The oldest remains of modern humans were found in South Africa. More than 2000 shipwrecks, most dating back at least 500 years, exist off the South African coast. And, South Africa is probably the only country wherein you can find deserts, wetlands, grasslands, subtropical forests, mountains and cliffs, whatever you please. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are 10 more rather enticing reasons to plan a visit to the magical land called South Africa.
1. Abundant Wildlife
South Africa is abundantly rich in nature and wildlife. Begin with the Big Five – elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards and buffaloes. Soon after, you find yourself looking for whales, penguins, meerkats, wild dogs, giraffes, hippos and birds. Animal enthusiasts, here's your chance to unveil 299 species of mammals and 900 types of birds. Don’t forget to carry your DSLR and binoculars along!
2. More Bang for Your Buck
The exchange rate plays to your advantage in South Africa. 1 South African Rand is equivalent to 5.14 rupees, which means more purchasing power for you! Unlike Europe, here you can shop as much as you like and afford luxury without severely hurting your bank balance.
3. Adventures Galore
South Africa offers over 140 adventure activities, and there is something for everyone. Go bungee jumping, mountain walking, abseiling or cage-diving with sharks and crocodiles. If you fancy sky diving, Mossel Bay is your place. Likewise, you can also opt for sand boarding, spelunking or choose from a vast range of safaris.
4. Beaches Perfect for Swimming and Surfing
Cape Town boasts of the best urban beaches in the world with tropical coral reefs and diving/snorkelling spots. Furthermore, the city is home to a comical colony of endangered African penguins along the Indian Ocean coastline with pristine gold sand. These beaches are always full of swimmers and surfers. Go kayaking, windsurfing, surf skiing, kite surfing, angling or deep sea diving. Most beaches are dotted with lively restaurants and cafes where you can land up for drinks and food – don’t miss the fresh seafood delicacies! Codfather Seafood and Sushi in Cape Town comes specially recommended.
5. Delightful Food and Wine
Johannesburg and Cape Town are South Africa's oldest foodie destinations. Both house great coffee, craft beer, inspiring restaurants, international trends and most importantly, warm hospitality. When in Cape Town, spend time exploring vineyards and sample local wines on patios for a cultural experience.
6. The Possibility to Adopt Penguins Here
It's only in South Africa that you can walk up to a beach and expect to see penguins in groups. As a matter of fact, a colony of 3,000 penguins live in Cape Town. SANCCOB, the sea bird rehabilitation centre houses most of these penguins, but that’s not it. You can adopt a resident penguin! Of course you are not allowed to take them home, but you can cherish the joy of being their human parent.
7. Spectacular Architecture
The Painted Chimneys, Ponte City Towers, Carlton Centre, and Hanging Building at Johannesburg are all examples of splendid architecture. The Palace of the Lost City and Spider Bridge in Sun City are worth a visit. The Port and Beachfront at Mossel Bay is one of its kind while the Cape Town stadium is unbelievably awesome. South Africa has what it takes to dazzle its visitors.
8. The Opportunity to Dive with Sharks and Crocs
This is where adventure gets serious! The best way to get to know these majestic creatures is to get up, close and personal with them through cage-diving. Gansbaai, a 2 hour drive from Cape Town extends the best shark cage diving facilities for adventure seekers. If you fancy cosying up with crocs, head out to Oudtshroon. You’ll definitely have something to boast about to your friends back home.
9. Mind-blowing Luxury on Wheels
The South African 'Blue Train' is one of the most luxurious trains in the world. It offers a splendid 27 hour train journey from Pretoria to Cape Town. Each compartment has its own butler service. They also have a cigar lounge, an open bar, and great rooms with excellent showers. You can also buy diamonds from their gift shop. Rovos Rail, with its vintage coaches, private suites, dining cars and a an opulent décor that exudes old-world charm, has rightfully earned itself the title of ‘The Pride of Africa’.
10. Unique Display of the Country’s Sense of Humour
Throughout Africa, you will notice cool chuckle-inducing bumper stickers on the cars, roadside stalls selling used dentures or an utterly hilarious street sign. In reality, Africans are friendly people with a dark sense of humour. Expect to find people walking the streets in tees with whacky quotes.
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