Choose from 133 Fun Things to Do in South Africa
Perhaps nowhere is South Africa’s transition to democracy more vividly apparent than on Constitution Hill. For over a hundred years, buildings here functioned as a much-feared prison complex, holding everyone from common criminals to activists Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, even Winston Churchill (briefly) during the Boer War.
Since 2004, this site has been home to South Africa’s Constitutional Court, partially built with bricks from one of the old prison buildings, complemented with lighter contemporary elements. Visitors can see the court in session after a tour which takes in Mandela’s cell as well as a permanent exhibition dedicated to Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violent protest.
Constitution Hill is in Johannesburg’s north, in an area bounded by Kotze, Joubert, Hospital and Sam Constitution Hill is in Johannesburg’s north, in an area bounded by Kotze, Joubert, Hospital and Sam Hancock Streets. The parts of the complex open to visitors include the Old Fort, Women’s Prison, “Number Four” prison and the Constitutional Court.
- The Maropeng Visitor Centre and all of its onsite restaurants are wheelchair accessible.
- A variety of hotels, cottages, and bed-and-breakfasts are available in the area for visitors who would like to spend more than just a day exploring.
- While the Maropeng Visitor Centre and Sterkfontein Caves each charge separate admission, guided tours typically provide entrance to both.
The Bo-Kaap Museum, which examines the contributions made by Muslim settlers, is housed in the quarter’s oldest home. It is the ideal place to start exploring the culture of this colorful neighborhood. Afterwards, check out the historic Mosques that dot the streets of Bo-Kaap, including one built in 1844, before visiting the well-known Karamats. The township is home to three of these burial sites that honor saints of Islam. Travelers can also learn to make famous Malay Curry during a traditional cooking class, or sample local fare and purchase traditional works of art at the food and craft market held at Schotshcekloof Civic Center the first Saturday of every month.
- The entrance fee for the boardwalk goes toward conservation efforts.
- It’s prohibited to touch, feed, or interact with the penguins, although the boardwalks will take you close enough to get some great photos.
- Parking at the beach is limited, especially in peak season (December–January), so arrive early to secure a spot.
- The boardwalk is wheelchair and stroller accessible.
The Golden Mile is where Durban dips its feet into the rolling surf of the Indian Ocean. The wide expanse of sand which gives the stretch its name is one of the most popular playgrounds of South Africa, known particularly as a surfing centre but also a great place for sunbathing and year-round swimming.
There are numerous attractions nearby, including uShaka Marine World, the Surfing Museum and Mini Town, a miniature replica of Durban. Numerous nearby shops compete for your rand, though if you’re looking for souvenirs the Zulu craft market offers great value and variety.
The Golden Mile (actually closer to 4 miles, or 6 kilometers) is located at the eastern edge of Durban’s central business direct, and the city’s main railway station is around 15 minute’s walk from North Beach. Enjoy sea breezes along the promenade on foot, or take one of the extravagantly decorated “Zulu Rikshas”.
- The museum presents the sometimes shocking reality of apartheid, and some parts may be inappropriate for young kids.
- Visitors should plan for about two hours to explore the museum fully.
- The museum is fully wheelchair accessible.
- Guided Apartheid Museum tours are available by advance booking only for groups of more than 15, with a small charge on top of admission.
Guided game drives, self-driven safaris, horseback riding and an extensive network of novice and advanced hiking trails make Addo a popular stop for travelers to the southern Cape. High-end lodges and rugged bush camps also offer plenty of accommodation options for visitors who want to enjoy the estuaries, savannahs and forests that surround the park.
Lucky visitors to the canyon may spot a pair of Taita Flacons—one of the most rare bird species in the world—near the Abel Erasmus Pass. Travelers can also get up close to some of South Africa’s other natural rarities too, like Three Rondavels viewpoint, where massive rocks spiral out of canyon walls. Hundreds of years of flowing waters have created Bourke’s Luck Potholes, natural rock sculptures that are recognized as one of the country’s most memorable geological formations.
A helpful information center is located near the mouth of the canyon, where man-made dams have crated placid pools perfect for swimming. Visitors can venture towards Blydesrivierpoort (near Swandini) and travel by boat across the dam to the scenic Tufa Waterfalls. Miles of well-marked trails make Blyde River Canyon a true hiker’s destination, but a wealth of canoeing, rock climbing and abseiling excursions mean there’s also plenty to occupy adventurers.
- The reserve has a children's entertainment area, suitable for toddlers to preteens, with indoor and outdoor activities; it is open daily.
- Those staying overnight must bring proof of identification.
- Children of all ages may participate in game drives; quad bike and horseback safaris have a minimum age of 16.
- All game drives are guided by rangers; there is no self-drive option within the reserve.
Four distinct beaches make up Clifton Beach, which attracts a ritzier crowd full of scenesters eager to see and be seen. Year-round rigid water temps keep sunbathers firmly on the shores, but rented chairs, multi-million dollar yachts and tasty cafes along the main drag offer plenty of opportunities for people watching, as well as a chance to brush elbows with Cape Town’s most elite.