Published on March 12th, 2012 | by Emma Hackwood0
Top 5 Must-Do’s in South Africa
South Africa; A beautiful country full of stunning beaches, exotic wildlife, and adventure from start to finish. Our Flightie Jessica Else recently travelled here with On the Go Tours and shares her top five Must-Do’s for a trip along South Africa’s Garden Route.
This February I had the opportunity to travel to South Africa with On The Go Tours and Africa Travel Co. I had ten amazing days to explore this beautiful country full of stunning beaches, exotic animals, and more fun than I could ever have imagined. South Africa’s Garden Route is a definite hit for anyone looking for a one of a kind action packed adventure. Out of all the amazing things I had the opportunity to experience, here are five that I think can’t be missed:
1. Table Mountain, Capetown
Table Mountain is a MUST do for anyone visiting South Africa. It is located in Capetown’s Table Mountain National Park, and peaks at 1086 meters above Table Bay. It was named Table Mountain for the simple reason that from the ground, it appears to be in the shape of a giant tabletop. You can opt to hike up the mountain, or take the easy way up like us, and ride the cable car. The most recent Table Mountain cable car’s have a 360 degree view and a revolving floor, so that all passengers get equally good views. We were luckier than most, and managed to pick a day with sunny clear skies, so we were well rewarded with the amazing views from the top of the mountain. The top of Table Mountain is a large area to explore, so make sure you save time to look around. The setting at the top of Table Mountain provided a beautiful backdrop for some of the best pictures taken during my trip.
2. Shark Cage Dive, Gansbaai
This was without a doubt the most amazing, unforgettable experience during my trip to South Africa. Gansbaii, once a small fishing town, has now become well known for its famous shark cage dives. With the shores harbouring the most Great White Sharks per capita in the world, it did not come as a surprise to hear that this is now the town’s main source of tourism. We headed out in the morning with Marine Dynamics, a shark dive company dedicated to viewing and protecting these often misunderstood creatures. Upon reaching the dive site, we wasted no time and right away the first group suited up in their wet suits and snorkel gear, and one by one, climbed into the cage. The crew explained that they do not actually feed the sharks, because they do not want them to associate boats with food. So in order to attract the great whites to the dive areas, they pour a watery fishy substance into the water which brings them to the surface. Over the course of the day we interacted with nine different great white sharks. This was one of the most exhilarating, exciting opportunities of my life, and something that can NOT be missed by any adventurous individual visiting South Africa’s Garden Route.
3. Myoli Beach, Sedgefield
This was my absolute favourite out of all the beaches that we visited along the coast of South Africa. Myoli Beach is located in the small town of Sedgefield, an area that is an undiscovered paradise absolutely littered with adventure. Some of the activities we had to choose from were anything from surfing, to wakeboarding, stand up paddle boarding, paragliding, mountain biking, horseback riding, canoeing, beach volleyball, and more! I spent my afternoon wakeboarding on the Sedgefield Lagoon, something I did not think that I would get the chance to do in South Africa. We spent the night at Afrovibe lodge, a funky hostel located right on Myoli Beach. Afrovibe has some of the best staff we encountered on our trip, and even offers a full service bar, beer pong tables, and best of all, a roof top hot tub. This is one place I can guarantee you will NOT want to leave.
4. Addo Elephant National Park
Addo Elephant National Park is the third largest national park in South Africa. It stretches from the Karoo area in the north, passed the Zuurberg Mountains, through the Sundays River valley and south, and spans all the way to the coast. Addo covers about 444 700 acres of land. This is the best area on South Africa’s garden route for viewing wildlife in their natural habitat. Addo is home to over 550 elephants, lions, buffalo, black rhino, spotted hyena, leopard, a variety of antelope and zebra species, as well as the unique Addo flightless dung beetle, which is found exclusively in Addo. A great stop for anyone looking to go on a safari while traveling the Garden Route.
5. Ride an Ostrich, Oudtshoorn
This was probably the most unique experience that I had the chance to do while in South Africa. While my ride only lasted 9.4 seconds, I have to say it was one of the best 9.4 seconds of my life ! During our visit to the Oudtshoorn Ostrich farm, we were given the chance (for all those under 65 kilos) to ride one of these awkward birds. Of course I jumped at the opportunity! It was such a unique, thrilling thing to do, and something most people can not say that they have done. The crew at the farm makes sure take good care of you so that you do not feel in danger at any point. My facial expression in the picture says everything about riding an ostrich: pure joy !
Needless to say there is so much to do and see on South Africa’s Garden Route tour. I would recommend this tour for anyone looking to meet new people, try new things, and see a beautiful country full of stunning beaches, exotic wildlife, and adventure from start to finish. “On The Go” tours was a great company to travel with, and I can only say great things about each member of our crew. From the delicious food Henri cooked for us, to Sabine and Bjorn’s insightful local knowledge of each town we visited, we could not have asked for a better team to travel with. I’m already excited for my next trip to South Africa!
Want to know more about South Africa’s Garden Route? Jessica Else is a future Team Leader at Flight Centre’s Courtenay, British Columbia location, and can be reached by E-mail or by calling 1-866-538-0102.