South Africa
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Things to do in South Africa

Things to do in  South Africa

Welcome to South Africa

One of the largest countries in Africa by area and population, South Africa entices travelers with stunning landscapes, incredible diversity, unique cuisine, and unforgettable experiences. Johannesburg is one of the main international gateways and home to the acclaimed Apartheid Museum, which is not far from Soweto township. You can visit both on guided tours, which include transportation and provide insider information from a guide. Cape Town on the western coast of the country is one of the oldest cities in South Africa. The iconic Table Mountain looms over the city, and the famous winemaking towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are in the nearby Cape Winelands. Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, sits just off the coast from Cape Town and is reachable by ferry. Durban, on the eastern coast, offers another look at South African life with its Zulu and Indian influences. Garden Route tours during the spring give visitors a chance to see a profusion of local flora in bloom, while safari tours are one of the most popular activities in South Africa, from the enormous Kruger National Park to smaller game reserves all over the country. Choose to visit on a day trip or opt for longer multi-day tours to enjoy game drives in search of Africa's "Big Five." South Africa is also a common starting point for tours that visit other nearby countries, such as Zimbabwe or Zambia to see the mighty Victoria Falls, or Botswana to explore Chobe National Park or the Okavango Delta.

Top 15 attractions in South Africa

Robben Island

Robben Island—where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years—was a place of isolation for nearly three centuries, housing many political prisoners and serving as both an asylum and leprosy colony. Today, the island remains a tangible symbol of political freedom and a reminder of the difficult road to South African democracy.More


For most, Soweto (short for South West Townships) is synonymous with resistance to apartheid, South Africa’s former policy of racial segregation. The township’s complex past is visible in Soweto’s moving museums, historical monuments, and strong traditions.More

Boulders Beach

With pristine white sands and calm turquoise waters hemmed in by gigantic granite boulders, Boulders Beach is one of the Cape Peninsula’s most magnificent beaches. Located just outside Simon’s Town, the beach is protected as part of the Table Mountain National Park and renowned for its African penguin colony.More

Cape Point

Panoramic ocean views, towering cliffs, and 100-year-old lighthouses define Cape Point, located at the tip of South Africa’s Cape Peninsula. Set within the Cape Floral Region (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Table Mountain National Park, the reserve is a haven for hiking, wildlife viewing, and photography.More


Lined with brightly colored houses and lively streets, Bo-Kaap is as vibrant as it is culturally rich. The historic neighborhood, set just outside central Cape Town on the flanks of Signal Hill, is a dynamic melting pot of Malaysian, India, Sri Lankan, and African culture. It was one of the first settlements of freed slaves and Muslim immigrants in South Africa.More

Table Mountain and Cableway

Table Mountain is a must-see for all Cape Town visitors. The panoramic views from the top of its 3,563-foot (1,086-meter) peak are well worth the climb—though you won’t have to break a sweat thanks to the mountain’s two cableways, each with a revolving car ferrying passengers to the summit. Once at the top, a series of hiking trails show off Table Mountain National Park’s geographic features, while daredevils can test their mettle by rappelling from the upper cable station.More

Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve

With its huge sea cliffs, bays, and valleys, the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve—situated at the very tip of the Cape Peninsula—is one of the most scenic spots in South Africa. A trip to Cape Point and the reserve, part of Table Mountain National Park, is an easy must-do when visiting Cape Town and highlights include animal sightings, scenic drives, and deserted beaches.More

Apartheid Museum

The Apartheid Museum details the injustice, cruelty, and absurdities of white minority rule in South Africa. Apartheid, meaning “separateness” in Afrikaans, was officially in effect from 1948 to 1994, though segregation had been a cornerstone of South African politics since the country’s inception. The museum is dedicated to helping South Africa overcome its oppressive past and look toward the future.More

Voortrekker Monument

The granite Voortrekker Monument towers 200 feet (60 meters) above Pretoria. The monument was built to honor the Great Trek—a 19th-century exodus from the then British-ruled Cape Colony to central South Africa. The monument depicts the treacherous journey in the Hall of Heroes, and an empty tomb represents the lives lost on the trek.More

Chapman’s Peak Drive

Chapman's Peak is a mountain on the Cape Peninsula with a 5.5-mile (8.8 kilometers) road, said to be one of the world’s most scenic drives. The road winds from Hout Bay to Noordhoek, clinging to the side of the steep mountain almost the whole way. Traveling this road’s 114 turns is a must-do in Cape Town.More

Table Mountain National Park

Table Mountain's distinctive plateau is the backdrop for iconic Cape Town views, but that's just the beginning of its namesake national park. Stretching the length of the Cape Peninsula, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to hiking trails, diverse flora and fauna, and—of course—South Africa’s most famous coastal and mountain vistas.More

Chobe National Park

Located the northeastern corner of Botswana, Chobe National Park encompasses more than 4,500 square miles (12,000 square kilometers) of floodplains, forest, swamps, and rivers. The park is known for having one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa; most notably, a large elephant population.More

