It doesn’t matter how many countries I visit or how many trips I have booked in the calendar, I’m always thinking about where I can go NEXT. It’s that ol’ insatiable wanderlust. A blessing and a curse. But it means that there’s always a destination floating around in my head, creating itineraries and wishlists when I haven’t even booked flights.
Well one of the countries floating around that noggin of mine is South Africa. The wildlife, the cities, the epic landscapes, I just really need to go. Like now.
So when the fab folk over at Ashanti Backpackers asked me what was on my South Africa wishlist, I figured it was a good chance to get it all down on paper. So here you go, my ultimate bucketlist of things to do and see in the southernmost country in Africa.
The Ultimate South Africa Bucketlist
Go On Safari at Kruger National Park
I mean numero uno on my list of things to do is obvs to go on safari. It’s a given, right?
Well I’ve been looking at Kruger National Park tours recently and they look pretty epic. As the oldest game park in South Africa it boasts lots of beautiful animals including of course the Big 5, as well as lots of species of birds and reptiles. I also like that they have lots of conservation projects protecting endangered species like the African wild dogs and black rhinos. So freaking cool.
Ugh, can I go now?
See the Cape Town Sunset From Table Mountain
The 3,500 ft flat-topped mountain is a South Africa must-see for sure. And I would just love to see the sunset over Cape Town from this epic vantage point. I’d like to say that I would want to hike up the mountain, but I know you guys would see right through that. I’d definitely opt to take the scenic cablecar to the top… Just saying.
Take a River Safari at Isimangaliso Wetlands Park
Ok we’ve covered the traditional safari, but how about a river safari? I’d love to take a boat cruise up the St Lucia Estuary within Isimangaliso Wetlands Park, a World Heritage Site. You can spot hippos and crocodiles and birds of prey in their natural habitat. It sounds awesome!
There’s also so much more to Isimangaliso Wetlands Park, including beautiful lakes, pristine beaches and a coastline that remains one of the only major nesting sites in Africa where Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles still lay their eggs!
Road Trip the Garden Route
This stretch of highway between Heidelberg in the Southern Cape to Storms River Village on the Eastern Cape border, covers so much gorgeous scenery. From ancient forests to mountain retreats, it’s apparently full of hidden gems. It’s also a fab place to go wine-tasting so yeah sign me up.
Oh and word has it you can also spot dolphins and whales from this part of the country! I love that so much in South Africa involves wildlife. So cool.
See the Penguins at Boulders Beach
I mean, the only place on earth to get up close to African penguins? Yeah, of course I’m in. You can view these beauts from the boardwalks of Boulders Beach, just outside Cape Town, and watch them waddle along! HOW CUTE. Unfortunately these adorable little guys are endangered though and I’d be keen to support penguin conservation efforts through South African National Parks (SANParks).
Visit the Apartheid Museum
I always think a key part of visiting somewhere new, is getting a sense of the destination’s history. With that in mind, I’m really interested in visiting the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. I think it would be really enlightening to learn more about the racial segregation of the 20th century and how that has developed into today’s society.
Soweto in Johannesburg has a history deeply entwined with the struggle against apartheid and is the birthplace of Nelson Mandela. Today it’s famous for having vibrant street life and artwork. The Orlando Power Station Cooling Towers are a landmark, painted with large colourful murals, and there’s even a bungee jump for the adventurous crowd! (Think I’ll skip that one…)
The Big Hole
Thought to be the world’s largest hand-dug hole, The Big Hole is aptly named. Not only is this an impressive sight, with it’s beautiful turquoise waters, but it is a former diamond mine full of history. You can even go down a mine shaft 840 ft underground, as well as view some of the pretty diamonds that were mined here. I feel like there would be such a stark difference between the diamonds and the former mine conditions, that it would be a bit surreal, you know?
Explore the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
I’m not normally one for a botanical garden, but Kirstenbosch really seems like a special one. Not only can you discover the best of South Africa’s flowers and plants but you can also smell your way through the fragrance garden, explore the sculpture park and view the gardens from above on the Tree Canopy Walkway. It just seems like a really nice day out tbh.
Oh and I’ve read they also do concerts there between November and March. That would be pretty sweet, huh?
Is there anywhere you think I’ve missed? Anywhere you would recommend to visit in South Africa?
Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!
Total Blogger Transparency: This post is sponsored by Ashanti Travel Centre but all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I wouldn’t play you like that, shorty.