South Africa has been on my travel list for a long time. I’ve visited Egypt, Rwanda and Tanzania but have, sadly, never made it down to South Africa. I’ve heard so many wonderful things from family and friends that I’m now planning a trip for late 2019/early 2020. So why am I so interested in South Africa? Well, there are literally hundreds of reasons to visit South Africa, but I’m going to cut it down to the eight that I’m most excited about it.
8 Reasons Why I Want to Visit South Africa
1 – To Drink Wine With Goats
Yep, you read that correctly. In the city of Paarl in the Western Cape province there is a wonderous place called Fairview Vineyard and Goat Farm. There you can enjoy wine tasting, paired with their own goats’ cheese as well as watch goats climb the “goat tower”. How amazing does that sound?! Picture me, sipping on a Pinotage, a cheese board in front of me, with crazy goats running around in the background – PERFECTION.
2 – The Cradle of Humankind
I’m not normally a big history buff, but the Cradle of Humankind is such an important site that I’d absolutely love to visit. This UNESCO World Heritage site is only about 50km outside of Johannesburg but it takes you back nearly 4 million years and through the evolution of humankind. There are 15 fossil sites with a huge collection of Hominin fossils and stone tools documenting our ancient ancestors. I think it would be so powerful to stand in a place where our ancient ancestors used to live millions of years ago. Also, apparently there’s a fun boat ride in the basement of the visitors centre – I do love when a museum has interactive exhibits!
3 – To See the Big Five
One of the biggest draws to South Africa is all of the incredible national parks full of stunning wildlife. I’ve only ever been on a safari in Sri Lanka so a South African safari would be next level: lions and buffalo and hyenas, oh my! The big five are actually leopards, rhinos, elephants, lions and cape buffalo and can be spotted in several national parks or private game reserves across the country. I’ve heard great things about the Lion Sands Game Reserve in Kruger National Park. They have stunning open air tree-houses where you can have a picnic dinner, watch and listen to the wildlife and then sleep under the stars. MAGICAL! Who wants to come with me?!
4 – To Dive With Sharks
Ok, so this definitely isn’t for everyone but I LOVE diving and I happen to think that sharks are very underrated. There are plenty of fantastic dive spots in South Africa. You can choose to do a cage dive with great white sharks in Gansbaai, or just a regular scuba dive with various varieties of shark (and other sea creatures, of course) pretty much anywhere along the coast. I’d love to visit Cathedral dive site at Aliwal Shaol during ragged tooth shark season. Or, the ultimate SCUBA diving experience would be to visit during the legendary sardine run, which happens around mid-June to mid-July. This is when millions of sardines migrate and wherever they go their predators follow. If I went for a dive along the Wild Coast during the sardine run I could see penguins, whales, sharks, all sorts of birds, dolphins and much MUCH more.
5 – To Horse Ride Through Floral Blooms
I REALLY want to visit Namaqualand national park to see the wildly colourful floral bloom in August. I’d definitely book myself onto one of the multi-day horse riding trips with Namaqua horse trails. It’s like a mix of a horse back safari and a camping trip; cantering through wild flowers alongside zebras and other mammals during the day, eating barbecue (or braai as they say in South Africa) and camping under the stars at night. It’s basically my idea of heaven.
6 – To Explore Colourful Cape Town
Cape Town has always been a place I wanted to visit and the more I see of the city on Instagram, the more I want to book a flight (#influenced haha). I’d love to visit the colourful neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap where all the buildings are painted bright colours and the streets are cobbled. The food is also supposed to be amazing in this neighbourhood due to the Malaysian influence. Another area of Cape Town that I’m dying to visit is Woodstock. I’d love to take a street art walking tour there and see all the stunning murals. Street art is one of my favourite things to search out when I travel and South Africa has plenty!
7 – To Hike Table Mountain
Table Mountain is the iconic landmark that can be seen serving as a stunning backdrop to Cape Town city. It has a flat top, making it even more striking. I’ve seen photos of my friends, looking elated, having hiked up Table Mountain and being rewarded with incredible views across Cape Town and the ocean. I could take the easy way out and get the cableway up, but what I think I’d like to do is hike up and get the cableway down (because I imagine I’d be quite tired at that stage). Or, if I was feeling brave I could always abseil down!!
8 – To Bungee off Bloukrans Bridge
Ok, so I’m not 100% sure that I could actually go through with a bungee jump, BUT if I was ever going to try one it would be at Bloukrans Bridge on the Garden Route. It is the highest commercial bungee jump in the world. The bridge itself is a beautiful feat of engineering and even if I wasn’t brave enough to jump I’d certainly love to watch the adrenaline-junkies flinging themselves off the edge and down towards the water.
Planning a Trip to South Africa
If you think South Africa sounds like your kind of place then I highly recommend that you check out GoHop.ie for plenty of info about South Africa as a holiday destination, suggested itineraries and holiday packages. They have some really great deals on flights for May such as Dublin to Johannesburg for €430 return!
If you need a bit more inspiration there are far more than 8 reasons to visit South Africa and you’ll find them all on the South African Tourism website.
Have you been to South Africa?
What did you love about it?
Let me know in the comments.
This post was sponsored by the South African Tourism Board and GoHop.ie. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are, as always, my own.