5 Authentic Experiences You Must Try in South Africa

South Africa is home to the Ubuntu Spirit (“I am because we are “/humanity).

A trip to South Africa should be at the top of every traveler’s bucket list.  With endless landscapes, rich cultural history, tongue-tantalizing cuisines, and wines, you can’t help but have the time of your life here.

Below is a list of things to add to your to-do list when visiting South Africa.

Table Mountain

Table Mountain is South Africa’s most iconic landmark.  It is recognized as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World.  It is one of the world’s oldest mountains dating back over 600 million years.  On its flat top – just like a table –you can witness all the beautiful views of Cape Town.

Robben Island

If you are interested in learning about South Africa’s heritage, Robben Island is a spot you should add to your list.  A 30–45 minute boat trip to Cape Town’s coast takes you to this once maximum-security prison that held political prisoners.  And this is where Nelson Mandela – an apartheid struggle hero and former president of South Africa – spent 18 years imprisoned. 

Apartheid Museum

The Apartheid Museum is one of the museums that document the history of apartheid and highlights South Africa’s long fight for freedom. 

The Apartheid Museum is most certainly an eye-opener to the harsh conditions the people of this country had to experience during this inhumane regime.

At the museum, you will have an opportunity to visit the Mandela exhibition.  This exhibition accurately documents his involvement in South Africa’s democracy.  It highlights his early years, the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe (paramilitary wing of the African National Congress), his imprisonment, and his work as president of the country.

Shakaland Cultural Village

South Africa is known for its cultural diversity, but the Zulu culture is one of the most highlighted.  Shakaland Cultural Village honors the Zulu nation’s history by displaying the traditions of the Zulu tribe and King Shaka’s story.  He was crucial to his people’s identity, wars, and fighting techniques.  His strategic methods were used in their battles against the Boers and Europeans.

At Shakaland, you can have first-hand experience meeting a sangoma (witch doctor), learn Zulu customs and traditions, and participate in a traditional ceremony.

Kruger National Park

You can’t travel to South Africa and not go on an African safari.  The Kruger National Park is this magnificent country’s oldest game reserve.  It is home to the “Big Five” – lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo, and rhinos – and a vast amount of other wildlife.  There are on-site accommodations in the park for a nice tranquil getaway.

Even though you can go on self-drives through the park, a guided tour is recommended.  The guides track the animals and share their knowledge of the park and animals on these tours.  You will spot more animals on a guided tour than on a self-drive.

Cape Winelands

The Cape Winelands is a spread of luscious vineyards that produce award-winning wines.  You can find some of the best white, red, and sparkling wines on a day at the vineyards.  While in the Winelands, enjoy the beautiful landscapes by going on a hike or driving through the mountainside.

And now that you know some fabulous places to visit consider these safety tips when you go.

Like any country you travel to, it is vital to stay safe.  So, while you’re having fun in South Africa, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Avoid walking around with too much cash and expensive jewelry.
  • Never drive with your windows down and car unlocked.  It’s not only humans you need to be concerned about, but baboons and other creatures can be an issue in certain parts.
  • Stick to populated tourist areas.
  • Never hike alone!  Criminals can target these paths, and there is also the risk of injuries.
  • Visit beaches during the day.
  • Avoid leaving your belongings in full view in a parked car.
  • Stick to Uber or certified taxi services.

While South Africa might look small on a map, you should not underestimate the actual size of this country.  Make sure to set aside enough time to see as much as you can on your trip.  And be prepared to love it so much you want to visit over and over again.