South Africa remains one of the best tourist destinations on the continent. The country, officially identified as the Republic of South Africa, is a significant point of interest to global travelers and a good spot for classic African scenery.
The country has a lot to offer you, whether planning a safari trip or family beach travel. It has stunning desserts, awe-inspiring wildlife, golden savannah, and a breathtaking cast of African creatures great and small.
Here you will find the 30 top attraction sites in South Africa that draw tourists from across the globe all year round.
1. V&A Waterfront, Western Cape
V&A Waterfront in Western Cape remains the most visited tourist attraction in South Africa, which took its name from Alfred and Victoria for the first and second basins.
This spot is one of Cape Town’s renowned Big 6, famous for its central location, oldest working harbor, world-class contemporary art museums, and an extensive collection of entertainment destinations, among many other things to explore.
The waterfront is splited into nine precincts: Portswood Ridge District, Granger Bay District, Quays District, Granger Bay, Canal District, Clock Tower District, Dry Dock District, Pierhead District, and the Silo District.
Things to do here;
– Touring in ferry, boat, and yacht.
– Visiting the continent’s most prominent contemporary art museums such as Springbok Experience Rugby, Zeitz MOCAA Museum, Iziko Maritime Museum, and the historical Robben Island museum.
– See most of South Africa’s prestigious international hotels.
– A visit to the must-see Two Oceans Aquarium, mainly for kids.
– Flying in a scenic helicopter around Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsula.
2. Kruger National Park
A must-see destination in northeastern South Africa is the Kruger National Park, which offers dramatic scenery, fantastic hiking trails, and deserted beaches.
It offers spectacular ocean views of wild animals such as the Big 5: buffalos, lions, elephants, leopards, and rhinos. It’s the largest game reserve and an exciting journey for a safari in Africa surrounded by tropical forests, bush plains, and mountain scenery.
Other attractions at this historical and archaeological site include; varied species of birds ranging from eagles to vultures; and hundreds of mammals. Indeed, one needs to step into this iconic nature park while visiting South Africa to explore the unrivaled diversities.
3. Cape Point Nature Reserve
Sited at the extremity of Cape Peninsula in Cape Town, South Africa, this attraction point serves as a breathtaking nature reserve for visitors to the country.
This attraction is inside the Table Mountain National Park. The navigator Bartolomeu Dias previously named it the Cape of Storms, but it later changed to its present.
Indeed, Cape Point is a paradise for nature lovers featuring 1859 lighthouse, natural diversity, rich bio-diversity, fauna, and flora, which include baboons, bucks, and more than 250 species of birds, to say nothing of, in a million points of view to the end of the earth.
4. The Garden Route
Another scenic drive highly recommended as worth seeing in South Africa is the Garden Route. This tourist attraction sits in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, just 200 kilometers away from the coast that connects Mossel Bay to the Storms of Rover Mouth.
At this spectacular scenery, you’ll explore some top-rated attractions like the storms river suspension bridge, Cango caves, the Knysna elephant park, Swartberg pass, birds of Eden, monkeyland, jukani wildlife sanctuary, feathered heads, and the Knysna forest.
What’s more, some other adrenaline-fueled adventures you should not miss are the Robberg nature reserve, Plettenberg bay, Gondwana Private Game Reserve, Canyoning the Crags, as well as some fascinating wildlife adventures.
5. Golden Mile, Durban Beachfront
Durban’s Golden Mile is a place to see while touring around the South African countries. It is located at KwaZulu-Natal, Beach Walk, Durban Central, and is famous for its stretch of beachfront.
Visiting the pavement cafes, craft stalls, and fishing spots will offer a memorable experience. If you’re a swimmer or sun-worshiper, the golden sands at the Golden Mile beach is artificially divided by various piers will appeal to you.
Also, the Garden Court Marine Parade featuring the Suncoast Casino and uShaka Marine World is there for you to explore while staying at this attraction site. While you are here, you will also explore the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and sub-tropical sunshine.
If you’ve come to stay for some days, book the holiday apartments or a comfortable accommodation at one of the chain hotels; enjoy the taste of various cuisines at the numerous restaurants.
6. St Lucia Estuary
This place has a fantastic selection of exotic grassland, waterfowl, sea birds, and other animals, including crocodiles, buffalo, leopard, red duiker, bushbuck, and hippo – bird enthusiasts. I love this one!
