South Africa’s travel bucket list challenge

Posted on 11 January 2022

When one thinks of bucket list destinations, the mind wanders to exotic islands, exciting cities and enchanting towns. We sometimes forget that some of the world’s most bucket list-worthy destinations are right on our doorstep. Here is a list of South African spots that you can add to, or tick off, your bucket list.

Kruger National Park

Waterbuck captured by Landie Fourie

The Kruger Park holds a special place in many South African hearts. From the diverse landscapes, to the Big 5, the Little 5 and all the birds and trees in between. There is no place on earth that will make you feel so content and in tune with Mother Nature.

The Garden Route

Explore the picture-perfect Garden Route National Parks

The Garden Route has an abundance of things to do and see. From bungee jumping off the Bloukrans Bridge, wandering around Wilderness, kicking it back in Knysna and playing around in Plett, there are so many nooks and crannies on this road route that showcase South Africa at its finest.


Photo by Shane and Tarryn Quinnell.

A visit to the Drakensberg mountain range will leave you in awe of the natural world. The range is the highest in South Africa and spans over 1,000km across parts of the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mpumalanga and Tzaneen in Limpopo Province. With spots like the Amphitheater, Sani Pass and Blyde River Canyon, there are many ways to soak up the enormity of this mountain range.

Isimangaliso Wetland Park

Kosi Bay in the north of the park. Photo by Scott Ramsay

From beaches to bird watching, game drives and guided walks, Isimangaliso Wetland Park has it all. This unique destination offers a multitude of activities that allow you to experience everything the park has to offer. Whether you’re a water baby or a land lover – you’ll find it difficult to leave the wonderful ecosystems of Isimangaliso Wetland Park.

Cradle of Humankind

Image: Melanie van Zyl

Rich in history, heritage and culture, the Cradle of Humankind is a World Heritage Site and should be on every South African bucket list. Maropeng Visitor Centre will teach you about the development of human evolution. You can also visit the Sterkfontein Caves, where many a fossil has been excavated. Celebrate South Africa and the birth of humankind, only a short one-hour drive from Johannesburg.

Constitution Hill

Credit: Constitution Hill

Constitution Hill is a former prison and military fort that stands as a symbol of South Africa’s tumultuous past. There are guided tours to the historic Old Fort, the Women’s Jail and Number Four, where thousands were imprisoned, as well as to the country’s Constitutional Court. The precinct serves as a space to educate visitors about our country’s history and to showcase those who spearheaded the road to democracy.

Cape Point

Credit: Bas Leenders

Cape Point is a jaw-dropping visual experience. Enjoy your lunch overlooking the ocean at the south western tip of Africa. Part of Table Mountain National Park, the park is rich with fynbos and teeming with wildlife. If you’re lucky, you may come across an illusive caracal and if you’re not so lucky, a baboon may make your car his seat for the day.

Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens

Credit: Chris Eason

Escape the hustle and bustle of Gauteng at Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. The lavish grounds will keep your senses tantalised as you meander to a picnic spot of your choosing. Showcasing exquisite fauna and flora, these gorgeous gardens let you appreciate the natural beauty of South Africa.

The Midlands

Credit: TeaganCunniffe

The Midlands is a slice of heaven. This beautiful KwaZulu-Natal town is the perfect country escape, the rolling green hills will breathe new life into you. The Midlands is famous for its snowfall in winter, where the enchanting town feels worlds away from the usual South African climate. Nottingham Road is teeming with cafés, crafts and curios and there are many outdoor activities to keep the adventurer in you satisfied.

Boulders Beach

A visit to the Cape’s penguin colony is essential when visiting the Mother City. Seeing the African penguin in its natural habitat is impossible to mimic elsewhere in the world and should be appreciated. The penguins can be quite comical to observe, with their donkey bray-like calls and wonderful waddling.


The wine country is an iconic destination on any South African itinerary. Some of the world’s best wines come right from Stellenbosch. With an exorbitant amount of wineries and extraordinary views to marvel over, it’s easy to sip the day away in sleepy Stellies.

Lisbon Falls

Credit: heyadam

Lisbon Falls in Graskop are the highest waterfall in Mpumalanga at 94m. These glorious natural falls are the perfect place to cool down in the sweltering summer heat. Situated on the right bank of Blyde River Canyon, the falls are another excuse to go out and explore this unique part of the country.

Waterberg Mountains

Credit: Melanie van Zyl

Seeing the Waterberg mountains in all their glory in the Marakele National Park is a must-do. This enormous range will bring life into perspective, as your world will feel infinitely smaller in their presence. The Waterberg mountains are a glorious natural phenomenon.

Augrabies Falls National Park

SANParks announces quota for Free Access Week

Located in the Northern Cape, with panoramic viewpoints, a gigantic gorge and the Orange River running along it, Augrabies Falls National Park calls to adventurers. For hiking enthusiasts, this is a dream destination. Visitors are welcome and encouraged to go on self-driven safaris to explore the park’s fauna and flora.


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