It’s no surprise that South Africa is one of the top destinations in the world. It’s for good reason. Experiences are to be had in South Africa that can be experienced few other places. Much of this is thanks to the miles of bush that brings in travelers from around the world to see some of the world’s most rare wildlife. However, there’s more to South Africa than just safaris. We’ve put together a 10 things to do in South Africa that are not safari related.

Hike Table Mountain

Table Mountain is one of the most famous and recognizable landmarks in South Africa. It’s the perfect day trip from Cape Town. While you can take beautiful pictures of Table Mountain from Cape Town, we recommend spending the day to either climb it or take the aerial cableway to the top. From the top of Table Mountain, visitors have beautiful views of the ocean and Cape Town.

See African Penguins

One of South Africa’s most unique activities is visiting African Penguins on the beach. Not many people realize that penguins can live outside of freezing, snowy climates, so their presence on South Africa’s beaches is surprising to many. The penguins in South Africa are adapted to surviving in a warmer climate, which allows them to live on several different beaches in the country. While there are several good locations to view them, Boulder’s Beach is one of the easiest places to view these magnificent animals. They are friendly and often allow people to come near them. For animal lovers, these penguins are a must-see.

Take a Trip to Cape Winelands

South Africa has quickly climbed the ladder recently as a top destination for wine enthusiasts, with the Cape Winelands leading the way. While visitors can do a day trip from Cape Town, we recommend giving yourself a full weekend to enjoy all the accommodations, vineyards, and restaurants the region has to offer. Meet winemakers, learn about the winemaking process, and enjoy all the food and wine you could imagine.

Try Surfing

For the brave of heart, surfing is a thrilling and rewarding activity that leaves lifelong memories. Whether a veteran or a newcomer to the sport, South Africa has surfing opportunities for everybody. This country’s epic coastline features incredible diversity in surfing opportunities, but a visitor can’t go wrong in any of the country’s major surfing destinations. Jeffrey’s Bay is a popular location, located near Port Elizabeth, and features some of the best surfing in the world. Other great spots for catching a wave are Big Bay and Long Beach. Of course, there is a surfing spot lurking around every corner, so visitors in any part of South Africa should consider a trip to the beach to surf.

Travel the Garden Route

You may not be as familiar with South Africa’s Garden Route. The Garden Route is a serene stretch of coastline that takes travelers along the ocean and between rolling hills. Golfing, bird watching, and hiking are a few of the popular activities along the route. The Garden Route makes for a great afternoon drive.

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Kayak with Hippos and Crocs

There are plenty of places you can get to on cheap international flights where you can do some kayaking. However, kayaking among hippopotamuses and crocodiles is a unique African experience. South Africa’s biological diversity is a big reason to visit, and kayaking among these two incredible animals is a great way to immerse oneself into this diversity. The Saint Lucia Estuary is the ideal place to make this dream a reality, offering tours throughout the body of water. Of course, the biggest draw to this adventure is the chance to have close encounters with both the hippos and the crocs, which is something any thrill-seeker should cross off their bucket list. Being so close to these creatures is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. Not to mention, what else offers such great photograph opportunities?

Go Whale Watching

With so many great overland things to do in South Africa, the water activities often get overlooked. While visitors can see rare animals on a safari in South Africa, they can also see rare animals while boating on South Africa’s waters. In actuality, South Africa is one of the top whale watching destinations in the world. This time of year is one of the best times for whale watching.

Cage Dive with Sharks

Shark cage diving is for the true adventure junkie. This isn’t for the faint of heart. This also isn’t just a harmless shark, but great white sharks. While you remain in a cage for the duration of the experience, that doesn’t mean it won’t have your adrenaline pumping. Shark cage diving off the South Africa coast gives new meaning to the term “up close and personal”.

Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Everyone has seen hot air balloons, but few have ever actually ridden in one. This is unfortunate, because a hot air balloon ride is a magical experience. While being so high off the ground, travelers have the chance to view the serene African landscape from a perspective most never get to see. There’s no shortage of hot air balloon rides in South Africa, and there is a tour for every taste and budget. Some of these trips will focus on seeing wildlife, and others will focus on great scenic views. Most will feature both! Any travelers wanting an excellent view of the famous Mountain Range of Magaliesberg owes it to themselves to consider a balloon tour through the area. Of course, there are plenty of hot air balloon tours available in other regions of the country as well, if the traveler is more interested in seeing another location.

Visit Robben Island

When visiting a new country, one of the most important things to do is learn about its culture. Robben Island, an island close to Cape Town, is a fascinating piece of South African history. This island now serves as a museum with tours available. If you are interested in seeing the cell where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years, along with learning other interesting information about the island (like how part of it used to function as a leper colony) then it is well worth taking a boat from Cape Town to visit. The tours offered at the island are comprehensive and led by tour guides with excellent knowledge of Robben Island’s history.

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