St Lucia Estuary is at the municipal area of Umkhanyakude in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.
For adventure tourists, this attraction site has a lot to offer. Some of the activities that are so worthwhile that tourists should experience are the hiking trails, Pitons climbing, the island’s active volcano, Ziplining, horseback riding, and sightseeing cruises.
While exploring the popular island activities, perhaps the beaches, they do not have on-duty lifeguards or shark nets to protect them.
7. iSimangaliso Wetland Park
You may have heard about this World Heritage Site by now but don’t know much of it. It’s just an interesting point along the coast of the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.
Due to unique ecosystems, rich biodiversity, naturally occurring appealing adventures, and unique global venues to behold, the park was proclaimed the first world heritage site in South Africa.
If you want to enjoy your vacation with friends or family as much, this place has got some fantastic things. Explore kayaking, bird watching, game drives, guided walk, deep-sea fishing boat cruises, and other adventures at the beaches.
8. Howick Falls
The KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa have great archeological treasures, historical sites, and alluring spots for tourists and visitors discovered in the 1800s by European travelers.
Howick Falls, Howick city, is indeed another place worth visiting once traveling to South Africa. It measures 95 meters in height and is called KwaNogqaza by Zulu people, implying “Place of the Tall One.”
They’re beautiful with amazing views of both south and east coast of the uMngeni River. There’s a lot to do here, including visiting the Howick Falls Hotel, taking three different trails that provide vantage points for good views of falls and photographs.
9. Nelson Mandela Capture Site
South Africa has this striking world-class steel sculpture as a significant history. Situated in Howick, South Africa, near the Natal Midlands, Nelson Mandela’s Site was erected during the 50th anniversary of Mandela’s capture.
There are about 50 steel columns on the sculpture that depict Mandela’s face dramatically from a specific vantage point.
Whether you are here for a group tour, conference, or private tour, this site offers guided and non-guided tours to suit individual and group packages.
Not to mention, the “long walk to freedom” at the visitor’s center will complement your stay. This ‘Long Walk’ ends at the iconic Nelson Mandela’s sculpture, which is entitled release. Tour operators typically advise visitors to follow the life of Mandela via the garden landscape while taking a walk.
10. Spirit of the Emakhosini
Spirit of the Emakhosini is an exotic monumental destination in South Africa for tourists. It is rich in Nguni ethnic history and lifestyle for the lovers of Zulu life.
You will see a massive Zulu bronze beer pot sited in the Valley of the Kings enveloped by 18 bronze reliefs that symbolize the Zulu people’s life at this rich heritage site.
Among other monuments here are the seven large horns representing the seven kings who died many decades ago and were buried in the valley.
Here, you will also see the KwaMatiwane where the Voortrekkers and other leading migrants died, as well as the Royal Residence of King Dingane, the kwaMgungundlovu.
11. Gateway Theatre of Shopping
There are many captivating destinations to visit while in South Africa. It does not end with spots that have rich archeological structures, architectural heritage, or biodiversities.
After exploring the spot, Gateway Theatre of Shopping at Palm Boulevard, Umhlanga Ridge New Town Centre in Durban, features memorable entertainment for adults and children, ultimate fashion, and dining destinations.
It’s one of the top 100 shopping malls across the international boundaries hosting over 70 eateries and 430 stores where you can buy many things you will enjoy buying on your first trip, if not every trip.
12. Robben Island
Robben Island is a world heritage site situated at the Table Bay, in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. It is one of the famous destinations on the continent.
The island houses the prison museum, known as a home for non-South African prisoners. It became famous after the jailing of Nelson Mandela, an ex-president of South Africa, for 18 years of his 27-years alongside social misfits and other political dissidents.
While at this island, take a guided tour to the museum for a multimedia exhibition that combines audio and video form with art features in the physical space.
13. Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve
At Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, Drakensberg escarpment region, eastern Mpumalanga, you’ll find such alluring things as great archaeological treasures and nature reserves.
In addition to all the nature reserves at Blyde River Canyon, tourists at this site will explore scenic views of the spectacular Panorama Route, God’s Window, Three Rondawels, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, and the Pinnacle (recently closed to the public entrance).
Sightseers at this destination will explore the helicopter flight over Blyde River Canyon, hippo trail, hiking trail, Kadishi trail, and Blyde boat cruising, among other things.
