You are currently viewing 16 BEST THINGS TO DO IN SOUTH AFRICA IN 2024

Explore a myriad of activities in South Africa, a country that caters to diverse traveler interests. Uncover urban landscapes in Johannesburg, contrasted by the tranquil beauty of the Cape Winelands. For wildlife enthusiasts, embark on safaris to encounter the renowned Big Five, while history aficionados can delve into the rich tapestry of the nation’s past. Thrill-seekers will find ample adventure, and the Garden Route invites with its picturesque drives. Indulge in Cape Town’s world-class cuisine, and immerse yourself in vibrant local art scenes scattered across the country. South Africa awaits, promising an unforgettable array of experiences.

Great Things To Do In South Africa

We embarked on a cycling expedition across South Africa, starting from its northern border in Namibia and journeying through the Western Cape to reach Cape Town. Following our initial cycling adventure through Africa, we developed a deep affection for the continent, prompting us to return to South Africa twice more. The country offers a myriad of attractions, ranging from thrilling safaris and captivating caves to diverse marine life and stunning scenery. Discover the richness of South Africa’s experiences and savor the journey!

1. Go On An African Safari

No African journey, particularly one to South Africa, is complete without a wildlife safari. South Africa boasts numerous game reserves and national parks, offering the opportunity to embark on an exhilarating African safari in search of the iconic Big 5 – African Buffalo, Rhinos, Elephants, Lions, and Leopards.

The country is home to several outstanding game reserves. Among the top national parks for a safari experience in South Africa are Addo Elephant Park, Kruger National Park, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, and Pilanesberg National Park. Hluhluwe & Imfolozi National Park, the oldest wildlife reserve in South Africa, provided us with captivating safari encounters during our visit. Continue reading for more insights.

Reflecting on our initial trip to the country, we missed the opportunity to book a game drive, a regret that lingered for years. Whether you have limited time or not, it is advisable to reserve at least a day for this extraordinary experience. Consider a game drive from Cape Town, where an open-top all-terrain vehicle transports you to the Aquila Private Game Reserve. There, accompanied by an expert ranger, you’ll witness wildlife in their natural habitat, followed by a delightful lunch at the lodge.

2. Stay At A Game Reserve

Numerous private game reserves in South Africa offer a reliable guarantee of encountering the finest African safari animals. Our memorable safari at the Kariega Game Reserve stands out as one of the most luxurious experiences we’ve ever had. The river lodge, nestled amidst wildlife, provided an enchanting setting.

Distinguishing themselves from places like the Masai Mara or Serengeti, South Africa’s game reserves encompass vast conservation areas where animals roam freely. The unique aspect lies in the assurance of wildlife sightings, with guides possessing precise knowledge of their locations, ensuring a 100% chance of spotting these magnificent creatures. Explore our safari adventure here for a glimpse into this exceptional experience.

3. Kruger National Park

While there are numerous safari destinations in South Africa, Kruger National Park stands out as the country’s premier gem. Encompassing a vast expanse of 19,000 square kilometers, this park offers a distinctive game drive experience, particularly if you opt for a self-driven road trip through South Africa – a highly recommended adventure.

Kruger National Park provides an authentic safari encounter where visitors can marvel at the renowned Big Five – lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos, and buffalos – either through guided tours or by driving themselves. The park caters to diverse preferences and budgets, offering a range of safari options, from self-drive adventures to professionally guided tours.

Accommodations within the park vary from luxurious lodges to camping sites, immersing visitors in the captivating ambiance of the African bush. Beyond its abundant wildlife, Kruger National Park boasts a rich archaeological history, featuring sites such as the Albasini Ruins and Thulamela. A visit to Kruger extends beyond a mere game drive; it’s a profound exploration into the heart of African wilderness, providing an opportunity to connect with nature and gain insights into the diverse ecosystems of South Africa.

4. Horse Safari In Hluhluwe & Imfolozi National Park

Hluhluwe & Imfolozi National Park holds the distinction of being the oldest game reserve in South Africa, renowned for its substantial white and black rhino population, making it the largest rhino population in all of Africa!

