What To Do in South Africa - 110+ Travel Bucketlist Ideas

A smorgasbord of authentic travel experiences, South Africa can be a hundred vacations rolled into one. From big-game safari to vineyards and Rainbow Nation culture, the edge of Africa has it all. South Africa is difficult to define in a single image and there are some things to do you won't find anywhere else.

With its kaleidoscope of landscapes and experiences, the Rainbow Nation has the most diverse appeal of all Africa's countries. From city to beach to safari to mountains, South Africa offers an eclectic mix as well as offering what many call an “introduction” to Africa. The country epitomizes the rich variety of a continent and the experiences to be discovered, both natural and cultural. Furthermore, a mature and established tourism industry offers the best overarching standards in the whole of Africa.

Robben Island, South Africa August 3, 2008: A silhouette of a man leaving the prison on Robben Island near Cape Town, South Africa on August 3, 2008.

Robben Island With Mandela’s Guard

South Africa
White rhino starring at the camera in the Welgevonden game reserve, South Africa.

Rhino Conservation Up Close in Kruger

South Africa
close up of giraffe

Horseback Safari in the Waterberg Bushveld

South Africa
A Blacktip Shark in Umkomaas in South Africa

Sardine Run Diving Adventure, Wild Coast

South Africa
A row of Pinotage, a South African wine grape variety, marked with a sign.

Pinotage Masterclass by Pieter de Waal

South Africa
Contemporary Art Museum

Explore Cape Town's Underground Tunnels

South Africa
Young man jumping on big marker stone at Cape Agulhas (Cape of the Needles),South Africa,southernmost point of the African continent.It marks the division point between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

Fly Over the Southernmost Tip of Africa

South Africa
Union Major General George H. Thomas

Stay in Gandhi's Old Home, Johannesburg

South Africa
Wine, Stellenbosch

Helicopter Tour with Tasting, Cape Winelands

South Africa
Rovos Rail Conductors, South Africa

Pretoria to Vic Falls Luxury Train

South Africa

Londolozi Photography Safari

South Africa
Royal Malewane, Greater Kruger

Royal Malewane Safari Spa

South Africa
Pangolin in Kafue National Park, Zambia

Phinda Pangolin Conservation Experience

South Africa
Red soil on a white rhino bull

Kwandwe Rhino Conservation Safari

South Africa
Majestic Private Safari Moments, With More Than the Big Five

From cultural tradition to incredible private game reserves, South Africa is the ultimate bucketlist destination. The Rainbow Nation morphs to your mood and everyday can be completely different from the next, whether you want city chic or wilderness and animals. What to do in South Africa has to involve safari, especially if you have never been on a safari before. Contemporary lodges provide comfort and luxury, as you are completely enveloped by a world of elephants, rhinos, lions and more. Luxury safari originated in South Africa and private concessions ensure your wildlife experience is very personal, not ruined by dozens of other vehicles and people.

Kruger National Park is undoubtedly South Africa's safari jewel, covering a gargantuan area that dwarfs some U.S. States. Unfenced boundaries lead into a series of private concessions and reserves, further enhancing the sense of wilderness and diversifying the experience. Away from Kruger, South Africa has the largest collection of private game reserves. While these are small and fenced, they offer a quick glimpse of safari regardless of where you travel in the country. Expect high levels of luxury at these.
The country is home to around 80% of the world's wild rhino population, with the endangered creatures astonishingly abundant around Kruger and the northeast. Big cats are also plentiful and a series of smaller national parks have distinct specialities; for example, the Garden Route's Addo Elephant National Park. While there's lots of choice, you're unlikely to be the only visitors in a park or reserve. Other than exclusive private reserves, you will have to get used to sharing the sights with other safari trucks. Safari rules are relatively lax, making South Africa a great country to experience a huge diversity of safari activities. Marine encounters also feature highly as the country promotes itself as being home to the “big seven” - whales and great white sharks being the additions.

Leopard stalking at night in the Kruger National Park, South Africa

Sabi Sands Nighttime Game Drive

South Africa
Lake near the Three Rondavels, from Blyde River Canyon, South Africa. Famous landmark. African panorama

Balloon Flight Over Blyde River Canyon

South Africa
Kids Safari, Singita Lodges

Singita Mini Rangers Safari Program for Kids

South Africa
Pride of lions in African bush gets ready for hunting.