14. Pilanesberg National Park
A national park located in the northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa, featuring beautiful lakes and animals.
Most visitors from all over the world gather here frequently to experience nature firsthand. It has become celebrated for its colorful animals and beautiful landscapes.
Top attractions at this spot include the Moruleng Cultural Precinct, Bhubeza Safaris, and Amani Spa, among other wildlife adventures. The tour guides usually take visitors through every species, including parrots that fly freely out of their trees!
15. The Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal
Look no further than the Drakensberg, located at the eastern portion of the Great Escarpment, South Africa, if you’re looking to kick routes through some excellent jungle areas.
It’s sited at a short distance, which measures few kilometers from within the bordering districts of South Africa and Lesotho.
The Drakensberg has become famous for its mountains, spectacular ancient rock arts, and nature reserves with abundant wildlife and waterfalls. Also, it features tropical forest scenery and many gorgeous trails for all abilities that will make your stay here feel like heaven!
Stellenbosch, Western Cape Province, is among the top-visited attraction sites in South Africa. It’s an actual tourism destination and a university town enveloped by the wine lands of the Western Cape.
Also, the mountainous nature reserves of Jonkershoek and Simonsberg surround this spot, making it a year-round destination for adventure tourists and nature lovers visiting Cape Town.
Explore a full-day Franschhoek and Paarl wine tour at Stellenbosch. Again, you can take the time of many more towns and cities down there if your budget is enough. Naturally, you will have to spend money on food, though (just not as much).
17. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Do you wish to visit this breathtaking spot in the Northern Cape? You will need a bit of planning and can rest assured that there will be no too much hassle at all.
It boasts spectacular views from some unique scenic landscapes throughout the entire park. It also typifies dry rivers and red dunes, particularly if you’re looking for something unique concerning your journey out into wild nature reserves nearby.
Tourists will love this destination not only because of the breathtaking experience of natural landscapes but because of the wildlife such as predators like black-maned Kalahari lions and raptors, migrating herds of wildebeest, and springbok.
Spend a few days at various wilderness camps or lodges to enjoy activities like the guided walking tour with park rangers or game-viewing drives.
18. Sani Pass
A mountain pass is on the road linking Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa’s one of the most breathtaking cities, and the Drakensberg escarpment of Lesotho.
Sani Pass is a renowned hiking destination in South Africa, featuring high and steep topographic views.
During the winter season, hiking usually becomes difficult due to the slippery nature of the mountain caused by snowfall and ice.
19. Tala Private Game Reserve
Tala Private Game Reserve is where visitors can expect good local knowledge about wild animals and game reserves in Camperdown, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
This spot, commonly known as a wildlife sanctuary, provides tourists a home for big games such as the kudus, sable antelopes, rhinos, giraffes, and up to 400 birds from several species.
20. Valley of a Thousand Hills
Sited in the sizeable urban metropolis of Durban, South Africa, this attraction site features up to 100 hills with the meeting point at Msunduzi and Umgeni, making it a place of unusual nature’s wonder.
It offers knowledge about the Zulu lifestyle as well as their culture. Among the things that make this destination, an awe-inspiring tourist attraction are the green hills, tributaries, and Umgeni River.
Visitors can explore fascinating things, including the microlight flight, the 1000 hills Choo Choo steam running activity, boating, fishing, and several other adventures.
21. uShaka Marine World
Among the exciting places to visit while touring around the attraction sites in South Africa is the uShaka Marine World in Durban. It’s a marine theme park where visitors to the city can enjoy wide-ranging water activities.
Within the uShaka marine world, Attractions include the Walk’s Dangerous Creature exhibit, Wet’ n Wild Water Park, and uShaka Village Walk shopping center.
Aside from the water activities, there are so many things to do here, whether you are visiting alone or with your family; some of them which include bird watching, particularly the hairy tarantula, dolphin, black mamba, and other friendly birds.
22. Moses Mabhida Stadium
Apart from the places with impressive historic architecture, other attraction sites with unique settings and exciting places exist in South Africa.
Moses Mabhida Stadium is a state-of-the-art arena in Durban that sits more than 62,000 spectators conformably. It once hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2010.
At this attraction site, tourists can enjoy several activities such as adventure walk, segway gliding tours, stadium tours, the Big Rush Big Swing, people park adventures, SkyCar riding up the sky, which offers breathtaking views to the Durban city.
