Many people initially overlook South Africa due to price, travel time and even fear of the unknown. To those brave enough to ignore these details, South Africa can provide the most unique experience on earth, which is the reason it has been called "A Whole World in One Country."
Here are some unique experiences to consider if you find yourself with the opportunity to visit:
1. Flying to the Cape Winelands in a Helicopter
What better way is there than to fly from Cape Town to one of the selected wine estates in the Cape winelands in Stellenbosch, Franschoek and Constantia and to enjoy an indulgent lunch? The scenery cannot be beat, and while it might be a bit costlier than land travel, the view is one of a kind.
In Stellenbosch, the recommended wine estates, depending on your style, are the grand estate of Lanzerac, the picturesque Zevenwacht Wine Estate, the contemporary stylish Tokara Wine Estate with its excellent restaurant, and Neethlingshof.
In Franschhoek, the fashionable Haute Cabriere Wine Estate, the renowned restaurant Le Petite Ferme and the Boschendal Estate Wine Estate, which also offers luxury picnics after the touchdown of the helicopter, are fantastic choices.
The selected Constantia wine farms to visit by helicopter for lunch are Constantia Uitsig, the historic Groot Constantia Wine Estate, which has excellent picnic options and the well-known Buitenverwachting Estate.
2. Great White Shark cage diving of Hermanus, near Cape Town
One of the most fantastic and unforgettable experience are the close encounters with the Great White Sharks. Shark cage diving is offered near Hermanus where visitors have the opportunity to dive in a cage and observe these giants in their natural surroundings.
It is a wonderful experience observing and diving with Great White Sharks under the correct conditions and guidance. Shark and animal lovers return from an expedition or White Shark diving trip with love, and certainly respect, for this creature.
Guests may choose to be collected from any number of Cape Town hotels and transported to the 'White Shark Lodge', which is the home base in Kleinbaai. Visitors may then enjoy a continental breakfast at the lodge before a short lecture will be given by the skipper of the day which is mainly about Shark anatomy and behavior.
The skipper will explain how the team works with the Sharks in the area. From there its off to sea, where participants spend 4 to 6 hours at sea, depending on the frequency of Shark visits to the boat during your White Shark diving trip.
The cage is able to take 2 to 3 people at a time for the White Shark diving experience. Approximately each person spends 20 minutes in the cage. All scuba equipment is provided, including 7mm wetsuits.
It is highly recommended to go through your hotel to find the most reputible companies in the area to ensure the company providing this once-in-a-lifetime experience
3. Game viewing in the Pilanesberg National Park, North West Province
Visitors to the malaria free, ‘Big Five’ Pilansberg National Park are offered many opportunities to experience the beauty of the Pilanesberg. The park offers almost 200 kilometres to explore with fantastic quality roads for either self-drives or toured drives. There are a numerous numbers of professional guides which offer safaris within the Pilanesberg National Park. Numerous hides and scenic picnic sites enable the tourist to experience outdoor experiences as well.
With 300 species of recorded birds, bird watching is excellent in this national park, some of the birds are migrants and others permanent inhabitants.
At the Manyane complex in the East of the park one can find a self-guided trail in the Walking Area, which offers environmental education whilst enjoying game viewing and bird watching on foot. There is also a walk-in Bird Aviary at Manyane with over 80 species of indigenous birds.
Springbok, brown hyena, the red eyed bulbul, and camel thorn trees usually found in arid areas are found living together with moist-area-limited impala, black eyed bulbul and Cape chestnut trees.
The colorful hues, varied habitats and panoramas delight and entertain photographers and visitors. The beautiful topography of the Pilanesberg National Park makes the area a feast for the eye.
4. Weekend Fun at the Sun City Resort, North West Province
The spectacular Sun City Resort in the North West Province of South Africa attracts many local and international visitors every year. With its great offerings of activities, entertainment and hotels, it has become one of Southern Africa’s most famous and popular holiday destinations.
The Sun City Resort is an ideal getaway destination for a weekend. Visitors can choose to stay at one of the Sun City Hotels. Guests staying at nearby game lodges may purchase a day pass and enjoy the many activities and attractions at Sun City as well.
There are four hotels located at the Sun City Resort:
- The Palace of the Lost City, 5 star
- Cascades Hotel, 5 star
- Sun City Hotel, 4 star
- Cabanas Hotel, 3 star.
Sun City offers many activities and attractions including:
- Gary Player Golf Course
- Lost City Golf Course
- Tennis Courts
- Kids Camp
- Casino & Entertainment Centre
- Jogging trail
- Game drives / safaris
- Walking safaris
- Elephant Back Safaris
- Hot Air Balloon Safaris
- Health and Beauty Spa treatments.
5. Hot Air Balloon Safari, Magaliesberg
During the magnificent sunrise the silence of the hot air balloon flight is punctuated only by the occasional blast of the powerful burners and the faint call of a bird or animal far beneath. The thrill of this wonderful experience is indescribable.
Visitors are sipping fine champagne while hovering gently above the tree tops of the beautiful Magalies River Valley, or drifting majestically high above the Magaliesberg range in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site, which is located just 45 km north of Johannesburg’s northern suburbs. The exceptional peace of this unique and almost supernatural view of the world will forever remain as a truly cherished memory.
After landing, participants savour a delectable and generous champagne breakfast at the beautifully appointed Clubhouse, Pavilion and Restaurant.
Professional pilots, attentive crew, immaculately maintained equipment, 5 aviation safety awards, make this longest established licensed Balloon Airline in southern Africa the choice of the well informed discerning individual traveller or corporate group.
A lot of people seem to overlook South Africa as a travel destination due to costs associated with airfare. But there are many great deals upon arriving in the country and more importantly there are very few places that have as unique of an experience as South Africa. For example, accommodation in Durban, will put you within walking distance to one of the most pristine beaches in the world, free of sharks (thanks to netting), surrounded by a mix of 1970’s architecture with scattered 1930s Art Deco styling, creating a one of a kind hybrid of style and culture that is both unique and relatively affordable.
If you are looking for a vacation that will be both unique and adventerous, South Africa should not be overlooked. From luxury hotels, savannah tours, beautiful beaches and the chance to come face-to-face with a great white shark, the stories that you will create while visiting will certainly be worth retelling.
Related Topics: South Africa, Adventure Travel, City Guides