11 Best Places to Visit in South Africa

Congratulations on your wedding! You've become Mr and Mrs now. The daily routine is again going to get you on the grip. If you can manage a spell of 5 or 7 days, just slip away to paradise. Spend a romantic time on your honeymoon in South Africa and rekindle the wedding excitement. Well, South Africa has many places to offer you solitude, fun, and adventure where no one would like to miss out on a moment to get cozy with your partner.

The most magical we experienced - that describes many who went on safari in Africa.

Whether you want to experience the magic of safari or gaze at the magnificent migratory whales that occupy stretches of the coastline, you’re sure to find something that's perfect for you. Start with an exploration of the Cape and the Little Karoo desert region before joining the Garden Route.

You can then fly up to Johannesburg and visit the picturesque Blyde River Canyon and the Drakensberg Mountains before heading to the world-famous Kruger National Park. South Africa is a magical place, full of surprises and with a wide range of both known and hidden gems.

The country is large and offers a wide variety and attracts visitors with its vibrant cities, tranquil vineyards, wild-roaming animals and amazing scenery. South Africa is equally suitable for first-time traveler as for the more experienced and is an ideal destination for families with children of all ages. Discover South Africa, too. It is guaranteed to be a trip you'll never forget!

As this region is the coldest between June and August, December is an ideal time to visit South Africa. Depending on where you holiday, you can expect temperatures ranging from 15 to 25 degree Celsius. Planning a holiday in South Africa can seem challenging as the place has so much to offer, from wildlife safaris and kayaking adventures to Indian Ocean coastlines and limestone caves.

best places to visit in South Africa

1. Franschhoek

While you are looking for a romantic getaway with your new partner, you can pick Franschhoek as your honeymoon destination. The best thing about this place is the Franschhoek Motor Museum for its vintage cars along with vineyards to enjoy fine wine amidst a romantic ride at Franschhoek wine tram.

Hot Air Ballooning is something very famous at Cape Town. You get to feel the breeze which caress your cheeks and blows your hair – nothing less than a romantic scene from a Hollywood movie. It's just a 40-minute drive from Cape Town. The place is breathtakingly beautiful – the stunning panoramas would leave you on a constant high. There are many companies offering you cool hot-air balloon packages.

You need to inquire about all these activities before your arrival so everything is planned. The average cost for a hot air balloon ride is around SGD 400; it would include some champagne and mouth-watering breakfast. They will take you up so high that you will be able to witness the majestic Table Mountain range, wheat fields, vast orchards and Vineyards.

Make sure to soak all these intimate moments with the love of your life by capturing some pictures and taking selfies. Do bear in mind that this activity is dependent on the weather. On days with rough weather, hot air balloons do not operate. So, choose a bright-windy day for a hot-air balloon ride.

Not to mention the best romantic places to stay during your journey are La Residence, The Last Word Franschhoek, The Garden House, and Plumwood Inn. Visit during September to November for the best honeymoon experience. Experience the beauty of Cape Town and discover how it feels to see whales and sharks in the Cape Floristic Region in Overberg.

2. East London

Step into the technicolour world of the Cape. Spectacular floral displays, superb mammal and bird sightings, and the chance of spotting southern-right whales off the coast, are just some of the things you can enjoy on this one-of-a-kind holiday.

The town of Port Saint Johns features some of the most stunning waves in South Africa. But Second Beach has aptly been named the most dangerous beach in the world due to its high frequency of fatal shark attacks. Gansbaai might be the Great White Shark Capital of the World, but they don’t have nearly the number of attacks as Second Beach.

Let me introduce to you the braai. Yes, on the 24th of September, every year, South Africans, all over the country stay home from work, to braai. And drink of course. Now the braai is held outside, and with it comes loud music, drinking, dancing and good times. A braai is almost never ever ever had by just one family alone. There are always people invited over, with 2 or 3 families generally involved, with anyone else told to pull in.

The absolutely unique smell of a braai is what jol (an occasion of celebration and enjoyment; a good time) would smell like, if jol had a scent.

Eating abalone is all about texture. When cooked right something like snail abalone offers simultaneously a butter but slightly chewy texture. While abalone has no real taste, what it does is to boost the flavours of other ingredients it is cooked with. So chicken tastes more like chicken etc.

