So, what is South Africa actually like? How did I find my first South African encounter? What were the highlights, lowlights, and things I would love to do again?
I’ve just completed a whirlwind 12 days in South Africa as a guest of the SA tourism board, to experience as much as I can in a short space of time for such a vast country. Before beginning the trip I was made aware that this trip would tick off as many things as possible from my South Africa Bucketlist – here’s the result:
My South Africa Bucketlist
Go on Safari
It should go without saying that a safari is an iconic experience for all travellers visiting South Africa. Prior to my visit I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect in comparison to African safaris, but as it turns out South Africa has some of the best safaris on offer. Many (if not most) safaris can almost guarantee a Big 5 encounter, granted you will need to stay for 2-4 nights to increase your chances. On my safari at Mala Mala game reserve I saw the big 5 within the first 24 hours of being at the camp.
Taste world-class wine
The Cape Winelands are where you can go not only taste fine wines, but also indulge in a little luxury whilst you are there. With luxury hotel accommodation plentiful, it’s hard to feel like a few nights is enough to discover the charming towns in this region. Personal favourites include Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.
Walk in the footsteps of a Freedom Fighter
Nelson Mandela’s enduring legacy will forever live on, but no place more so than Soweto. It is here where Nelson’s family home resides on Vilakazi street, and it is also here where a spectacular part of world history took place when Hector Pieterson was shot on 16 June, 1976. With so much relevant history to be explored just a short drive from Johannesburg, the township of Soweto is a must visit in South Africa.
Eat African cuisine
It wouldn’t be a South African bucketlist without some food to be checked off the list. Before my trip to South Africa I was very skeptical as to how I would find the cuisine, especially being an 8 year vegetarian. As it turns out, I sampled some of the best food I have tasted in my 2 week trip to South Africa! Be sure to ask the locals where they would recommend for specialties – don’t miss a good bunny chow in Durban!
Stand atop one of the world’s most iconic mountains
Table Cape would have to offer visitors one of the best birds eye views of a city you can find anywhere in the world. You can choose to take one of the many treks up the mountain (be prepared for a 2-3 hour hike), or pay the $30 for a return ticket on the cable car. Be sure to check the weather in advance as the car does not operate or stops running during the day whenever weather does not permit.
Next time I’d like to add:
There are of course still many things I would like to see and do in South Africa on my next visit here (scheduled for June 2014). Here’s my ongoing bucketlist for future trips to South Africa…
- Go hot air ballooning
- Bungee of the highest bridge bungee in the world
- Dive with Great White Sharks
- Meet the locals
- Go on safari, again!
World of Wanderlust visited South Africa as a guest of the South African Tourism Board, however my opinion is as always, my own.