South Africa welcomes travelers from around the world tempting them with its widely divergent attractions from exotic safaris in Kruger National Park to award-winning vineyards primarily in The Winelands of Stellenbosch, Wellington, Paarl and Franschhoek, waterfront cosmopolitan cities like vibrant Cape Town (don’t forget to check out Table Mountain) and the land of eternal Carnival, Durban.
When traveling to the Rainbow Nation, most honeymooners will arrive via the gateway city of Johannesburg, or Jozi as locals lovingly call it. While there, area highlights include visiting Nelson Mandela’s former home, which is now a museum, discovering the old-world mines that made this city the home of the Gold Rush and its unmatched nightlife. Less than an hour away, Pretoria is where one of the largest diamonds in the world was discovered and is laden with Jacaranda trees–about 100,000 in total, all of which bloom an incredible purple color in October.
Heading south, Bloemfontein is an ideal stop for sports enthusiasts and adventure seekers. In the winter, rugby and soccer is king and in the summer cricket trumps everything. If you are more about acting than observing, things get airborne here with the popularity of skydiving, hot air ballooning and paragliding. Located on the Garden Route, Tsitsikamma is one of the country’s natural wonders with its verdant tropical forest. A couple of hours away, and a little off the beaten path, but worth the visit, is Hogsback. The birthplace of Tolkien, it is said that due east, in Shark Alley, is Gasbaii. If cagediving isn’t your thing, this is also a known location to spot Southern Right whales.
Have you heard of kloofing? The Western Cape is perhaps the perfect place to try this South African sport. Since the 1920s natives have participated in this activity, which is a mix of abseiling, hiking, swimming and leaping off high cliffs and jumping into deep rivers. It is quite simply, sheer insane fun. Suicide Gorge and the Riviersonderend Gorge are recommended for more experienced participants, while Steenbras River is a great place for the novice. Other musts include sand boarding: picture snowboarding, but with sand dunes.
After all of this activity, sustenance is key. If you end up in Knysna, this area’s cuisine incorporates locally-cultivated oysters and they are said to be divine. If you find yourself in Oudtshoorn, a local delicacy is ostrich. With a motto of “unity in diversity,” South Africa is an extremely sundry country and accepts all walks of life. Namukelekile!
> Written by Jessica Latimer