Top 14 Best Tourist Attractions in South Africa. South Africa is home to some of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders, and the country’s myriad of attractions cater to travelers of all interests. For example, while some of the country’s top tourist attractions will appeal to history and culture buffs, others will appeal to nature lovers and travelers with a penchant for adventure. This list of the best tourist attractions in South Africa covers the country’s most famous natural wonders, as well as some of its lesser-known gems. So, if you’re traveling to South Africa and are looking for sights that are a little off the beaten path.
Top 16 Best Tourist Attractions in South Africa
Then keep reading for details on the top 15 tourist attractions in South Africa.
Table Mountain is one of South Africa’s most famous tourist attractions and unsurprisingly, a visit to the Cape Peninsula is not complete without a visit to this iconic peak. The 609m-high Table Mountain, which is actually a sandstone plateau, features a cluster of hiking trails and stunning views of Cape Town. The trails range from easy, kid-friendly options to more strenuous, challenging routes. Some of the best views of Table Mountain are from Kirstenbosch, the Cape Peninsula Forest and Devil’s Peak. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some wildlife, like Cape Mountain Zebra, Cape Lions or Cape Buffaloes, on your hike to Table Mountain.
Cape Town is one of South Africa’s most popular tourist destinations and with good reason: the city is a true eclectic smorgasbord of attractions and activities. From the Cape Point Nature Trail, to the Table Mountain Aerial Walk, to Cape Town’s world-famous beaches, to one-of-a-kind historical landmarks, there’s probably an attraction in Cape Town that will appeal to you. The city’s vibrant culture and deep history make it an especially appealing destination for history buffs. Cape Town is also an excellent place to take a first-time traveler.
Another of South Africa’s most famous beaches is Muizenberg Beach, which is located on the Cape Peninsula, just south of Cape Town. Stretching for nearly 5km, Muizenberg Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the country, thanks in part to its unassuming charm and laidback vibe. Many visitors to Muizenberg Beach choose to stay in one of Cape Town’s many affordable guesthouses, which are just a short walk from the beach. While most visitors to the beach choose to visit during the summer months, when waves are at their peak, Muizenberg Beach is open all year long, making it an appealing option for winter travelers.
Nelson Mandela’s Robben Island Prison
Mandela’s Robben Island Prison is located in Table Bay, just off Cape Town. The former prison, which is only open for guided tours, is one of the top attractions in the Western Cape, and for good reason. In addition to being a fascinating historical site, the prison features a fascinating museum that details the life of Nelson Mandela and Robben Island’s tumultuous history. The tour lasts around an hour, and includes a visit to the prison’s cell blocks, where visitors can peer into cells, which were home to some of the country’s most dangerous criminals. Robben Island is also known for its beautiful views, including views of Cape Town.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
If you’re looking for a tranquil escape, then Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are a great choice. The botanical gardens are located in Cape Town, and feature more than 5,000 species of plants and trees, including more than 650 species of trees. In addition to the botanical gardens’ fascinating flora, visitors can also enjoy more than 150 species of birds, including Cape Parrots and Ostrich, as well as a variety of animals, including White Antelope, Black-Backed Grysbills and the elusive Cape Reedbuck.
Durban August Heatwave
In the summer months, when temperatures in South Africa soar, Durban experiences what many visitors to the country call the country’s most appealing tourist attraction: the warm, sunny beaches of KwaZulu-Natal’s coast. The city’s beaches are not as well-known as Cape Town’s, or Port Elizabeth’s beaches, but they are no less beautiful. Visitors to Durban’s coast can choose from a variety of options, including Llandudno Beach, Bonnet Bay Beach, Stanger Beach and Plettenberg Bay Beach.
Nelson Mandela’s Former Home
If you’re looking for a more intimate, and perhaps less touristy, look at one of South Africa’s most famous tourist attractions, then consider a visit to Nelson Mandela’s Former Home. The home, which is located in Johannesburg, is where Mandela spent the years between his release from prison in 1990, and his inauguration as president in 1994. Today, the home is a museum, which features artifacts from Mandela’s life and career. Guests to the museum can also enjoy a guided tour of the home, which includes a look at the home’s gardens and pool area, which was featured in the film Invictus.
St. Mary’s Cathedral in Cape Town
Cape Town is a city that is home to many beautiful natural sights, including Table Mountain, Cape Point Nature Trail and Muizenberg Beach, but another of the city’s most famous tourist attractions is St. Mary’s Cathedral. The cathedral is also one of the city’s most famous landmarks, and is known for its stunning views. The cathedral is also home to South Africa’s most famous musical instrument: the Cape Town Zulu Male Voice Choir.
In addition to being the most recognizable natural landmark in Cape Town, the 46km-long Table Bay is also one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. The bay features a variety of attractions, including several beaches, several yacht marinas and the Cape Town aquarium. One of Table Bay’s most popular attractions is the Cable Bay walkway, which features a glass-bottom walkway that offers views of the city skyline.
Coega Power Station in Johannesburg
Coega power station is another of South Africa’s lesser-known tourist attractions. The power station, which is located in Cape Town, is the country’s most visually impressive piece of machinery, and one of its most interesting pieces of history. Coega was constructed between 1972 and 1976 and was part of a joint project between South Africa and the United Kingdom, which aimed to build a new coal-fired power station in Cape Town.
Johannesburg’s Hillbrow District
When you’re looking for a little adventure, then a visit to Johannesburg’s Hillbrow District is a must. The Hillbrow District is a bustling and eclectic neighborhood in Johannesburg that features plenty of eclectic attractions, from museums to art galleries to restaurants. For example, a visit to the 30-year-old Johannesburg Art Gallery might be just what you need to recover from the heat of the day.
Blyde River Canyon
Blyde River Canyon is one of South Africa’s lesser-known tourist attractions, but it is one of the country’s most beautiful natural wonders. The canyon is actually a series of 16 interconnected rivers, which are over 150km long and up to 30 meters wide. The Blyde River Canyon is located in North West province and is one of South Africa’s most remote tourist attractions. The Blyde River Canyon is also one of the country’s most challenging to reach: there are only two ways to get to the canyon, which is located in the Mooi River Reserve, or by boat.
Kruger National Park
Home to the Big Five, as well as lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and hippos, Kruger National Park is one of the most famous parks in South Africa. The wide variety of landscapes in the park offer visitors a variety of experiences, such as the chance to see iconic animals on the free-range Great Plains, rivers that attract millions of migratory birds, and the wetlands that attract millions of animal and bird species. This park is also known for being a haven for various minority communities, including the San and the Zulu.
Sabi Sands Game Reserve
If you’re looking for a true wilderness experience, then Sabi Sands Game Reserve is for you. This is one of South Africa’s oldest and largest game reserves and home to one of the world’s top five lion populations. The variety of landscapes in this park include the wide-open plains, sandstone cliffs, and forests. Visit between February and May, when the animals are in breeding season. You can spot different wildlife species, including lions, leopards, elephants, hyenas, zebras, and wildebeest.
South Africa is home to some of the most iconic wildlife in the world. You can find lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and giraffes in the same vicinity in the country. The Big Five National Parks are home to these animals, so if you’re looking for a wildlife experience, these are the places to go.
If you’re looking to add some adventure to your trip, then these national parks offer something for everyone. You can enjoy a variety of activities, including hiking, game viewing, and camping.