South Africa Tourism

South Africa Tourism

South Africa


South Africa Tourism plays a pivotal role in the country’s national economy and supports job creation. The travel and tourism industry significantly contributes to the country’s economic well-being while providing enough employment opportunities to its youth.

From the year 2005 to 2019, South Africa witnessed a major contribution from the tourism industry towards its economy. The norm changed only after the entire world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Thereafter, South Africa Tour has been optimistic about its tourism prospects and working hard towards its revival.

History of South Africa Tourism

South Africa Tourism

South Africa has a long history of tourism that dates to the 1800s. Then, wealthy Europeans and Americans visited the country for health reasons. The discovery of diamonds and gold in the late 1800s and early 1900s led to an influx of people. Thus, making tourism a major industry in the country.

Thereafter, during the apartheid era, tourism was restricted to white visitors. Black South Africans were not allowed to travel freely within their own country. After the end of apartheid in 1994, tourism opened to everyone, and the industry has been growing steadily ever since.

And South Africans were finally free to move within their own country without any restrictions. This allowed for domestic tourism to grow, as locals were now able to explore their own beautiful country. At the same time, people from other parts of the world were able to visit South Africa without any issues. All thanks to the efforts of Nelson Mandela!

South Africa Tourism industry started flourishing, with traditional dancers and artists benefiting from selling their work and entertaining international tourists. The local communities have immensely benefited from the influx of visitors. By 2012, even the G20 heads of state recognized the potential of tourism to drive growth and development, as well as contribute to the global economy's recovery.

South Africa Tourism Statistics & Facts

South Africa Tourism

Now, as we have already mentioned at the start tourism is an important contributor to the GDP of South Africa. In 2021, the tourism industry contributed about 3.2% to the GDP of the country. In 2019, the contribution of the tourism industry contribution was 6.4%.

And, if we compare both the data, we will see a steep decline. This is because of the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic which affected the tourism industry throughout the world.

But what happened to South Africa Tourism during Covid-19 (2020) is also essential to mention here. Despite the pandemic, South Africa ranked among the most popular destinations that were visited by tourists on the African continent.

Somewhat, close to 3.8 million tourists visited South Africa. This establishes that South Africa is a favourite holiday destination, pandemic or no-pandemic!

South Africa Geography

South Africa Tourism

South Africa, located at the very tip of the African continent, is both a vast and populous country. It shares a desert border with Namibia in the south and a subtropical climate zone with Mozambique in the north, therefore its natural circumstances are somewhat variable. The Atlantic and Indian Oceans caress the country on either side, providing three thousand kilometres of breathtaking shoreline for visitors to explore.

The 290 protected areas also provide shelter for over 800 different kinds of plants and animals. In addition to its famous Savannah, South Africa is home to numerous other biomes, including grasslands, thickets, the native Fynbos shrubland, succulent Nama Karoo, woods, and the Succulent Karoo. South Africa Tours are the best way for getting up close and personal with this incredible biodiversity.

South Africa Climate

South Africa Tourism

South Africa is surrounded on three sides by the ocean and a plateau on the other side. Owing to this location, the country experiences a warm temperate climate.

The country experiences summer monsoons in most areas, except for the Western Cape which receives winter monsoons.

As the country enjoys sitting at an elevation and because of the surrounding climatic conditions, the South Africa Climate is pretty dry.

Temperatures vary depending on the location, with the West Coast being cooler than the East Coast and the interiors being different from the seafronts. South Africa's Climate is also influenced by currents and winds.

Best Time To Visit South Africa is between November and March, during summer and autumn when temperatures are around 21-24 degrees Celsius.

June to August is the off-season with fewer visitors, but it is still a good time for wildlife spotting, and lower prices make it a good time for a South Africa Tour.

Winter in South Africa brings rain and slightly more challenging conditions, but it is still a good time for wildlife spotting.

South Africa Culture

South Africa Tourism

South Africa, known as the Cradle of Mankind, has a rich cultural history dating back millions of years. Early pastoralists and bushmen roamed the land thousands of years ago.

However, in modern history, South Africa was greatly affected by colonialism, with the Dutch and British having primary influence. Sadly, the 20th Century saw the era of apartheid, which left a lasting impact on the country.

Today, South Africa is a diverse land, with eleven official languages and a variety of unofficial dialects. The country has three capitals - Cape Town, Pretoria, and Bloemfontein, each serving different governmental functions.

South Africa's cultural diversity offers visitors a vibrant and exciting experience, filled with delicious cuisine, art, and entertainment. The country provides a range of travel options, from rustic adventures to luxury experiences. The possibilities are endless, and there are plenty of choices to make your South Africa Trip a memorable one.

