Apart from the Nelson Mandela mystique, the struggle and the resilience of the people against discriminatory Apartheid and the FIFA World Cup 2010 that is taking place in the country, South Africa is also the country of unrivalled natural beauty and striking wilderness. Here are the top 10 places worth seeing in South Africa, according to server Focus.de.TOURISM-REVIEW.COM reports.
Table Mountain ” The Best View of Cape Town”
The famous mountain is located in Cape Town and is 1,086 metres high. Vertical sandstone rock walls are topped by a plateau. The mountain is one of the most popular highlights in Cape Town. There are more plant species on the mesa than in the whole of Britain. The mountain offers a beautiful view of the city centre as well as the surrounding mountains and the ocean. You can also get here an interesting insight of the South African culture since it is a favourite picnic area for the locals. If you are not keen on walking you can also use a cable car that goes up every six minutes.
Garden Route, As Beautiful as Paradise!
Garden Route is a scenic stretch going from Mossel Bay to Paul Sauer Bridge and is about 300 km long. Not just the route but the whole 750 km long coast from Cape Town to Port Elisabeth offers numerous attractions to the visitors. Steep mountains, cliffs, white sand beaches, deep forests, semi deserts . These all are to be found in this narrow yet intriguing area with diverse vegetation. There are many coastal resorts that invite tourists to have a break and relax. In the sea you can also spot some penguins, whales and dolphins.
Robben Island, “The Symbol of Free Country”
About 10 kilometres far from Cape Town you can find a former prison island, Robben Island. The most prominent prisoner here was of course Nelson Mandela, the later Nobel Prize winner and the first black president of South Africa. Since he and many other political prisoners spent here many years in captivity it is one of the main tourism attractions in Cape Town. Today Robben Island is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also a symbol of free South Africa.
Sterkfontein Caves “The Cradle of Humankind
Sterkfontein Caves, a world heritage site, are located approximately 50 km northwest of Johannesburg and are worth visiting not only because of its stalagmites and stalactites but also for the historic discoveries that were made there” e.g. 2.6 million year old bones of hominid man. This was in fact the missing link between a man and an ape. The caves are also known for another finding, approximately four million year old skeleton called the Little Foot. A visitor’s centre has been newly built there with an exhibition portraying the evolution of men.
Cape Winelands South Africa for Wine Lovers
Cape Winelands is the largest wine producing region in South Africa boasting some of the oldest wine estates and homesteads. Many travellers come to get their first South African experience right here where they can choose among several award-winning wines and restaurants. Most of the local farms and wineries offer wine tastings and cellar tours. The wine growing tradition in South Africa dates back to the 17th century. Since then the local wines reached fame all around the world and today the country produces 1 billion litres of wine annually.
Kruger National Park’ Safari for Your Camera
Every visit in Africa should include the experience of safari with lions and elephants. This is exactly what you can expect in Kruger National Park, one of the largest game reserves on the continent. Don’t forget your camera and try to take a picture of the Big Five (leopard, elephant, buffalo, rhino and lion.) Besides that you can expect 130 species of mammals, 48 species of fish, 114 kinds of reptiles and 468 types of birds. So do not hesitate, take your children and let the fun begin!
Sun City “Las Vegas” of South Africa
Sun City is a popular luxury and casino resort nicknamed the Las Vegas of South Africa. It is located 150 km northwest from Johannesburg in the immediate vicinity of the Pilanesberg National Park. Casinos, shows, luxurious hotels, artificial waterfalls, golf courses and sports facilities are exactly what you can expect there. It is actually the only place in northern South Africa where gambling is not prohibited.
Phinda Game Reserve “Seven Ecosystems”
Phinda Game Reserve lies on the east coast 300 km away from Durban. It is one of the most fascinating protected areas in the country. There are seven different ecosystems covering 140 square kilometres including palm savannah and mountain bush, rare sand forest and dense thornveld. The diversity lures geographers, botanists, and biologists and of course tourists from all over the world. There are many opportunities how to go on safari here (besides the traditional jeep) however, you can also opt for canoes or rafts.
Drakensberg and the Dramatic Blyde River Canyon
Drakensberg, the highest mountain range in South Africa, was the source of inspiration of J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the famous Lord of the Rings trilogy. No wonder if you feel like in the Middle Earth when visiting the region. One of the most visited highlights of Drakensberg area is the Blyde River Canyon that is about 26 km long and up to 800 m deep. It is one of the greatest natural wonders in the country and one of the largest canyons in the world.
The Apartheid Museum: Remember the History
Opened in 2001, the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg is probably the most impressive as well as the most visited museum in South Africa. Portraying the history of segregation that started in 1948 and ended only in 1994 the museum offers an emotional and sometimes disturbing experience. The highlight of the museum is a reconstruction of an isolation cell bringing relief to the visitors that the times have already changed in South Africa.