Discovering the Hidden Gems of South Africa

June 14, 2024

Discovering the Hidden Gems of South Africa

South Africa is nicknamed "The Rainbow Nation." It is a diverse travel destination and a place where you could gain an extra-rich and completely new experience. From noisy cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town to quiet safaris and clean beaches, South Africa has unique suggestions for travellers. Take a ride to discover the hidden gems of South Africa with Firsty as your travelling companion. Nothing beats having reliable mobile connectivity and having fun.

Cape Town Attractions: A Coastal Nirvana

Table Mountain, South Africa

Table Mountain

A Cape Town trip would have been incomplete without a visit to the Table Mountain. This iconic structure holds beautiful landscapes that inspire you to gaze at the endless city and the overwhelming Atlantic Ocean. To best enjoy this outdoor activity, hike the mountain early in the morning before the crowds fill up the place and the lovely, refreshing air takes over. The cableway operates from 8am. Tickets from R420 (adults) to R210 (children's fare) from 12:00 PM to 8:00PM. MyCiTi bus service directly connects the city centre and the lower cableway station, which is good if you wish to climb Table Mountain.

V&A Waterfront, photo by Jean van der Meulen

V&A Waterfront

TheWaterfront V&A is a hive of activities. It provides an extravagant opportunity to shop, dine, and experience a variety of entertainment, which makes it a lot easier. The harbour, which has had its history since the 17th century, is now seen as a metamorphosis into a modern location that still carries on its historical appearance. The Aquarium of the Two Seas is a must-see, offering insights into aquatic diversity from two oceans – the Atlantic and Indian. The charge for adults isR595. Another free experience at The Waterfront is the walking tours, which will give you a look into the area's past and how far it has developed.

Hidden Beaches

For a new experience, go to Beta Beach and enjoy the scenery of Bakoven. This peaceful place is just the right place for a lazy afternoon in solitude. The beach is loved for its huge granite blocks, which make it a natural and private sitting place. Near the City Center, the area is very easy to reach by car especially when you are connected to Firsty. Among the other hidden gems is Oudekraal, a small bay belonging to the Table Mountain National Park, famous for its clear waters and great places for a picnic.

Johannesburg: Heart of South Africa

Photo by Sherissa R

Apartheid Museum

Let's jump into South Africa's intricate history by visiting the Apartheid Museum. This museum provides a very deep dive into the country. It captured its journey from segregation to democracy. Interactive exhibitions, films, and live accounts of participants recreate the past reality. The price of the tickets is R160 for the adults and the best time to come here is during working days to escape the Sunday crowd. The museum is close to Gold Reef City, which makes it easy to discover both these sights in one day.

Maboneng Precinct

Maboneng denotes a reinvented urban settlement beaming with artistry. Take a walk through its streets and visit art galleries, street markets, and unusual restaurants. This place is exceptionally lively on Sundays when the main market brings together all kinds of local goods and craftworks. Maboneng also includes the Bioscope Independent Cinema, which shows local and foreign indie movies.

Soweto's Vilakazi Street

Visit Vilakazi Street in Soweto, the only street in the world to have housed two Nobel Prize winners: In this regard, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Dine at a historical landmark restaurant, like Sakhumzi or Nambitha, and immerse yourself in the district's historical significance. Nearby, you can go to Mandela House Museum and Hector Pieterson Memorial, which remind us of the fight for freedom from apartheid.

Durban: Coastal Charm and Cultural Diversity

Photo of Durban Port

uShakaMarine World

One thing that distinguishes any trip to Durban is uShaka Marine World. It combines an aquarium, a water park, and a cultural village. It's ideal for both families and adventure lovers. Entrance fees differ, with the adult full-day tickets starting at R214. The ocean park is rich in aquatic life and offers various slides and pools for all ages. It is not a good deal to miss out on the dolphin and seal shows, which are quite popular among visitors.

GoldenMile

Walk, cycle, or relax on the "Golden Mile", a famous beachfront in Durban. This is the place where street markets and street performers bustle with activity. The Golden Mile offers various swimming pools and the well-known Moses Mabhida Stadium, where you can take a ride on the Sky Car to observe the entire town.

KZNSA Gallery

The KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts (KZNSA) ArtGallery is a quiet place full of modern South African art masterpieces. There is no admission fee, and it is a cool place to enjoy local artistic expression. The gallery also has a cafe and a shop that sells artwork and crafts that are one-of-a-kind and made by local artists only.

Must Try Unique Experiences in South Africa

SharkCage Diving in Gansbaai

Adrenaline seekers can have a great experience with shark cage diving in Gansbaai. This enthralling encounter puts you side-by-side with great white sharks. Prices start at R3050 per person, and it's a must-book in advance activity. The best month for shark diving is April-September, which coincides with heightened shark activity. Touroperators supply all required gear and guarantee a thrilling and secure trip.

