8 Experiences You Shouldn't Miss in South Africa

South Africa, where you can see leopards preying, lions fighting, giraffes slowly blocking your way, and waves of the Cape of Good Hope roaring, is a country that most closely resembles Africa. But when you travel through the European-style towns along the Garden Route, and enjoy the steak with wine and sunset on the beautiful beaches, you might not feel like you are in Africa.

Its diverse cultural features, warm and hospitable people, various wild animals, and majestic landscapes will offer you a range of fantastic things that are worth experiencing.

Hike Table Mountain

Listed in the New Seven Wonders of Nature, Table Mountain is Cape Town's most iconic landmark. It is the general name of a group of magnificent mountains like Lion's Head, Signal Hill, Devil's Peak, etc.

The flat top of the mountain is covered with clouds all year round, just like a white tablecloth on a large table. Sometimes the clouds will accidentally disperse, but such days are few and far between. You can take a cable car or hike up to the top to overlook the stunning Cape Town and Table Bay from multiple angles.

Table Mountain, Cape TownTable Mountain, Cape Town

Explore the Cape of Good Hope

As a symbol of Africa, the Cape of Good Hope is an attraction where every traveler will come. It's a slender rocky headland that inserts directly into the sea like a sword. On one side of the Cape, there is a historic lighthouse built in 1857 and an indicating pillar that clearly shows the distance from the lighthouse to ten famous cities in the world. For example, it is 9, 294 kilometers from Cape of Good Hope to Paris, 12, 541 kilometers to New York and 11, 642 kilometers to Sydney.

Tourists come here mostly for its fame as "the southern tip of Africa", but this is a common misconception. In fact, the southernmost point of Africa is Cape Agulhas about 150 kilometers to the east-southeast. However, you will never be disappointed because the Cape of Good Hope is the most south-western point of the African continent, and home to some of the world's oldest floras and at least 250 species of birds.

The Beach in Cape of Good HopeThe Beach in Cape of Good Hope

Taste Wines in the Old Vineyards

South Africa is one of the ten largest wine-producing regions in the world. The history of South African wine can be traced back to 1659, with the first bottle produced by Jan van Riebeeck. The topographical differences and regional climatic conditions contribute to a diversity of grape varieties and qualities, and the most popular wine varieties are Chenin Blanc (also called Steen) and Pinotage.

Pinotage is a unique variety cultivated by South Africa itself. When it comes to South African wines, it is inevitable to mention Pinotage. The main wine-producing area of South Africa is concentrated around Cape Town, with major vineyards at Constantia, Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Worcester. Among them, Constantia is the oldest winemaking area. When you come to these old vineyards, you can not only enjoy the fascinating pastoral scenery but also taste the pure wines.

Vineyard in Cape TownVineyard in Cape Town

Cycle the Garden Route

The Garden Route is a coastal highway that stretches from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, with a total length of about 800 kilometers. The 300-kilometer first-class coastal road from Mossel Bay to the Storms River is highlighted for cycling and self-driving travel enthusiasts.

There are numerous lagoons, forests, canyons, beaches and the most memorable seaside towns to explore along the way. You can visit the Post Office Tree in European-style Mossel Bay, wander around by a small steam train in George Town, taste the fresh oysters in Knysna, go fishing or join in water activities in Plettenberg Bay. If you like to find somewhere quieter to have a stopover, the Tsitsikamma Coast National Park is an ideal place to enjoy the tranquility.

Cycling tourists on Garden RouteCycling tourists on Garden Route

Game Drives in Kruger

Covering an area of about 20,000 square kilometers, Kruger National Park is the largest wildlife park in South Africa, also one of the world's best-preserved and most diverse wildlife reserves.

The best time to visit the Kruger is the dry season from June to September, and the best way is to take a park's sightseeing convertible with an experienced driver who can help to find animals and enter areas outside the road as needed. You can enjoy game drives to see the Big Five (rhinos, elephants, lions, Cape buffaloes, and leopards) at sunrise and sunset, which are the times when animals are active.

A Rhino in Kruger National ParkA Rhino in Kruger National Park

Capture Pictures of African Penguins

Can you imagine that you can watch the penguins in South Africa? Yes, don't have to go to the South Pole to see those little guys, and you can capture this perfect penguin photograph in the African penguin colony - Boulders Beach, located on the Cape Peninsula, near Simon's Town. From just two breeding pairs in 1982, the penguin population has grown to about 3,000 birds in recent years.

At 68-70cm high and 2-5kg weight, these African penguins are much smaller than those in the South Pole. A small pink gland above each eye helps them cope with high temperatures in South Africa. They always make donkey-like braying sounds, stay in groups among the boulders, or lie on the beach.

African Penguins on Boulders BeachAfrican Penguins on Boulders Beach

Watch Whales in Hermanus

There's a place where you can see whales up close without going out on a boat. That's Hermanus, the best land-based whale-watching spot in the world. Every year, different kinds of whales come to South Africa to mate and breed, and the southern right whale is the most special one. The southern right whales are like natural performers and sometimes make some interesting moves: jumping several times in a row to make a loud sound like a cannon, or immersing their heads into the water with the tail fins exposed to the water surface, which is called "Fluke Up Dive". 

The best time for whale watching is from August to November, and a whale-watching festival is held for three days in late September or early October each year. You can fully appreciate the unique natural beauty, watch different kinds of whales, indulge in music and local cuisine, and participate in many other activities during the festival.

Whale Watching in HermanusWhale Watching in Hermanus

Visit Ostrich Farms in Oudtshoorn

Oudtshoorn is the ostrich capital of the world because of its reputation for ostrich farming. Coupled with patches of purple lavender dancing in the breeze, distributing an alluring aroma, the ostrich farm has become one of South Africa's most popular tourist attractions.

Ostrich is a very intelligent big bird. As long as you stand on the edge of the fence for photos, it will move close to you, craning neck and then peck at your palm to seek food. The toes of African ostriches are particularly muscular. As a result, the running ability of African ostriches is very amazing, and one powerful kick is enough to kill a lion. You will know more about it after visiting the exhibition room and breeding camp on the farm.

Ostrich Farms in OudtshoornOstrich Farms in Oudtshoorn

Have all these charming things sparked your wanderlust? Just put them on your "to-do list" and tailor your trip with Odynovo to make them come true. South Africa is the perfect combination of modern civilization and primitive nature, a place waiting for you to discover. Pack your bags and come with us!

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