10 Top Tourist Attractions in South Africa

South Africa is diverse and beautiful country, about the size of France and Spain combined or roughly twice the size of Texas. Its varied cultures, intriguing wildlife, stunning scenery, and remarkable beaches make it a haven for travelers from around the world. Visitors quickly discover that the rich history and colorful inhabitants ideally complement the top tourist attractions in South Africa, which creates an unforgettable experience.

10Sun City Resort

Known regionally as Africa’s Kingdom of Pleasure, Sun City Resort is a luxury casino and resort, situated about two hours’ drive from Johannesburg. The complex contains four hotels, two championship golf courses, two casinos, an atmospheric South African cultural village and more than 7000 crocodiles within a sanctuary. The adjacent Pilanesberg Game Reserve is the most popular public Game Reserve in South Africa.

9Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve

As the only park under a formal conservation effort in KwaZulu Natal where you can see the Big Five – lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo and rhinoceros – the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve offers visitors wildlife viewing opportunities second to none. Wildlife enthusiasts may enjoy the vast expanses of native plants and native animals during guided walks, self-guided drives, or opt for a thrilling viewing experience by boat along the Hluhluwe dam.

8Blyde River Canyon
Blyde River Canyonflickr/Mister-E

Blyde River Canyon is the second largest canyon in Africa, after the Fish River Canyon, although it is much greener due to its lush subtropical foliage. Walking treks through the rich diversity of flora and fauna filled canyon offer views of magnificent escarpments, waterfalls and ancient geological phenomenon. Visitors have the opportunity to encounter all five of South Africa’s primates here, as well as hippos and crocodiles near the wetlands of Swadini Dam.

7Cape Winelands
Cape Winelandsflickr/coda

The fertile valleys of the Cape Winelands are surrounded by majestic mountains, sleepy villages, brilliant monuments, fruitful orchards and some of the lushest scenery in South Africa. Visitors can follow the Wine Routes of the Cape to visit the vineyards of the country’s finest winemakers, whose sherries, ports, brandies and intriguing whites and reds are world famous for their delicate flavors and savory palatability.

Read more: Cape Winelands Guide

6Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
Victoria and Alfred Waterfrontflickr/exfordy

As one of Cape Town’s largest tourist attractions and most visited destinations, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront invokes images of the earliest days of the harbor. Situated within an entertainment mecca filled with restaurants, specialty shops, pubs, and theaters, there is something here for everyone to enjoy. Beyond amusements, there are also some attractions including the infamous Clock Tower, Chavonnes Battery, the South African Maritime Museum and the coastal Seal Landing where Cape Fur Seals reside.

5Knysna
Knysnaflickr/O W Baglow

The Garden Route is one of South Africa’s most popular tourist attractions and is generally thought to stretch from Mossel Bay to St Francis along the Indian ocean and also includes parts of the inland. A trove of indigenous canopied forests, mountains, rivers, tranquil lakes and golden beaches grace this extensive South Africa region.

One of the Garden Route’s best known travel destinations, Knysna is situated between lush forests and the shores of a peaceful lagoon. Extensive opportunities for outdoor adventure are easily accessible in Knysna, as well as plenty of leisurely strolling paths filled with authentic dining and shopping venues. Visiting the heads – two cliffs guarding the mouth of the lagoon – is a must, and each one offers spectacular views of the adjacent colorful cliffs and the brilliant lagoon where seasonal whale watching is top-notch.

4Durban Beaches
Durbanflickr/Kleinz1

Often compared to Miami Beach, Durban’s beaches provide a vibrant atmosphere that pulses with energy. Boasting balmy weather year round and sporting a genuine beach culture, Durban beaches are lively areas that are remarkably clean and safe, and many of the beaches offer varietal entertainments throughout the day. Also known as the Golden Mile, there are expansive stretches of soft, golden sands and subtropical sunshine along Durban’s South and North Coast beaches.

Read more: Durban Guide

3Amphitheatre, Drakensberg
Amphitheatre, Drakensbergflickr/laurieciao

The Drakensberg is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa, rising to 3,482 meters (11,420 ft) in height. The name is derived from the dutch and means “dragons mountain”. The Amphitheatre is one of the geographical features of the Northern Drakensberg, and is widely regarded as one of the most impressive cliff faces on earth.

2Table Mountain
Table Mountainflickr/RobW_

Situated within a national park, reaching the pinnacle of the Table Mountain is an thrilling experience that offers phenomenal, birds-eye views overlooking the city of Cape Town, Robben Island to the north, and the Atlantic seaboard to the west and south. Peaking at 1,086 meters (3,563 ft), reaching the top is simple via an ingenuous cableway, and each Rotair car features revolving floors allowing passengers to enjoy 360-degree views during the trek to the top.

Read more: Table Mountain Guide

1Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve on the continent and one the main tourist attractions in South Africa. The park boasts more species of mammals than any other African game reserve which includes the Big Five, cheetahs, giraffes and more. Unlike most other safari parks, Kruger is a self-drive destination with an excellent infrastructure and many places to stay inside the park, from tented camps to luxury lodges.

Read more: Kruger National Park Guide

More South Africa tourist attractions can be found in the Explore South Africa page.

Map of Tourist Attractions In South Africa

13 comments

  1. Wow some wonderful pictures here! I never knew how colorful and diverse South Africa is. This is on my list of places to travel. Now just what part of South Africa is what I need to figure out next.

  2. I’m genuinely shocked knowing there is also a great canyon similar to the breathtaking views in Colorado. I would certainly take on more details about this spot since I love the things I see in these Canyon formations.

  3. Great list. I’ve been itching to travel to South Africa for years now. It’s definitely high on my list and posts like this make me want to go all the more. Of course, my bank account disagrees. Details, details :)

  4. John Kim

    Just WOW!!!!!!

    What a collection of colors. South Africa is really too much beautiful country. The Table mountain, Blyde River Canyon,and Sun City Resort are simply awesome. Thank you for this nice post.

  5. Look at those animals. I think this is one of the best country to visit and to enjoy nature. Almost all places here are spectacular. Cant wait to go in South Africa.

  6. Many people do not know how great and beautiful South Africa is. They fail to grasp that South Africa is one of the most recommended place with its virgin forest and grandeur city.

  7. Every time I see pictures of wild animals in a forests, it amuses me. There are still places like this for animal to live with freedom.

  8. Woah! I like having a coffee break at Knysna because I love outdoor adventure. Great shots and reviews on South Africa!

  9. Thanks for bringing back my memories when I was there at South Africa. I volunteered there as a doctor for almost 10 years. Mostly of the spots above particlarly the Table Mountain have a special place in my heart. I hope to be back soon!

  10. Drakensberg. I’d never heard of that, but it looks absolutely stunning, thanks so much for tipping me off about this :-)

    Fun note on names, as well, almost the same as we’d say in Norway, Drageberg…
    Or maybe I’m just being a language geek again ;-)

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