For an unforgettable safari experience in South Africa, our top recommendation is St. Lucia at the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park. Here, we embarked on a unique horse safari, journeying through Hluhluwe & Imfolozi National Park, with zebras and wildebeest surrounding us, creating an immersive and memorable adventure.

5. Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant National Park stands out as one of the premier destinations for observing elephants. Situated in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa, this national park is celebrated for its substantial population of African elephants. However, its appeal extends beyond elephants, as Addo is a habitat for diverse wildlife, encompassing the Big Five and even the uncommon flightless dung beetle. It amuses us that the dung beetle is deemed rare, as during our cycling journey through Africa, we encountered many of these amusing creatures.


Addo Elephant National Park

Visitors can partake in either self-guided or guided safari drives, relishing the excitement of spotting wildlife in the expansive savannahs and dense bushland. The park caters to various preferences with a range of accommodation options, from luxurious lodges to charming campsites, allowing guests to fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the surroundings.

“If you’re eager to plan this incredible tour, give us a call at +91 981-150-2655 to discuss your dream adventure: Talk to us!” 

6. Spot Turtles Laying Eggs

Sodwana Bay, situated along the northeast coast of South Africa, stands out as a premier destination globally for witnessing Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles nesting. Embarking on your tour at 9:00 pm and extending into the early morning, you traverse the picturesque iSimangaliso Wetlands. Here, our journey also unveiled the majestic presence of rhinos, hippos, and even the world’s tiniest lizard.

Regrettably, the harsh reality is that only 1% of newly hatched turtles successfully make their way to the sea. Our safari experience was marked by the poignant scene of a Jackal feeding on a nest of recently hatched baby turtles—a stark reminder of nature’s unforgiving aspects.

Sodwana Bay, an integral part of the iSimangaliso Wetlands, not only offers a glimpse into the poignant cycle of turtle life but also stands as a premier scuba diving destination in the country. With a thriving coral reef and a rich diversity of marine life, including sea turtles, it proves to be a captivating underwater haven.

7. Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve

Ranked among the world’s largest canyons, Blyde River Canyon holds the third position, following The Grand Canyon and Fish River Canyon in Namibia, both of which we marveled at during our cycling expedition through South Africa. If you’ve yet to witness the grandeur of these natural wonders, you’re truly missing out. What distinguishes Blyde River Canyon is its captivating lush greenery.

A must-do activity in this region is hiking to God’s Window. Poised along the sweeping Drakensberg escarpment, God’s Window offers a breathtaking panorama that spans across verdant forests and undulating hills, reaching out towards Kruger National Park on clear days.

Blyde River Canyon and God’s Window form integral parts of the Panorama Route, a beloved South African road trip encompassing the Mpumalanga highlands, The Drakensberg Mountain Range, and Kruger National Park. Accessing the viewpoint is conveniently achieved through a brief walk, guiding you to various lookout points, each unveiling a distinctive and awe-inspiring perspective of South Africa’s diverse terrain.

8. Drakensberg Mountains

Arriving in Johannesburg, there are two absolute must-visit destinations in South Africa that shouldn’t escape your itinerary: Kruger National Park and the Drakensberg Mountains. The Drakensberg, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for thrilling adventures such as hiking and cycling. As South Africa’s highest mountain range, extending over 1000 km, the Drakensberg is bound to provide you with memorable adventures.

Renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, these mountains not only attract hikers and nature aficionados but also house a precious legacy of ancient rock art. Crafted by the San people over millennia, these rock art sites are globally significant, offering a fascinating glimpse into the lives and beliefs of early inhabitants.

Home to thousands of these ancient rock art sites, the Drakensberg boasts its most renowned ones in the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. This park seamlessly blends the wonders of nature with the intrigue of ancient history, making it an indispensable stop on your South African journey.

Whether you choose Johannesburg or Durban as your home base, the Drakensberg Mountains are easily accessible. We opted for Durban as our base, adding an extra layer of coastal charm to our exploration of this majestic mountain range.

About the Great Escarpment

Extending over 5,000 kilometers and rising to elevations of up to 3,482 meters above sea level, the Great Escarpment is a geographical marvel. Its highest point boasts a striking cliff face that serves as a dramatic demarcation between the elevated central plateau and the lower lying regions. This impressive natural feature predominantly traces along the eastern and southern coasts, making its presence felt even in the Northern Cape.

