Our natural heritage: 7 wild places to explore this long weekend

Posted by Anita Froneman on 23 September 2021

Heritage Day celebrates the cultural wealth of our nation (and mostly our glorious food, let’s be honest), but we also like to think of South Africa’s dazzling natural wonders as our collective heritage.

South Africans use the long weekend to celebrate the many beautiful cultures and traditions that make up our nation, as well as the magnificent landscapes and wildlife we have access to. Here are seven breathtaking natural attractions throughout the country to explore.

1. Cape Point

Cape Point is a jaw-dropping visual experience. Enjoy your lunch overlooking the ocean at the southwestern 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 elusive caracal and if you’re not so lucky, a baboon may make your car his seat for the day.

2. 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.

3. The KZN Midlands

Credit: Robert Wallace

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.

4. Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park updates camp gates opening hours

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.

5. The Garden Route

Zipping through the trees with Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours. Image by Chris Davies

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.

6. The Drakensberg

Credit: 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.

7. Isimangaliso Wetland Park

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.

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