  • Like, wildlife enthusiasts can go on a thrilling safari adventure in the Kruger National Park, Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve or Madikwe Game Reserve.
  • For those who prefer urban exploration, there are museums such as the District Museum, Zeitz MOCAA Museum, and Maropeng.
  • South Africa also has romantic getaways, including the Silvermine Nature Reserve and La Motte Winery.
  • There is a vast array of activities to choose from, such as whale watching, bar hopping, hiking, and shopping.

In short, from all the above information, it is not difficult to comprehend why South Africa Tourism is incredibly popular and the best bet for all types of travellers, irrespective of their travel type.

Tourism In South Africa’s Provinces

South Africa Tourism

In this section, we will take a closer look at the tourism offerings of each of South Africa's provinces. Simultaneously, we will be highlighting the unique experiences, attractions, and some of the Best Things to Do In South Africa. Thus, understand why South Africa is an absolute must-visit destination for every class and type of traveller.

Western Cape

The Western Cape province is situated between two great oceans the Indian and Atlantic Oceans and is a highly developed and popular South Africa Destination. Arguably, it is the most mountainous and the most beautiful of the country’s provinces. The Key attractions of the Western Cape include:

Key attractions


Table Mountain

One of the seven wonders of Nature.

Visit the top of the mountain and witness the spectacular views.

Victoria and Alfred waterfront

Harbor area is a hub for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Enjoy local markets, live music, and picturesque views of Table Mountain.

Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island

interactive multimedia exhibitions, the Robben Island Museum, an auditorium, boardrooms, and a restaurant are all present here.

All the South African Wine routes

Indulge in fine food and wine pairings while experiencing visually stunning views.

Garden Route

scenic drive extending between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

Whale Coast

The best place in South Africa Travel for whale watching in winter.

Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape, with its stunning coastline, offers a plethora of natural attractions. It includes over 60 state-owned game reserves and more than 30 private game farms, collectively covering an area larger than the Kruger National Park. The region boasts diverse landscapes, rich wildlife, and remarkable marine life. Key attractions of Eastern Cape are:

Key attractions


Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth)

Home to picturesque parks such as St George's Park, offering beautifully landscaped gardens and tranquil settings.

Valley of Desolation

A national monument within the Karoo Nature Reserve, featuring dramatic landscapes formed by weathering erosion over millions of years.

Addo Elephant Park

interactive multimedia exhibitions, the Robben Island Museum, an auditorium, boardrooms, and a restaurant are all present here.

All the South African Wine routes

A renowned game reserve, home to the densest population of African elephants, as well as other wildlife species.

Mountain Zebra Park

A conservation success story, this park protects the endangered Cape Mountain zebra and offers breathtaking landscapes.

Tsitsikamma National Park

South Africa's first marine park, featuring a 50 km stretch of rugged coastline and a diverse array of marine life.

Free State

The central region of South Africa features vast rolling fields of wheat, sunflowers, and maize. This makes it the primary breadbasket of the country.

Key attractions


King’s Park Rose Garden

Over 4,000 rose bushes in Bloemfontein.

Gariep Dam & Nature Reserve

South Africa's largest inland water expanse.

Harrismith Memorials

Commemorates soldiers from various wars.

Golden Gate Highlands Park

Beautiful sandstone rock formations.

Vredefort Dome

Oldest, largest meteorite impact site and World Heritage Site.


Gauteng is the smallest region of South Africa. Still, it has the highest population and urbanization showcasing a diverse mix of people from all backgrounds. The term “Gauteng’ translates to the “place of gold”.

Key attractions


Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve and various other reserves in Johannesburg and Pretoria

Nature reserves and botanical gardens in Gauteng.

Sterkfontein Caves

Ancient hominid fossils discovery site.

Constitution Hill Precinct

Future iconic South African landmark

Soweto tour

Insight into the community's life and struggle.

Apartheid Museum

Chronicles apartheid's legacy through various media.


One of the top Tourist Attractions in South Africa, the province KwaZulu Natal extends from Port Edward in the south to the Eswatini and Mozambique borders in the north.

Key attractions


Durban area

Notable reserves, parks, gardens, and annual events.

Weza State Forest

Home to diverse wildlife and bird species.

iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Wetland ecosystems, fishing, and bird watching

Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park

Large game park housing the Big Five and other wildlife.

Battlefields Route

High concentration of historic battlefields.


The Limpopo landscape features striking contrasts of hot savanna plains and misty mountains, ancient indigenous forests and modern plantations, and age-old mountain fortresses complemented by contemporary infrastructure and facilities.