The Great Escarpment unfolds as a paradise for day hikes, offering a landscape where avid birdwatchers can indulge in their passion. The region’s spectacular views, especially notable in areas like the Drakensberg Mountains, enhance the allure of this natural wonder, inviting exploration and appreciation of its grandeur.

9. Visit Cape Town

Cape Town stands out as one of those incredible cities that inspire the sentiment, “I could live here!” A harmonious blend of beauty, culture, and contemporary living defines the city, offering everything from vibrant markets to stylish boutiques and a myriad of adventurous opportunities.

Dominating the cityscape is the iconic Table Mountain, set against the backdrop, with the bustling V&A Waterfront in the foreground. The view from a boat is nothing short of magnificent. Whether you choose to ascend Table Mountain via a cable car or opt for a hike, the experience is equally awe-inspiring. For thrill-seekers, there’s paragliding off Lions Head and the exhilarating option of abseiling (rappelling) down the mountain—an adventure that truly defines Cape Town and ranks as its number one must-do activity.

10. District Six Museums

Nestled in Cape Town’s city center, the District Six Museum presents a poignant and educational exploration of a pivotal chapter in South Africa’s history. Focused on the District Six community, which endured mass evictions during the apartheid era, the museum serves as a testament to the profound impact of this dark period.

Within its walls, an array of exhibits unfolds, showcasing personal narratives, photographs, and artifacts that vividly depict a narrative of resilience amidst adversity. An interactive map stands out as a compelling feature, allowing former residents to mark their former homes, forging a personal and emotional link to the past.

District Six Museums

Operating from Monday to Saturday, the museum welcomes visitors with a reasonable entry fee, positioning itself as an essential stop for those keen on unraveling Cape Town’s history. Beyond being a mere history lesson, the District Six Museum provides an immersive and heartfelt experience, serving as a vital resource for travelers seeking a meaningful understanding of Cape Town’s journey through and beyond the apartheid era.

“If you’re eager to plan this incredible tour, give us a call at +91 981-150-2655 to discuss your dream adventure: Talk to us!” 

11. Take The Cable Car Up Table Mountain

Embarking on the ascent of Table Mountain, Cape Town’s iconic landmark, promises an indelible experience that stands out as a pinnacle for any traveler. Simplifying this journey while enhancing its scenic splendor is the Table Mountain Cableway. This cable car adventure unfolds as a visually stunning escapade, offering passengers a 360-degree panoramic spectacle of Cape Town, the Atlantic Seaboard, and the surrounding mountains.

Distinguished by its unique rotating floor, the cable car ensures that every passenger enjoys an uninterrupted view of the evolving landscapes. Upon reaching the summit, visitors are greeted by awe-inspiring vistas of the city, along with a network of hiking trails to further explore the mountain’s beauty.

Operational daily, weather permitting, the cable car ride is a popular activity. To streamline the experience, it’s recommended to secure tickets online in advance, ensuring a seamless journey without the hassle of queues.

12. Go Paragliding Off Of Lion’s Head

Embarking on a paragliding adventure off Lion’s Head in Cape Town stands as an exhilarating experience, securing its place at the forefront of South Africa’s must-do activities. Lion’s Head, a prominent landmark in the city, serves as an ideal launch site for paragliding, courtesy of its optimal elevation and the favorable winds drifting in from the Atlantic Ocean.

As you gracefully glide through the sky, a mesmerizing panorama unfolds, featuring the iconic Table Mountain, the glistening waters of Camps Bay, and the urban tapestry of Cape Town sprawling beneath you. Catering to both beginners and seasoned paragliders, this activity is conducted under the supervision of professional instructors, guaranteeing a safe and unforgettable journey.

Paragliding from Lion’s Head transcends the realm of a mere adrenaline rush; it offers a unique opportunity to witness the captivating beauty of Cape Town from an extraordinary perspective. Seamlessly blending adventure, breathtaking natural scenery, and the sheer thrill of flight, this activity emerges as an absolute must-do for anyone exploring South Africa.

