Warmer days are upon us and travel is on the cards! Start the spring season by celebrating South Africa’s beauty this Heritage Month. One of the country’s best traits is its beautiful weather, so break out of winter hibernation and say hello to sunny blue skies.
Many spring festivals and tours have been cancelled this year due to the pandemic, but there are still many opportunities to take your car out for a drive on the open road. This month we feature four must-do South African travel destinations.
Mapungubwe National Park – Limpopo
Once the capital of a flourishing kingdom and thriving trade centre between Egypt, Persia, China, and India, Mapungubwe became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Likely the earliest known sites in southern Africa and containing important archaeological treasures, it speaks of 50,000 years of human history and development. Mapungubwe is testimony to the fact that a complex and sophisticated African civilisation flourished before colonisation.
Some activities include a visit to the Treetop walkway, go game and bird viewing, climb 147 steps to the Lost City on top of Mapungubwe Hill and learn about the ancient culture, drive the Tshugulu Eco Route, view enormous baobab trees and red rock formations.
Cederberg Mountains – Western Cape
The Cederberg is the home of the now world-famous rooibos (red bush) tea, but lesser-known and experienced are the dramatic silhouettes carved by the nature over millennia.
The area’s dry sunny climate makes it ideal for bouldering, which is also popular among international visitors. Bouldering is a form of rock climbing without the use of climbing aids like ropes and harnesses. For something more down-to-earth, explore South Africa’s heritage by taking in the delicate beauty of ancient San rock art.
Namaqualand & Richtersveld – Northern Cape
From a wilderness of barren landscape to splashes of splendour in the form of flora, this miraculous sight occurs over less than two months of the year. ‘Flower Tours’ are extremely popular and must be booked many months in advance. However, you can book your own accommodation in places like Port Nolloth or Springbok and take a self-drive down south.
Just over two and a half hours away from either Port Nolloth or Springbok is the Richtersveld Transfrontier National Park, unique and magical in its own right. A Unesco World Heritage Site, the area stretches from Namibia to the northwestern part of South Africa – 6,000 square kilometres of rich botanical biodiversity and fascinating geology. If you prefer something more adventurous and off-the-beaten-track, Richtersveld won’t disappoint.
Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve – Eastern Cape
The vast rugged mountain kingdom of ‘Valley of the Baboons’ offers a unique wilderness experience of stunningly beautiful landscapes comprised of colourful cliffs and rock formations. Its rich and diverse animal life includes leopard, buffalo, kudu, zebra, hartebeest, buck, and of course, baboon.
The Baviaanskloof is an ecologically sensitive area and offers outdoor lovers a range of recreational activities such as mountain hiking, rock and mountain climbing, camping, wildlife photography, bird watching, cycling, and more.
Good to know
A number of these locations can get quite rugged and driving through some areas require a sturdy 4x4. If you plan to do a lot of country driving, it’s a good idea to consider vehicle insurance and maintenance cover products – these can offer peace of mind so that you can go ahead and enjoy your drive minus the worry.
Are any of these on your bucket list? Wherever you decide to go next, travel with mindfulness like the Bushmen thousands of years ago and tread lightly on the land. We need to preserve as much of the country’s natural beauty as possible so that future generations can enjoy it too. Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational, or entertainment purposes only. It must not be construed as advice, legal, financial, or otherwise. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information. The views and opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of Auto Pedigree.