Tourist Attractions of the Western Cape
Tourist Attractions of South Africa
South Africa is a vast and extremely fascinating country that packs a powerful tourist punch. Few countries can match it for variety and diversity in attractions, activities and cultural groups. From art and history to food and wine, wildlife and nature, nightlife, shopping and even places of worship – there is so much on offer to attract, entice and entertain.
The Western Cape with its mountains and oceans offers scenery that has inspired thousands of descriptions. It has great beaches, World Heritage sites, romantic winelands and museums that celebrate a rich cultural heritage. You can’t talk about a trip to Cape Town without discussing the fabulous cuisine and shopping options that draw tourists time and time again.
Gauteng’s brash exterior belies its depth, uncovered at numerous cultural and historical attractions. Places like Constitution Hill, the Apartheid Museum and Soweto feature alongside chi-chi restaurants, funky galleries, shopping malls and fascinating visits to the Cradle of Humankind, where all our stories began.
In Mpumalanga you’ll find a host of nature-related attractions, arts and crafts outlets, country towns, cultural villages and stupendous scenery along the well-known Panorama route. Of course one of the major attractions is the world-famous Kruger National Park.
Limpopo shares this wildlife sanctuary - the size of a small country - and has many of its own nature reserves. It also boasts the fascinating Mapungubwe, where once an ancient kingdom developed a field of influence that spread beyond the continent. Intriguing groups such as the Venda and the Balobedu still practise culturally-rich traditions in the far north of this region.
The North West is all about Sun City, and the Pilanesberg and Madikwe Game Reserves, but don’t forget the mampoer farms and the idiosyncrasies of the Marico, the cultural mélange at Lesedi on the shores of the Hartebeespoort Dam or the little town of Taung where the famous skull of the same name was discovered. From the Margaret Roberts Herbal Farm (De Wildt) to Sol Plaaitje’s house in Mafikeng, there’s much to explore.
Immense skies and enormous spaces characterise the Northern Cape, along with attractions such as the Big Hole in Kimberley, the Loeriesfontein Windmill Museum and the myths and legends as taught by the ancient San. The Augrabies Falls National Park, the Ais/Ais Richtersveld National Park and the Riemvasmaak community all offer interesting experiences and insights.
KwaZulu-Natal has its own brand of uniqueness when it comes to tourist attractions. Here you can visit a Hare Krishna temple in Durban, pay your respects at the Battlefields in the Midlands, come face to face with Zulu culture and celebrate some of the finest beaches along the Indian Ocean coastline. Sunny year-round, the province has great places to shop, eat, and discover.
The Eastern Cape is a place of rich heritage and struggle sites. Here historic monuments find their place alongside fun aquariums and beachside establishments. Malaria-free game sanctuaries and numerous nature reserves thrill adventure-seekers and nature-lovers.
Small towns and homegrown hospitality are the distinctive attributes of the Free State. Visit the Basotho Cultural Village on the way to the spectacular Golden Gate National Park, visit the Choet Visser Rugby Museum in Bloemfontein or the Fertility Caves (outside Clarens). Make your way to the fun galleries of Clarens, feast visually on the sandstone sights of Ficksburg and drink in the fascinating history of the provincial capital, Bloemfontein.
Wherever you go around the country, you’re bound to find a fun attraction, a moving museum, a great place to enjoy the local vibes. Enjoy surfing the Nightjar site for the best attractions on offer in each of the provinces.
Articles & Blogs
The Strange World of Sobeit Studio9:55pm 15 Dec
Words Carrie Hampton, pics Carrie Hampton and supplied
Entering Sobeit Studio on an unimposing stretch of Muizenberg Main Road is a little like falling down Alice’s rabbit hole, where nothing is as you knew it before. It’s a magical wonderland and like Alice’s, can at times be ghoulish and borderline macabre, but is always different and diverting.