13. Visit Robben Island

A visit to Robben Island stands as a somber yet essential experience when exploring South Africa, particularly Cape Town. Delving into the nation’s apartheid history, the island served as a prison for Nelson Mandela and other anti-apartheid activists, making it an integral stop for those seeking a profound understanding of the country’s past. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island preserves the legacy of Mandela’s 29-year imprisonment.

Embark on a boat journey to the island to witness firsthand how political prisoners were treated during the apartheid era. The tour offers a poignant exploration of the maximum-security prison, shedding light on the harsh conditions endured by political detainees. Visitors have the opportunity to see Nelson Mandela’s unaltered cell, frozen in time since his incarceration.

During our 2008 visit, our guide, a former prisoner, shared personal experiences from his time in captivity. While it’s unlikely many such firsthand accounts remain today, their stories linger, emphasizing the despair of being able to glimpse the beauty of Cape Town without a means of escape.

For a comprehensive experience, consider booking the Township and Robben Island Combo Tour. This guided tour provides insights into where Mandela, fellow political prisoners, and anti-apartheid activists spent decades behind bars, offering a deeper understanding of this critical period in South Africa’s history.

14. Apartheid Museum

South Africa’s history is intricately woven with the profound era of apartheid, a chapter that indelibly shaped the nation’s identity and governance from 1948 to 1994. In response to global pressure, the South African Government eventually dismantled apartheid laws, leading to the election of a black majority government with Nelson Mandela at the helm.

Throughout South Africa, various sites pay homage to the struggles and triumphs of the anti-apartheid movement. From the poignant District Six Museum to the historic streets of Soweto and the solemn grounds of Robben Island where Nelson Mandela endured imprisonment, these locations bear witness to the nation’s turbulent history.

Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum, situated in the heart of the city, delivers a profoundly moving experience, meticulously chronicling the apartheid era through compelling exhibits and narratives. This museum is a crucial visit for those seeking an in-depth understanding of South Africa’s past and its ongoing journey toward reconciliation.

Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm, the museum provides ample time for visitors to explore its extensive collections. With a modest entry fee, it remains accessible to all travelers. Conveniently located, it’s easily reached from central Johannesburg, offering an engaging and educational day out for anyone interested in the pivotal moments of South African history. Visiting the Apartheid Museum transcends mere tourism; it’s an immersive journey into the heart of what has shaped modern South Africa.

15. Go Surfing

South Africa stands out as a premier destination for surfers, boasting an extraordinary coastline and world-class waves, particularly in the Western Cape. Renowned for its surfing hotspots, such as the iconic Jeffrey’s Bay with its flawless right-hand break and Dungeons, famous for its challenging waves, the Western Cape beckons surf enthusiasts from all corners.

Catering to surfers of every skill level, from novices to experts, the Western Cape offers a diverse array of beaches. Here, surfing transcends mere sport; it’s an opportunity to immerse oneself in South Africa’s vibrant beach culture, connect with nature, and witness the dynamic convergence of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. For travelers seeking an adventurous dimension to their South African journey, riding the waves in the Western Cape promises an unforgettable fusion of thrilling sports, breathtaking scenery, and the distinctive ambiance of South Africa’s shores.

In Port Elizabeth, situated on the South Coast of South Africa near Jeffrey’s Bay, you can secure surfing lessons to enhance your skills.

Durban, another popular destination, particularly caters to beginners. Moreover, the waters of the Indian Ocean on this side of the country are notably warmer than the Atlantic side, offering a more inviting experience for surf enthusiasts.

16. Spy On The Simons Town Penguins

South Africa stands out as one of the finest locations to observe penguins, rivaling even Antarctica. Take the opportunity to rent a car and visit the charming penguin colony in Simon’s Town at Boulder’s Beach. The journey itself is a visual feast, guiding you through the breathtaking Chapman’s Peak, considered one of the most scenic drives on the planet. These adorable creatures, easily the cutest attractions in the country, can be observed from the boardwalk.

While on a day trip to Simon’s Town, extend your drive to the Cape of Good Hope for unparalleled coastal vistas. The route from Cape Town to this iconic destination ranks among the world’s most spectacular drives, offering an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking the best of South Africa’s natural beauty. For more personalized assistance and bookings, reach out to us at 098115 02655 or visit our Talk to Us. Your journey to SOUTH AFRICA begins here!