My South African Travel Bucket List

Last night, we watched a cooking show based in Hawaii. I have such dreamy ideas about Hawaii. Forests, waterfalls and ukuleles…Sigh. And, it really is a spectacular spot. But, as we watched, it was brought home to me again how absolutely stunning South Africa is. We really do have it all. Want forests? Visit the Garden Route. Beaches? Um, we only have the most gorgeous coastline ever – from the West Coast to the Wild Coast, there is just about every kind of beach and ocean imaginable. Mountains? Yep – Table Mountain, Outeniqua Mountains, the Drakensberg. Deserts? Rivers? Farmlands? Big city centres? Check, check, check and check. I’m bragging, aren’t I? My South African travel bucket list grows by the day because I write content for a local tourism website and get to learn about some awesome spots. But, at the moment, here are some of my top picks:

The Panorama Route

To see the stunning Blyde’s River Canyon, God’s Window, Rourke’s Luck Potholes and the Three Rondavels is one of my dreams. I actually did part of the route some time ago, but it was so misty that we could barely see the road in front of us. #Typical. So, this is a big one for me.  I love the drama of nature. I love that, no matter how much money and technology humans have, we still can’t even make a blade of grass by ourselves. Yet, this world is just full of breath-takingly impressive vistas for us. And these rocky formations are definitely one of the pieces of natural magic that I want to see.

Greyton

The thing about Greyton is that it feels like it’s lost in time. The pics I’ve seen are of roads lined with trees and lazy donkey walking by, or quirky artistic folk with hard-working hands and stories that verge on unbelievable. I mean, who wouldn’t want to dive head-first into that?

The Augrabies Falls and Orange River

Augrabies Falls in the Orange River
The main Augrabies waterfall (Orange River)

I would absolutely love to do one of those river rafting adventures down the Orange River and to see the Augrabies Falls in flood. I get so hot, so I like the idea of travelling on water because I feel like I could just lean over the edge of my canoe and cool down at any time. That’s how it works, right? Bonus: no crocs or hippos here! While I’d love to see them, I’d be less excited to dunk my head into their natural habitat.

Hot Air Balloon Over the Magaliesberg

Although I’ve visited this area too, I’d sell a kidney to see it from the heights of a balloon ride. Now, those who know me may remind me of how I feel about flying. And to them, I stand resolute and say, “Oh, alright, you make an excellent point. I’ll buy the postcard rather.”  There’s also a cable car, which is even less likely for me, but a fabulous option for anyone that is slightly braver than my lame butt.

The Drakensberg

It’s shameful that I haven’t been to the Drakensberg. I haven’t even been close to it. But, I foster and nurture dreams of visiting it one day. The combination of ancient rock paintings, hiking trails, waterfalls and quiet little spots in the heart of the mammoth mountains totally blows my hair back.

The Midlands Meander

I love that this is made up of adventure sports, arts, crafts, food, cultural attractions, historical hotspots, farm stalls, wedding venues, and even little villages. It’s like a taste of all things South African within a relatively small area. 

Clarens

To be honest, I don’t know much about Clarens, except that it’s small, quaint and in the middle of nothingness. Perfect. It’s one of those places where everything that you do is about celebrating the outdoors – river rafting, climbing, hiking, cycling, horse riding, quad biking, 4 x 4 trailing…It’s all about being outside and breathing in the fresh, crisp air of Africa. Can you feel it?

Kruger National Park

Hippopotamus at Kruger National Park
Hippos may not be in the Orange River, but they certainly can be found at Kruger.

Although I’ve done a day trip to Kruger, I really want to get the full South African safari experience. I want to do night drives. I want to eat braai under the stars and then hear the haunting bellows of the lions while I lie behind very strong and secure (preferably electrified) fencing in my tent.

Wrapping It Up

One day I’ll get to see all of these places. And more. And maybe I’ll blog about them too. In the meantime, I’ll keep adding to my list and growing the adventure I can’t wait to have.

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