It’s the creative home of Bartel van Vuuren and Liezle Fourie, whose art pieces defy classification. One of their trademark themes are colourful moulded candles of Lenin, Napoleon and Godly saints, or their darker creations like...
CapeNature Staff Act Fast To Save Rare Pangolin8:37pm 9 Dec
Words Coral Birss and Bulelani Dyonase, CapeNature Scientific Services, pics courtesy CapeNature
A rare Ground Pangolin Smutsia temminckii was recently given a new lease on life when it was translocated to the safety of a rehabilitation facility after it was seized in the Western Cape last month.
While they may appear cute to some, pangolins are not indigenous to the Western Cape and it is illegal to possess them in the province. Thus, this endangered wild animal had to be transported to another province where it could be reintroduced into a natural habitat....
TOKARA ‘Wine Made Art’11:26am 15 Sep
TOKARA has much to celebrate in September. With the coming of spring, this unique winery releases its new vintages to the public at its annual Gala event – among them the highly acclaimed TOKARA Director’s Reserve wines, Reserve collection and Limited Release wines – and at the same time launches its annual selection of “Wine Made Art” for viewing.
“Art is very important to us and it gives us tremendous pleasure,” says Anne-Marie Ferreira, co-owner of TOKARA Estate. “We therefore wanted to develop a concept whereby we could promote art to the public in various available spaces...
Delos Antiques8:30am 10 Aug
Delos Antiques: 181 Albert Road, Woodstock
When I asked an official-looking lady, while pretending I hadn’t just been sitting in a hundred-year-old chair, she said they specialise in antique chandeliers. Over 300 of them. But that’s only half of the truth. Delos specialises in drawing your heart through Narnia-like doors and then keeping you in the double-storey mansion, if only to hold onto that feeling of golden-era nostalgia. The prices are high, but there’s no doubt of the antiques’ authenticity. My illegal moment in the hundred-year-old chair was enough to go on...
The Art of Wine9:55pm 8 Jun
Words Shannon Latimer, Artworks by NomThunzi Mashalaba, pics courtesy Spier
‘It’s fascinating to examine how each individual artist approaches the square format, and how each makes the block a unique piece of personal expression’
Ever wanted to start your own art collection but just can’t afford original artworks? Well the SPIER ARTS ACADEMY has made sure you can, with its Creative Block art project, started in 2004. At R1 200 per block, it’s one way to get started on an art collection or to extend what you already have with fresh talent or even a distinguished name....
The Woodstock Exchange8:30am 20 Apr
The Woodstock Exchange
‘The Exchange in Woodstock, otherwise known as The Woodstock Exchange, is about the giving and receiving of energy and ideas from like-minded creatives and businesses. It’s really a place to work, play, interact, exhibit, flourish and be yourself. It’s an incubator for young fledgling businesses as well as a home to international market makers. The common thread is creativity.’
This perfectly sums up what the Woodstock Exchange is all about, a place I finally went to visit over the weekend. What a cool place! Brimming with creativity, it...
Highly valued art on show at The Cape Town Art Fair5:00pm 27 Feb
Two of the most highly valued and seminal South African paintings will be on show at the Cape Town Art Fair this weekend (28 February-02 March, The Pavilion, V&A Waterfront). Two Arabs by Irma Stern and Chinese Girl by Vladimir Tretchikoff will be on the Strauss & Co, Condé Nast House & Garden and Delaire Graff Estate stand.
Irma Stern's painting, Two Arabs, achieved an astonishing South African auction record when it was sold by Strauss & Co in 2011. It is amongst the most important Sterns to come onto the market in recent years...
Afronaut Talks Currency in a New Way2:31pm 25 Feb
Gerald Machona – one of the top ten young artists practising in South Africa today - has chosen the Cape Town Art Fair to create a performance piece that invites the audience to critically engage with currency and its value. Central to this performance will be an attempt to explore the devaluation of the rand through his character, Ndiri Afronaut (a space suit made of money), and his artistic oeuvre of decommissioned currency....