Part 2 of 30 Reasons – our list of unique experiences adds up to South Africa being one of the best holiday destinations in the world!
Hermanus is known for whale watching. In fact, it’s the whale watching capital of the country. Whether it is from the comfort of your bed in your hotel room, or from your restaurant table, or a viewing point, or from the beach, there is plenty of opportunities to enjoy them. For instance, the southern right whale in Walker Bay.
You may also spot them in the calving waves below Chapman’s Peak Drive in Cape Town, between Noordhoek and Hout Bay.
South Africa’s sardine run is one of the greatest migrations in the world.
One of the most amazing experiences I had was the millions (yes, literally!) of sardines sweeping past me in the waves. I could walk into the water surrounded by sardines. It was an unforgettable experience.
The run occurs when a coastal current of cold-water heads north from the Agulhas Bank up to Mozambique. Imagine shoals 7 km long, 1.5 km wide, and 30 meters deep!
We were in Trafalgar on the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal. It was so super special, as we unwittingly went for a walk on the beach! We got our best surprise ever. In addition to all that, the seagulls flying above and dipping into the ocean was another unforgettable sight.
“First reported in the Natal Mercury paper on August 4, 1853, this is one of the great global events of the marine calendar. It involves vast shoals of sardines moving north along the coast of the Eastern Cape and Natal, with numbers immeasurable to man. They are pursued by anything with teeth, a beak – or a camera.” – Resource: Monty Halls, who wrote about the run for Telegraph Travel.
It can happen to you too! They can also be seen in East London, Port Saint Johns, Coffee Bay, and Gqeberha (previously Port Elizabeth).
The best time to experience the phenomenal sardine run is from May to July.
Usually, it lasts between 3 and 7 days.
Earlier, I mentioned it’s a country rich in cultural diversity.
It’s also rich in a diverse range of holiday accommodation. If camping and glamping is not your thing, why not go for an experience of a lifetime. That is, over and above the vast range of amazing hotel accommodation across the country.
For an exceptional and unique safari experience stay at the Lion Sands River Lodge.
As part of your reservation, you get to enjoy dinner under the stars and overnight in the Chalkey Treehouse.
Shambala Private Game Reserve walked away with the prestigious World Travel Award for World’s Leading Private Game Reserve 2020.
Team up with your friends and family, or colleagues, and book the entire villa to yourselves! The villa sits in Shambala Private Game Reserve in Vaalwater, Limpopo Province.
Villa iZulu at Thanda Safari walked away with a prestigious World Travel Award.
And with good reason. It’s a beautiful and luxurious reserve with three very distinct accommodation options:
At Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town (in the Western Cape) is an African penguin colony that settled there in 1982.
The penguins also referred to as Jackass, are a protected bird and can only be found on South Africa and Namibia’s coastlines. What started off as only two breeding pairs, there now is a substantial colony.
Another reason for visiting Boulders Beach is that the granite boulders are believed to be about 540 million years old!
Foxy Beach, which is part of Boulders Beach, has a boardwalk that brings you in close proximity to these vulnerable birds.
Visa and COVID-related documents.
Travelers from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Oman, and Europe – to mention just a few – get amazing value for their money based on the currency exchange rates. However, it’s not just cheap at the price to shop in South Africa, but you can find quality clothing, gorgeous souvenirs, authentic African jewelry, and specialty shopping unique to the country.
For instance, Rooibos tea was made by the Khoisan people way before 1772 when it was first recorded. (By the way, I found red bush tea in Europe, but it’s not the same thing!) Wine lovers should buy a bottle or two of South Africa’s signature wine, Pinotage. Buy a pair of “stokies”, a toweling (in and out) slipper/house shoe for the gents, from Woolworths.
The astounding Congo Caves sits in Oudtshoorn, a spectacular underground wonder dating back to 1780. A tour (only guided tours are permitted) of the caves requires some stretching and crawling between warm and humid caves. With the help of some artifacts that were discovered and paintings, it is believed the cave system located in the Klein Karoo of the Western Cape, is about 4,500 million years old!