Key attractions


Marakele National Park

Rare trees, Cape vultures, and black rhino conservation.


Premier game-hunting destination in South Africa.

Mapungubwe Archaeological Site

Rich African heritage site with golden artefacts.

Kruger National Park

Home to diverse wildlife, including the Big Five.


Mpumalanga, meaning "the place where the sun rises" in Nguni languages, features a diverse landscape that varies from cool highland grasslands to subtropical Lowveld near Kruger National Park. This province is known for its stunning scenery, pleasant climate, and abundant wildlife, embodying South Africa's most captivating features.

Key attractions



A gold-rush-era town with museums like Belhaven and Fernlea House, as well as unique verdite deposits and an annual Diggers Festival.

Blyde River Canyon

A breathtaking 26-km-long gorge and natural wonder, with panoramic views from God's Window over the lush Lowveld and canyon.


The heart of South Africa's largest man-made forest, offering a Forestry Museum and popular mountain biking routes.

Waterfalls near Sabie

Must-visit attractions like Bridal Veil, Horseshoe, and Lone Creek waterfalls, along with Mac Mac pools and falls.

Montrose Falls

Located in Schoemanskloof, these falls feature the Crocodile River cascading into a series of picturesque rock pools.

Northern Cape

The Northern Cape is South Africa's largest province. It is characterized by its vast and diverse landscapes, ranging from arid deserts to lush river valleys. This remote region is home to unique natural wonders, abundant wildlife, and a rich cultural heritage, making it an off-the-beaten-path destination for intrepid travellers.

Key attractions


Augrabies Falls

These stunning waterfalls plunge 56 meters into the Orange River Gorge,

walking trails, and bird-watching opportunities.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

predator sightings, particularly lions and cheetahs,

home to diverse antelope species and a variety of desert-adapted wildlife.


Steeped in history, Kimberley is famous for its diamond mining past and the Big Hole, the largest hand-dug excavation in the world.


A semi-desert region renowned for its spectacular wildflower display during spring (usually August to September. This transforms the arid landscape into a vibrant kaleidoscope of colours.

Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

The park offers 4x4 trails, hiking, and opportunities to engage with the Nama people, the area's indigenous community.


Northwest is home to various cultural villages that both captivate and draw visitors. The region also boasts several exceptional game reserves, including Pilanesberg National Park.

Key attractions


Mahikeng historical route

Features a war siege site, Sol Plaatje's residence, and Mahikeng Museum.

Groot Marico

Known for mampoer culture and home to the Kortkloof Cultural Village.


The exclusive source of "wonder stone" or pyrophyllite in South Africa

San rock engravings

Stone Age artefacts found on farms like Witpoort, Gestoptefontein, and others.

South Africa Natural Attractions

South Africa Tourism

In the above section, we went through the important Attractions Of South Africa as per the provinces. Now, in this section, we will give you an overall idea of all the popular South Africa Destinations and activities that anyone who loves travelling can get to explore during their South Africa Safari Holidays.

National Parks

The country has a network of national parks that are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Some of the most popular South Africa National Parks include Kruger National Park, Addo Elephant National Park, and Table Mountain National Park. These parks offer visitors an opportunity to see the Big Five (lion, elephant, leopard, rhinoceros, and buffalo) and other wildlife in their natural habitats.


Most beautiful beaches in the world are present in South Africa, stretching along the Indian and Atlantic Ocean coasts. Some of these include Clifton and Camps Bay in Cape Town, Umhlanga Rocks in Durban, and Ballito in KwaZulu-Natal. Visitors can enjoy various activities such as swimming, surfing, and sunbathing on these beaches.

Mountains and Hiking Trails

South Africa is home to some of the most breathtaking mountain ranges in the world, including the Drakensberg Mountains and Table Mountain. Travellers can include mountain climbing and hiking trails in their itinerary and enjoy stunning views of the landscape.

Waterfalls and Rivers

South Africa is also home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls and rivers, including Victoria Falls, Augrabies Falls, and Blyde River Canyon. Travellers on South Africa Tours can enjoy activities such as white-water rafting, canoeing, and fishing in these rivers.

South Africa Wildlife

South Africa Tourism

Big Five Game Reserves

There is hardly anyone who chooses to visit the country and not take part in Big Five Safari in South Africa. Quite an impossible thing to even imagine! The country is renowned for its wildlife, and tourists from far and wide come to see the Big Five in their natural habitat. Among the game reserves, Kruger National Park is the most famous for wildlife sightings. Also, you can see these majestic animals in other reserves such as Sabi Sands, Phinda, and Madikwe Game Reserve.

