We find ourselves at the southernmost tip of Africa, in a country that is diverse in people, cultures and landscapes. We’ve taken a look at South Africa and identified 10 of our favourite towns that should be on every traveller’s bucket list.
1. Cape Town (Western Cape)
The Mother City is home to the iconic Table Mountain, one of the most recognisable wonders of nature in the modern world. This amazing city, voted the Design Capital of the World in 2014, is home to Robben Island and some of Africa’s finest restaurants, eclectic culture and rich history.
The varied nature of all the attractions in Cape Town makes it a tourist dream. The V&A Waterfront houses some of the world’s most luxurious brands, fine dining experiences and harbour cruises. The winelands offers amazing variety of wines and wine routes that will make any sommelier green, or in this case red or white, with envy. Ratanga Junction and Two Oceans Aquarium is a must to visit – especially for the young ones.
2. Strand (Western Cape)
Strand is a small, but fast developing, sea-side town with less than 70 000 residents. It’s situated on the shores of False Bay at the foot of the Hottentots Holland Mountains. Established as a holiday and fishing resort in 1714, Strand’s main attraction is its 5km white beach.
This is the perfect holiday spot for sporting enthusiasts, nature lovers and those who enjoy spending time at the beach-side. If you’re up for living on the edge, Strand offers surfing and the possibility of shark spotting.
3. Wilderness (Garden Route)
This is about as remote and untouched as you’re going to get without travelling too far away from civilisation. Wilderness, as the name suggests, is rich in forests, animal life, estuaries and lagoons.
This is the perfect spot for a holiday of sight-seeing, birdwatching and an aquatic photographer’s dream because of the many vantage points to watch whales and dolphins. The beach isn’t really fit for swimming because of strong tides, but you’re only a short drive away from neighbouring beaches if you want to catch a wave.
4. Knysna (Garden Route)
Steeped in rich forestry history, Knysna used to be the timber hub of a bygone era, supplying first-class yellowwood and stinkwood to the industry. Today there are still many shops specialising in woodwork and traditional furniture.
Knysna is also a place of fantasy and is the setting for Dalene Matthee’s 1984 classic book, “Kringe in ‘n Bos” (Circles in a forest). Even today, the forests still evoke a feeling of mysticism and adventure and are very popular with hikers.
The town is a hub of artist activities and the Knysna Waterfront is a must-visit for leisure activities and curio art shopping. Whether you prefer an in-season or out of season holiday, every season is a good one to visit Knysna.
5. Plettenberg Bay (Garden Route)
Plettenberg Bay fondly referred to as Plett, was originally named Bahia Formosa ("beautiful bay") by early Portuguese explorers. It is situated in the Garden Route, about 210km from Port Elizabeth and about 600km from Cape Town.
With mild temperate climate, Plett offers visitors something of everything. During the day time you can enjoy activities like Salt Mouth Hiking Trails, Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary or Birds of Eden. At night, indulge in some sweet cocktails, fine dining, live music and dancing.
The town also hosts a number of annual Festivals, most notably the Plett Wine & Bubbly Festival, which is the perfect excuse to head down the Garden Route and enjoy some time in this sea-side town.
6. Margate (KwaZulu-Natal)
One of South Africa’s most popular beach-side destinations, Margate offers an exciting spot for tourists young and old. Children will enjoy time at the beach, the play park or the swimming pool. Grown-ups will enjoy the warm water of the Indian Ocean, the first-class eateries on the South Coast and the many tourist attractions that this area offers.
Margate comes alive during school holidays and peak seasons. The Africa Bike Week in April for Harley Davidson® fanatics and the annual Ugu Jazz Festival in June are some of the many events hosted in this South Coast town. Whether you come for the roar of the bikes, the roar of the crowds or the roar of the ocean, Margate won’t disappoint.
7. Umhlanga (KwaZulu-Natal)
This beautiful urban area is located just north of Durban and forms part of South Africa’s playground. It boasts beautiful beaches, amazing shopping and wonderful restaurants – the list goes on and Umhlanga ticks every box. It’s a cosmopolitan mix of people, food and languages. That being said, the area also offers visitors amazing nature scenes.
The Inanda Dam is about 50km away and the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, a world heritage site, is about 200km north but well worth the visit.
8. Clarens (Free State)
In the shade of the Maluti Mountains, you’ll find Clarens – the Jewel of the Free State. The Highland Routes of Clarens tells its own story of South Africa and its picturesque scenery has made it the darling of South African artists.
Wander through the many art shops, museums and galleries and discover a treasure trove of paintings, antiques, sculptures and crafts that will bring out the artist in you.
Walk through the shady streets dotted with white-washed buildings to explore the town before settling in the cool of a restaurant where you can enjoy a home-cooked meal or snack on delicious pastries and delicacies.
9. Hazyview (Mpumalanga)
The name conjures images of the late afternoon Bushveld scene where the sunset illuminates the dust and the heat off the earth. This small town, near the Kruger National Park, is the gateway to some of the most spectacular landscapes this province has to offer. Waterfalls, forests, Blyde River Canyon and God’s Window are only a few of the natural wonders your eyes can feast on. Observing the wildlife, undisturbed in their natural habitat will leave you with memories that can only be compared to scenes from the Lion King.
For those who hunger after something a little bit more substantial, you’ll enjoy gourmet cuisine at any of the 28 restaurants the town has on offer. Here you can feast to your heart’s delight on authentic, home-cooked and hearty meals. One visit and you’ll understand the true meaning of Hakuna Matata
10. Dullstroom (Mpumalanga)
On the official Dullstroom website you are greeted with a message of the “Five F’s”: Flyfishing, fireplaces, fauna & flora, fine food and fresh air. That is, in a nutshell, the philosophy of Dullstroom and what you can come to expect during your stay here. We can’t argue with this way of thinking and it definitely sounds like one of the best ways to spend a holiday.
It’s the perfect spot for a romantic winter holiday as fireplaces are commonplace and the mist over the dams is quite a beautiful sight. During summer kids and parents will enjoy the many activities in this homely town that will make you feel welcome from the second you arrive.
Remember that with your BMP exchange benefit, you can put your Monomotapa Village-owned weeks and swop them for a holiday elsewhere. Contact us on 0861 444 123 or email email@example.com to find out about exchange options.