Londolozi Game Drive

South Africa
Royal Malewane Game Drive, Greater Kruger

Royal Malewane Game Drive

South Africa
portrait of 2 zebras looking at camera

Singita Game Drive

South Africa
Fighting warthogs and african elephants in Addo

Addo Elephant National Park Tour

South Africa
Couple of Lions Flirting on Road by Night in Kruger Park, South Africa, Africa

Sabi Sabi Nighttime Game Drive

South Africa
Cheetah in tree

Phinda Game Drive

South Africa
Madikwe,South Africa - July 11,2016: Caucasian tourists are sitting in a Toyota safari vehicle during a game drive. A tracker is sitting in front of the vehicle. The driver is taking pictures of the lioness resting in front of the car.

Madikwe Safari Game Drive

South Africa
Marataba Trails Lodge, South Africa

Marataba Walking Safari

South Africa
Hippos keeping cool in the water & lazing around

Marataba Miss Mara Boat Safari

South Africa
African Elephant in Kruger Park, South Africa

Kruger Adventure Game Drive

South Africa
Leopard female portrait in Sabi Sands Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger Region in South Africa

Sabi Sabi Early Morning Game Drive

South Africa
Photographer taking safari pictures in Kruger NP, South Africa

Mala Mala Junior Ranger Program

South Africa
South Africa Experiences

Experiences are itinerary ideas created by travel designers. Use them as inspiration as you start planning a dream trip.

Matusadona Private Safari, Lake Kariba

African Safari Trip of a Lifetime

South Africa
Girl in Bath with Elephants, Sabi Sands

South Africa Cape & Safari

South Africa
Discovering the Cape

Table Mountain stands majestic above Cape Town’s streets of change and the Cape revels in its hearty mix of nature and culture. Few world cities are as iconic or as beautiful as Cape Town. And few can rival the number of things to do. From a stunning culinary scene to back-mountain hiking trails, Cape Town will keep you active and indulged. In the surrounding Cape Peninsula boutique hotels create seclusion on elegant vineyards and beacges awaits where two oceans meet.

A bright sunny winter's morning in Cape Town

Table Mountain Picnic

South Africa
Local man walking on street of colourful facades of the houses in Bo Kaap, Cape town, South Africa, January 23, 2019

Cape Town Walking Tour

South Africa
Colorful flowers in the Kirstenbosch botanical gardens, Cape Town, South Africa

Botanist Tour of Kirstenbosch Gardens

South Africa
The aerial view of Cape Peninsula from a helicopter in Cape Town,South Africa.

Cape Point Helicopter Tour

South Africa
Shot of urban development

Cape Town Sunset and Evening Photo Walk

South Africa
Langa Township, Cape Town, South Africa - October 12, 2018: Barber shop in informal settlements in Langa, a township located on the outskirts of Cape Town. It is the oldest Township in Cape Town and was the location of much resistance to apartheid.

Cape Town Township Photo Tour

South Africa
Drakensberg valley in south africa

Hermanus Whale Route Tour

South Africa
aerial view of coast of Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town Aerial Photo Tour

South Africa
Abseiling climber over precipice looks up at rock face

Abseil down Table Mountain

South Africa
View of table Mountain through fynbos, Bigbay, South Africa

West Coast Tour With Lunch at Strandloper

South Africa
India Venster, Table Mountain

Alternative Route Table Mountain Hike

South Africa
A view at the harbour of the Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa. This area is housing luxury hotels and apartements with neighbouring harbour and expensive boats. In the background the famous Table Mountain stretches out above the city.

Waterfront Harbour Cruise, Cape Town

South Africa
Where to Stay on a South Africa Vacation

South Africa has divine accommodation. Boutique hotels with stellar Table Mountain views. Wilderness safari camps where you can watch elephants from a private pool. Villas nestled amid the vines or perched on golden beaches. Where you stay is integral to the travel experience and there are so many unique options for your bucketlist. Location is key and the very best accommodations place you centerstage for dream South African experiences.

