26 Best Things to Do in South Africa


The Repub­lic of South Africa is locat­ed in the south of the African con­ti­nent. The large coun­try is famous for its coastal deserts, high moun­tains, green savan­nahs and sub­trop­i­cal forests.


Things to do in South Africa

The his­to­ry of the Repub­lic of South Africa (South Africa) is over­shad­owed by a long col­o­niza­tion by Euro­peans. The first white set­tle­ments appeared here in 1652, and the new­com­ers quick­ly con­quered the local tribes. The ter­ri­to­ry became a source of slaves, valu­able tree species, and agri­cul­tur­al prod­ucts.

Because of the found deposits of gold and dia­monds, the region was shak­en by wars for a long time. In the 20th cen­tu­ry, an apartheid regime was estab­lished in the coun­try, dis­cred­it­ing peo­ple by race, but its era end­ed in 1994.

Now it is a par­lia­men­tary-pres­i­den­tial repub­lic that has man­aged to avoid seri­ous crises and con­flicts. The coun­try is includ­ed in the G20 and is attrac­tive for tourists. For­eign­ers come to see the ruins of the King­dom of Mapun­gub­we in Limpopo, the old colo­nial archi­tec­ture, traces of the sites of ancient peo­ple, eth­nic vil­lages.

Major cities are grow­ing rapid­ly. Pre­to­ria and Johan­nes­burg are home to trade, indus­tri­al and finan­cial com­pa­nies of world renown. His­tor­i­cal and ethno­graph­ic muse­ums are con­cen­trat­ed in Ulun­di, New­cas­tle, Cape Town and Dundee.

South Africa gives you the chance to see all of South Africa’s bio­di­ver­si­ty. Nation­al parks and reserves are open in dif­fer­ent parts. Some of them are includ­ed in the UNESCO World Her­itage List. The Tugela Falls, the Kruger Nation­al Park, and the Pilanes­berg Nature Reserve are pop­u­lar.

The coastal area of ​​False Bay in Cape Town is famous for its beau­ti­ful wide beach­es. It has every­thing for a care­free hol­i­day: mod­ern hotels, cafes, restau­rants, boat rentals, swim­ming pools, attrac­tions. Trav­el­ers are engaged in surf­ing, spearfish­ing, water ski­ing and yacht­ing.

Shop­ping lovers are attract­ed by South Africa with col­or­ful mar­kets that resem­ble noisy ori­en­tal bazaars. Moun­tains of spices, fruits, veg­eta­bles, sea fish are sold under sheds and on stalls. As a keep­sake, tourists buy pot­tery, croc­o­dile skin sou­venirs, jew­el­ry, hand­made car­pets, stone and wood crafts.

Interesting places



The largest city in South Africa was found­ed by Aus­tralian gold min­ers in 1886. Chi­nese work­ers, British, impov­er­ished Boers, gang­sters of var­i­ous nation­al­i­ties came here in search of wealth.

At the begin­ning of the last cen­tu­ry, the first sky­scrap­ers appeared in Johan­nes­burg, and an exten­sive busi­ness dis­trict was formed. Today it hous­es bank offices, transna­tion­al cor­po­ra­tions, lux­u­ry hotels. The city has exclu­sive restau­rants and shops, an amuse­ment park, and the African Muse­um.

Cape Town


The bustling city on the Atlantic coast near the Cape of Good Hope is one of the most pop­u­lar places in South Africa, attract­ing tourists with his­tor­i­cal and nat­ur­al attrac­tions. The sym­bol of Cape Town is Table Moun­tain. Its sil­hou­ette, 1087 meters high, was a bea­con for sailors sail­ing into the bay for food and water.

The city itself is the cul­tur­al cen­ter of South Africa. There are art gal­leries, archae­o­log­i­cal muse­ums, cin­e­mas, exhi­bi­tions. The Kirsten­bosch botan­i­cal gar­den and the Two Oceans Aquar­i­um are ide­al places to relax.



