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Ten Brilliant South African Holiday Attractions

Simon Hemelryk / 24 October 2016

We all know about Table Mountain, but South Africa has plenty of other fabulous tourist destinations. Discover our top 10.

Girl sitting on stone on the cliff in the Blyde River Canyon, South Africa
Carved out of around one-and-a-half miles of red standstone, Blyde River Canyon this is the third largest canyon on earth.

South Africa, often described as a whole world in one country, is blessed with the lion's share of sights and experiences. Find out more about our holidays to South Africa here

Garden Route, Western Cape to Eastern Cape

At a little under 200 miles, this road trip between Mossel Bay in the west and Storms River in the east has amazingly diverse landscape and wildlife to marvel at.

There are golden beaches, ancient forests filled with walking trails and exotic animals, such as elephants and the rare Knysa Lourie bird, humpback and killers whales out at sea and the stunning Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountain ranges.

Kgalagadi National Park, Botswana border

Watch herds of gemsbok, springbok, eland and blue wildebeest, along with lions and leopards, amid the red sand dunes and sparse vegetation of this 3.6-million-hectare conservation area – one of the largest in the world.

The Drakensberg, central region

Fierce cliffs, dramatic crags, and peaks rising more than 11,000 feet above sea level make up this 700-mile mountain range. Ideal for climbers and walkers.

South Africa, often described as a whole world in one country, is blessed with the lion's share of sights and experiences. Find out more about our holidays to South Africa here

Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg

A glance back to a less pleasant time in South Africa’s history, this attraction details the years of racial oppression from 1948 to 1994. Exhibitions delve thoughtfully into tricky subjects such as state segregation and the rise of black consciousness.

Cango Caves, Oudtshoorn, Western Cape

These 20 million-year-old caves, cut deep into limestone, feature soaring rock columns and huge chambers with names such as The Throne Room, the Fairy Queen’s Palace and the Giant Eagle.

Particularly daring visitors can take the Adventure Tour where you scramble through tiny gaps and passages, including the 27-cm high Devil’s Post Box.

Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga

Carved out of around one-and-a-half miles of red standstone, this is the third largest canyon on earth. Huge strange cylindrical rock structures rise from the wooded valley, Bourke’s Luck Potholes are mysteriously intricate, and animal life includes vervet and samango monkeys, and chacma baboons.

Find out about the essential things to do in South Africa

The Golden Mile, Durban

This famous beachfront flanks numerous sandy expanses - a huge draw for surfers - and has plenty of high-class restaurants, amusement arcades, and uShaka Marine World, which features the highest waterslide and largest aquarium in the Southern Hemisphere.

Robben Island, Cape Town

Infamous for the prison where Nelson Mandela and other political activists were held, this small piece of land is now a World Heritage Site and museum. 

Take the short ferry ride over from Cape Town to explore the prison buildings, the quarry where inmates were put to work, the leper cemetery – and a penguin sanctuary.

Travelling to South Africa? Visas, vaccines and essential tips. 

Gold Reef City, near Johannesburg

This popular amusement park, themed on a 19th century gold rush town, has roller coasters, log rides, a 4D cinema, the chance to see liquid gold being poured into casts, and luxurious onsite hotels.

Maropeng, near Pretoria

The official visitor centre of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, which is claimed to be the place from which all humankind originated, due to the large number of hominid (our early ancestors) fossils that have been found in the area.

Housed in a building that is designed to look like a giant burial mound, the attraction takes visitors on an underground boat ride through the earth’s natural history and interactive displays on the development of man.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.