The Ultimate Bucket List for South Africa: 30+ things to do in South Africa
The allure of a South Africa bucket list and adventure exists in the depth of rich experiences, vast culture, extreme landscapes and fascinating wildlife. It is fast becoming the adventure capital of the world with so much to see and do. There are so many reasons to visit South Africa and several visits to this country would only just scratch the surface of the wild and wonderful activities.
As per our 2017 bucket list, We are dying to experience the wonderful and adventurous South Africa.
Here is our Ultimate South Africa bucket list! How many have you ticked off?
The Ultimate Bucket List for South Africa: 30+ things to do in South Africa
- 1 Visit the Beautiful Beaches
- 2 Explore the Garden Route
- 3 V&A Waterfront
- 4 Seal Island
- 5 Kruger National Park
- 6 Table Mountain
- 7 Mala Mala Game Reserve
- 8 Sleep in a Treehouse at Lion Sands, Sabi Sands
- 9 Brave the Worlds Highest Bridge Bungee
- 10 Explore Maboneng
- 11 Visit the Wineries
- 12 Explore Johannesburg
- 13 Get up close and personal with the South Africa Great White Sharks
- 14 Camp Sani Pass
- 15 Discover the landscapes by car
- 16 Stay at The Palace of the Lost City
- 17 Seek out “the Big Hole” in Kimberley.
- 18 Meet the Locals of the Lesedi Cultural Village
- 19 Tsitsikamma National Park
- 20 Explore Robben Island
- 21 Visit the Colourful Muizenberg
- 22 Hike the Trails of Cape Town
- 23 Experience the Townships
- 24 Explore Bo-Kaap – the City’s Oldest and Brightest Quarter
- 25 Enjoy a Canopy Tour
- 26 Boulders Beach with little penguins
- 27 Visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
- 28 Visit the Largest Green Canyon in the World
- 29 Try the Local South African Cuisine
- 30 Safari by Hot Air Balloon
Visit the Beautiful Beaches
The coast of South Africa is seriously impressive, with bays and beaches to please every type of traveller. Take a drive to Jeffreys bay a town located in the eastern cape of South Africa, with a fast right- break that ensures to evoke some serious fun!
Explore the Garden Route
Hard to have a South Africa bucket list with out mentioning the Garden Route! Road trip the idyllic Garden Route along the country’s South-eastern coast, running along Mossel Bay to the Storms River in neighbouring Eastern Cape, with plenty of scenery along the way. There is so much to do and see along there way here is a full guide to help you explore!
Seal Island should be on every ones South Africa bucket list. Take a boat trip to Seal Island, located on False Bay just outside Cape Town where you will bask in the presence of an impressive 60,000 Cape fur Seal.
Kruger National Park
Established in 1898 Kruger National Park is extremely vast at nearly 2 million hectares and you can do anything and everything from hiking to opting for a classic safari tour. Try and find the infamous ‘big five’ animals – elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo!
Tip: For information on South Africa National Parks you can visit Liveoncelivewild.com’s Post: “A Quick Guide to South Africa’s National Parks”
See Cape Town at sunset from atop, take an unforgettable Ariel Cableway experience of the prominent landmark that overlooks the stunning city.
Editors Tip: If you are unsure how to get around whilst visit South Africa, check out this article from Hop on World that has a lot of useful South Africa Travel Tips!
Mala Mala Game Reserve
A safari is on everyone’s South Africa bucket list, and this reserve in the Savana is extraordinary. Mala Mala was the very first photographic game drive in South Africa, so there is a lot history in the resort. Driving around you see so many exotic animals!
Sleep in a Treehouse at Lion Sands, Sabi Sands
Stay in a Treehouse located in the middle of the Savana where you can sleep under the stars and essentially wake up in the jungle to an array of wildlife! The main lodge is a picture of opulence with its high thatch roof, luxurious wooden finishes and African decor. Guests can relax or dine on the large viewing deck as it opens up onto the African bushveld.
Brave the Worlds Highest Bridge Bungee
This one is not for the faint-hearted, I have a feeling even the most adventurist of souls would have an elevated heartbeat on the walk up to this jump! Bloukrans Bridge Bungy is the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee at 216 metres (709 ft) over Bloukrans River.For more information read this post: “Bungee Jumping South Africa“.
What once was a heavy industrial area, is now the trendy hipster version of Johannesburg. A buzzing neighbourhood of the latest cafes, art galleries, exhibitions. We even found this super cool initiative called ‘Shot in Joburg’ which basically provides street kids with disposable cameras, so they can go out, shoot their stories on film and get that developed into art, then sell it for sustainable income. A great way to keep them off the streets whilst doing something both creative and productive.
Visit the Wineries
South Africa has multiple ‘wine routes’ that weave through its scenic wine lands and vineyards. The wine routes are all pretty much within an hour of Cape Town, and the vineyards along them not only offer beautiful scenery but sophisticated wine and delicious food. The country’s signature variety is known as pinotage, a red wine grape that was bred as a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut.
