Travelling South Africa off the Beaten Track

south africa travel

Bloemfontein
Bloemfontein, in comparison to its neighboring cities, is a small inland town located in The Free State Province and is a true hidden gem. Most tourists are not aware this beautiful town, which gets its name from the Dutch word “flower fountain”, even exists. The reason for the name ‘flower fountain’, is thanks to Bloemfontein’s steppe climate, which makes for the perfect environment for roses to blossom in abundance.

The charming town holds an annual Rose Festival that draws many visitors towards late-mid October, and showcases 15 000 different colors of roses, each of which fill the air with their sweet scent. It is a festival worth going to – not that you’d need any convincing!

To make your holiday extra special, make sure to find the perfect accommodation in Bloemfontein; take advantage of the nature, beauty and the slow pace of life, and top it off with a visit to The Free State National Botanical Gardens – a paradise for the nature lover. The garden boasts an olive tree which is over 200 years old; and is home to over 140 different bird species, 32 mammal and 54 reptile species. If you are looking to do something romantic, what better way than to take your loved one on a walk through the Orchid House followed by a picnic in the gardens.

Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth
Source: My Property
Port Elizabeth is known as the “friendly” city and one that you can’t help but fall in love with. Port Elizabeth has one of the best beach fronts in South Africa, and due to its natural beauty, it is a pleasure to enjoy and explore on foot.  The white sandy beaches are absolutely stunning and when walking along the pier you may be lucky enough to see the bottlenose dolphins in the water showing off for visitors.

Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay are known as the capital of the world for bottlenose dolphin sightings, so pull on your costume, grab a towel, don’t forget the sunblock and head down to a beautiful beach.  Visit a monument such as: Fort Frederick, which was built in 1799. The monument has a lovely view of the city and harbor below. Or, visit The Campanile, which is one of the most striking of buildings and a worthy benefaction to our nation’s architectural heritage.

There are also a number of game reserves just an hour or two outside of Port Elizabeth. Lalibela boasts that it has the ‘big seven’ – not just the big five. So, whether you are riding a wave, taking a safari trip, strolling along the beach front or sightseeing, you will have a holiday filled with memories.

The Karoo

The Karoo
Source: My Cradock
The Karoo, a natural wonder of endless open land and fascinating rock layers, is one of the world’s most unique and barren zones. You either find it captivating, enchanting and utterly beautiful, or you find it strange and desolate, with a silence that’s somewhat deafening.

What sets the Karoo apart from many other corners of the country – and the globe at large, are the extraordinary fossil beds which hold many secrets and findings of evolution, dating back over 600 million years. The Karoo captivates tourists and all types of researchers, with the likes of archaeologists, botanists and many more from all over the world, who are wanting to study this fascinating barren land.

Although the Karoo is very dry it truly is one of a kind. It has the largest variety of succulents and desert floras, around 40% of the flora species not found anywhere else on earth. The Karoo is one of the largest plateaus outside Asia, which is found in Gondwanaland.

Hermanus

Hermanus is a lovely seaside holiday destination surrounded by a natural rugged coastline. It has retained its beauty even though over years it has grown immensely, with many seeking tranquility and peace away from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding towns and cities.  From Cape Town to Hermanus the drive takes approximately 90 minutes.

Hermanus is world known for its whale watching. Every year these magnificent sea creatures migrate to the coast to give birth and nurture their young, a sight to behold. The Old Harbor Museum and Whale House Museum is worth a visit. The Whale House specifically has informative displays, with a skeleton of a whale suspended for an overall view which adds to the learning experience. Hermanus has so much to offer, including lovely beaches such as Grotto Beach, Voëlklip and just before Hermanus, Davies Pool. Hermanus has something for everyone, from sightseeing, hiking, fishing, horse riding and swimming and so much more.

Oudtshoorn

Oudtshoorn
Source: Netwerk24
Oudtshoorn is a fantastic getaway destination. It forms part of the Garden route and is one of the most visited destinations, thanks to the extraordinary tourist attractions and the ability to freely explore the mysteries of nature. When you hear the name Oudtshoorn, ostrich and crocodile farms as well as the CangoCaves immediately come to mind.

The Cango Caves, a series of mountain caves made up of various chambers, is an experience not to be missed.  There are two different tours to choose from – the one is more adventurous and takes you deeper into the caves and narrow tunnels, while the other takes you around the first few chambers only.

Both provide spectacular sightings, with the magnificent stalactites and stalagmites, of which some have their own unique names because of their unusual formations, such as The Weeping Willow, The Bridal Chamber, Cleopatra’s Needle and others. Oudtshoornis also known as the capital of the Little Karoo and is found between the Outeniqua and Swartberg mountains.

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