The Most Scenic Places in South Africa

Published 30 March 2016

Round the World Experts

South Africa is blessed with astonishing natural beauty and a balmy year-round climate, the combination of which makes the country an ideal place for scenic sightseeing. Over 1,500 miles of dramatic Atlantic and Indian Ocean coastline wrap around the south, and the north marks the beginning of the rest of Africa: vast savannahs leaping up into stunning mountain ranges, populated with some of the world’s most incredible wildlife.

The best way to get around really depends on your budget and the manner in which you like to travel. If you have plenty of cash to splash and you like to just sit back and relax, a journey on the uber-luxurious Blue Train could be a good option. It trundles almost 1,000 miles between Cape Town and Pretoria and is essentially a five-star hotel on wheels, complete with butler service.

Winding river and rocky peaks of the Blyde River Canyon

A considerably cheaper option is to hire a car (between £17-£58 per day) and explore the country independently at your own pace.

If you’d like to wrap your flights, car hire, accommodation and a couple of guided game drives into one handy bundle, have a look at our Garden Route and Safari package.

Alternatively, for some middle ground, we have some brilliant South Africa tours on offer which may take your fancy.

However you choose to get around, you could spend a lifetime exploring South Africa’s natural wonders, but if we had to whittle things down, we’d have to go for these four ultimate must-sees…

Table Mountain

The majestic, flat-topped mass of Table Mountain, which rears up behind South Africa’s capital Cape Town, is one of the most iconic sights on the African continent. It rises almost a kilometre above sea level, offering truly epic views of the beach front settlement sprawled out below. One of the most exciting ways to get up there is by cable car, though if you’ve got the energy hiking is an option too.

A view of Table Mountain and the city of Cape Town from above

The Garden Route

This stretch of coastline, which weaves through 90 miles of beautiful ocean scenery from Mossel Bay to Plettenberg Bay, is one of the best places in the world to take a road trip. The main route is sandwiched between the Tsitsikamma mountains and the Indian Ocean, and while the general scenery itself is the main drawcard, there are some must see places en route. One of these is the Cape Floral Region, a UNESCO World Heritage site which holds 20% of all of South Africa’s flora.

Sandy beach surrounding by greenery along the Garden Route in South Africa

Kruger National Park

Located in the northeast of South Africa, Kruger National Park is one of the biggest and most impressive game reserves on the continent. It covers a whopping 7,500 square miles (about three times the size of Luxembourg) and features classic African scenery: immense grasslands pockmarked with acacia tress, teaming with wildlife, including the Big Five: elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos and buffaloes.

Silhouette of a giraffe in front of sunset in South Africa

Blyde River Canyon

Words can’t come close to evoking the grandeur of this place: it is simply spectacular. Located about 30 miles west of Kruger National Park, the Blyde River Canyon twists and turns through 16 miles of red sandstone escarpments draped with lush tropical foliage. It sinks to 1,300 metres at its deepest point and is home to an extraordinary diversity of life, including hippos, crocodiles and monkeys.

Clouds casting shadows over the peaks of the Blyde River Canyon

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