So much to do in Johannesburg. Quad bike tour of Soweto and visit Soweto cooling towers. Visit Chaf Pozi (Shebeen) for some fun interaction with the locals and drinks. Check out new activities and bars in the Maboneng Precinct including The Nine Barrels Tapas Bar in the Agog Gallery.
Get up close and personal with the South Africa Great White Sharks
South Africa is one of the only places in the world where you can cage dive with Great White Sharks.It will probably take me a while to work up to this one, but thought I better add it to the list in case I decide to be super brave :). A number of tours run daily from Cape Town and will set you back, on average, $150AUD and take up a full day.
Camp Sani Pass
A world heritage site on the border between South Africa and Lesotho 2874 metres above sea level.The peaceful and remote surrounds make the stay very worthwhile. South Africa is one of the only places in the world where you can cage dive with Great White Sharks.It will probably take me a while to work up to this one, but thought I better add it to the list in case I decide to be super brave :). A number of tours run daily from Cape Town and will set you back, on average, $150AUD and take up a full day.
Discover the landscapes by car
Renting a car is the best way to take in the full experience of seeing South Africa. It gives you freedom, a chance to meet the local people and get lost in your surroundings
Stay at The Palace of the Lost City
Surrounded by lush botanical gardens crisscrossed with hiking trails, The Palace’s setting is enchanting. No detail is lost in the fantasy of the African Palace, this is shown in stately volumes of the reception and dining areas to the mosaics, frescoes and fountains that enhance the architecture. See more here.
Seek out “the Big Hole” in Kimberley.
The teal waters in the base of this abandoned diamond mine make for a stunning photo from any number of vantage points, but the best one is up in the air, courtesy of a helicopter tour of the capital city of the Northern Cape Province.
Meet the Locals of the Lesedi Cultural Village
Lesedi is located in the heart of the African bushveld amidst the rocky hills within the Cradle of Humankind, a World Heritage Site. Discover the fascinating cultures and traditions of the people of Africa, visiting five traditional homesteads.
Tsitsikamma National Park
The Tsitsikamma National Park is a protected area on the Garden Route. It is a coastal reserve well known for its indigenous forests, dramatic coastline, and wildlife.For more information check out this post: “10 things to do in Storms River“
Explore Robben Island
Visit the notorious offshore jail where some of South Africa’s most famous figures, including Nelson Mandela, were incarcerated.
Visit the Colourful Muizenberg
Muizenberg is a beachside suburb, situated where the shore of the Cape Peninsula curves round to the east on the False Bay coast. Considered as the surfing birthplace of South Africa, it boasts a long stretch of coast covering over 20km, with colourful beach houses that line the shore.
Experience the Townships
Townships were created as living areas for non-whites during Apartheid but are still home to a vast amount of the population today. Party in a local Shebeen- a bar hidden at the back of someone’s house that originated from the times of segregation. Just around the corner from Nelson Mandela’s house on Vilakazi Street in Soweto where normal beers cost about 90 cents. Walking through the township of Soweto you will find them everywhere & you better believe they are A LOT of fun!!
Explore Bo-Kaap – the City’s Oldest and Brightest Quarter
Discover the fascinating history and unique culture of the Bo-Kaap, tucked away under the slopes of Signal Hill. The bright neighbourhood has a rich Cape Malay culture with roots as old as Cape Town itself.
Enjoy a Canopy Tour
Swing through the treetops among the arboreal giants of South Africa’s tallest indigenous forest! In the mountains near Grabouw, you can now zip from platform to platform over massive ravines. Highly recommended for adventure seekers. Don’t forget your GoPro.
Boulders Beach with little penguins
Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town is famous for the ancient granite boulders protect it from the wind and large waves and of course the magical locals, the penguins! Because it falls under the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area, the beach is always clean and safe, note there’s a small conservation entry fee.
Visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
This UNESCO World Heritage Site has a reputation of being the most beautiful garden in Africa and one of the great botanic gardens of the world.More than just a garden, Kirstenbosch is part of a nature reserve. The 36-hectare garden is part of a 528-hectare estate that contains protected mountainside supporting natural forest and fynbos along with a variety of animals and birds.
Visit the Largest Green Canyon in the World
The Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga is the third largest canyon in the world and the largest green canyon. While you’re there, we suggest experiencing it from two views, top and bottom. At the bottom, you can enjoy a river cruise down in the canyon.
Try the Local South African Cuisine
Influenced by the indigenous population, along with the Dutch, French, Indians and Malaysians the South African cuisine offers a vibrant variety that’s sure to excite the palate. Some of the ones I can’t wait to try are the traditional al fresco braai, bunny chow, Cape Malay Curry and Chakalaka & pap! For more information on Cape Town dining check out this post- ‘Cape Town Food Guide‘.
Safari by Hot Air Balloon
A ride in a hot air balloon gives you the opportunity to see, smell and soak up an area on a completely new level. A new element of adventure, spot wildlife from above whilst getting a better perspective of the vast environment.
The lovely Lauren from Wanderlust Movement has put together A great itinerary for backing South Africa, view it below if you are after more information!
“The Perfect South Africa Backpacking Itinerary“
So that was our South Africa bucket list! Have we convince you to travel there?
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