South Africa is full of outdoor adventures


We’ve covered the major towns as part of our “Send me to South Africa CheapOair” contest already, but of course, South Africa is all about the landscape. So today we’re telling you about five major outdoor sights you should see.

Blyde River Canyon: South Africa’s answer to the Grand Canyon (think the South Rim, only greener) is situated in the Drakensburg Escarpment area, which used to be rainforest and where the highveld and lowveld meet. It’s 20 miles long with the Blyde River cutting through at the base. Drive along the edge, or, if you have time, get out and follow a hiking trail.

Madikwe Game Reserve: In the north-west of the country near the border with Botswana, Madikwe is only the fourth largest reserve in South Africa, but it’s a good one – and it’s known particularly for its lion population (there are, in fact, a surfeit of the beasts here – so much so that the authorities are planning on removing them. The other species that make up the Big Five are also well represented here. The only drawback? You have to stay on site.

Elephant Coast: The north-eastern tip of the South African coastline is simply stunning. Don’t miss the Isimangaliso Wetland Park – a 125-mile stretch of coast that’s been turned into a 328,000 hectare national park. Inland you’ll find hippos, zebras and antelopes, there are turtles nesting on the shore  and whales and dolphins are just a short boat ride away.

Pilanesberg National Park: Pilanesberg is a godsend if you’re on a whistle stop tour of South Africa – you can reach it from Johannesburg in under three hours (it’s right by Sun City). Not only does it house big cats, elephants, giraffes, antelope and buffalo (as well as 7000 other animals), but it’s set in an ancient meteor crater, too.

The Winelands: It almost seems boring to travel all the way to South Africa to go wine tasting, but the environment is so spectacular that you’ll be forgiven. East of Cape Town you’ll find Franschhoek and Stellenbosch both tucked away in spectacular mountains – so you can go for a hike to work off that booze belly after your tasting.

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