Postcard Press Picks:
For Traveling to South Africa
South Africa’s diverse history and culture make it an intriguing destination for the cultural traveler. It has distinct prehistoric importance as the “Cradle of Humankind”—it contains some of the oldest archeological and human-fossil sites in the world. It’s also one of the most multiethnic societies—the result of the settlement of the Bantu-speaking people and the influences of the Portuguese, Dutch, and British. In fact, the country has eleven official languages. But it is also true that South Africa’s history is tragic, and from colonization to apartheid, that history has shaped its people and culture.
Geographically, South Africa is large and varied with something for all travelers. Whether you’re looking for culture, the outdoors, adventure, or everything in between, you’ll find it here. But the truth of the matter is that for most of us, it’s impossible to see and do everything in one trip. Depending on how much time you have, you’ll have to pick and choose the experiences that are most exciting to you. So, if you’re planning on traveling to South Africa, start with your favorite travel guide to narrow down your destinations and then take a look at some of the resources below to fill in the rest.
(Be prepared, just in case. Read “What to Do in a Travel Emergency.”)
South Africa has everything you could want in a destination, from history to nature to breathtaking views. With so many places to go and so many things to do, you need to have a plan to make the most of it. Starting with the must-see attractions can help.
- Having trouble narrowing down where to go in South Africa? Full Suitcase highlights 17 Amazing Places to Visit in South Africa.
- The South African writer Luke Daniel is a local, sharing his list of 11 Things You Have to Do When You Visit South Africa.
- Insider turned to the people who know best to determine the 10 Things Everyone Should Do in South Africa, According to Locals.
Making Cape Town your base?
- The Common Wanderer has 26 Incredible Things to do in Cape Town, South Africa.
- Culture Trip always seeks the expertise of those who truly know a city or country. Based in Cape Town, Andrew Thompson shares his 10 Top Things to Do in Cape Town.
Spending more time around Johannesburg and Pretoria?
- Culture Trip’s Corlena Bailey writes about her picks for The Top 10 Things to Do and See in Johannesburg.
- If you only have 24 hours in Johannesburg, My Adventures Across the World divulges the Three Unmissable Things to Do in Johannesburg—On A 24 Hours Layover.
- Culture Trip’s Sunee Jones is a Pretoria-based writer offering 11 Top Things to See and Do in Pretoria.
To really get to know South Africa, make sure you get off the beaten path and visit some of the lesser-known sites. A well-rounded trip will give you a deeper understanding and appreciation of your destination.
- African Sky shares 10 Hidden Treasures in South Africa for some of the country’s most underrated destinations.
- Cape Town Magazine wants you to find unique experiences with their Alternative Bucket List of Hidden Gems.
- Atlas Obscura has interesting off-the-beaten-path ideas for almost any destination. These 51 Unusual Attractions in South Africa are no exception.
- Though not all in South Africa (most are!), these 11 Southern African Hidden Gems You Should Add to Your Bucket List from Culture Trip shouldn’t be missed.
The culinary scene is an important aspect of any destination and shouldn’t be overlooked when traveling to South Africa. Local dishes can teach you so much about the people, their culture, and their history.
- Start with The Foodie’s Guide to Eating and Drinking in South Africa by Travel Noire.
- Roads & Kingdoms explores Johannesburg’s history through its must-eat dishes in local Uwive Mungwami’s A History of Johannesburg in 10 Dishes.
- Cape Town’s multicultural history can be tasted in its food. Culture Trip’s Andrew Thompson is back with the Dishes You Have to Eat When in Cape Town.
If you’re based in one of South Africa’s wonderful cities, a good way to see a little more of the country is to venture out on a day trip. South Africa isn’t lacking exciting options.
- If you’re stationed in Cape Town, check out The 5 Best Day Trips from Cape Town, according to Culture Trip.
- Or, explore Not a Nomad Blog’s 15 Most Exciting Day Trips from Cape Town.
- On the other hand, if you’re based in Johannesburg, take a look at Culture Trip’s Best Day Trips to Take from Johannesburg.
In addition to figuring out where in South Africa you want to go, make sure you’ve researched travel tips, customs, and other practical information about the destination. You’ll feel more comfortable on your trip if you know what to expect.
- The World Pursuit’s in-depth 20 South Africa Travel Tips for Your Vacation is a great place to start for a variety of information to make your trip a success.
- Where is Tara? has a comprehensive list of “everything you need to know” with her South Africa Travel Tips.
- Oyster, a travel site that provides in-depth and first-hand expertise, offers 13 Things You Need to Know Before Traveling to South Africa.
- Cape Town Magazine offers a local perspective for its South African Travel Safety Tips.
Have you ever been to South Africa? What are your recommendations for a first-time visitor? Share your experience below!
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