Local travel is booming according to stats released by South African Tourism this week, which reported that from January to April 2019, domestic trips increased by 59,7 %, compared to the same period last year. Here are 10 unique experiences you’ll only find in SA:
Walking safari in the bushveld
Get as close to nature possible on a walking safari. Walking safaris aren’t exclusive to South Africa, but nowhere else are they as accessible, or is there so much choice.
“In the Kruger National Park, take a walking safari at Jock Safari Lodge, at Bakubung Bush Lodge in the North West and the Wildside Camp in Limpopo, a great value-for-money choice,” recommends Sue Garrett, Flight Centre Travel Group General Manager Marketing and Product.
“Bakubung's Bush Lodge is a favourite with families, as it's just a two-hour drive from Johannesburg and 10 minutes from Sun City, [making it] ideal for a bush-beach break.”
Tee off a mountain:
Avid golfers can add some adrenalin to their golf experience by teeing off at Limpopo’s Legend Golf and Safari Resort’s world-famous 19th hole. The world’s longest and highest Par 3, golfers up for the challenge are whisked up to the Hanglip Mountain by helicopter to tee off on the edge of the mountain, 400 metres above the Africa-shaped green below. The first 18 holes of the Signature Course are, while not as much of a thrill as the 19th, also iconic, with each designed by a golfing legend.
Spot the endangered African Wild Dog:
African Wild Dogs are the second most endangered carnivore in Africa. Research suggests there are just 5,000 Wild Dogs left in the world. Travellers to South Africa can learn about, see and help to conserve the species at key reserves. Guests booking a safari lodge experience can see Wild Dogs and other rare species in the Madikwe Game Reserve in the North West. The lodge introduced a Wild Dog identification kit, which guests can use to try to identify the dogs they spot.
Swim and sunbathe on a man-made beach
South Africa is not the only country in the world to boast of an artificial beach, but Sun City must be one of the most unique due to its ‘Lost City’ setting. Close to Johannesburg, travellers can be sunning and swimming in the waves in under two hours. Sun City is also just 4 km from Pilanesberg National Park, so an excellent option to combine with a walking safari.
Drink Rooibos in the Cederberg:
Rooibos tea is grown naturally nowhere else on earth. It grows in the fynbos of the Cederberg region and has been harvested there since the 18th century. Make a trip to the Cederberg where you get to hike or horse ride through the rooibos fields, learn about the cultivation process and enjoy a tea tasting or delicious rooibos-infused meals.
Wildflowers in the Northern Cape
With more than 3,500 different floral species, half of which occur nowhere else on Earth, we would wager that the Northern Cape’s Namaqualand floral region is on just about every South African’s bucket list. Come early August, the dry semi-arid desert is carpeted with blooms of orange Namaqualand daisies, purple vygies, blue sporrie and other colourful wildflowers almost overnight. Plan for a three-hour drive from Cape Town, and there are many hiking, walking, mountain biking and 4X4 trails.
The red dunes of the Kalahari:
The Kalahari region in the Northern Cape is sometimes referred to as the “forgotten corner” of South Africa. The distinctive red, arid sands stretch up into Botswana and Namibia, making the Kalahari desert the largest area of unbroken sand in the world. Here you can spot shy species such as the Cape fox, hyena, jackals and the black manned lion.
Hole in the Wall:
Hole in the Wall near Coffee Bay in the Wild Coast is a sandstone wall with a hole carved out of it. What makes the site truly Instagram-worthy is that the sea crashes through it as the tide comes in. Expect cows, traditional isiXhosa villages and not many other people. The area is magical, unspoiled, and wild.
Wine in the Winelands
South Africa is currently rated ninth among the biggest wine-producing countries in the world. With more than 560 wineries in the Cape, you couldn’t so much as throw a stone without hitting a wine farm in this award-winning region. With scenery as delicious as the wine, local and international visitors agree that this is one of South Africa’s most treasured attractions. The Constantia, Stellenbosch, Durbanville and Route 62 routes are the most popular.
Soak in an outdoor bathtub in a forest:
Get away with the fairies by heading off the beaten path in Hogsback, a tiny village hidden high up in the Amathole Mountains in the Eastern Cape. At the Away with the Fairies hostel, guests can have a bath in the outdoor tub hanging over the edge of the forest (the oldest in the country) overlooking the three Hogsback Mountains, from where the village gets its name. The tub is heated with a donkey boiler, and guests are responsible for keeping the fire lit. Book a 30-minute slot between 10 am and 8 pm.