A mod­ern beau­ti­ful city, found­ed in 1855, is the cap­i­tal of South Africa, spread­ing to the south in the val­ley of the Alice Riv­er. There is a lot of green­ery, foun­tains, pools. Pre­to­ria was the cen­ter of a dis­crim­i­na­to­ry pol­i­cy dur­ing apartheid that end­ed with the elec­tion of Nel­son Man­dela as Pres­i­dent.

Tourist inter­est in the cap­i­tal is the Palace of Jus­tice, the old town hall, the mint, the Angli­can Cathe­dral. The his­tor­i­cal part of the city is dec­o­rat­ed with sev­er­al squares with colo­nial sculp­tures, bou­tiques and restau­rants.

Robben Island

island robben

Since the end of the 17th cen­tu­ry, Robben Island has been used as a prison, quar­an­tine sta­tion and lep­er colony. The gov­ern­ment of the repub­lic sent polit­i­cal pris­on­ers there until the fall of the apartheid regime. The island has since become a pop­u­lar tourist des­ti­na­tion.

Its ter­ri­to­ry is includ­ed in the UNESCO World Her­itage List. Hun­dreds of trav­el­ers trav­el dai­ly by fer­ry from the Cape Town water­front to vis­it the island’s muse­um, the ancient stone light­house on Minto Hill and see the African pen­guin colony.


Fortress of Good Hope

krepost dobroi nadegdi

The bas­tion erect­ed by Euro­pean colonists in Cape Town is a his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ment dat­ing back to 1652. Con­struc­tion was car­ried out by the Dutch East India Com­pa­ny. The fort was intend­ed for ships sail­ing to Asia. Here the sailors replen­ished their water sup­plies, food and repaired ships.

The com­plex, enclosed by pow­er­ful walls, con­sists of a church, a bell tow­er, a bak­ery, ware­hous­es, res­i­den­tial build­ings and bar­racks for sol­diers. The pen­tag­o­nal fortress has been restored and is avail­able for vis­it­ing. It hous­es the Mil­i­tary Muse­um of South Africa.

golden mile


Dur­ban, washed by the waters of the Indi­an Ocean, is a favorite vaca­tion spot for tourists and local res­i­dents. The coastal zone of the city is a huge land­scaped beach. A wide line of white sand is framed by a beau­ti­ful prom­e­nade. Along the road rise build­ings, styl­ized antique. They open restau­rants, cafes, sou­venir shops, spas.

The beach is high­ly secure and fenced with a net from sharks. Chil­dren’s attrac­tions oper­ate in shal­low water. The main object on the Gold­en Mile is the Sea World enter­tain­ment park. The huge build­ing hous­es a dol­phi­nar­i­um, water slides, an aquar­i­um with sharks, moray eels and clams.

Sri Radha Radhanath Temple

hram sri radhan

The largest Hare Krish­na tem­ple in Africa is locat­ed in the city of Dur­ban. The white airy man­sion is dec­o­rat­ed with large win­dows, thin ele­gant columns, and orig­i­nal domes. The inte­ri­or walls are dec­o­rat­ed with mar­ble, carv­ings and fres­coes. There are gild­ed sculp­tures at the doors.

The tem­ple is sur­round­ed by a beau­ti­ful lotus-shaped gar­den. Inside there is a veg­e­tar­i­an restau­rant where tourists are offered to try inex­pen­sive Indi­an dish­es, fresh fruits, nat­ur­al juices.

Suspension bridge over Storm River

podvesnoi most

The high­light of the Gar­den Route Nation­al Park in the Cape Provinces is a sus­pen­sion bridge across the mouth of the Storm Riv­er. The length of the mod­ern struc­ture is 77 meters. The sides of the bridge, which ris­es 7 meters above the water, are fenced with a strong met­al mesh, which ensures com­plete safe­ty dur­ing the tran­si­tion.

