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Victoria And Alfred Waterfront Cape Town Istock 1556500564
Victoria And Alfred Waterfront Cape Town Istock 1556500564

Top 10 South African Activities

What To Do In South Africa?
With opportunities to see the Big Five of both land and sea, along with incredible scenery, enormous national parks, world-class vineyards, a fascinating history and vibrant, friendly people, South Africa frequently tops the lists of the world’s best holiday destinations. Even so, less than 1% of the world's travellers make it here, so it’s a place where you’ll find yourself with a few select, like-minded and discerning adventurers who have discovered this gem of a country. It’s a place you could return to for the whole of your life and never tire of it.

We’ve compiled a list of our favourite experiences to inspire your imagination.
  • Leopard spotting in the Sabi Sands
  • The Glorious Garden Route
  • A Breakfast on Table Mountain
  • The Franschhoek Wine Tram
  • A Flight from Freedom to Robben Island
  • Penguin Kayak Capers
  • The Marine Big Five
  • The Turtles of KwaZulu Natal
  • Township Connections
  • Shark Cage Encounters
Leopard In The Kruger Istock 912599872 Credit Iain Tall
1. Leopard Spotting in the Sabi Sands
You may venture to Africa numerous times and fail to encounter a leopard; it is the most elusive of the Big Five animals that pose the most danger to humans on foot. This is where the private reserves bordering Kruger National Park come into their own, renowned as places where lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and – most importantly – leopard, can be seen on a regular basis.

Staying in the midst of the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, you will benefit from access to the vast wildlife populations moving in and out of the Kruger National Park but without any of the crowds. And, just like you, leopards don’t like crowds, so prepare to spot the lesser-spotted spotted cat.
Garden Route South Africa Istock 1455497475
2. The Glorious Garden Route
Stretching for 124 glorious miles (200km) through the Western Cape, the Garden Route of South Africa is one of the world’s iconic drives. It’s a self-drive heaven, though you could opt to have a driver so that you can concentrate on the parade of awesome views, to say nothing of allowing yourself a few glasses of wine.

There is no end to the possibilities for hiking, kayaking in the lagoons, picnicking on dramatic beaches, whale watching, diving with sharks, playing golf, visiting elephant sanctuaries and ostrich farms, or communing with the penguins. Every bend in the road produces new dramatic vistas and even more new experiences.
Table Mountan Hike Cape Town Istock 1216765189
3. A Breakfast on Table Mountain
Stunning Table Mountain is the number one attraction in Cape Town and can be accessed via numerous hiking trails, all offering fantastic views over the city. Surrounded by gorgeous proteas amongst the fragrant vegetation of the Cape fynbos, you will appreciate why this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For the most adventurous travellers, a guided hike at dawn is the way to experience this thrilling mountain. There’ll be a breakfast welcome at the top as you soak up the views before heading down by cable car to save your precious knees.
Franschhoek Wine Tram Istock 1224578897
4. The Franschhoek Wine Tram
There’s a unique and elegant way of touring the world-famous vineyards of Franschhoek, South Africa; a double-decker and open-air tram. Operating on a loop route, this innovative tram/bus hybrid vehicle offers ten hop-on and hop-off lines so that passengers can enjoy a whole variety of wines, views and experiences.

Given that you may well have had a tipple or two, it helps that the lines are colour-coded and easy to understand. There’s narration too, so that the journey is a learning experience.
Robben Island South Africa Istock 186992127
5. A Flight from Freedom to Robben Island
A 7ft by 9ft cell on Robben Island, with a solitary bulb burning day and night, was the austere and lonely home of Nelson Mandela for 18 years. On release in 1990, he went on to become South Africa’s president and took his deserved place in the pantheon of the world’s greatest humans.

Christo Brand was lucky enough to get to know him, as a young prison warder and then as a friend, and you will be able to spend personal time with Christo before taking a flight by helicopter to the stark, mysterious and disturbingly beautiful island where both men – in their different ways – spent time. The views of the Atlantic seaboard and the vineyards on the flight to and from the island are spectacular and uplifting, as is the human story of the transformation of South Africa under Nelson Mandela.
Penguins On Boulders Beach South Africa Istock 1459141568
6. Penguin Kayak Capers
Since the first pioneering African (Jackass) penguins ventured onto Boulders Beach in 1985, this land-based colony of what is normally a rare and endangered bird has grown to more than 2000 individuals. They seem to love the life in Simon’s Town, a suburb of Cape Town.

