Come to South Africa for the safaris, but don’t miss out on these 10 great attractions

South Africa is a country of contrasts, where cosmopolitan cities coexist with diverse wildlife, stunning natural landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or inspiration, there’s something for everyone in this rainbow nation. But if you want to avoid the crowds and discover some hidden gems, here are 10 under-the-radar experiences that will make your trip unforgettable.

Soar over the skies in a hot air balloon

If you want to see South Africa from a different perspective, why not try a hot air balloon ride? You can float over the scenic landscapes of the Cape Winelands, the Magaliesberg Mountains or the Pilanesberg National Park, and enjoy breathtaking views of the sunrise, the valleys and the wildlife below. You can also combine your flight with a champagne breakfast or a wine tasting for a truly memorable experience.

Track chimpanzees in the wild

South Africa is not only home to the Big Five, but also to our closest living relatives: chimpanzees. You can join a guided tour to track these intelligent and social creatures in their natural habitat at Mahale National Park in Western Tanzania, one of the few places on earth where you can do so. You can also stay at the legendary camp Greystoke Mahale, located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, and enjoy the pristine wilderness and the friendly hospitality.

Watch whales from the shore

South Africa is one of the best places in the world to see whales from land. Every year, between June and November, thousands of southern right whales migrate from Antarctica to the warmer waters of South Africa’s coastline. You can spot them from various vantage points along the coast, such as Hermanus, De Hoop Nature Reserve or Plettenberg Bay. You can also join a boat tour or even kayak with these gentle giants for a closer encounter.

Bungee jump from the world’s highest bridge

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, you can’t miss the opportunity to bungee jump from Bloukrans Bridge, the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee at 216 meters. You’ll feel the thrill of free-falling over the scenic Bloukrans River Valley, surrounded by lush forests and mountains. This is an experience that will test your courage and leave you breathless.

Explore Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is a hidden gem in the heart of the Little Karoo, a semi-desert region that offers stunning views of mountains and plains. Sanbona is home to a variety of wildlife, including lions, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, and antelopes. You can also see the rare white lions, which have been reintroduced to the reserve after being extinct in the wild for decades. You can stay at one of the luxury lodges or camps in the reserve, and enjoy game drives, guided walks, rock art tours, and stargazing.

Visit Robben Island

Robben Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of South Africa’s struggle for freedom and democracy. It was used as a prison for political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, who spent 18 years of his 27-year sentence there. You can take a ferry from Cape Town to the island, and join a guided tour led by former inmates who will share their stories and insights. You can also visit the museum, the graveyard, and the lighthouse on the island.

Witness the sardine run

The sardine run is one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world. Every year, between May and July, billions of sardines migrate from the cold waters of the Cape to the warmer waters of KwaZulu-Natal, creating a massive bait ball that attracts predators such as dolphins, sharks, whales and seabirds. You can watch this amazing spectacle from the shore, or join a boat or diving tour to get closer to the action.

Zipline through the forest

Ziplining is a fun and exciting way to explore South Africa’s natural beauty. You can glide through the air on a series of cables, suspended above the forest canopy, rivers, waterfalls or gorges. You’ll enjoy panoramic views of the scenery and feel the wind in your hair. There are many ziplining locations in South Africa, such as Tsitsikamma, Magaliesberg or Ceres.

Discover the Cradle of Humankind

The Cradle of Humankind is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that showcases the origins of humanity. It is home to some of the oldest and most important fossils ever found, such as Mrs Ples and Little Foot, which date back millions of years. You can visit the Maropeng Visitor Centre and the Sterkfontein Caves to learn more about our ancestors and their evolution. You can also enjoy other activities in the area, such as hot air ballooning, cycling, or horse riding.

Learn about diamonds at the Big Hole

The Big Hole is a massive open-pit mine that was created by thousands of miners who dug for diamonds in Kimberley between 1871 and 1914. It is one of the largest hand-dug excavations in the world, measuring 215 meters deep and 1.6 kilometers in circumference. You can visit the Kimberley Diamond Museum to learn more about the history and culture of diamond mining in South Africa, and see some of the rarest and most valuable diamonds ever found.

Flights to Johannesburg

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