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
CapeNature YES9:55pm 26 Mar
CapeNature and the Department of Environmental Affairs celebrated its successful first year of the Youth Environmental Services (YES) Programme. The initiative saw 110 youth participants graduating.
Together both entities aim to address the ever-growing challenges of youth unemployment and prioritise local communities living in and adjacent to the nature reserves across the Western Cape. The funding of the programme by the Department of Environmental Affairs will empower 272 youths over 2 years from communities in dire need.
The YES Programme objectives include that of...
African Twilight2:52pm 30 Oct
Pics Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher
Cape Town, South Africa – THK Photography proudly presents an exhibition of photographic works by Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher, titled African Twilight: Vanishing Rituals and Ceremonies. The exhibition opens at 6PM on Thursday, 1 November 2018 at THK Photography Gallery, 52 Waterkant Street, Cape Town.
American-born Carol Beckwith and Australian Angela Fisher met over 40 years ago, beginning a photographic partnership that has seen them journey over 300 000 miles on the African continent – through 48 countries and recording 150...
!Khwa ttu Heritage Centre2:44pm 30 Sep
A unique place of learning and sharing, owned and run for and by the San opened its doors on Heritage Day, Monday, 24 September, 2018.
The new !Khwa ttu Heritage Centre building is an intriguing structure, embedded into the land lines of the ridge looking towards Yzerfontein and the Atlantic Ocean, just an hour outside Cape Town.
Soon, the surrounding indigenous vegetation will completely cover the canopy, which represents a shelter where people gather to learn and to share.
It addresses the hopes and dreams of San all over Southern Africa: it is a place to...
Elgin Railway Market3:43pm 24 Jul
Pics Heinrich Knoetze
The new Elgin Railway Market officially launched on Saturday, 16 June as steam train, Jessica, made her way into Elgin Station. With farm foods, great coffee and artisan crafts it’s a great day out from the Mother City.
The market stalls below should entice you to make a visit, ideally on the Ceres Rail vintage steam train, Jessica.
Ardi’s motto is “put it in a pita”. From vegetarian fillings like falafel and salad fixings to meaty pulled pork and honey mustard chicken, and fresh calamari strips and smoked salmon from the deep –...
Pushing Up Daisies7:22pm 5 Jun
By Marion Whitehead
Few flower tourists realise Vanrhynsdorp was a hotbed of resistance during the Anglo–Boer War – or that those long-dead soldiers are still providing the best show in town.
The campsite on the edge of Vanrhynsdorp was packed full of flower tourists, all of them hunting for spring splendours in this arid corner of the Knersvlakte. Some were simply stopping over on their way up north, while others used it as a central point for exploring the area, from the bulb-rich Bokkeveld around Nieuwoudtville in the east to the daisy-decked West Coast. As...
Pringle Bay Festival 20189:55pm 10 Apr
Pringle Bay Festival 27th – 29th April 2018 Bringing people Together who Care for our Environment
Pringle Bay, just 60 minutes from Cape Town, is one of the finest examples of a coastal community who cares for its environment. We are proud to host our Annual Pringle Bay Festival from 27 – 29 April 2018. #ThinkingBlue is our slogan – declaring our intention to rid the communities of Pringle Bay and Rooiels of all single use plastics and to reduce the human footprint on our unique environment.
Adam Tas at the Groot Plaasproe4:41pm 3 Oct
The popular Afrikaans singer Adam Tas is to perform at the Groot Plaasproe on Saturday 14 October 2017 at Sandringham Farm outside Stellenbosch. Farmies as well as Townies will enjoy this brand new experience of all things farm. Tas, also a farmer and nature lover, will be on stage from 16:30 to 18:15. He will sing songs from his latest album, “Patatas & Pyptabak”, as well as from his Johnny Cash tribute album. Nic Stevens, solo singer also known as one of “Die Broers”, will perform from 14:30 to 16:30 and Die Wildberries from 12:00 to 14:30. From 10:00 to 14:30, line dancers...
Go Straight to Jail4:23pm 21 Feb
Words and pics Marion Whitehead
Eduard Cornelissen couldn’t wait to go to jail. He’d been plotting his break-in for years. And it wasn’t just any old jail he wanted to move into.
The thick walls of the 1895 prison in Vanrhynsdorp, on the N7 in the West Coast district, looked so promising to him. Built back in the day when strong men made things to last, its decline into decay over the years had saddened him.
The last prisoners were let out in 1938 and the cells remained empty until someone had the bright idea of turning the old prison into a museum and tourist...
Halaal Cape Town, A Visitor’s Guide9:55pm 3 Dec
Words & pics Dilshad Parker
All roads lead to Table Mountain. At least that’s how most Capetonians feel. Once you have roots here you will never leave. And that’s how it must have felt for the early Muslims that came here from Malaysia and India and made it their home. There are few places in the western world that are more Muslim friendly than Cape Town. In fact, South Africa ranks no.4 in Crescentrating’s list of non OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) countries.
The Muslim community forms an integral part of South Africa’s cultural diversity. It has...
Travel like a local in Langa9:30am 19 Aug
Travel like a local in Langa
Robert Peters for Cape Town Tourism
We are always on the lookout for authentic experiences. The word ‘authentic’ obviously means different things to different people, but generally I like to think if you are sincerely welcomed into a community and their homes, invited to eat their food and immerse yourself in their culture, then you are dealing with genuine authenticity.