Kruger Treehouse, Lion Sands

Kruger Treehouse Sleepout

South Africa
londolozi private granite suites, Sabi Sands

Londolozi Private Granite Safari Suites

South Africa
Leopard, Sabi Sands

Royal Malewane Safari Lodge

South Africa
Mala Mala, Rattrays Camp

Rattray's Camp, Mala Mala Concession

South Africa
Phinda Homestead, Kruger

Phinda Homestead, Safari Villa

South Africa
Singita Ebony Villa

Singita Ebony Villa, Sabi Sands

South Africa
Madikwe Dithaba Lodge

Madikwe Dithaba Safari Lodge

South Africa
Room View, Makanyane Safari Lodge

Makanyane Safari Lodge

South Africa
Singita Sweni

Singita Sweni Safari Lodge

South Africa
Marataba Safari Lodge

Marataba Safari Lodge

South Africa
Martabe Thabametsi Treehouse

Stay in Thabametsi Treehouse

South Africa
Sabi Sabi Selati

Sabi Sabi Selati Safari Camp

South Africa
A white Rhinos (Ceratotherium simum) in natural habitat, South Africahttp://195.154.178.81/DATA/istock_collage/a10/shoots/785274.jpg

Singita Lebombo, Kruger Safari Lodge

South Africa
Grootbos Private Villa

Grootbos Private Villas

South Africa
Discover a Rainbow Nation and Melting Pot of Cultures

The Rainbow Nation is a melting pot of cultures that can pull you in so many directions. Xhosa and Zulu traditions help you travel back in time. Surf culture dominates Durban. Johannesburg is a melting pot reflecting Mandela’s post-apartheid hopes. Best of all, the South African people delight in taking you closer. A barefoot San tracker revealing secrets in the bush. Mandela’s former prison guard guiding you on Robben Island. Tasting with winemakers and exploring with rhino conservationists.

South Africa: Mandela House in Soweto

Meet Mandela's Family in His Soweto Home

South Africa
Supermarket kiosk and african attendant smiling in Alexandra Township

Mamelodi Heritage Experience, Pretoria

South Africa
Soweto Towers, the painted towers of a decommissioned power station, turned into a recreational complex, in Soweto, outside Johannesburg, South Africa

Soweto Cycling Tour

South Africa
Bushmen (san) rock painting of antelopes, Drakensberg mountains, South Africa

San Rock Art Tour, Drakensberg

South Africa
Woodstock Steert Art, Cape Town

Woodstock Street Art Tour, Cape Town

South Africa
Johannesburg, South Africa - April 5, 2012: Reconciliation pillar outside entrance to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg

Apartheid Museum Tour with Historian

South Africa
Colourful laundry on a washing line in a township between corrugated iron shacks in Kayamandi Stellenbosch Cape Town South Africa

Uthando Philanthropic Cultural Tour

South Africa
African man leaning on the sign pointing to Maboneng precinct. Maboneng meaning 'a place of light' is a precinct of Johannesburg city and regeneration development in the city centre attracting new business, arts and culture.

Maboneng Precinct Tour, Johannesburg

South Africa
South Africa: Wonder Cave in Kromdraai

Cradle Of Humankind Anthropology Tour

South Africa
St. Johns MethPort Elizabeth, South Africa - February 27, 2016: The historic St. Johns Methodist Church in Havelock Street was opened in 1894odist Church in Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth City Tour

South Africa
San bushman show how they light a fire in the Kalahari desert in Ghanzi, Botswana.

San Guided Tour at !Khwa Ttu

South Africa
Rickshaw Chariot rides on Durban Beachfront

Highlights of Durban

South Africa
Johannesburg, South Africa , 4 October - 2019: Women carrying large bag on her head in township.

Port Elizabeth Township Tour

South Africa
ZULULAND, SOUTH AFRICA - CIRCA November 2011: Shakaland Zulu Village clay pots. Shakaland Zulu Cultural Village, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Shakaland Experience, Kwazulu Natal

South Africa
Durban signage feature outside the Moses Mabhida Stadium showing the various distances to worldwide cities and their direction.

Durban Stadium Swing

South Africa
What Else To Do In Nature in South Africa

South Africa dazzles from so many angles and nature always sets the scene. Stark mountain ranges rise vertically above two blue oceans and rugged savannah provides home for Africa’s great animals. In the cities you will be enveloped by raw African landscapes and a sense of nature’s majesty. When not searching for leopards you can be standing on Table Mountain, exploring almost 3000 km of coastline, or escaping the world on wide open plains. South Africa is a big country and nature is your chance to get away from the everyday, even it's just cruising through on a train.

