From city to coast, South Africa is home to bustling cities full of culture, world-class winelands, mind-blowing mountain ranges, exquisite coastlines and spectacular wildlife. Needless to say, tourists are spoiled for choice.
In fact, we’re comfortable in saying that even if you had 6 months of vacation, you wouldn’t be able to see it all. But perhaps we could help you find a place to start by painting a picture that captures just a fraction of what this beautiful country has to offer. And what better place to start than Johannesburg?
Bustle in the Burg
Johannesburg is the metropolitan monolith of South Africa, located in the heart of Gauteng, the country’s smallest yet most densely populated province. It’s here that visitors can find and settle into The Capital Empire, a stylish contemporary hotel located in Sandton, which is home to one of Johannesburg’s most prestigious city skylines. Alternatively, The Capital on the Park and The Capital Melrose also offer their unique blends of cosmopolitan style in central Johannesburg.
A stone throw from The Capital Empire, Sandton City is a shopper’s paradise with something for everyone, including an eco-fashionable food district, a district for family-focused fun, and even a chandelier draped diamond walk, lined with stores that house global luxury brands. Get into the heart of the action and let your shopaholic flag fly in this popular mega mall.
If you’re looking for the true feel of the inner city, look no further than The Playground. This artisan market located in Braamfontein, near the Mandela bridge, is open every Saturday from 10am to 6pm. Discover the creative brilliance of local artists, sizzling street food to die for, handmade crafts and live music as you dedicate a day to seeing, tasting, and hearing the many ‘flavours’ of Johannesburg.
Image Source: In Your Pocket
Wildlife Safari in Pilanesberg
Dedicate at least a day to get out of the city and into the wilderness; this is Africa after all. Just under an hour away by car, Pilanesberg National Park is brimming with diversity of wildlife, including most of South Africa’s most famous big game.
Pilanesberg Safaris overlap the Kalahari and Lowveld, offering a unique mix of plant and animal species. Start your safari adventure in the cool early morning when the animals are most active and discover the home of lion, rhino, cheetah, African elephants, giraffe, buffalo, a plethora of bird species and more.
We haven’t even scratched the surface, but we’d like to make you aware of what else lies just beneath.
- Johannesburg’s hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tours offer a double decker experience of the city unlike any other. Choose from one of the many tours on offer.
- Exploring the Cradle of Humankind is one of the world’s most incredible World Heritage Sites, where the remains of our human ancestors can be traced back in time and is also home to the wonderous Sterkfontein Caves.
- Lastly, consider a tour of Soweto, one of the largest and most vibrant townships in South Africa, and maybe even dare to bungee jump at the Soweto Towers!
Coasting in the Cape
South Africa may not be the biggest country in the world, but it’s important not to under-estimate it’s size. For example, the average drive from Johannesburg to Cape Town is a whopping 15 hours on average. That’s why we recommend taking a domestic flight from OR Tambo or Lanseria Airport, which will clock in at a relaxed 2 hours, unless of course you’re a big fan of road trips, then by all means get your playlist ready and hit the road!
Once you arrive in the coastal city of Cape Town, it won’t take you long to realise why it’s regarded as one of South Africa’s shining jewels. From jaw-dropping coastlines, world-class wine experiences, and outdoor adventures to internationally acclaimed cuisine and unparalleled nightlife, this capital city has a habit of over delivering and will almost never leave you wanting.
The Capital 15 on Orange
If you liked The Capital Empire, you’ll love its sister hotel located within Cape Town’s richly historical Company’s Garden. The Capital 15 on Orange is anchored by Table Mountain and Lion’s Head, two of the city’s most prominent surrounding peaks, and is packed with features and amenities like the Emerald Lounge Restaurant & Bar that serves local and international flavours, the Designer spa, a pool and deck, café, fitness centre, and more. Drop your bags here upon arrival and return to a slice of paradise after every adventurous day out.
Views from the Top
The trail up Lion’s Head is something out of a day hiker’s dreams. This 1.5 to 2.5 hour up and down trip treats visitors to a constantly changing view as you ascend towards the top. Watch paragliders launch from designated spots on the mountain as you overlook picture-perfect views of the 12 apostles, Table Mountain, Clifton beaches, Camps Bay, Robben Island, Signal Hill, and of course the splendid city itself.
With so many impressive wine farms to choose from, it’s difficult to choose only one – so don’t! Tour the Franschhoek wine region aboard a hop-on hop-off tram that allows you to explore the wineries that interest you most at your leisure. Take in the scenery while you cruise through vineyards along rolling hills. Taste different wines to your hearts content and never worry about having to drive. Many of these tours include pick up and drop off options at Cape Town Hotels.
Cape of Good Hope and Penguins Tour
The penguins of Madagascar have nothing on the penguins of Boulders Beach! Explore the beauty of the Cape Peninsula and local wildlife in an intimate tour which will have you travel to the historical and colourful buildings of Bo-Kaap, take in the natural beauty of the Cape of Good Hope, tour the towns of Kalk Bay and Hout Bay, and of course, the African Penguin Colony at Boulders Beach.
Just like Johannesburg, Cape Town’s to-do list is near infinite, but we’ll just jot down a couple of other interesting things here for you to consider.
- Not for the feint hearted, book a thrill-seeking experience that brings you eye-to-eye with one of the most respected animals in our ocean. A once in a lifetime shark cage diving adventure that you’ll be able to tell your friends and family about for years to come.
- Few would argue if you decided to label Cape Town as the culinary capital of Africa. That’s because at some point or another, a serious foodie culture started to develop, and now the city is bursting full of trendy markets, unique food trucks, serious coffee culture, award-winning restaurants, fusion street food, and festivals. Google some of the best spots or simply ask the locals and get ready to send your taste buds on a flavour-filled adventure!
No matter where your South African journey begins and ends, you can be confident in looking forward to an eventful escapade filled with unforgettable experiences that will keep you coming back for more.