Inspec­tion of the sus­pend­ed struc­ture is includ­ed in the excur­sion pro­gram of the park. Tourists can also explore trop­i­cal forests with exot­ic ani­mals, water­falls, rocky moun­tains. A giant yel­low tree grows near the bridge. Accord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary data, he is about 800 years old.

St. George’s Cathedral

sobor st georgia

Cape Town is dec­o­rat­ed with the old­est Angli­can cathe­dral in South Africa, ded­i­cat­ed to St. George. A majes­tic exam­ple of Vic­to­ri­an archi­tec­ture with a gabled roof, dec­o­rat­ed with arch­es and huge win­dows.

The inte­ri­or dec­o­ra­tion stands out with splen­dor. In the cen­ter is a beau­ti­ful altar. Mul­ti­col­ored stained glass win­dows depict the vic­to­ry of Jesus Christ over evil. The walls are mar­bled and crys­tal chan­de­liers hang from the ceil­ing. An organ has been installed in the church of St. George, ser­vices and clas­si­cal music cen­ters are reg­u­lar­ly held.


Mapungubwe Collection


About 1000 years ago, at the con­flu­ence of the Limpopo and Shasha rivers, there was a large African king­dom of Mapun­gub­we. The ancient civ­i­liza­tion has not sur­vived to this day. The remains of the old fort, frag­ments of streets and squares have been pre­served from their for­mer grandeur.

A large bur­ial was found on the top of the moun­tain. In the graves, in addi­tion to skele­tons, there were var­i­ous gold­en things: a scepter, bracelets, rings, fig­urines. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, due to mis­han­dling, some of the bones crum­bled to dust when exposed to air.

The arti­facts found are on dis­play at the Pre­to­ria Archae­o­log­i­cal Muse­um. The Mapun­gub­we col­lec­tion includes ceram­ics, clay and gold ani­mal fig­urines, jew­el­ry, glass beads, and ivory rit­u­al objects.

South African Museum

ugno afrikanskii museum

In 1825, the Nation­al African Muse­um opened its doors in Cape Town, which has a huge col­lec­tion of pale­on­to­log­i­cal, archae­o­log­i­cal and zoo­log­i­cal exhibits. The cul­tur­al her­itage of the indige­nous peo­ple, the skele­tons of extinct ani­mals, stone fig­urines and gold jew­el­ry found dur­ing exca­va­tions are pre­sent­ed to the atten­tion of the pub­lic. The muse­um has a plan­e­tar­i­um and a gift shop.

National Gallery

nac gallery

The Art Gallery of the Repub­lic of South Africa opened in Cape Town in 1930. The basis of the exhi­bi­tion was the col­lec­tion of Sir Thomas But­ter­worth, which includes paint­ings by artists of the XIX cen­tu­ry. Now the muse­um gallery is replen­ished with Dutch, British, French paint­ings of the 17th-18th cen­turies.

Sep­a­rate rooms con­tain engrav­ings and lith­o­graphs by mas­ters of the 20th cen­tu­ry, as well as the art of South African tribes: wood­en and stone fig­urines, glass beads, draw­ings, paint­ings.

apartheid museum

musei aparteida

In 2001, the apartheid muse­um appeared in Johan­nes­burg, illus­trat­ing the rise and fall of the regime. Exhi­bi­tions in a mod­ern build­ing take you on a jour­ney from the dark days of slav­ery to the cre­ation of a demo­c­ra­t­ic soci­ety.

The muse­um has 22 rooms that high­light life under apartheid, vio­lence, polit­i­cal exe­cu­tions and the demo­c­ra­t­ic elec­tions that brought Nel­son Man­dela to pow­er. Vis­i­tors can see instru­ments of tor­ture, doc­u­ments and learn a lot of use­ful infor­ma­tion.

