I have a long list of places I want to see and experiences I want to live. But South Africa .. hmm .. was never in my list. Actually the idea of travelling in African continent never crossed my head. My work requires me to interact with our colleagues in different countries of Africa, but somehow I never thought that Africa can be a part of bucket list.
Then came the day, when my senior told me of our 1 week business visit to South Africa. I started googling on what is South Africa, geographically, historically, for touristy etc. And oh Boy! I was so excited to know what South Africa has to offer !!
After a lot of R&D (and everything from scratch, since I was absolutely clueless on SA) I made a list of things that I would want to see and do in SA. Broadly there 9 provinces (states) in SA and each state is known for something or the other (I guess each province has its own tourism website as well, so can be a good idea to check these websites). There are 3 main cities where tourists go – Cape town, Johannesburg and Durban. The most exciting experiences are – Jungle safaris (called game reserves), road trip, adventure (I mean crazy adventure here) and ofcourse gambling ad partying in the black continent.
Let me also mention here, that because of time constraint, I could not do any of the things I am gonna list here. Nevertheless I felt that a handy list (some base work) can be helpful to anyone who is planning a trip in SA. So here it goes:
- Forests and game reserves – See the BIG 5 of Africa
Besides some of the biggest national parks, SA has a lot of game reserves (both public and pvt owned) and also a number of lion parks, rhino parks and the likes. A national park is HUGE! Kruger is the most popular and the biggest among them. So goes without any emphasis, that if you are in Africa, you have to visit a Forest. The list of options is never ending. I suggest go for the one which has all of the Big 5 (Lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and ..) and is convenient to visit. Give a miss to pvt game reserve and lion parks .. (the animals here look very tamed).
- Adventure – Bungee jumping, sky diving, sharks and what not!
Yes the number of activities that you can do in SA are many. There is world’s highest commercial bungee jumping at Bloukran’s bridge. Dive with the great white sharks in Cape town. If you want to see whales go to Hermanus. An aerial cable car in cape town takes you to Table mountain
- Road trip - Its picturesque
Here is the link of top 5 road trips in SA. A travel guide told me that the one through the ‘Garden route’ is quite nice. I think selection of road trip will depend more on the itinerary that you make.
- History – Human evolution
A museum in Joburg called ‘Cradle of Humankind’ is about human evolution. There is a museum on Apartheid as well.
I am sure you would add a night in the club of Cape town or Joburg in your list.
So that’s a sketchy list of what you can do in SA.
Another thing which I want to add here is that, while your vacation will keep you in and around the touristy areas of SA, it is also important to see the not so good part of the continent. If you get time, do take a cab and take a drive through the ‘slums’ of SA. I think your picture of SA is incomplete if you don’t capture the ‘True Africa’.
Be safe and be alert all the times.