world of experiences in a single vacation.
- Location: KwaZulu-Natal province
The city has a perfect climate: neither humid nor hot, the days are warm and windless in the summer (November to February) and crisp and clear in the winter (November to February) (June-August). O R Tambo International Airport is Africa’s largest and busiest airport, serving as a regional hub for flights from all over the world.
Johannesburg is an excellent place to rest before embarking on a safari. Madikwe Private Game Reserve and Pilanesberg National Park, which is right next door to Africa’s top family resort, Sun City, are also nearby.
- Location: Highveld (see veld)
Sun City is South Africa’s unrivaled number one holiday resort, with nonstop, big-thrill entertainment available every day of the year. A Sun City vacation is hard to beat if you’re looking for a simple, multi-faceted vacation in a sunny, safe, and always-smiling environment.
Hyperbole? Hardly. It is an understatement to say that malaria-free areas are rare. Sun City offers the most diverse range of holiday activities in Africa: tee off on one of two Gary Player-designed championship golf courses, go for a swim at the insane Valley of the Waves, or search for the Big 5 in the nearby Pilanesberg National Park. But don’t think it ends there: Sun City transforms into a glitzy hub at night, complete with restaurants, cocktail bars, casinos, and spectacular live entertainment.
There are no prizes for guessing that a Sun City vacation is ideal for active parents with even more active children, golfers looking for a safari edge to their game, and those looking for a don’t-make-me-think vacation complete with impeccable service and first-class accommodation – and what accommodation there is! You’ll be spoiled for choice with options ranging from family-friendly hotels to the glitzy indulgence of the 5-Star Palace of the Lost City.
Browse Sun City vacations or have your safari expert create a custom itinerary for you: Sun City pairs well with the nearby Madikwe Private Game Reserve, and you’ll be well-positioned to add-on safaris to the Kruger National Park or jet off to the Maldives in under three hours by car from Johannesburg’s international airport.
- Loaction: between the Elands River and the Pilanesberg
Pilanesberg National Park
The easily accessible Pilanesberg National Park, only a couple of hours from Johannesburg and right on the doorstep of the world-famous Sun City resort, offers visitors a genuine safari experience with phenomenal big game viewing and a wide range of safari activities.
A Pilanesberg safari is often marked by excellent sightings of elephant, lion, and rhino, as well as cheetah, brown hyena, and a colorful collection of birds, as it is home to Africa’s Big 5. Take a hot air balloon ride for panoramic views, or go on guided morning and afternoon game drives, as well as spot-lit night drives, for up-close big game viewing.
And what views: set within the slopes of an extinct volcanic crater and centered around a teeming lake, Pilanesberg is without a doubt one of the most beautiful wilderness areas for a South African safari. The striking landscapes and abundant wildlife make for fantastic photography, and since the entire region is outside of the malarial belt, anti-malarial medication is not required.
Malaria-free and conveniently located near Sun City? It’s no surprise that a Pilanesberg safari is a popular choice among families. At Pilanesberg, there’s a great selection of family-friendly lodges, each with educational and, most importantly, fun activities that will make your kids feel like junior rangers. Honeymooners are also catered for, with romantic extras like candlelit dining on a private balcony and relaxing treatments at an award-winning spa.
- Location: less than 200 km from Johannesburg, closer to Pretoria, and then Rustenburg