South Africa’s best hidden destinations

July 3, 2014 |

Instead of heading to the same old beach destination, make this year's family vacation something to remember with some adventure travel in South Africa.

The country is mostly known for the city of Cape Town and Kruger National Park, home of the Big Five (the lion, rhino, cheetah, elephant and buffalo).

South Africa's hidden gems
Why not try something more adventurous and head to one of these lesser known spots for a truly remarkable vacation:

  • Johannesburg has been transformed into a bustling space for food lovers, artists and performers. You'll find it all here, from accommodations to entertainment, Jozi has a lot to offer visitors. Check out Maboneng Precinct, a neighborhood that's more recently become popular the city's creative residents, or 44 On Stanley where you'll find design studios, coffee shops and boutiques.
  • Just north of Lesotho and three hours from Johannesburg is Free State. This province is located at the foothills of the Maluti Mountains, so there's plenty to see in terms of beautiful scenery. Don't forget to check out the Golden Gate Highlands National Park where you can catch views of eland, blesbok, springbok and black wildebeest. Visitors can also take horseback rides in the town of Clarens.
  • One of the country's most dramatic mountain ranges is the Drakensberg. There are cliffs, valleys, hills and flatlands that run all the way to the coast. When you visit the towns of Ladysmith and Dundee, you can see The Battlefields, where the English, Afrikaners and Zulus fought in the late 1800s during the Anglo-Boer and Anglo-Zulu wars.
  • If seeing Cape Town is a must for you, make sure you check out some of the city's best kept secrets at Lion's Head mountain, the Summer Sunset Concerts and Kirstenbosch Gardens. You won't soon forget the sight of seeing the full moon over Lion's Head mountain and the spectacular city views that come along with it. Visitors can mingle with locals at Kirstenbosch Gardens on summer Sundays and listen to musicians.
  • Take some time away from the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg to KwaZulu-Natal's Midlands. The winding roads and farming area will lead you to The Capture Site, where Nelson Mandela was arrested in 1962.
  • Head to the Northern Cape, one of the most fascinating areas in the country to drive through. It's home to the Kalahari and Karoo deserts. Sutherland is a great place to go stargazing as it is famous for its clear night skies and is home to the Southern African Large Telescope.