3. Plettenberg Bay

The Garden Route's attractions — Cango caves, Plettenberg Bay, Knysna and Tsitsikamma are the most romantic places in South Africa. When you are planning for a perfect honeymoon trip with your partner, make your getaway through the most romantic forest, canopy tours, wild storms.

4. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Enjoy at the Tswalu Private Game Reserve in the Kalahari. Conservation is at the forefront of its operation and pangolin, aardvark and aardwolf are just some of the remarkable animals you could see there. There is also a photo safari version of this trip with a top wildlife photographer.

5. Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park

Follow the KwaZulu-Natal coast road to explore South Africa’s best wildlife reserves on a wonderful self-drive holiday. The endangered black rhino, leatherback turtle and African elephant are just some of the incredible species you’ll see along the way.

Another perfect getaway on your South Africa honeymoon is Elephant Coast, Kwazulu Natal. The best things to do here are gaming at the game lodge, soaking in tranquility at Nottingham road, Beverly Hills, and the upmarket at Oyster Box. You can stay at Beachcomb which is the most romantic place here.

6. Johannesburg

Nothing is more romantic than a romantic dinner at Carnival City and Entertainment World, and safari at the Lion Park. The best time to visit Johannesburg is August to October. And to make your stay more worth it, book a room at The Monarch Hotel and enjoy their delicious meals.

Did you know that a lion's roar can be heard 8 km away? It is actually one of the most vocal roar. By comparison, a human scream can be heard a few hundred meters away. Today there are about 20,000 lions left in Africa, so keep your ears open if you go on safari! Africa has the world's second largest growing tourism safari experience is what attracts most.

Choose whether you want to stay with a fixed point at a lodge or go on tour. South Africa is the key to some of Africa's best safari experiences. Take the time to explore all that the country has to offer.

7. Cape Town

Start with Cape Town and a scenic drive along the 'Garden Route' before you go north towards the Kruger National Park. Cape Town and the surrounding areas with vineyards, combined with safari is something you never forget.

8. Hermanus

Visiting Hermanus during your trip to South Africa is the unique opportunity to experience an overwhelming, exciting and exceptional show. At 120 km from Cape Town, Hermanus is one of the few places on the planet where you can spot a large number of whales from the mainland. At the end of September the Hermanus Whale Festival takes place.

Instead of settling for a short stop, as most tourists do, spend at least one full day in Hermanus. Throughout the ten kilometers of walk, you will see dozens and dozens of whales. Some show the head, the back or the tail. Others jump and cause a huge explosion of water. Sometimes they get so close to the shore that they can be heard communicating with each other.

It is fascinating. If along your walk you hear a kind of trumpet, do not get confused. It is simply the sound of the whales warning the population of their presence. A unique activity in the world.

9. Gansbaai

Cape Town area has a Mediterranean climate with humid winters and hot, dry summers. On the Gansbaai coast, you have the opportunity to dive in cages with great white sharks.

10. Durban

Durban has a warm ocean, and all the surfing, kite boarding and shark cage diving that goes with it. A short drive can take you to game reserves, the midlands or the Drakensberg (Dragons Back) mountains.

11. Kruger National Park

Have you long dreamed of marveling at South Africa’s incredible wildlife? About 6 hours by road from Johannesburg (although you can go by plane), it is totally inconceivable to schedule a trip to South Africa without including a view of the Kruger National Park. Explore the famous Kruger National Park in an open Land Rover, vineyard and be mesmerized by the colorful Cape Town.

Combine it with the tropical paradise of Bazaruto Island, off the coast of Mozambique. Enjoy at the exclusive private game reserve in the Kalahari. Conservation is at the forefront of this operation and guests can look out for a diverse range of species, including the pangolin, aardvark and aardwolf, while enjoying the service and amenities found in a luxury hotel.

You will explore the African Savannah, sleep under the stars in a luxury camp and discover the Big Five. There is no bad time for a safari in the Kruger National Park. In fact, it is fascinating to see the African Savannah in different seasons. Nature is a capricious lady and the truth is that you never know what you are going to see. The experience changes from one month to the next.

