South Africa is a haven for adventure – there’s something extraordinary to see and do around every corner (and this excludes the 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites you’ll find on SA shores). We’ve tallied up a few of the bucket-list experiences this country offers, from conquering a five-day coastal hike to admiring the gothic stone creatures hidden within an old, architectural gem – we’re itching to mark a date on the calendar for them all!
Conquer The Otter Trail
The Otter Trail is one of SA’s most popular hiking trails. The five-day trail celebrated its 50th birthday last year, and covers a distance of exactly 45 kilometres. You’ll amble and climb along the shoreline of the Western and Eastern Cape, crossing both the Elandsbos and Bloukrans Rivers. Although a fair amount of physical preparation is required, this sought-after experience is a truly intimate and awe-inspiring chance to get back into nature.
View this post on Instagram
Chasing the sunset on the Otter trail. Rugged seashores, sandy beaches, coastal forest and flowering fynbos – the Otter has it all ?? ? @serfermedia ☀️ #hikemzantsi #ottertrail #hikingsouthafrica . . . . . #sunset #fynbos #thisissouthafrica #wanderlust #wanderlustsouthafrica #nature #naturesbeauty #hiking #changeyouraltitude #hikinglife #exploremore #adventure #choosemountains #conservation #greatoutdoors #livetoexplore #neverstopexploring #choosemountains #changeyouraltitude #tsitsikamma #stormsriver #sanparks
Explore Golden Gate Highlands National Park
Near the Lesotho border, located in the heart of the Free State, lies the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains. Within the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, these mountains brush shoulders with each other. And in the falling sunlight of the afternoon you’ll discover what they’re named after – their glowing, golden hue. Marvel at this spectacle either by car or on foot, venturing off on one of the park’s eight walking trails that range from moderate to difficult.
View this post on Instagram
We love this stunning image shared by @roarkrobinson of the Golden Gate National Park. Such a picturesque spot which is located a mere 17km drive from Clarens. Golden Gate has many hiking trails and spots to have a picnic or even a scenic drive through the few short view loops.
Visit The Owl House In Nieu-Bethesda
In the remote and dusty little town of Nieu-Bethesda in the Eastern Cape you’ll stumble upon an uncanny, curious museum called The Owl House. Here, visitors will find a plethora of cement sculptures birthed from the magical imagination of Helen Martins. Ghouls, fairies, mermaids and owls with glass eyes are scattered across the property (there are hundreds!), promising those who dare walk among them a completely unique, enchanting experience.
Be Amazed At The The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve
The Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga is one of the largest vegetated canyons in the world, only third in size to the USA’s Grand Canyon and Namibia’s Fish River Canyon. Exquisite sights you’ll find within the canyon include the potholes and plunge pools of the Treur River, three grass-covered mountain tops named ‘The Three Rondavels’, and the lookout point at the southern tip of the reserve called ‘God’s Window’. Together, these majestic natural features make the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve a must-see attraction. God’s Window especially offers one of the most breathtaking panoramic views of mountains, rock formations, waterfalls, and forestry in the country.
Go Off On A Big Cat Photo Safari
This photo safari experience takes an ordinary game-park drive up a few notches with its close, intimate entry into the den of Africa’s biggest cats. On this photo safari, hosted at the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, you’ll track the very footsteps of lions and leopards in groups of no more than 12. Most importantly, you’ll encounter wildlife in dreamlike ways with plenty of opportunities to put your camera to use. For more information visit the Close Quarters Photo Safari website, or email any enquiries to [email protected].
Fly Over The East Coast
For thrill-seekers and adventure junkies, this experience barely needs introduction. With Ballito Microlight, you’ll be able to take in the sweeping views of the Indian Ocean shoreline from above. Plus, with your aircraft being an open cockpit, it’ll virtually feel like you’re flying. The flight duration ranges between 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes and guarantees sightings of dolphin, wild fish, as well as a high chance of spotting whale sharks and turtles. For more information visit Ballito Microlight’s website.
Compiled by Features Writer, Marike Watson