South Africa really does have loads to be proud of as far as tourism is concerned. We live in a country that is remarkable in so many ways. In fact, we don’t seem to enjoy our beautiful country enough and perhaps it’s time for that to change.
We have put together a list of some of the most beautiful spots in South Africa – some of them tourist meccas and others a little less well-known – in an effort to bring back some of the positivity that we should be cleaving to. As one of the most diverse countries in the world, we should be proud of our picturesque landscapes, experimental cuisines, and a nation of people who, at the end of the day, have some of the broadest and most welcoming smiles in all of Africa.
1. Cape Agulhas
Let’s start at the southern-most tip of Africa, where the iconic red and white lighthouse warns seafarers against the treacherous coastline of the “Cape of Storms”. The crisp, coastal air itself is filled with a sense of mystery, harkening back to an age where legends roamed the Cape as if they had a life of their own. A day-trip out to this beautiful spot is definitely worth it – pack a roadtrip lunch and explore the coastline, it’s the simplest way to break away from the humdrum of the suburbs for a while.
2. Riebeek Kasteel
While we’re on the theme of mystery, Riebeek Kasteel, shrouded in its cloak of old-world charm, is one of the oldest towns in the country. Nestled cosily in the gorgeous Riebeek Valley, this town is only 80km away from Cape Town’s city centre. Though small enough to preserve that sense of elegant “oldness”, Riebeek Kasteel is filled to the brim with top-notch eateries, galleries, and knick-knack shops. Of course, it’s the surge of wine and olive culture that really brings this little gem to life.
3. Rovos Rail
It seems we’re setting a trend for old-world South African adventuring in this post, and there is no better way to experience chic elegance than taking a trip back to the 1920s. Considered by many to be the most lavish passenger train in the world, the Rovos Rail carries passengers from Cape Town to Pretoria or as far afield as Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. This elite train has room for a maximum of 72 lucky guests in its wood-panelled rooms at any given point in time. With decadent fine-dining, luxury suites, and the occasional throaty chuff of steam; this is certainly one for the bucket list of South Africans and tourists alike.
When early morning mist rolls over lush green hills and through the streets of Dullstroom, there is no doubt that this is one of the most mystical settlements in South Africa. Fishing enthusiasts will find no shortage of Rainbow and Brown trout in this charming Mpumalanga town, whilst the nature enthusiasts in each travelling group will find no shortage of scenic spots, remarkable wildlife, and outdoor activities.
5. Pilgrim’s Rest
This 19th century gold-mining town is thought to be one of the most prolific spots for history buffs and ghost hunters. Beautifully preserved in its original glory, this is possibly the best place to experience the history of the Gold Rush and everything that went along with it. Explore the mish-mash of Victorian and Edwardian architecture before having a fun dress-up photoshoot, immersing yourself in the culture of years gone by. Stop for a spot of tea or a delicious lunch, rounding off your visit with an act that pays homage to the food-centered passions of the town’s gold-starved, ambitious founders.