Itinerary South Africa

101 BEST things to do in South Africa

08/22/2019

Last updated on October 21st, 2019 at 01:14 pm

Things to do in South Africa

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I’ve created a list of unique things to do in South Africa to help you plan your itinerary!

So you want to visit South Africa? From breathtaking scenery and incredible wildlife to rich, deep-seated culture and exhilarating nightlife, there’s so much to do and see in South Africa, it’s almost impossible to fit it all in.

First things first, when planning a trip to South Africa, you need to decide what do you want to do in South Africa? Do you want to see wildlife, meet locals and learn about the history, do you want to do culutral tours or explore the off beath path of South Africa? Do you want to go to touristy places or where the locals’ vacation?

Another important factor is your budget. Are you Backpacking South Africa? Only staying in luxurious resorts and lodges or are you doing a bit of both and traveling on a budget?

Thirdly, how will you get around in South Africa? Our public transport system isn’t that great when you get out of the big cities so will you be driving or traveling around with a tour bus?

Things to know about South Africa

While there are many things to do in South Africa, there are also things you should know about the country before visiting!

Where is South Africa

 South Africa, the southernmost country on the African continent, renowned for its varied topography, great natural beauty, and cultural diversity.

South Africa Map

South African Map

Map of South Africa

The currency of South Africa

ZAR (South African Rand) is the official currency of the Republic of South Africa.

Coins available: 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2, and R5 and notes: R10, R20, R50, R100, and R200.

Visa and Mastercard debit and Credit cards are widely accepted. American Express is only accepted in some places.

Languages that are spoken in South Africa

South Africa has 11 official languages.

South African languages: Afrikaans, English, South Ndebele, Pedi, Southern Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu.

Most South Africans are multilingual and English is widely spoken.

Vaccinations for South Africa

You won’t need any vaccinations unless you are coming from a country where Yellow Fever and Malaria are prevalent.

International Adapter for South Africa

15 amp 3-prong, with round plugs.

Safety in South Africa

South Africa often ends up in the news for the wrong reasons. Yes, it’s safe to visit South Africa but there are a few things to know before you come and who better than a local give you tips.

How big is South Africa

South Africa is the 24th-largest country in the world. It is about the same size as Colombia, twice the size of France, three times as big as Japan, four times the size of Italy and five times the size of the United Kingdom.

Capital City of South Africa

South Africa has three capital cities: Pretoria (executive capital), Bloemfontein (judicial), and Cape Town (legislative).

Do I need a visa to visit South Africa?

Most nationalities don’t need a visa to visit South Africa but some do.

You can visit the Department of Home Affairs’ official website to find out if you need a visa or not.

Note to reader: This was a long 10,000-word post which I have since turned into separate posts to improve readability.

 South Africa Travel Tips

Gauteng

In most cases, visitors arrive at Johannesburg International Airport located in the smallest and most crowded province in the country is Gauteng – which translates to “The City of Gold”.

While in Gauteng you have to visit Pretoria (now known as  Tshwane), this city boasts the second-largest concentration of foreign embassies in the world after Washington, DC.

Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga which means “Place where the sun rises” is home to 6.5% of South Africans, incredible landscapes and wildlife.

Bordered by Mozambique and Swaziland in the east, and Gauteng in the west, it’s the second-largest citrus-producing area in the country and is responsible for one-third of the country’s export in oranges.

Mpumalanga is an essential destination for any visitor and you should add the province to your things to do in South Africa list!

North West

South Africa’s North West province is home to some of the finest game reserves, cultural sights, archaeological treasures as well as entertainment resorts in the country!

Limpopo

Known for its diversity, beauty and the grand river that flows through it, Limpopo is the northernmost province in SA.

Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN)

 Known for its beaches, mountains, and savannah populated by big game, KZN is also home to the largest Indian community outside of India.

There are many unique things to do in South Africa including exploting this multi-cultural destination flanked by the warm Indian Ocean and soaring peaks.

Free State

The Free State province lies in the heart of South Africa near the landlocked Kingdom of Lesotho.

Its located between the north Vaal River and the south Orange River, the region is one of flat, rolling grasslands and crop fields, rising up to beautiful northeastern sandstone mountains.

Western Cape

Western Cape is the province bordering the Indian and Atlantic oceans.

It’s known for the port city of Cape Town, wine farms, the iconic Table Mountain National Park and Robben Island he infamous prison that once housed Nelson Mandela and is now a living museum.

Eastern Cape

One of the province’s greatest traits is that it is home to all seven of South Africa’s biomes –  grassland, savanna, succulent karoo, Nama karoo, forest, fynbos, desert, and thicket.

Northern Cape

Northern Cape is South Africa’s largest yet least populated province!

More South Africa Travel Guides

Get Insurance before visiting South Africa

Use travel insurance while visiting South Africa so you are covered for theft and medical expenses. There are a lot of adventurous activities to do in South Africa, and it’s best to have peace of mind while hiking and exploring.

 

 

Find out why I recommend World Nomads, check out my World Nomads Insurance review.

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a booking after clicking on a link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you!

11 Comments

  • Lerato
    08/21/2019 at 1:36 AM

    I’ve only been to Eastern Cape once and it was an amazing experience

  • Alissa
    08/17/2019 at 2:51 PM

    Great post, thanks for sharing! I spent a month roadtripping across South Africa, starting in Soweto and ending in Cape Town. It was a really incredible experience and I felt like even after a month there was still soooo much more to see. I especially loved the Eastern Cape. Your list definitely made me want to go back!!

  • Niry Krakanova
    05/17/2019 at 10:25 AM

    Nature looks so amazing in South Africa, that inland beach at the Valley of the Waves looks so interesting.

  • Eden Fite
    05/16/2019 at 7:07 PM

    South Africa is my number one dream destination, I can’t wait to visit here one day. I’m especially excited about the penguins at Boulder Beach. I smile so big every time I see pictures from there, they are so darn cute!

  • Adventuring with Shannon
    05/16/2019 at 5:41 AM

    Wow this is awesome! I am planning a trip to Africa next summer and this will definitely help me out.

  • Freedom Chasers
    05/15/2019 at 6:26 PM

    My wife’s from SA and is trying to convince me to travel there. Your article is going to be quite useful when we go

  • Just One Passport
    05/15/2019 at 6:16 PM

    I was thinking southern. Thanks!

  • Lerato
    05/15/2019 at 5:53 PM

    I might be biased because it’s where I’m from but the Southern African Region is my favorite. The West has great food too

  • Just One Passport
    05/15/2019 at 5:52 PM

    Which part is the best part to visit

  • Lerato
    05/15/2019 at 5:51 PM

    You will love it. So much to do in all 54 African countries

  • Just One Passport
    05/15/2019 at 5:44 PM

    Africa is Gorgeous! I have it on my bucketlist so I can do a safari. But there’s is SO much more to do. And so much history!

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