chelsiiiiiii asked: Hello! I answered your question on my tumblr but I'm not sure if you'll see it there or not. I’ll be in Stellenbosch at the University primarily, and I’m planning on visiting as much of the country (and surrounding countries) as I can within my 4 months there. I’m interested in pretty much everything- historical sites, tourist attractions, nature attractions, etc. This is most likely going to be my only chance to travel in South Africa, so I want to see as much as I can. Thank you so much for your help!
Ah, yes. There is an issue with notifications on Tumblr..
Stellenbosch is a beautiful area, from the bits I’ve been to. I don’t have a whole lot to do there, so I tend not to visit often, but what I remember of it is good. To be honest, beyond the broad “visit a game park, go shark cage diving, drive up the west coast/winelands”, I mostly know of specific things to do in Cape Town. Perhaps better than giving you a specific itinerary is to recommend looking at something like CTRU; and offer that you can email me if you have any specific questions. There was another good travel/tourism website that I was thinking of, but I can’t remember it right now - if I do, I’ll let you know.
One thing I might perhaps add is that South Africa is a big place, and when you include neighbouring countries, it’s even larger. Four months is a long time, but it’s also going to fly by rapidly. Depending on your preferences, I would recommend at least considering that you might not get everything done that you want to, and so instead of trying to cram a lot of stuff in, limit what you do to, say, just exploring the western half of the country and Namibia (and then try come back to see more!). There really is so much to do and see that having only a surface experience of any of it isn’t necessarily the best option. My own preferences with travelling tend to point towards having deep, enriching experiences, rather than just running around a country saying “I’ve been here, cool, I’ve been here, cool”.
A few things that you probably want to look at if you make it to some of the cities other than CPT:
The Apartheid Museum. This is a must - even if you know a bit about South Africa’s history, this is one of the most comprehensive sources to learn more about it. It gives you a very good grounding in trying to understand South Africa as it is at the moment.
Greenside. One of the nicest areas of Joburg that I’ve been to (which is saying a lot, as I’m not a bit fan of Joburg most of the time). Smaller-scale shopping (personally dislike malls, so that’s great for me), bars and restaurants, nice vibe. A random review I found online here (check out the rest of that website for more Jozi-related info).
Soccer City stadium. Particularly if there’s a match on, but try and visit even if it’s empty - it’s an incredible space.
I don’t really know much about Durbs, unfortunately, but I hear the stadium is amazing. If you’re into that sort of thing, you can bungee jump off the arch over the stadium - more details here.
uShaka Marine World is also really interesting, if you like aquatic animals.
I’m hesitant to keep going, because then it’ll just sound like any guidebook you can find in any bookshop or on any website… and I’d rather give you a few things that are out of the ordinary that I’ve personally experienced, enjoyed and can recommend.
The National Arts Festival. If you’re around from the 30th June - 10th July at all, you should definitely check it out. It’s a cultural highlight.
Has some quite interesting museums and so on, particularly if you have any interest in mining. Even if you don’t, the Big Hole is quite an impressive sight that’s worth taking a look at if you’re passing through the area.
There is nothing in Vereeniging. Don’t go to Vereeniging, unless you want to buy a second-hand car.
There’s significant South African history that was forged in Bloemfontein, so it might be worth a trip for that. More info here and here. Personally, I’ve found it a very quiet place with not much happening or of interest - but then I tend to prefer bigger city vibes, which are not really present in Bloem.
There are plenty of other places I haven’t spoken about (like Cape Town and Stellenbosch itself), so please don’t take this list to be authoritative. It’s more just a collection of things I’ve done and seen in the last few years around the country that I can remember offhand.
Feel free to keep in contact if there are specific things you’re interested in, or you’d like help with!
(sidenote: sorry I took so long to respond, this disappeared in my drafts! Thanks for reblogging the other post - it reminded me about this one)