Marine Life

South Africa is not only about spotting the majestic animals but also it is about seeing whales, dolphins, sharks, and seals in the country's coastal waters. All thanks to the diverse marine life. Some of the popular activities include whale watching, shark cage diving, and snorkelling.


With over 850 bird species, the Rainbow Nation is one of the best birdwatching destinations in the world. Some of the popular birding sites include Kruger National Park, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, and Cape

Conservation Efforts

South Africa has been at the forefront of wildlife conservation efforts, and visitors can learn about these efforts in many game reserves and conservation centres. The country has made significant progress in the conservation of endangered species such as rhinos and elephants.

South Africa Cultural Attractions

South Africa Tourism


South Africa has a rich cultural heritage, and visitors can learn about the country's history and culture in many museums. Some of the popular museums include the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, the District Six Museum in Cape Town, and the Robben Island Museum.

Historical Sites

South Africa has a long and complex history, and visitors can learn about the country's history by visiting historical sites such as the Cradle of Humankind, the Voortrekker Monument, and the Battlefields Route.

Traditional Villages and Townships

Visitors can experience South Africa's diverse cultures by visiting traditional villages and townships. Some of the popular townships include Soweto in Johannesburg, Langa in Cape Town, and Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay.

South Africa Urban Lifestyle

South Africa Tourism

Cape Town

Also, known as the Mother City, Cape Town is a picturesque coastal city nestled at the foot of Table Mountain. The prominent attractions of the city include:

  • Table Mountain is an iconic landmark that is a must-see for any visitor. Take the cable car or hike to the top for stunning panoramic views of the city and coastline.
  • Just a short ferry ride from the V&A Waterfront, Robben Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was once home to political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela. Guided tours offer a poignant insight into South Africa's turbulent past.
  • V&A Waterfront is a bustling harbour area that is a hub for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Enjoy local markets, live music, and picturesque views of Table Mountain and the harbour.
  • Take a day trip to the Cape Peninsula, featuring stunning coastal views, pristine beaches, and the famous Cape of Good Hope. Check out our Cape Town Tours for more detailed information.


South Africa's largest city is a vibrant metropolis with a rich history and culture. The top attractions included in our Johannesburg Tours are:

  • The apartheid museum tells the story of apartheid and its impact on South Africa, offering an insightful and emotional experience.
  • Constitution Hill is a former prison and military fort turned museum, Constitution Hill is now home to South Africa's Constitutional Court and offers guided tours exploring the country's history and its journey to democracy.
  • Gold Reef City is a popular theme park is built around an authentic gold mine, offering thrilling rides, historical exhibits, and a chance to learn about Johannesburg's gold rush history.


A coastal city with a warm climate and beautiful beaches, Durban is a haven for sun-seekers and offers attractions such as:

  • uShaka Marine World is a world-class aquarium and water park that features marine life displays, thrilling water slides, and up-close encounters with sharks and other marine creatures.
  • Stretching along Durban's beachfront, the Golden Mile is a popular destination for swimming, surfing, and beachside relaxation, with plenty of restaurants, shops, and entertainment options.
  • Moses Mabhida Stadium is the iconic stadium that hosted matches during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and now offers a variety of activities, including the SkyCar, which takes tourists to the top of the stadium for a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area.

The Garden Route

This scenic stretch of coastline spans from Mossel Bay to Storms River and is known for its lush forests, pristine beaches, and charming towns. Key destinations include Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, and Tsitsikamma National Park.

South Africa Wine and Culinary Experiences

South Africa Tourism

The renowned Cape Winelands region is home to world-class vineyards and picturesque towns, including:

  • The historic town of Stellenbosch is the heart of South Africa's Wine industry and offers numerous wine estates, restaurants, and art galleries for visitors to explore.
  • Franschhoek is popularly known as the "food and wine capital" of South Africa, Franschhoek boasts exceptional vineyards and top-notch restaurants, providing a gastronomic experience like no other..
  • Paarl is another key player in the Cape Winelands, Paarl offers a variety of wine estates, historical sites, and outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy.

South Africa's thriving food and wine scene can also be experienced through its numerous festivals, such as:

  • Stellenbosch Wine Festival is an annual event that showcases the best wines from the Stellenbosch region, accompanied by local food, live music, and art exhibitions.
  • Franschhoek Bastille Festival celebrates French heritage. This lively festival features French-inspired cuisine, wine tastings, and a variety of entertainment options.
  • Wacky Wine Weekend is a fun-filled festival in the Robertson Wine Valley that offers wine tastings, food pairings, and a range of quirky activities for the whole family to enjoy.