Mass of wildflowers in West Coast National Park

Wild Flower Namaqualand Excursion

South Africa
Aerial view of the tip of the Cape Peninsula, where Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean mingle

Cruise the Cape on the Princess Emma

South Africa
Young woman with surfboard in front on brightly coloured beach hut.

Learn How To Surf in Muizenberg, Cape Town

South Africa
Rovos Rail, South Africa

The Blue Train, Cape Town to Pretoria

South Africa
A rough road winds down the Sani Pass from the highlands of Lesotho to South Africa below.

Sani Pass and Lesotho Tour

South Africa
Couple In Hermanus At Sunset Whale Watching

Drakensberg World Heritage Tour

South Africa
The Magwa waterfall over a large gorge under cloudy skies in the Transkei (Wild Coast) of South Africa.

Wild Coast Waterfall and Picnic Horse Ride

South Africa
landscape of Knysna, Western Cape province, South Africa

Featherbed & Knysna Heads Tour

South Africa
People in a yellow kayak in False Bay, off Boulder Beach, near Cape Town, South Africa

Sea Kayaking Tour on False Bay

South Africa
Cape Town,South Africa,27th February 2019: Tourists sailing on the sea and enjoying the sunset moment while having cold drinks in Cape Town,South Africa. Sailing to the sea is one of the most popular activities in Cape Town.

Sunset Cruise on Table Bay

South Africa
Waterfall at the top of Sentinel Hike, Drakensberge, South Africa

Hike the World’s Second Highest Waterfall

South Africa
Rafting the mighty orange river through the Richtersveld mountains in Namibia

Orange River Rafting

South Africa
Hanging bridge over River mouth, Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa

Stormsriver Mouth and the Tsitsikamma Forest

South Africa
Natures Valley, South Africa March 2, 2016: An unidentified male bungee jumper in the worlds highest commercial bungee jump at the Bloukrans Bridge, at 216 meter, the highest bridge in Africa

Bloukrans Bungee Jump

South Africa
Beautiful limestone formations in an underground cavern in Oudtshoorn South Africa

Cango Caving, Oudtshoorn

South Africa
Hot Air Balloon in front of Magaliesberg Mountains, South Africa

Magaliesberg Canopy & Hot Air Balloon Tour

South Africa
Amazing view of Featherbed, Knysna, Featherbed Nature Reserve, South Africa

Catamaran Yacht Tour on Knysna Lagoon

South Africa
Ultimate South Africa Culinary Experiences

Distinctive cultures and experiences mean South Africa vacations can be different for everyone. There is no standard route here, certainly not when you can have penguins, whales, diving with sharks, clifftop drives, ostrich riding, township cuisine, and sipping cocktails in a private plunge pool as elephants wander past. And the food! What to do in South Africa is indulge!

Dining in the Bush, Singita Lebombo Lodge

Singita Cooking Class in the Bush

South Africa
Generation Spring Picnic in backyard. Grandfather and his son preparing food on barbecue grill, others sitting on blanket in background.

Braai Masterclass with Pete Goffe-Wood

South Africa
Vineyards in Stellenbosch, the town near Cape Town famous for the production of wine, on a beautiful day

Porcupine Trail Wine Walk in Stellenbosch

South Africa
"Stellenbosch, South Africa - January 8, 2010: The Binnenhof, a small cafe and restaurant in the central area of Stellenbosch with buildings in the Cape Dutch style typical in the region. Tables and chairs are visible on the sidewalk."

Stellenbosch Foodie Walk

South Africa
Bush Barbeque, Madikwe Game Reserve

Madikwe Safari Bush Barbeque

South Africa
Vineyards Stellenbosch

Cycling in the Cape Winelands

South Africa
Adult male bartender placing a tall beer glass filled with cold craft beer on to a bar counter.

Cape Town Brewery Tour

South Africa
Braised beef with mashed potato, mushrooms and gravy

Dinner Reservation for two at The Test Kitchen

South Africa
Bright painted houses at the Muslim Quarter or Malay Quarter near Waterkant in Cape Town South Africa. Among the row of houses stands a mosque. There are no people on the street and the sun casts a sharp shadow.

Cape Malay Cooking in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town

South Africa
Afternoon tea for two

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel High Tea

South Africa