Last updated on October 31st, 2019 at 11:23 am
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 cultural 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
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
- How to see South Africa in 7 days
- Is South Africa Safe to Travel Alone?
- Year-Round Packing List for South Africa
- 50 IMPORTANT Things to know before visiting South Africa for the first time
- What to expect when spending Christmas in South Africa
- MUST READ! Things to know before your first South African Safari
- A guide to driving in South Africa
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.
- 23 FUN things to do in Johannesburg and Pretoria
- Best Hotels near Johannesburg Airport
- Is Johannesburg safe for tourists?
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!
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!
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 exploring this multi-cultural destination flanked by the warm Indian Ocean and soaring peaks.
- 20 FUN Things to do in Durban – Activites and Day Trips
- A staycation at Brahman Hills
- Visiting Gwahumbe Game Reserve
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.
- A weekend in Parys
- Things to do in Free State
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.
- 18 FUN things to do in Cape Town
- Best Hotels in Cape Town
- Where to find the Penguin Beach near Cape Town
- A night at the Southern Sun Waterfront
- Food Walking Tour in Stellenbosch
- Staying at South Africa’s Oldest Hotel: Oude Werf Hotel in Stellenbosch
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 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.
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