South Africa does not disappoint when it comes to beautiful places to visit. Here are a few of the most glorious natural beauty spots in the country to put onto your bucket list.
The wildness of Coffee Bay
The sandy coves, steep green hillsides, cliffs, wild aloes, thatch-roofed mud huts and the notable hole-in-the-wall are an unbeatable combination on the Wild Coast, between East London and Port Edward. Land of hippies, surfers, hikers and the Xhosa people – incredible beachside landscape does not come better than this. The distance from Johannesburg is 966km via the N3 highway, which is an 11-hour drive.
Red sandstone of the Cederberg
The Cederberg may have earned its name from the Cedar tree, but it is the red sandstone rock formations that are its most distinguishing feature. Weathered over time into a series of surreal shapes and memorable natural features, they dominate more than 250km of hiking trails.
The distance from Johannesburg is 1382km via the N1 highway which is a 13-hour-40-minute drive.
Misty mountains of the Magoebaskloof
At the northeastern tip of the Drakensberg you can experience the misty mornings, green hills, forests draped in tree ferns, moss, fungi, lianas and tangled tree matter of the indigenous forests and accompanying plantations of the “land of the silver mist”.
The distance from Johannesburg is 394km via the N1 highway, which is a four-hour-12-minute drive.
The wetlands of the Elephant Coast
In the northern reaches of KwaZulu-Natal is a series of wetlands characterised by wild, untouched beaches and unmatched bird life, accompanied by scuba diving sea turtle tracking, hiking, walking and other outdoor activities lies.
The distance from Johannesburg is 542km via the N17 road and then the N2 highway, making it a six-hour-15-minute drive.
Bourke’s Luck potholes of the Blyde River Canyon
The Blyde River Canyon is a significant natural feature of South Africa, located in Mpumalanga and forming the northern part of the Drakensberg escarpment. Blyde River Canyon is one of the largest canyons on Earth and it may be the largest “green canyon” due to its lush subtropical foliage.
The distance from Johannesburg is 486km via the N12 highway, making it a five-hour-57-minute drive.
The Sabie waterfalls route of Mpumalanga
The Sabie Waterfalls Route in Mpumalanga is one of South Africa’s best-kept secrets. This is because visitors are often so captivated by the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, with its magnificent cliffs and stunning views not to mention dazzling flora and fauna. This superb cluster of waterfalls, is often overlooked but it’s all mostly on the way.
The distance from Johannesburg is 368km via the N12 highway and the N4, which makes it a four-hour drive.
Valley of Desolation, Camdeboo National Park
The Valley of Desolation in the Eastern Cape is a geological phenomenon, a sheer cliff face declared a national monument that lies within the Camdeboo National Park. The Camdeboo National Park provides the visitor with insights into the unique landscape and ecosystem of the Karoo as well as splendid scenic beauty.
The distance from Johannesburg is 835km via the N1 highway and is an eight-hour drive.
Prince Edward Islands
The Prince Edward Islands are two small islands in the sub-Antarctic Indian Ocean that are part of South Africa and are located south-east of Cape Town.
The islands are named Marion Island (named after Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne) and Prince Edward Island (named after Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn). The combined size of the Free State, Lesotho and Swaziland, they form the world’s largest biodiversity hotspot, alive with albatrosses, penguins, killer whales and Patagonian tooth fish stocks as well as a breeding ground for seals, penguins and albatrosses.
The distance from Johannesburg is 1400km via the N1 highway and is a 13-hour-33-minute drive to Cape Town, then take a boat from the harbour.
On the border with Namibia is an extraordinary desert landscape of the highest diversity of succulents in the world. The rugged mountains of volcanic rock, flat, sandy plains and half-human trees the Nama people include in their legends are characteristic of a harsh world where water is scarce and only the toughest life survives. Also, part of the area is inscribed on Unesco’s World Heritage list due to its cultural values, but remains a favourite among nature travellers to South Africa, the landscape is sometimes described as “Martian.”
The distance from Johannesburg is 1190km via the N14 road which makes it a 12-hour-12-minute drive.
Scenes along the Breede River
The Breede River runs its way north from Cape Town along the band of mountains European settlers had experienced as a continental divide. It flows through the Skurweberge, Michell’s Pass and arrives at the Indian Ocean at Witsand. Along its banks you can experience wine tasting, river rafting, paddling, swimming, picnics and nature reserves.
The distance from Johannesburg is 1350km via the N1 highway and it makes for a 13-hour drive.