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Friday, February 17, 2017

The Ten Most Beautiful Places in South Africa

1. Sabie waterfalls route.

Berlin Falls

The Sabie area is home to no less than seven spectacular and beautiful waterfalls, which is a lot of beauty packed together in such a relatively small area. Let’s face it, nothing gets as much beauty brownie points as a stunning waterfall. The mist, the sound, the clear water and the surrounding nature.

The seven waterfalls on the route include the twin 70m high Mac Mac Falls, named after the feisty Scottish miners who panned for gold in the area in the 1870’s, the 94m high Lisbon Falls named after a farm in the area and probably the most spectacular falls in this cluster, next are the 80m high Berlin Falls named after German prospectors, then the 70m high Bridal Veil Falls, the 68m Lone Creek Falls and the smaller, but no less impressive Horseshoe Falls and Forest Falls.

The area these falls appear in is spectacular in itself and includes the Pinnacle, God's Window and Bourke's Luck Potholes. No visit to South Africa would be complete without seeing this little treasure.

2. Blyde River Canyon.

Blyde River Canyon

Imagine a winding green river canyon with 800m sheer drops in places. Imagine round dolomite hilltops against the backdrop of the canyon and breath-taking viewpoints such as at a spot called God’s Window. If you can imagine that then you may almost have an idea what this area looks like but it is probably even more spectacular in person.

The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world and the biggest green canyon. It stretches over a distance of 25km and is an average of 750m deep. It forms the northern part of the Drakensberg Escarpment.

The only way to describe this canyon is “spectacular”. Definitely worth a visit in your lifetime. At least one adventure company offers microlight flights over the canyon. Imagine what an incredible view and experience that could be, wind in the face with amazing dead drop green cliffs.

3. Namaqualand during the flower season.

Namaqualand Flowers

Known as South Africa’s Outback, Namaqualand is an arid area, but in spring it hosts one of the most beautiful wild flower displays. The semi desert is transformed into multi-coloured carpets of stunning contrast which you have to see to believe.

The area in question lies about five hours North of Cape Town which in itself is an area with more flower and plant diversity than you can imagine. Included in the flower route as it is known are the Richtersveld National Park, Goegap Nature Reserve, and Skilpad Wild Flower Reserve.

The area of Namaqualand stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the West to the little town of Pofadder in the East. This is definitely Big Sky country and spectacular in a way that warrants its place as one of the most beautiful places in South Africa..

4. Hogsback.

Madonna and Child Waterfall in Hogsback

Hogsback is recognised by its three flat-topped mountains in the Amatole Mountains in the picturesque Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The area has some amazing views, beautiful green indigenous forests and animals such as Cape Parrots, Samango Monkeys and the stunning Knysna Loerie bird.

Intrepid travellers and tourists will find a number of beautiful waterfalls in the area. It is ideal for a romantic breakaway, hikes, extreme sports and for the art connoisseur this area has some very unique and beautiful art, which should elicit complimentary “oohs” and “ahs”.

Not only is Hogsback such a beautiful area, but it will touch your soul in ways you could not imagine possible. Based on my own experience you can visit here and three days later you will be stress-free when you drive back to civilisation. What a way to de-stress!

5. Tsitsikamma.

Views on the Otter Trail

Tsitsikamma is a Khoisan word meaning “place of much water” and has a high rainfall and temperate climate. It is located slap bang in the middle of the area known as the garden Route, which hosts some beautiful scenery and amazing views along the Cape South Coast.

The area is characterised by deep gorges leading to the Indian Ocean and includes 180m high cliffs. There are various outdoor activities available in the area including canoeing into deep water-logged gorges and zip lines. The Storms River has a couple of cable suspension bridges spanning it near its entry into the Indian Ocean.

The area is also known for the Otter Hiking Trail, which is a once-in-a-lifetime hiking experience. The hiking trail is tough and one crosses various rivers. It is impossible to time the hike to such an extent that you can cross all rivers at low tide, so be prepared to get wet. The trail is a five day experience stretching over 43km and includes phenomenal views and a closeness to nature you pay money to experience.