In the summer months, for example, it is very hot, which is ideal for those who want to escape the winter in the northern hemisphere and rest by the pool. The temperature in the winter months is ideal during the day, although some warm clothes are needed at night and early in the morning. The sighting of animals is easier and at night you can treat yourself with an excellent bottle of wine along with a crackling wood fire.

The best thing will be to experience both seasons! During the summer there are lots of beautiful migratory birds. The most common are the morning safaris that return early to avoid heat. In the autumnal period, the vegetation begins to change and the savannah goes from being a lush green color to a lesser vegetation with a brown tone.

The temperature starts to get colder at night, but during the day it is still hot. In the afternoon, heavy showers and thunderstorms may occur.

If you’re flying into Johannesburg (which is likely), book an additional internal flight to one of the towns/cities near Kruger, such as Nelspruit, and pick up your hire car there. It’s a long drive from Johannesburg to Kruger and you don’t want to waste two of your valuable vacation days driving back and forth. The cost of the hire car will vary, depending mainly on what vehicle you choose.

If your flight into Kruger is in the late afternoon or evening, book your Nelspruit flight for the following morning. The national park will not allow you to enter the gates and/or drive around the park at night so you’ll want plenty of time to fly into Nelspruit, pick up your hire car and drive to the park gates (around a 2 hour drive) and then head to your in-park accommodation before sunset. This means you’ll need to book an overnight stay at one of the hotels near the airport in Johannesburg.

For accommodation within the park there are many options available for a very reasonable price. On average, expect around $50 per person per night. The main camps are larger and have bungalows, shops and restaurants, whereas the bushveldt camps have accommodation only (bungalows), without any shops or restaurants.

They all have kitchenettes, so even if you’re staying in a bushveldt camp you can pick up food in one of the main camps while you’re driving around during the day and then cook it back at your own bungalow.

Book two different camps so you can explore a couple of different areas. Be advised when you look at maps that there are strict speed limits within the park because of the wildlife, so don’t expect to be travelling at more than 50km/hr and take this into account when gauging distances between camps. Camps have strict curfews.

In early winter, for example, you’re not allowed to leave camps before 0600 and have to be back in the camp gates before 1730. The gates are locked inbetween 1730 and 0600. Anyone driving around at night out of curfew will be considered a potential poacher and if you are locked out you’ll have to contact one of the rangers to let you in, attracting a fine for the effort. Do not be that guy (or gal).

Oh, one bit of advice concerning curfews: Allow yourself plenty of extra time to get to the gates before the sunset curfew - do not time your trip to the minute. Late afternoon, just before sunset, is when all of the elephants head towards water.

As most camps are placed near waterholes or riverbeds, there are usually elephants crossing the road when you’re trying to get back to camp and there’s no rushing them when they decide to take their time. They are much bigger than your vehicle and they know it. Don’t mess with elephants.

The biggest decision you’ll have to make is where in the park you’d like to concentrate your efforts. The southern end of the park has more wildlife by way of big game animals, or at least they are more readily visible there, so if you’re after the big five stay in the southern end of the park. Rhinos in particular are trickier to find in the northern end of the park.

The down side is that the southern end of the park tends to attract more people. If you don’t mind driving on dirt roads you can spend most of your time on those and that’ll reduce the number of other vehicles you’ll encounter. It will also increase your likelihood of seeing more wildlife, too, especially if you concentrate on driving on roads that run along riverbeds.

Get up really early in the morning, while it is still dark, so you’re ready to leave camp as soon as the gates are open. That’s when you’ll see most of the predators but even if you don’t, the lighting is at its best first thing in the morning and at the very end of the day, right before you hit camp.

Game driving usually consists of long quiet spells interrupted by spectacular, heart thumping sightings. If you’re like me and enjoy all wildlife, there is no getting bored as there is always something happening, but don’t get anxious if you don’t see something for a while. It’ll happen. Most people you encounter will be looking for lions and leopards and will ignore just about everything else.

Pack your bags and fly out to South Africa. Look for the best South Africa honeymoon packages and check out some amazing South Africa destinations. I must say, the honeymoon in South Africa is pure bliss to every couple out there. Why miss this opportunity, especially when you can create memories to cherish for life!
Kalyan Panja