Union Buildings

The neoclassical Union Buildings house Pretoria’s government headquarters and presidential offices. Designed in 1908, the sandstone wings represent South Africa’s Afrikaners and English people—joined by a central courtyard. While the building isn’t open to the public, you can always enjoy the surrounding gardens and statues.More

Sun City

Sun City is a resort and entertainment complex located north-west of Johannesburg. One of South Africa's top leisure destinations, the resort complex is conveniently located on the South African Garden Route and next to Pilanesberg National Park. Highlights of Sun City include a casino, spa, water park, and golf courses.More

Kragga Kamma Game Park

The forests and grasslands of Kragga Kamma Game Park on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth provide a place for white rhino, giraffe, buffalo, and other South African wildlife to roam freely. Get the classic safari experience as you enjoy the park’s game drives, picnic areas, restaurant, and overnight accommodations.More
Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in South Africa

Great tour for a great price!
Anna_M, Feb. 2023
Cape of Good Hope & Penguins Group Tour from Cape Town
If you have a day in Cape Town and you don't know what to do, I recommend a tour with Viator.
A very heart-filled and educational tour of history.
Jarrell_H, Feb. 2023
Full-Day Soweto, Apartheid Museum and Lunch Tour
He also gave us options to adjust the tour to see different lifestyles in Soweto.
Wonderful trip
Frank_Z, Jan. 2023
Big-Five Safari Full Day Guided Return Transfer from Cape Town
A very wonderful and relaxing way to see the beauties of South Africa.
My favorite South African tour!
Mae_L, Jan. 2023
2 Day South African Wildlife Safari Tour: See most of Big 5 in the Western Cape
We were able to see so many animals in their natural environment, but the giraffes were especially memorable.
Great tour of a wonderful city
Boiyd_R, Jan. 2023
Pretoria city half day tour
I wanted to see Pretoria to learn about its history and its contemporary status.
So much to see!!
AndrewJ_L, Nov. 2022
Table Mountain, Penguins & Cape Point Small Group Tour from Cape Town
This tour is a must, i got to see many of the highlights of South Africa.
Amazing Safaris and fantastic experience!!!
ittichai_v, Oct. 2022
3 Day Lodge/Treehouse Kruger National Park Safari
Both drivers of the sunset and daytime drive showed professional guides in that they put best effort to bring us to see wildlife animals as many as possible.
Totally 200% recommend this tour :)
sophie_g, Mar. 2023
Panorama Interpretation Guided Tour in South Africa
He was very knowlegeable, both about nature and culture, was caring and fun and had the best old school music playlist 😊 The tour itself is also amazing, taking you to waterfalls and breathtaking viewpoints of canyons and sceneries.
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All about South Africa

When to visit

The high season in South Africa runs from December through early March—the summer season in this part of the world—and it’s an ideal time to visit if you’re trying to take a break from a cold Northern Hemisphere winter. However, if you want to go on a safari, it’s better to come between June and October, when the weather is dryer and your chances of seeing animals in the wild are much higher.

Getting around

South Africa has a well-developed road network and an excellent rail system. If you want the freedom to make lots of stops along the way, renting a car is a good way to go, though many prefer the speed of flying or the comfort of taking a train. If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of long-distance bus options.

Traveler tips

While many visitors come to South Africa to see penguins and ostriches or go on safaris, there are plenty of other great ways to get out in nature. If you like flowers, head over to Namaqualand on the border of Namibia. Namaqualand National Park is best known for its wildflowers and succulents, many of which are endemic to the region.

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People Also Ask

What is there to do in South Africa?

South Africa is a country of incredible diversity, and you’ll always find something new to explore—go wine-tasting in the Western Cape, take a safari in Kruger National Park, or wander the vibrant streets of Cape Town. Find pretty scenery and rich culture everywhere you go.

What are the top five things to see or do in South Africa?

Don’t miss these five South Africa to-dos: Take the cable car up Table Mountain for Cape Town views, watch penguins play at Boulders Beach, learn about the country’s history at the Johannesburg Apartheid Museum, spot the Big 5 on a safari in Kruger National Park, and sip wine in Stellenbosch.

What do people do for recreation in South Africa?

Work up an appetite with a swim at one of Cape Town’s seawater swimming pools or take a hike up Table Mountain. Later, go the local route with a braai (barbecue). Gathering around a fire to feast on antelope, ostrich, and fresh seafood is a favorite pastime in South Africa.

Is South Africa safe for tourists?

You should be cautious in South Africa, especially in city centers and at night. Be aware of your surroundings and research your destination’s safety information. This shouldn’t stop you from traveling—South Africa is a major tourist destination, and the South Africa Tourism Police work to keep tourists safe.

Is South Africa worth visiting?

Yes, South Africa is worth visiting. It’s full of different climates, cultures, and experiences, and the warmth of a South African welcome is legendary. Whether you’re curious about the Durban jazz scene, Western Cape’s wine country, or hiking the dramatic peaks of the Drakensberg, South Africa is a great destination.

Which is the most visited place in South Africa?

Kruger National Park in the northeast of South Africa attracts 1.4 million visitors annually. It’s famous for its safaris that spot the Big 5—lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and buffalo. After a game drive, you can relax in luxurious cabins or opt for a more rugged camping experience.


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