6. Sodwana Bay Reef.

Sodwana Bay Reef

Sodwana Bay is a World Heritage Site and the reef there is the most southern coral reef in the world. It is situated on the South African East Coast and forms part of the St Lucia Wetlands Park and is rated by divers as one of the ten best diving spots in the world.

More than 1100 species of fish have been identified in the area and the lack of silt caused by no rivers flowing into the areas means visibility stands at an average of 12m with up to 40m on good days. A perfect diving area for scuba enthusiasts with water temperatures averaging 26 degrees Celsius.

In winter visibility is less due to all the Plankton in the water, but this again causes perfect conditions in which to view Whale Sharks and manta Rays. Humpback Whales are a common site from June to November and is a preferred aggregation sites of the pregnant ragged-tooth shark from November to March.

7. Cape Point and Chapman’s Peak Drive.

Chapman's Peak Drive, Cape Point

Chapman’s Peak Drive is one of the most spectacular roads in the world snaking around one of the most iconic capes in the world from Noordhoek to Hout Bay. In fact Chapman’s Peak Drive has been the backdrop for many shiny car television advertisements and can be found in various movies. Hardly a month goes by without some film crew filming on it.

The road is characterised by towering cliffs overhead and sheer drops to the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. When rounding Cape point one can actually see where the Oceans meet. When you have completed the 9km route you will realise you have just done something best described as iconic and you can definitely write home about it.

Chapman’s Peak Drive is now a toll road so to better preserve it and is seen as a venue of strategic economic importance to Cape Town, which is one of the iconic cities of the world. Cape Point is a World Heritage Site and nature reserve with about 7750 hectares of indigenous vegetation and animals such as baboon and Cape Mountain Zebra.

8. Cape Vidal Beach.

Cape Vidal

Cape Vidal is a beautiful beach nestled between Lake St Lucia in the West and the Indian Ocean in the east. It is a snorkelling and sport fishing paradise and falls within the St Lucia Marine Reserve. The shores of Lake St Lucia are home to Reedbuck, Crocodile, Buffalo and Hippos to name but a few and the Indian Ocean Coast boasts a wide white beach.

On the Eastern side it hosts fifty or more campsites in the forest next to the beach for those visiting to get the most out of the experience. This experience includes fishing and access to the beautiful and wild beach. On a good day you can see Dolphins as well.

Cape Vidal is near the site of the Dorothea shipwreck, a wooded barque which was lost in heavy weather on 31 January 1898. This vessel was said to be carrying gold from the old Transvaal. The whereabouts of the wreck is apparently unknown however snorkelers may come across a chain in the bay which is said to have come from the wreck.

9. Whales at Hermanus.

Whales at Hermanus

Hermanus on the South African South Coast along Walker Bay is said to be the best land-based Whale watching site in the world. In fact many will go as far as to say it’s the Whale watching capitol of the world. Southern Wright Whales visit Walker Bay from July until December. 60 To 100 of these amazing creatures come to Walker Bay annually and can swim to within 10m of the coast!

Hermanus is geared towards tourism and includes horse riding, paragliding, kayaking, shark cage diving, fishing, hiking, plane trips or you can simply go shopping in one of its upmarket shops or go swimming and sunbathing.

You can enjoy a meal on the shore and watch Whales breaching a short distance away. No other place in the world offers that type of experience and very few things are as stunning or impressive as a massive whale breaching. Definitely something to experience and to remember.

10. Baviaanskloof.


Another World Heritage Site in South Africa the Baviaanskloof can best be described as unspoilt nature at its best. It lies about 120km West of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province and comprises an area of roughly 270 000 ha and the route through it is about 203km in length.

The road through it snakes between green hills and in the rainy season you can see many small waterfalls. The area is known as the scenic wonderland of the Eastern Cape and hosts hiking trails, camping areas etc.

It is difficult to describe one aspect of the Baviaanskloof because one has the experience the full drive to totally comprehend it, but if you can drive through this area then take the opportunity. The spectacular scenery, silence, nature and clear starry nights will get you hooked at you will be back for more.