South Africa Adventure Tourism

South Africa Tourism

There are plenty of Things To Do in South Africa for both extremely thrilling adventure enthusiasts and others who like a moderate bit of adventure. Let’s look at the adventure activities that are in store for you.

  • For adrenaline junkies seeking a thrilling encounter with one of the ocean's most fearsome predators, shark cage diving in Gansbaai or Mossel Bay offers an unforgettable experience. Expert guides ensure safety while providing fascinating insights into the behaviour of great white sharks.
  • South Africa is home to the world's highest commercial bungee jump at Bloukrans Bridge. Plunging from a height of 216 meters, this exhilarating adventure offers stunning views of the surrounding Tsitsikamma forest and coastline.
  • Float above the scenic landscapes of the Magaliesberg, the Cradle of Humankind, or the Cape Winelands in a hot air balloon, taking in stunning views of the countryside below. Enjoy a champagne breakfast after landing for the perfect conclusion to a magical morning.
  • South Africa's diverse terrain provides numerous opportunities for hikers and trekkers, from the iconic Table Mountain in Cape Town to the rugged Drakensberg Mountains. Guided hikes, multi-day treks, and slackpacking trails cater to all fitness levels and preferences.

Some Essential South Africa Tourism Tips from Us

South Africa Tourism

Let’s look at some essential travel tips that might come in handy for you when you are planning to visit South Africa.

  • South Africa is a laid-back country, and it's best to adopt a casual attitude while you're there.
  • Engage in light-hearted conversations and interact freely with locals, who are usually quite friendly and welcoming.
  • Driving yourself around is a good idea, as it is safer than walking around aimlessly, especially at night. However, always be aware of your surroundings and keep a watchful eye on your belongings in public places.
  • Wear comfortable footwear, especially if you plan to go hiking. For colder weather, bring along a pair of warm boots. It's important to protect your skin from the harsh sun, so don't forget to apply sunscreen.
  • Avoid drinking and driving at all costs. Not only, its dangerous, its illegal too.
  • Dressing up too formally is not necessary, as the vibe is relaxed and easy-going in South Africa. Dress according to the occasion and blend in with the local ambience. Hope with all these points your South Africa Tours will be as hassle-free and memorable as you have ever imagined.

"South Africa's Allure: Immerse Yourself in Nature, Culture, and History"

South Africa Tourism

The triumph of the South Africa Tourism industry can be attributed to a variety of factors. The friendly and welcoming nature of the people, the allure of the country's one-of-a-kind attractions, well-developed infrastructure, historical landmarks, and abundance of natural wonders all play a significant role in the appeal of this destination. Together, these elements create an experience that is truly unparalleled and unforgettable.

As we have journeyed through "South Africa Tourism" this remarkable destination is impossible to ignore. So, don't miss out on the chance to explore the country's enchanting beauty first-hand. Start on your South Africa Safari today! And for more information on which South Africa Safari Packages will cater to your needs, you can always contact our experts.

Frequently Asked Questions

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The currency used in South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR). The exchange rate varies. So, it's advisable to check current rates before your trip.

Visa requirements for South Africa depend on your nationality and the purpose of your visit. Many visitors from eligible countries can obtain a visa on arrival for short stays. Check the South African government's website for the most up-to-date information on visa requirements. .

Recommended vaccinations for South Africa include Hepatitis A, Typhoid, and routine vaccinations such as MMR and DTP. Yellow fever vaccination is required if you're arriving from a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission. Consult your doctor for personalized advice on vaccinations.

The best time for wildlife viewing in South Africa is during the dry winter months (May to September), when animals congregate around water sources, making them easier to spot.

Tap water is generally safe to drink in major cities and towns in South Africa. However, it's advisable to drink bottled water in rural areas or if you're unsure about the water quality.

Primary means of transportation in South Africa include domestic flights, buses, trains, and rental cars. Minibus taxis are also a popular mode of transport for shorter distances.

South Africa uses 220-230V voltage and Type M plugs. You may need a voltage converter and plug adapter for your electronic devices and appliances.

Must-visit attractions in South Africa include Kruger National Park, Table Mountain, Cape Town, the Garden Route, Blyde River Canyon, Robben Island, and the Cape Winelands.

Credit cards are widely accepted in South Africa, especially in urban areas. ATMs are also easily accessible in cities and towns.

South Africa is generally safe for travellers, but it's essential to take standard precautions. Stay vigilant, avoid displaying valuables, and stick to well-populated areas, especially at night.

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