23. The Palace of the Lost City
Palace of the Lost City is yet another luxurious attraction where tourists can experience stunning natural landscapes – including nature parks, hiking trails, camping areas, and other reserved treasures.
Tourists who are lovers of natural attractions will discover many fascinating things to do here. The sundowner cocktail exhibition and sunrise hot-air balloon rides are some of the worthwhile adventures.
24. Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris
A top pick for the best balloon safari adventure in South Africa is Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris, located at Skeerpoort.
Book a trip to this spot if you want to enjoy various balloon tours, which vary from R1, 810 to R4, 000, and make the most of bird’s eye view.
Also, the long-hour ride at this point offers an unforgettable experience to some of the unique countryside attractions that linger the visitors’ memories for a long time.
25. Sterkfontein Caves
Located in the provincial area of Gauteng, these caves house the archaeological sites of Kromdraai and Swartkrans.
This set of significant limestone caves of particular interest has resulted in the discovery of world-famous fossils.
Visitors to this place can expect good knowledge about the critical history puzzle and how they were discovered inside their various chambers.
Maropeng is a tourist attraction center and paleoanthropological site for the cradle of humankind located in Gauteng province of northwestern Johannesburg, South Africa.
It is one of the eight famous world heritage sites covering 47,000 hectares of land with various complexes that house many archeological histories.
The spot is most appealing not just for the fascinating views or exciting things to do but also for the thought-provoking learning experience about the fossils, stones, engraved rocks, and ancestral exhibitions there.
27. Voortrekker Monument
The nation’s capital, Pretoria, is the home of this famous heritage site that attracts thousands of visitors to the country every year.
This monument was constructed to honor some Voortrekkers who departed from the Cape Colony between 1835 – 1854.
A lot of beautiful nature reserves at this center make it picturesque. It offers fascinating learning experiences and attractions to visitors from around the world.
If you are a tourist seeking entertainment in the northern suburb of Johannesburg, this recreational center and a Tuscan-inspired architectural site will offer desirable options.
Visitors to Joburg are primarily attracted to this site because of the unforgettable experience offered by the ten-pin bowling games, unique nightlife activities, comedy club, casino, movies, and related things.
29. Lion & Safari Park
For safari lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, this destination has a lot to offer. This Gauteng’s must-see tourist attraction site sits at Pelindaba Road, Hartbeespoort, Broederstroom.
Here, you will enjoy watching a good number of animals such as wild dogs, hyenas, cheetahs, lions, and various antelopes.
This site is famous for its Cub World, where tourists watch lions and hold and pet their cubs; the safari drive is also one of the most extraordinary things to do here.
30. The Apartheid Museum
Also, in the heart of Joburg is located the Apartheid Museum. This museum commemorates South Africa’s Apartheid administration from 1948 – 1990 and illustrates its rise and fall.
One thing that is unique about this historical museum is that of offers fundamental knowledge of the challenging regime in the history of South Africa.
Some memorable exhibitions at this spot include photographs, text panels, film footages, and artifacts that demonstrate human stories and cultural events.
Do not miss seeing the Satyagraha House, Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary, Gold Reef City, Newtown Cultural Precinct, Augrabies Falls, The Big Hole, Jeffrey’s Bay, and many others to mention but a few.
Which place is the most visited in South Africa?
The V&A Waterfront sited in Western Cape Town, which attracts over 24 million visitors, is the most visited place in South Africa.
Why is South Africa a great tourist attraction?
South Africa is a great tourist attraction because of its scenic mountains, beaches, and savannas. Durban is probably rich in botanical gardens, beaches, and safaris for its popular surfing spot and inhabited mainly by the Indian people.
What are the types of tourist attractions?
There are four major tourist attractions in the travel and tourism industry: natural reserves, heritage attractions, purpose-built attraction sites, and events.
What are the top 3 tourist attractions in Africa?
The three unique topmost tourist attractions in Africa include Kruger National Park South Africa, Etosha National Park, Namibia, and Amboseli National Park in Kenya.
We’ve developed a list of attractions through South Africa at places you can stay during your tour. This essential piece will serve any visitor or a prospective tourist seeking a memorable experience through the local heritage sites, parks, reserves, and lots more.
Utilizing this article will offer you local knowledge about some tremendous archeological treasures and good knowledge about national culture and alluring spots to explore.