The go to destination for catching a glimpse of the big five and home of possibly the most dreamy sunset on earth – The Savannah Sunset.
There are few national parks in the world, let alone South Africa that get as much hype as Kruger and it’s for good reason, with breath taking scenery and wildlife to be seen at every turn this place ticks a lot of boxes.
Don’t think for a moment we’re trying to bump Kruger from your itinerary, au contraire, the aim of this post is simply to make sure you appreciate there are other national parks and attractions worthy of your time beyond Kruger.
1. World Class Accommodation
In addition to the most famous parks such as Kruger and Kgalagadi (Kalahari) Transfrontier Park, South Africa plays host to some of the worlds’ most exquisite hotel and lodge accommodation. If you’re imagining waking up in a decadent lodge and sliding the doors open to your private decking with as far as the eye can see views and enjoying regular visits from elephants and other animals, all this and more can be found in South Africa.
2. Cape Town
By travelling around South Africa, you’re going to be touring a number of vibrant cities where you’ll find stimulation for all the senses. Cape Town stands out as one of the most beautiful cities of the world. This huge, multi cultural metropolis is bordered by the nature you’d expect of South Africa and is a feast of beauty and delight.
Whilst in Cape Town we’d consider a visit to Table Mountain as essential. You’ll realise the significance of this site as soon as you arrive in the city with this flat topped mountain looking majestically over the city lights! An early morning hike will beat the crowds (and the heat) and in return for the early start you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the city and beyond. For those unable or unwilling to hike, there’s a cable car that will whisk you to the summit (669 meters high) of Lion’s Head.
3. Stellenbosch, Western Cape
Stellenbosch is a delightful town in which you’ll feel the urge to take a photo on every turn. If you’re into searching out an authentic slice of South Africa, look no further. Here you’ll find a spattering of traditional farms, ancient oak trees and old time Cape Dutch dwellings. We feel strongly that Stellenbosch is one of the best preserved old towns of South Africa.
Whilst on your visit to the now university town, we recommend a visit to the Stellenbosch Village Museum, for anyone who’s every been to Springfield Illinois, the home of Abraham Lincoln, this is a similar place – an open air museum with restored houses which date from 1709 to 1850.
In addition to the above, we’d recommend a visit to the Botanic Garden and a stroll around the grounds of the University of Stellenbosch.
4. Pilansesberg National Park
Struggling to fit all of the things you want into your South Africa itinerary, but determined to witness the Big 5? Pilansesberg could be your one stop shop!
Located just 2.5 hours from Jo’Burg and Pretoria, this national park is known for being the most accessible in South Africa. There are a few drawbacks when compared to the likes of Kruger, chiefly the fact that this park is significantly smaller – but the benefits are there too, including cost effectiveness and the fact that this park is considered to be malaria free! Also, the relatively small size of this park equals a higher concentration of wildlife, meaning less searching around and more spotting. Get your cameras on charge!
5. Casinos and Entertainment Complexes
If you get bored of the tigers and elephants, South Africa also happens to be home to some of the world’s best casino and entertainment complexes. Did you know that there are actually 39 casinos in South Africa?
In 2021, TripAdvisor named Montecasino the best in South Africa with over 1,700 reviews, the majority of which are positive. You’ll find this gem of a casino in Sandton in the heart of Fourways Johannesburg. Just look at the pictures, it’s something a bit different to the casinos found in the UK but is sure to offer the casino games and slot machines you’re used to, many of which you’ll have enjoyed online.
And there we have it, five amazing points of inspiration for your South Africa itinerary without so much as a mention of Kruger National Park. OK, if you were paying attention you’ll know this isn’t true, but we’re sure you’ll let the two mentions slide.