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9 Bucket-List Places to Visit in South Africa’s Provinces This Festive Season

Date : 02 November 2017

December holidays are right around the corner and, if you thought you had to travel across borders to tick items off your travel bucket list, then have a look at these breath-taking places and once-in-a-lifetime experiences which are right on our doorstep.

1.Western Cape – Klein Karoo

The Klein Karoo is one of the Western Cape’s most diverse regions, offering everything from majestic mountains and scenic passes to vineyards and orchards.

There’s also a smorgasbord of attractions which offer unforgettable adventures, including the Caltitzdorp Spa where you can relax in a natural hot spring bath or the Cango Ostrich Show Farm where you can receive a ‘neck massage’ from ostriches.

A definite highlight however is the Cango Caves, the only show cave in Africa where you can see the finest dripstone caverns with vast halls and towering formations.

 Photo by Crystian Cruz

2. Eastern Cape – Coffee Bay

Coffee Bay is a beautiful rural village at the heart of the Wild Coast and any trip to the area would not be complete without a hike to its greatest natural attraction – the Hole in the Wall.

The amazing hiking path, which is approximately three hours in duration, will see you traversing sea cliffs and rolling green hills to reach a rock formation like no other.

The Hole in the Wall is described by some as a geological masterpiece and is, in essence, a massive detached cliff with an opening in the centre carved by the power of the waves.


3. Kwa-Zulu Natal – The Valley of 1000 Hills

Some of South Africa’s most spectacular views can befound at the Valley of a Thousand Hills between Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

The picturesque setting is the epitome of beauty and tranquillity, and you can experience it by way of an authentic, historic steam train – the Umgeni Steam Train.

The 45-minute train ride will give you the opportunity to travel back in time along old railway lines that were built in the late 1800’s while savouring the surrounding views.


4.Mpumalanga - Blyde River Canyon

The Blyde River Canyon is the third-largest canyon in the world and one of South Africa’s most significant natural features, making it an absolute must-see when you’re in the area.

Measuring 25km long by, on average, 750m high, this spectacular gorge forms part of the Greater Drakensberg escarpment.

Viewpoints such as the Three Rondavels, Wonder View and God’s Window will give you some of the most splendid views of the canyon.

5. Limpopo – Bela Bela

Situated a short 35km from Bela Bela is ‘Adventures With Elephants’, an educational elephant interaction facilitylocated on the Kapama Game Reserve.

The family-owned facility has friendly, experienced elephant handlers who will share their passion and in-depth knowledge with you – something they do for approximately 15 000 guests each year!

At Adventures With Elephants, you can enjoy close, personal and safe encounters with these gentle giants, including hands-on interactions, back safaris, starlight safaris and even a swim with the elephants. This one will be a memorable excursion for the entire family!


6.North West – Sun City

Sun City is arguably one of South Africa’s most popular entertainment resorts – and for good reason.

With hundreds of activities on offer, from golfing and gambling to water sports and top-shelf entertainment, Sun City has something for everyone and will make for a wonderful family destination this coming December holiday.

Be sure to spend time at their iconic water park, the Valley of Waves, and take a walk through the largest permanent maze in the Southern Hemisphere, The Maze of the Lost City.

Photo by Nathan Hughes Hamilton

7. Gauteng – Soweto

Take an extraordinary trip down the famous Vilakazi Street, the only street in the world that has housed two Nobel prize winners, former-president Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

It’s a must-visit for all locals and foreigners, offering a vast selection of eateries, street vendors and entertainers and a glimpse into South Africa’s rich cultural history.

Explore the street by foot and allow sufficient time to experience the electrifying vibe of this historic South African site.


8. Free State – Clarens

Clarens, fondly named as the "Jewel of the Eastern Free State”, is situated at the foothold of the attractive Maloti Mountains.

Although it’s a small town, there’s plenty exciting places to visit and things to do including a White-Water River Rafting trip on the Ash River, a Basotho Cultural Village visit and even a Dinosaur Tour which explores South Africa’s great palaeontological and geological history.

At the end of the day, enjoy a draught of locally-brewed beer at the town’s quaint beer house, Clarens Brewery, one of the country’s first Brew-Pub, Cidery and Distillery establishments.


9. Northern Cape – Sutherland

Last but by no means least on our list is Sutherland, a small Karoo town famous for its starlit nights and home to the single largest telescope in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) measures 11m in width, comprises of 91 individual 1m hexagonal mirrors and is sensitive enough to pick up the light of a single candle on the moon!

For a fee, there are guided day andnight-time walks throughout the visitor’s centre as well as a guided tour of selected research telescopes including SALT. Amateur star-gazers can also set up their own telescopes nearby the visitor’s centre and marvel at the stars and the surrounding universe.

Have you ticked any of these off your bucket list? Or is there something you would add? Let us know by getting in touch via any one of our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram