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South Africa Travel Guide
With golden beaches, jagged mountains and national parks full to the brim with exciting and beautiful wildlife, South Africa is the holiday capital of Africa, visited by over 10 million tourists per year. Topping the long list of attractions in South Africa is its remarkable wildlife and amazing natural scenery. From plains, mountains and deserts to coastal and ocean, South Africa’s National Parks and Reserves have a multitude of flora and fauna to explore.
Dining in South Africa
The Braii (South African barbeque), is practically a religion in South Africa. Almost all campsites, parks and picnic spots have built-in Braii facilities. The long and bountiful coastline provides plenty of fresh seafood, and the warm coastal climate gives a Mediterranean feel to much of South African cuisine. The country’s multi-cultural heritage is reflected in the variety of culinary offerings.
In Johannesburg, soak up local food and live music at Neighbourgoods, an offshoot of the popular Cape Town Market, held in Braamfontein. On Sundays, try Maboneng’s Market on Main for local food. This rejuvenated area – ‘place of light’ in Sotho – used to be synonymous with poverty and crime and lined with disused factories. Now, it’s a creative hub and also home to Arts on Main, which is filled with hip galleries, boutiques and cafés.
Visiting Cape Town
Unmissable Cape Town landmark, Table Mountain, is the crowning glory of this diverse and exciting city. Hop on the cable car to the top for panoramic views, or hike up through the Table Mountain National Park if you’re feeling fit. Visit Robben Island to see where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years imprisoned on the island. Take a stroll down the V&A Waterfront for local specialties like Mulva Pudding in one of the many waterside restaurants.
Johannesburg may lack Cape Town’s wild setting but this busy hub is more than just an entry point. It’s an energetic city developing at pace, with an artsy vibe and a bustling food scene.
Start with a tour of one of Johannesburg’s most potent symbols of change, Constitution Hill. This is the site of the Old Fort Prison and its notorious Number Four section, where both Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi served time, and which is now a museum.
A 15-minute drive away in your South Africa rental car is The Apartheid Museum, where visitors are arbitrarily divided into ‘white’ or ‘non-white’ to explore the history of segregation and its impact on South Africa, illustrated with haunting artefacts and images.
South Africa driving routes
Of course, the most famous road trip route in South Africa is the Garden Route. This can be done in anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks depending on how much time you have to spend along the way. Grab your rental car in Cape Town and add some extra stops to the route, or start at Port Elizabeth and take your rental car on this most infamous of road trips. Check this blog post for the ultimate Garden Route road trip itinerary.
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park offers what most others don't: the chance for a DIY safari. Many African national parks are only open to those who can afford private tours, but partly thanks to its reliable network of roads, Kruger is accessible to all. You can experience it in your own South Africa rental car, in your own time and in your own way, for a fraction of what you'd normally pay in many of Africa's other nature reserves.
South Africa car rental
Driving in South Africa is on the left with right hand side drive vehicles. Roads are generally good and you may not necessarily need to rent a 4x4 in South Africa. You may find yourself driving very long distances so make sure you stop frequently as fatigue is the main cause of road accidents. Also refuel regularly as fuel stations can be few and far between.