Nothing beats getting up-close and personal with these lovable creatures, though take care not to invade their personal space; they have a tendency to bite! You will see them float and dive, swim with ease under water, waddle up and down the beach and generally be very cute, from the enviable water-level position of a kayak.
Whales At Hermanus South Africa Istock 898611322
7. The Marine Big Five
South Africa is a country that abounds in opportunities to encounter wildlife, from the small, harmless and pretty to the downright big and dangerous. On the land, adventurers seek sightings of the Big Five land animals, but here at Journeysmiths we also suggest going to the coast to see the Marine Big Five: a great white shark, the southern right whale, the bottlenose dolphin, the Cape fur seal and the African penguin.

All these are on the cards when you venture out into the waters of the Western Cape coastal region, Gansbaai and the Southern Peninsula. We suggest starting with the unforgettable experience of watching whales from the shore at Hermanus, where the world’s only whale-caller will blow his horn to announce when whales have been spotted.
Loggerhead Turtle Nesting Istock 824294128
8. The Turtles of KwaZulu Natal
Each night between November and January on the KwaZulu beach of Sodwana Bay, loggerhead turtles emerge from the Indian Ocean to lay their eggs in the soft white sand, as they have done for millions of years. To the soundtrack of rushing waves, and with the beam of your torch, you can search for these beautiful creatures as they surf in on the waves and struggle landwards to their chosen nesting site before they begin the arduous labours of digging.

You will be amazed by the size and willpower of these single-minded mothers.
Colourful Houses Bo Kapp Capte Town
9. Township Connections
As part of the apartheid history of South Africa, townships are places of cultural significance and should be on the itinerary of any truly interested traveller. They’re also the homes of vibrant communities, as well as places of hope where many great things are happening. On a trip to a township, you will see different types of housing and socio-economic areas including worker hostels and informal settlements.

You will see self-help and charity-funded improvements, you’ll speak to residents, and you may be treated to traditional music or even a gumboot dance. By taking a tour in a township, the money you pay will go towards improvements in these traditionally under-resourced communities.
Great White Shark South Africa Istock 152940608
10. Shark Cage Encounters
Diving with sharks is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is without doubt an unforgettable encounter and it’s available with minimal instruction and no previous experience. On a cage diving adventure in the Cape Town region, you will certainly see Copper Sharks, and almost always there’ll be a stealthily sinister but awesome Great White looming up into the mix.

These predators are typically more than 5m in length and there will be only a few bars between you and them. The trip out in the boat will often yield sightings of other wonders of the marine environment such as whales and dolphins. You may need to go into adrenaline detox after this adventure.
Your South African Safari Awaits
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Private Journeys Unique to You
We are a boutique travel specialist. For over 30 years we have been creating luxury tailor-made safaris to the timeless savannahs of Africa. Your time is precious and with a world to see, we understand the importance of getting it absolutely right for you, every time.We are a boutique travel specialist. For over 30 years we have been creating luxury tailor-made safaris to the timeless savannahs of Africa. Your time is precious and with a world to see, we understand the importance of getting it absolutely right for you, every time.
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White Rhino In Madikwe Istock 1058132948 By Bennymarty
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Luxury And The Big Five South Africa
Without a shadow of a doubt, South Africa is one of the very best places to watch wildlife in the world. The Kruger National Park — a protected area the size of Wales — is certainly the most famous and popular safari destination, but with Africa Exclusive you’ll escape the crowds to explore vast, wildlife-filled private reserves, in the company of the best guides.
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Victoria And Alfred Waterfront Cape Town Istock 1556500564
Victoria And Alfred Waterfront Cape Town Istock 1556500564
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Magnificent Cape Town
Cape Town is one of the world’s great cities with a unique setting beneath Table Mountain.
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Beach Walk Grootbos Forest Lodge Relation
Beach Walk Grootbos Forest Lodge Relation
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Explore The Garden Route South Africa
To experience a little bit of everything that South Africa has to offer, you can hardly do better than to drive along the coastal road of the Garden Route between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. It’s an extraordinary journey, and there’s wildlife on both land and shore, endless beaches, historic battlefields, and the vineyards are never far away. One day you might be whale spotting at Hermanus — renowned as one of the best whale watching locations in the world — and the next you could be learning about the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, handling antique weapons and scrambling over the British and Zulu positions.
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Isandlwana Grave Stones Hr
Isandlwana Grave Stones Hr
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Battlefields And Culture South Africa
Formerly the Zulu Kingdom, the province of KwaZulu Natal runs along South Africa’s dramatic Indian Ocean coastline. The Drakensberg Mountains create a natural border between Lesotho and the Eastern Cape, and offer some excellent hiking routes.
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Lion Cubs In Kruger Singita 19138
Lion Cubs In Kruger Singita 19138
Article
Why South Africa Is Great For A Family Safari
South Africa is an excellent choice for family travel with children of all ages. Its wildlife is abundant, with a great diversity of species, including the Big Five: rhino, leopard, lion, elephant and buffalo. There are vast malaria-free reserves and it’s easy to get from safari regions to Cape Town and the beach.
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