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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

#1
Robben Island

Robben Island

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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
#2
Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve

Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve

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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
#3
Bo-Kaap

Bo-Kaap

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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
#4
Cape Point

Cape Point

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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
#5
Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

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One of South Africa’s premier attractions, Kruger National Park is famous for the extent and diversity of its wildlife. The “Big Five” of game are all there—lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, and leopard—and a world-class conservation program means you’ll also encounter wildebeest, giraffes, zebra, big cats of all stripes, and diverse bird species.More
#6
Soweto

Soweto

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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
#7
Table Mountain and Cableway

Table Mountain and Cableway

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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
#8
Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach

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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
#9
Chapman’s Peak Drive

Chapman’s Peak Drive

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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
#10
Table Mountain National Park

Table Mountain National Park

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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
#11
Kragga Kamma Game Park

Kragga Kamma Game Park

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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
#12
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront (V&A Waterfront)

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront (V&A Waterfront)

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Originally a jetty built in 1654 to provide fresh water and produce to the sailors of the Dutch East India Company, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is now one of the most-visited attractions in South Africa. The area is a development consisting of two harbors, retail shops and museums, seascapes and mountain views, and plenty of places to bed down, drink up, and eat away.More
#13
Hout Bay

Hout Bay

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A quaint fishing village on the Cape Peninsula’s Atlantic Seaboard, Hout Bay is an idyllic vacation spot with a historic downtown, a bustling harbor front, wineries, and marine life. While only about 12 miles (20 kilometers) from Cape Town, the community has a remote feel, giving visitors a chance to slow down and savor the seaside vibes.More
#14
Voortrekker Monument

Voortrekker Monument

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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
#15
Apartheid Museum

Apartheid Museum

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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

Trip ideas

Wildlife Safari Tours from Cape Town

Wildlife Safari Tours from Cape Town

Cape Winelands Tours from Cape Town

Cape Winelands Tours from Cape Town

How to Spend 2 Days in Cape Town

How to Spend 2 Days in Cape Town

How to Spend 1 Day in Johannesburg

How to Spend 1 Day in Johannesburg

How to Spend 3 Days in Durban

How to Spend 3 Days in Durban

Robben Island South Africa Virtual Prison Tour

Robben Island South Africa Virtual Prison Tour

WildEarth: A Live Safari

WildEarth: A Live Safari

Top activities in South Africa

Half day Robben Island Tour.

Half day Robben Island Tour.

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$100.93
Full-Day Franschhoek Wine Tram Tour from Cape Town
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Full Day Ultimate Pilanesberg National Park Safari
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Cape Town City Sightseeing Official Hop-on Hop-off Bus tour
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Tandem Paragliding in Cape Town

Tandem Paragliding in Cape Town

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Recent reviews from experiences in South Africa

star-5
An introduction to the world of south african wine
Fernando_A, Apr 2022
Full-Day Franschhoek Wine Tram Tour from Cape Town
It was exciting to see the places and taste the different types of wines produced in South Africa.
star-5
Great experience, very friendly guide
Amy_F, Mar 2022
Cape of Good Hope & Penguins Small Group Tour from Cape Town
We got to see plenty of what Cape Town and South Africa have to offer - would highly recommend!
star-5
Extremely fun and knowledgeable guide
Devin_G, Mar 2022
Half day African Penguin Tour
Great guide Views of South Africa on the way to see the penguins!
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Friendly and enjoyable tour - recommended!
Andrew_Z, May 2022
Cape of Good Hope & Penguins Small Group Tour from Cape Town
We got to see Table Mountain, Bo Kaap (the colourful houses), camps bay, Boulders beach (penguins), Cape point, and Cape of Good hope all in one day.
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Story tour welcomes returning US visitors
Darrel_S, Apr 2022
African Story Wine Tours in the Cape Winelands
Bruce picked an incredibly diverse set of wineries to visit.
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Amazing experience. Can't wait to go back!
Derick_M, Apr 2022
Pilanesberg Game Reserve 6 Hour Sunrise Safari from Johannesburg or Pretoria
We were lucky enough to see rhino, elephant, giraffe, jackyl, hippo, springbok, wildebeest, zebra, impala, baboon, a ton of birds, and more.
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A worthwhile look into Soweto's past and present
Mrcio_S, Mar 2022
Soweto Walking Tour with Lunch
You can also enjoy – or endure – the world's highest SCAD freefall, which takes place inside the Western Cooling Tower.
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Probably the best tour we’ve been on, anywhere in the world. Simply brilliant.
Peter_D, Feb 2022
Table Mountain, Penguins & Cape Point Small Group Tour from Cape Town
Overall, good value for money and whilst we could have arranged a taxi to see the various sights, or hired a car, the knowledge and information that Tresor gave us provided so much benefit.
star-5
A safari where you drive less and see more.
Kevin_P, Dec 2021
African Big 5 Full Day Safari Aquila Game Reserve From Cape Town
But this tour not only has a great buffet lunch to start with, comfortable land rovers but also you are pretty much guaranteed to see animals, quite a few of them.
star-5
Great introduction to West Cape area.
Kevin_P, Dec 2021
Table Mountain, Boulder's Penguins & Cape Point Private Tour from Cape Town
Great way to see the for the first time.
star-5
Awesome.
NEWTON_D, Jul 2019
Soweto & Johannesburg Half Day Tour
It was important for us to visit Soweto, and what an amazing time it was!!
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Definitely do this. This tour is...
Mell O, Apr 2017
5 Day Best of Garden Route and Addo: South African Safari Small Group Tour
This tour is jam packed with lots of various activities!
star-5
Fantastic tour, Titus was our guide...
Ryan_P, Jun 2016
Cape Town Township Tour including Robben Island - Walk to Freedom Tour
It was an eye opener to see the contrast between the rich and the poor of the townships in modern day, South Africa.
star-5
A brilliant way to see the big 5...
Stephen W, Sep 2016
African Big- 5 Safari Full Day Guided Private Transfer At Aquila From Cape Town
A brilliant way to see the big 5!
star-5
Great group to travel with and a...
Joseph R, Dec 2015
6-Day Garden Route & Addo South African Adventure from Cape Town
Sometimes I prefer chilling out a bit more but this is a whiz bang tour to see and do as much in 6 days as possible.
star-5
This tour was awesome. The guide...
Patricia L, Mar 2016
Cape Town Super Saver: Cape Point Highlights Tour plus Wine Tasting in Stellenbosch
I enjoyed being able to see South Africa without the stress of having to figure anything out!
star-5
Outstanding tour! It's great to see...
David H, Nov 2011
Cultural Cape Town Tour Including Langa Township and Bo-Kaap
It's great to see the positive things happening in the South African townships.
star-5
Fabulous history!
Tracey_T, Oct 2021
Robben Island Tour - Hotel Pick-Ups & stops at interesting places pre/post tour
A crash course in South African history, and a perfect set-up to visit… Robben Island, the prison-island off the coast.
star-5
Awesome!
Ryan, Aug 2021
Half Guided Day Tour of Soweto from Apartheid Museum
although the Apartheid Museum was closed he still filled the time with plenty of info and other sites to see around Johannesburg.
star-5
Perfect Introduction to Soweto!
Rita_C, May 2021
Virtual Historical Tour of Soweto (Visual Journey)
Can't wait to visit and take an in person tour.
Frequently Asked Questions
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