Ok- so I’m heavily biased in this regard. I’m South African born and while I left South Africa nearly 20 years ago, Africa still beats in my blood and while I would love to move back, I just can’t seem to convince my husband to do that!
So why visit South Africa?
It is quite possible to spend a fortune visiting the country as there are plenty of high end hotels, private game reserves, wine farms and restaurants. But there are also other places where you can get value for money (even before we bring in the exchange rate). BnBs are common place, and camp sites have to keep a number of sites open for passing traffic. Perfect if you have no set itinerary.
2: There’s no language issue. (Unless you can’t speak English)
South Africa has 11 official languages yet all South Africans can speak some level of English. The store keeper might greet you in Afrikaans or Zulu, but if you answer in English, they will reply in English.
3: It’s family friendly
Family rooms, interleading doors and such like-are not hard to find in hotels. Self catering accommodation is common place and Air BnB is taking off in South Africa.
Restaurants often have a kids menu, and it’s not uncommon for them to provide some form of entertainment (usually in the form of an indoor play area). Spur and The Dros are my family’s favourites. Both of them steakhouses, with a value for money menu that is just scrumptious. But the best part of these restaurant chains? The indoor play area with an attendant so the adults can sit and relax while waiting for the order to arrive.
4: There is so much to see….
Cape Town– Table Mountain from Blouberg Beach, the Two Oceans Aquarium, V&A Waterfront, Kirstenbosch gardens, great white sharks leaping out of the water or penguins waddling on the beach.
Garden Route- Knysna heads, surfers in Jeffery’s Bay, Tsitsikama forest, ostriches in Oudshoorn, dolphins enjoying the surf near Knysna.
KwaZulu Natal- game reserves (most are in malaria free areas), wonderful coastlines and warm seas to swim in. Nelson Mandela’s capture site. The magnificent Drakensberg Mountains.
Mpumalanga– the variety of waterfalls near the Kruger National Park, Pilgrims Rest, Blyde River Canyon and of course- visit Kruger Park
5: …And do.
Cape Town– hike up Table Mountain, enjoy sundowners on the beach (Clifton or Lladudno are popular) or on a cruise, visit Robben Island, go wine tasting or head to Cape Point where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic.
Garden Route– try oysters grown in the Knysna lagoon, relax on the beach, hike the Harkerville trail or Otter Trail and if you’re truly daring- bunjee jump the highest bunjee jump in the world.
KwaZulu Natal- going for a guided game drive, surf or swim in the wonderful warm seas. Hike up the amphitheatre in the magnificent Drakensberg Mountains. Go diving with grey nurse sharks. Head round the Midlands Meander for an artisan shopping experience. Visit uShaka Marine World.
Mpumalanga– go on a night drive in Kruger Park, zip line across a canyon, learn about the history of the South African gold industry.
South Africa does have a safety issue- for that reason I would give Johannesburg a miss, but on the whole if you’re sensible with what you do, watch your belongings while you’re out n about (which you would do in most cities) and be careful about the areas you go into (there are parts of New York and London that tourists should keep away from), then it shouldn’t be a problem to visit South Africa.