Globally, more and more people are looking for authentic travel experiences, which allow them to see the city like a local would, by seeking...
Museums in Cape Town CBD9:30am 24 Jun
Museums in Cape Town CBD
Robert Peters for Cape Town Tourism
Cape Town is a cultural hub and where the history of the country really began, so you can bet we have plenty of both to offer visitors. The Mother City’s history is rich – and at times tragic – and is has a number of world class museums that offer up a treasure trove to the past – both the good and the bad. A number of these museums are located in the city centre – all within walking distance of each other – and together offer a view as diverse and entertaining as the city...
A Cut Above6:10pm 12 Feb
Words Marianne Heron, pics David Morgan and supplied
The roots of flower farming run deep along the Spaanschemat River in Constantia Valley, none deeper than those of Moses Jaftha’s family. Their story stretches back to the 1800s to Moses’ great-grandmother Susan Williams, a member of the Christian community who grew flowers and strawberries in the area for generations, a vanished tradition remembered in the name Strawberry Lane.
In those days Susan and her eldest sons would rise before dawn to walk to Adderley Street, Cape Town to sell...
Langa through expensive lenses: touring the township8:37pm 4 Dec
Impressions gained through township tourism might contribute to a foundation for more real and significant empathy and respect between South Africans.
The smell of fermentation hangs heavy in the muggy half dark. Flies buzz about, pausing on a knee or toe, only to be swished away by a pale hand. On our arrival, four Xhosa men quickly make room for us. They...
The Fugard Theatre9:30am 11 Nov
The Fugard Theatre
As I sit in the balcony seats waiting for the show to start, I look around me an am surprised at the array of people attending this production of 'The Rocky Horror Show'. From the moment I walked into the door of the Fugard Theatre, I was entertained by salesman and hosts who were dressed up in accordance to the theme of the musical and because the theatre is an intimate space, I am holding a box of goodies in my hands that will allow me to interact with what is happening on stage. I get ready to throw the confetti and suddenly...
Stellenbosch 360 cements Township ties on Madiba Day4:44pm 28 Jul
Inspired to make every day a Mandela Day, Stellenbosch 360, the town’s dynamic tourism outfit, reunited with Heart Capital in its ongoing efforts to create social and sustainable change in the poverty-stricken Kayamandi community, by lending some green fingers and elbow grease to its Foodpods Project.
Earlier this year, Stellenbosch 360 joined forces with Heart Capital, a boutique impact investment company based in Cape Town, by donating a Sandbag House towards the Heart Capital Foodpods Hub which was rooted in the township to establish food security for the locals in a financially...
The Best Apps for Exploring Cape Town6:30am 23 Jul
The Best Apps for Exploring Cape Town
Alessandro Candotti for Cape Town Tourism
Hey there explorer. Are you ready to take fate into your own hands?
Get connected with Cape Town when you pick up these 5 free apps and begin your adventure that much more adeptly:
Using GPS, EveryTrail creates an easy-to-read map as you explore, providing street names, a compass, audio guides and useful Points of Information. Over 400,000 people have tracked their adventures on EveryTrail, so using these guides...
9 Ways Thando Can Make Your Life Easier6:30am 18 Jun
9 Ways Thando Can Make Your Life Easier when Exploring Cape Town
Alessandro Candotti for Cape Town Tourism
So you've come to Cape Town to explore, not only the icons but the little discoveries, the sights and sounds and smells and surprises - and what better way than through the eyes of a local? Especially one who gives you free stuff!
Cape Town Tourism has launched an innovative mobile Visitor Information Centre called Thando to assist visitors to explore (aka fall in love with) Cape Town. Here are 9 ways Thando...
Winter Romance6:30am 29 May
There is something strange about a winter romantic getaway. Think about it – you remove your loved one from their natural comforts and take them somewhere cold and desolate as a ‘reward’, even better if it is snowing?! And yet; wrapped up in a blanket, glass of wine in hand and fireplace chattering in the background... I can’t explain it, but man! do I want it.
I recently heard about Tulbagh’s Christmas in Winter (28 & 29 June)– decorations, lights, theater, Rock with Santa... definitely an excuse to head out to their valley. And if you do so...
Planting seeds for the future9:55pm 27 May
Words Fiona McIntosh, Pics Shaen Adey
The rugged Cederberg mountains have long been a playground for those who indulge in extreme pursuits. The dramatic range is criss-crossed by hiking and mountain biking trails while the sheer sandstone cliffs are Mecca for climbers. In fact Rocklands, at the top of the Pakhuis Pass in the northern Cederberg, is one of most famous bouldering areas (gymnastic climbing without ropes on low boulders) in the world.
A couple of...
How to Avoid Winter Hibernation6:30am 27 May
How to Avoid Winter Hibernation
Franki for Travel Ideas Magazine
As a Capetonian you either make peace with very chilly winter temperatures or you remain disgruntled. The former option is obviously the better one and when you put your feelers out it’s not that hard. Just as winter set in, Alluvia, a specialist winery that offers boutique accommodation just outside of Stellenbosch, invited me and a partner for a night out in the country.
Within 90 minutes, we transitioned from our Cape Town-based offices to a warm fireplace with a...