Cradle of Humanity

kolibel chellvechestva

Not far from Johan­nes­burg is the Cra­dle of Humankind, a UNESCO World Her­itage Site. This is a com­plex of lime­stone caves in which the remains of the most ancient peo­ple were found — African Aus­tralo­p­ithe­cus and Homo nale­di. Archae­ol­o­gists have recov­ered the fos­silized bones of babies, adults and the elder­ly.

Some schol­ars believe that this was a rit­u­al bur­ial, and sug­gest that ancient peo­ple had the begin­nings of intel­li­gence. In total, there are about 30 caves. Their walls are plas­tered with sta­lag­mite and sta­lac­tite for­ma­tions.

natural attractions

Cape of Good Hope

mis dobroi nadegdi

In 1488, the Por­tuguese tried to go around Africa and dis­cov­ered a cape, which they called the Cape of Storms. How­ev­er, King Juan II did not like the name, and he renamed it the Cape of Good Hope, hop­ing that this would help to avoid fre­quent ship­wrecks in the area and find a new sea route to India.

Severe storms were caused by the mix­ing of the waters of the Atlantic and Indi­an oceans, so the ships con­tin­ued to often die, even when the longed-for route to India was found. The Cape of Good Hope is a strate­gic site in South Africa that attracts tourists with mag­nif­i­cent seascapes.

big hole

bolshaua dira

In the city of Kim­ber­ley there is an impor­tant attrac­tion of South Africa — the Big Hole pipe. It is an inac­tive dia­mond mine shaped like a quar­ry. The min­ers dug it out with noth­ing more than shov­els and picks, extract­ing hun­dreds of kilo­grams of dia­monds, includ­ing the famous De Beers, Porter Rhodes and yel­low­ish Tiffany dia­monds.

The deposit is now deplet­ed. And the hole, 1.6 km long, is filled with water, sur­round­ed by pic­turesque boul­ders and dense shrubs.

dragon mountains

drakonovi gori

The Drag­on Moun­tains stretch over an area of ​​402,418 km². Their high­est point is Mount Tha­bana-Ntlenyana (3482 meters). The sys­tem is famous for its diverse flo­ra and fau­na, rich deposits of tin, gold, and stone ore. In the morn­ings, the peaks of the Drag­on Moun­tains are cov­ered with a light blue haze. Locals believe that this is steam released from the nos­trils of a huge drag­on.

Tourists come here to admire the Tugela water­fall, which falls from a great height and has 5 cas­cades, walk along hik­ing trails, lis­ten to bird­song, go fish­ing on moun­tain lakes.



The desert in Namib­ia, South Africa and Botswana cov­ers an area of ​​​​600 thou­sand km². A dis­tinc­tive fea­ture of the nat­ur­al attrac­tion is a kind of red sand, sat­u­rat­ed with iron oxide. Pic­turesque sand dunes alter­nate with wide steppes and savan­nah inhab­it­ed by lizards, snakes, poi­so­nous insects, and rodents. The desert is crossed by the Oka­van­go Riv­er. Black rhi­nos, giraffes, antelopes, chee­tahs, and lions live along its banks.

Reserves and parks

Kruger National Park

nac park krugera

In the south of the coun­try is the old­est nation­al park, named after Paul Kruger. The pro­tect­ed area lies between the Croc­o­dile and Limpopo rivers and cov­ers an area of ​​340 km². Traces of sites of ancient peo­ple, arti­facts of the Stone and Iron Ages were found in the park. Rock paint­ings have been pre­served in the moun­tains.

The riv­er val­ley is inhab­it­ed by hip­pos, ele­phants, antelopes, Nile croc­o­diles, buf­faloes, rhi­nos. Hik­ing trails are laid with­in the park, and pri­vate camp­sites for recre­ation are open.



The park on the east coast of South Africa con­sists of 13 pro­tect­ed areas. Among them are the coral reefs of Ton­ga­land, tur­tle beach­es, wide plains, African forests and savan­nahs.

