Cape Town - We know it, and you probably do too - South Africa is an awesome place.
Whether you're looking to relax, sight see, head off on an adventure, embrace the outdoors or try something new - there's something for everyone in this beautiful country.
And while there are the more “obvious” options, we've put together a few suggestions of places to go and things to see that are a little “less than typical.”
Parys - Free State
Parys is a small vibrant town in South Africa with loads to do. From abseiling and fly fishing to hiking, berry picking, art classes and more! Many artists have settled in the town and many new interesting shops and attractions make it the ideal breakaway close to Gauteng. If you're a lover of antiques, you need to make a stop in Parys.
Chintsa - Eastern Cape
Chintsa (formerly Cintsa) is a village in the Wild Coast region of the Eastern Cape, and is recognised as one of South Africa's prime coastal destinations. With a clear 15km stretch of beach, epic outdoor adventures, natural forest, and many cultural encounters, there's something for everyone in Chintsa.
Fun fact: The word “Chintsa” is a Xhosa word meaning 'river of crumbling banks', and it is pronounced in a very specific way. Most visitors say 'Sintsa', but the locals introduce a click sound at the beginning of the word.
Clarens - Free State
Clarens is a small town situated in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains in the Free State and is nicknamed the “Jewel of the Eastern Free State.” With so much beauty all around, it's no wonder why many an artist finds inspiration in Clarens. From horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking, to playing golf, archery, or heading off on hot air balloon rides, the list of “things to do in Clarens” is endless.
Stanford - Western Cape
Looking for a chilled getaway with the family or your significant other? Stanford could be just what you're looking for. Only 30 minutes from Hermanus, this little town is filled with antique stores, vineyards and coffee shops. For the outdoorsy type, there's bird watching, shark cage diving and more!
Cullinan - Gauteng
Another small town in SA with so much beauty. A mere 30 minute drive from Pretoria, this well-preserved mining town along the diamond route has loads to offer the inquisitive traveller. Cullinan's focal point is Oak Avenue, which is lined with jacaranda and oak trees, and cottages with intricate wrought-iron work. Add to that abseiling, bongo drumming, gorge gliding and quad trails - and you're not likely to run out of things to do and see if you take a trip out to Cullinan.
Things to do
The Big Pineapple in Bathurst - Eastern Cape
If “seeing the biggest artificial pineapple in the world” is on your bucket list, then you'll be pleased to know that it may be a little easier to get to than you think. Located in Bathurst (one of the largest pineapple growing areas in South Africa) the 16.7 metre-tall pineapple makes for epic photos! And that's not all. Inside of the giant pineapple is a pineapple museum. Cultural experiences for the win!
The Big Baobab in Modjadjiskloof - Limpopo
The Sunland Big Baobab, over 1 000 years old, is 10.64 metres in diameter and is 19 metres high. That's big. Pretty big. This particular baobab located on the Sunland Farm is particularly famous because in its hollowed trunk there is a bar and a wine cellar! Definitely worth checking out.
Valley of Desolation in Graaff Reinet - Eastern Cape
Ever wondered what the product of volcanic and erosive forces of nature over 100 million years looked like? Well, wonder no more! The Valley of Desolation, a sheer cliff face, declared a national monument (that lies within the Camdeboo National Park - 14 kilometres outside of Graaf Reniet), is a geographical phenomenon with a unique Karoo landscape and ecosystem that creates a type of oasis in the midst of the aridness of the Karoo.
Spider Lady in Hanover - Northern Cape
If you're someone with a fascination/love/obsession with spiders (we're not judging you, we swear) you'll be delighted to know that there's a lady in Hanover (in the Northern Cape) who shares your fondness. Marie de Jager has learnt a lot about these creatures, and has transformed her house into a living museum. Locked in secure cages and tanks are a number of spiders and scorpions only of which five are venomous. The Spider crab is the most venomous one she has in her collection and it is nearly 10 years old. Some of the others she has are velvet spiders, a button spider and tarantula. (We got the heebeejeebies just writing this…)
Cape Desert Safari - Western Cape
Encounter deep canyons and towering dunes, diverse wildlife and fascinating tribal culture on this exciting tour through Namibia and the Cape, mixed with a host of adrenaline activities (including sand dune boarding) along the way.
* Visit http://www.statravel.co.za/south-africa.htm for more info
Adapted from a press release for IOL