Wine Tasting in Stellenbosch

Take a daytrip to the beautiful Stellenbosch to taste wine in the Winelands. Book boutique estates like Waterford Estate for an intimate experience. Wine tasting fees usually cost between R400 and R2600, with most estates also providing tours and pairing suggestions with food. Stellenbosch is also recognized for its attractive Cape Dutch-style architecture and old central town – which is worth exploring.

ScenicDrives: Chapmans Peak Drive.

The Chapmans Peak Drive is a toll road located in South Africa within the Western CapeProvince. Drive over Chapman's Peak to get some of the best views in SouthAfrica. This route provides you with spectacular cliffs and ocean views. These views are best enjoyed in the evening before sunset. It is approximately 9 kilometes long and has several viewing platforms where one can alight to enjoy the view. The toll fee is R26 per vehicle, and the drive is open daily fromMonday to Saturday, from 600 AM to 8:00 PM.

South Africa Top Destinations
Photo by Arthur Brognoli

TransportationTips

Public Transport

In South African cities such as Cape Town and Johannesburg, services such as MyCiTi and Gautrain can be relied on to be efficient and reliable. The Gautrain further links Johannesburg with Pretoria and OR Tambo International Airport.

CarRentals

In this case, renting a car may be a great option for greater flexibility in exploring remote areas. Other rental car agencies have offices in all major airports and city locations. Check if an international permit can be used in foreign territory and study traffic rules.

Safety

The areas with unique experiences in South Africa have safe and unsafe regions. Thus, you should be constantly wary of your surroundings, not boast of precious possessions, and only frequent the areas popular among tourists. For moving during the night, it is better to use taxis or order Uber or Bolt. Also, use the Firsty app to share your locations while you are outside having fun.

Accommodation Suggestions

Cape Town


The Bay Hotel combines luxury with breathtaking views of the ocean in Camps Bay. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the centrally located Backpack hostel, which offers great facilities and a lively social scene. Another excellent choice for budget travelers is the 91 Loop Boutique Hostel, known for its modern amenities and vibrant atmosphere.

Johannesburg


The Maslow Hotel in Sandton is a popular choice due to its central location and excellent business facilities. For a more intimate experience, Clico Boutique Hotel in Rosebank offers exceptional service and fine dining in a cozy setting. If you're seeking a blend of comfort and affordability, the Once in Joburg hostel provides a trendy and social atmosphere in Braamfontein.

Durban


The Oyster Box in Umhlanga is an iconic choice with its charm and beachfront location. For budget-conscious travelers, Banana Backpackers in the city centre offers affordable rooms near the beach. Another great option is Happy Hippo Accommodation, which provides vibrant and cost-effective lodging with easy access to the beachfront and local attractions.

Travel Essentials

Health


It is best to always have a small first-aid kit and, if necessary, medicines at hand. Travel insurance is also advisable, especially for safari and shark diving activities. Additionally, ensure you have any necessary vaccinations before traveling, and carry insect repellent to protect against mosquitoes in certain areas.

Weather


The climate in South Africa varies. Cape Town can be quite windy and cold, especially in the winter months (June to August). Johannesburg has relatively moderate winters and hot summers, while Durban is typically warm but quite humid. Wear comfortable clothes that you can layer, as temperatures can drop at night. Hats and sunblock are essential during the day to protect against the strong sun.

Connectivity


Before going on a trip, ensure you install the Firsty application to prevent connection disruptions while on your journey. This will allow you to communicate, navigate, be sociable, and share your trips in real time! Starting at €1/day for mobile data, Firsty ensures you stay connected across the globe without the hassle of switching SIM cards.

Stay Connected with Firsty

Traveling around Europe has never been easier with Firsty's eSIM for South Africa. Forget about the hassle of switching eSIMs for different countries or dealing with expensive roaming charges. With Firsty, you get seamless connectivity across multiple countries in Europe, ensuring you stay connected no matter where your adventures take you.

Why Choose Firsty eSIM?

- Global Coverage: Connect to the best networks in every country you visit without the need to change SIM cards.
- Affordable Plans: Enjoy transparent pricing with no hidden fees, offering you the best value for your data needs.
- Instant Activation: Get online in minutes and get a 100MB of Firsty Fast data for free.
- Flexible Options: Choose from a variety of plans to suit your travel schedule and data requirements, whether you're on a short trip or a long-term journey.
- Reliable Connection: Experience fast and reliable internet access, essential for navigating, staying in touch, and sharing your travel moments.

Travel smarter and stay connected with Firsty eSIM, your perfect companion for exploring South Africa. Enjoy your adventures without worrying about connectivity issues. Happy travels!

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