The area is famous for its unique ecosys­tem, which has pre­served rare species of birds, ani­mals and insects. In nat­ur­al reserves it is easy to meet warthogs, chee­tahs, rhi­nos, giraffes. Leatherback tur­tles nest on the beach­es. Hump­back whales, bot­tlenose dol­phins, Chi­nese dol­phins, but­ter­fly fish, sharks swim in the water.



The botan­i­cal gar­den is plant­ed at the foot of Table Moun­tain in the vicin­i­ty
Cape Town. It is a heav­en­ly place filled with trees and shrubs from the savan­nah, arid regions and rain­forests. Kirsten­bosch is includ­ed in the World Her­itage List and is under the pro­tec­tion of UNESCO.

The pearl of the gar­den is con­sid­ered to be a hang­ing alley, stretch­ing for 427 meters and ris­ing 12 meters above the ground. It is equipped with view­ing plat­forms from which a gor­geous panora­ma of the sur­round­ings opens.



The park, locat­ed in the crater of an extinct vol­cano, is bor­dered by three moun­tain ranges. It cov­ers an area of ​​572 km² and con­sists of a pic­turesque savan­na plant­ed with figs, red wil­low, wild pear, beech. Pilanes­berg is home to hip­pos, ele­phants, buf­faloes, lions, giraffes, zebras and antelopes. For bird lovers, a spe­cial route has been devel­oped that allows you to study the habits of rare birds.

The park has a croc­o­dile farm, pic­nic areas, small hotels.


Victoria and Alfred Waterfront


The main prom­e­nade of Cape Town is a mixed-use devel­op­ment, includ­ing res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial real estate. The old port was restored at the end of the last cen­tu­ry. Since then, a tourist com­plex has been oper­at­ing here with hotels, restau­rants, and enter­tain­ment venues. Roads paved with stone slabs stretch along the coast. Palm trees are plant­ed on the sides, bench­es and lanterns are installed.

Walk­ing along the embank­ment, you can go to a restau­rant of nation­al cui­sine, vis­it an exhi­bi­tion of mod­ern art, ride the rides, rent a boat for a boat trip or a trip to Robben Island.

Aquarium of two oceans


In Cape Town, guests are wel­comed by the largest aquar­i­um in the South­ern Hemi­sphere. The grand open­ing of the com­plex took place in 1995. There are 30 large pools designed for the flo­ra and fau­na of the Atlantic and Indi­an oceans.

Jel­ly­fish and algae live in sep­a­rate tanks. Sharks and rays live in a spe­cial aquar­i­um. On the tour, tourists get acquaint­ed with seals, pen­guins, dol­phins, whales, mol­lusks, trop­i­cal fish, watch the feed­ing of fish and mam­mals, and take beau­ti­ful pho­tos.

Johannesburg Zoo


The zoo in Johan­nes­burg was found­ed in 1904 at the ini­tia­tive of the city coun­cil. The writer Per­cy Fitz­patrick donat­ed the first ani­mals here from his col­lec­tion. Every year the num­ber of inhab­i­tants of the zoo increased.

Now 365 species of ani­mals live in it, includ­ing white lions, Siber­ian tigers, goril­las, hip­pos. The zoo is open all year round. Vis­i­tors can order a sight­see­ing tour or pay for a night tour of the ter­ri­to­ry.

Cage diving with great white sharks


One of the most pop­u­lar rides in South Africa is div­ing with great white sharks. Tour oper­a­tors in Cape Town orga­nize such enter­tain­ment all year round. By con­tact­ing a local com­pa­ny, trav­el­ers get the oppor­tu­ni­ty to dive into the ocean in a steel cage and swim in the com­pa­ny of giant sharks. A diver’s cer­tifi­cate is not required for this.

Tourists are instruct­ed and safe­ty is guar­an­teed. After div­ing, every­one is giv­en a doc­u­ment con­firm­ing swim­ming with white sharks.


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