Discover South Africas Top 10 Natural Wonders

08 December 2023
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South Africa, a land of diverse landscapes and breathtaking natural beauty, is home to a wealth of natural attractions that captivate travellers from around the world. From the iconic Table Mountain to the awe-inspiring Kruger National Park, we present South Africa‘s top 10 natural wonders for you to explore and experience. 

Exploring South Africa’s Natural Treasures 

South Africa’s natural beauty is truly unparalleled. It’s no surprise that the country is home to an abundance of natural attractions that captivate tourists from around the world. In this article, we will explore some of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders that South Africa has to offer. 

1. Blyde River Canyon 

The Blyde River Canyon, one of South Africa’s crown jewels, is a spectacle of rugged cliffs, lush greenery, and the tranquil Blydepoort Dam. It offers panoramic viewpoints that make it a must-visit destination. Close by in the verdant province of Mpumalanga are the Bourke’s Luck Potholes, God’s Window, the Lisbon and Berlin Falls, and the Echo Caves. Each one of these natural wonders can be reached from both AfriCamps and the Kruger Park Lodge, both in the town ofHazyview. 

2. Drakensberg Mountains 

The ‘Dragon Mountains‘ provide hikers, adventurers, and nature enthusiasts with endless opportunities for exploration. Jagged peaks, verdant valleys, and cascading waterfalls are some of the many delights awaiting you. Nestled in among the peaks are also some wonderful resorts, offering a cosy retreat from the incredible natural wonders outside.  

3. The Orange River 

The longest river in South Africa, flowing through the heart of the country, the Orange River offers a serene and picturesque landscape. Visitors can enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and river cruises while surrounded by stunning scenery. This incredible river starts in Lesotho, where it is known as the Senqu, and flows westward, touching Namibia on its way, until it opens into the sea at Alexander Bay in the Northern Cape. 

4. Lakes and Floodplains of Elephant Coast 

The Lakes and Floodplains of Elephant Coast — part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, in the magical province of KwaZulu Natal — showcase diverse wildlife and ecosystems, making it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bordering Mozambique, Swaziland and the Lubombo Mountains, this region is home to 21 different ecosystems — more freshwater ecosystems than anywhere else in Africa

5. Table Mountain 

Located in Cape Town, Table Mountain is an iconic landmark, offering panoramic views of the city and the coastline. Hiking enthusiasts will find it irresistible, and those less inclined towards scaling the steep sides will find the Cable Car to the top a welcome reprieve. No holiday in Cape Town is complete without spending time on, around, or near this iconic mountain. 

6. Tsitsikamma National Park 

This coastal park along the Garden Route boasts dramatic cliffs, lush forests, and the famous Storms River Mouth, making it a paradise for outdoor activities. Explore forests of ancient yellowwood trees, hike along gushing rivers, and admire carpets of delicate fynbos. This incredible patch of coastal park is close to the towns of Knysna, Wilderness, and Plettenberg Bay, making it an ideal stopover on a Garden Route holiday. 

7. Kruger National Park 

Africa’s premier game reserve, Kruger National Park, is a sanctuary for wildlife lovers. Explore its vast expanse and spot the famous “Big Five”. With nearly two million hectares of land, Kruger National Park — and the concessions that line its borders — is home to no less than six different ecosystems, each home to hosts of different animals, from grazers to apex predators. This protected area also houses many lodges — from rustic camps, where you can sleep in your own tent, to luxurious lodges with every amenity at your fingertips. 

8. Augrabies Falls 

One of South Africa’s most impressive waterfalls, Augrabies Falls, located in the Northern Cape, is a sight to behold, particularly during the rainy season. This national park is a wonderful hotspot for hiking, mountain biking, and many other outdoor activities. Nearby, on the Namibian border, are the Riemvasmaak Hot Springs, as well as plenty of restaurants and local “padstaals” or farm stalls. 

9. Cango Caves 

The Cango Caves, near Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape, are an underground wonderland with captivating stalactites and stalagmites. Tours run through the caves regularly — visitors are not allowed to explore alone — and are well worth taking. Walking through these deep, limestone caves, you hear the story of their discovery and experience for yourself the disorientating darkness — but only for a moment. Dramatic lights highlight the incredible natural structures, making it a tour enjoyable for all ages. Nearby, in the surrounding countryside and in the town of Oudtshoorn, there are many farms, restaurants, and farm stalls to explore, making it a great spot for a family holiday. 

10. Golden Gate Highlands National Park 

This park in the Free State province, near the Lesotho border, is a geological wonder with its striking golden-hued sandstone cliffs and outcrops. It’s a paradise for hikers and photographers, offering breathtaking vistas of the unique landscape. Set within the rolling Maluti Mountains, the Golden Gate is especially beautiful in autumn — roughly April and May — as the many golden poplars change colour, lighting the landscape gold to match the golden stone cliffs. Nearby is the charming town of Clarens, a haven for artists and creativity, and well worth a visit on its own. 

Explore South Africa’s Natural Wonders For Yourself 

Looking for more? Here are answers to a few questions you may find yourself asking: 

What are some natural features in South Africa? 

South Africa boasts a myriad of natural features, from the majestic Table Mountain to the pristine lakes of the Elephant Coast, and the golden cliffs of the Golden Gate.  

What are the natural wonders of South Africa? 

The natural wonders of South Africa include the Blyde River Canyon, Drakensberg Mountains, The Orange River, Table Mountain, Tsitsikamma National Park, Kruger National Park, Augrabies Falls, and the Cango Caves. These are just a few of the natural wonders of South Africa, home as it is to so many national parks and beautiful landscapes. 

What are 5 things South Africa is famous for? 

South Africa is renowned for its diverse wildlife, stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, vibrant cities, and historical significance, particularly its struggle against apartheid led by Nelson Mandela. 

What natural attractions can tourists see? 

Tourists in South Africa can explore a wide range of natural attractions, from magnificent waterfalls like Augrabies Falls to the underground wonders of the Cango Caves. Whether it’s wildlife safaris or hiking adventures, South Africa offers something for every traveller. 

Let’s Make The Most of South Africa’s Beauty 

For locals and international visitors alike, there’s so much to love about South Africa. And when it comes to exploring our own backyard, there’s no better partner than Pentravel. Chat to one of our experienced Travel Advisors to create your ultimate roadtrip, memorable family holiday, solo adventure, or couple’s getaway. There is no shortage of wonders, especially natural ones, to be found in our beautiful country, and now is the perfect time to experience as many of them as you can. 

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