You already know that just by living in South Africa you’re surrounded by hundreds of beautiful places and things to do. But as a local you’re also so not keen to wait in lines and be in big crowds like you’re a tourist or something. The next time you’re planning a quick getaway or road trip, head to one of these hidden gems rather:
1 Ndumo Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal
Most people go to the Kruger National Park but if you’re interested in seeing wildlife somewhere less popular, then go to the Ndumo Game Reserve. The reserve is relatively small but impressive. Here you can find 60% of South Africa’s bird species, which is really exciting, even if you’re not a bird-watcher. You’ll also find bigger game like giraffe, crocodiles and hippos. The vegetation is beautiful too, and the reserve sits on the Mozambique border so if you plan your trip well you could spend some time there as well.
2 Augrabies Falls, Northern Cape
The original inhabitants of this area, the Khoi San, called these waterfalls Aukoerebis, meaning ‘place of great noise’. And they weren’t wrong – the 90-metre-high waterfall is pretty loud and breathtaking to see. They light up the area between 8pm and 10pm so if you want to go when there are fewer people and don’t find the idea totally terrifying, you should totally check it out at night.
3 Lady Grey, Eastern Cape
One of the perks of living in South Africa is the weather – even in winter it’s not that cold. But if you’re someone who’s always wished it got snowy here, there are spots that get a bit of snowfall between June and August. Skip the crowds that head to Tiffindell to see snow and rather nip to the small rural village of Lady Grey, just below Lesotho, that turns into something of a winter wonderland for a small period of the year. In the summer months it’s great if you really want to get a break from the city and spend your days hiking, biking, horse riding or taking a tour of their historical reverse railway, as you do.
4 Bushbaby & Monkey Sanctuary, North West Province
This sanctuary takes in adorable primates that were bred to be pets and lets them live their best lives in the wild instead of in a cage. You’ll be able to see cuties like spider monkeys, bushbabies and lemurs (like the ones from Madagascar!) as you walk through their forest. When you’re done here you can head to the nearby elephant sanctuary, chameleon village (yes, really), snake park or the Hartbeespoort Dam.
5 iNanda Mountain and Dam, KwaZulu-Natal
If it’s views you’re after you need to check out the sights of the iNanda Dam. It’s just a 30-minute drive from Durban and if you’re not up for a big climb don’t stress – you can drive all the way to the top of iNanda Mountain. Here you can stand on the cliff face (carefully) and look out onto the beautiful squiggle-like iNanda Dam and beyond.
6 Bulungula Lodge, Wild Coast
Bulungula Lodge is situated in a rural Xhosa village and it and the surrounding businesses are all owned by locals. You are encouraged to spend a good few days here immersing yourself in the welcoming community and enjoying the slow way of life. You can chat to a sangoma, learn how the locals brew beer, go fishing with one of the fishermen, be taken horse riding, as well as just enjoy the views of the green hills and beach that is right on your doorstep. Also, this place literally guarantees that you will see shooting stars. If you don’t see one, you get a free night’s accommodation!
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