Mzansi Top destinations as curated by @Thesolowandera

10:51 am



Year-end fatigue is upon us all and as my small way to help us escape, how about you start dreaming of your #ShotLeft to South Africa with some of our top most popular tourist destinations as curated by me. These are some of my personal favorite.

In no order of importance, this is my top places to visit in South Africa. It would probably be very pricey for you to visit them all on one visit but one can always have a buckelist to work on. 

Here are my top touristy places to visit in South Africa as curated by me, Thesolowandera: 

Robben Island

Robben Island is an island in Cape Town, South Africa. The name is Dutch for "seal island." Nobel Laureate and former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was imprisoned there for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars before the fall of apartheid. Today, three former Robben Island prisoners have gone to become presidents of the republic of South Africa.
The Island was the home of prisoners from around the African continent such as chiefs from different tribes, Muslim leaders from the East Indies who fought against colonization, notably Namibia.

Today Robben Island is not just a museum that’s walks us through the oppression South Africans faced in the hands of our oppressors but serves as a place of triumph. The island was not only used as a prison, it was also used as training and defence station during World War II (1939 – 1945) and a hospital for Leprosy patients, the mentally and chronically ill (1846 -1931) that the government felt needed to be secluded from society. 

Ferry Price:

Robben Island Museum Price – R550 ($40 / €35) for non-SA adults and R300 ($15 / €15) for non-SA children aged 2-18 years.
R380 for SA adults and R200 for SA children aged two to 18 years.

Your visit to Robben Island includes a ferry trip, a bus tour, a guided walking tour with former political prisoners

Robben Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Soweto

Soweto is made up of a cluster of townships in Johannesburg. The population is over 2 million residents and it is the biggest township in Africa with a rich political history.  The township has become one of Johannesburg’s top tourist attraction for both local and international travelers.

Some of the top points of interest I suggest you visit in Soweto:



Orlando towers – if you are an adrenaline junkie, what better way to see the best view of Soweto than from above the Orlando towers as you bungee jump to the bottom. Scary, thrilling, I wouldn’t do it again – I hate heights.
The Orlando Towers were originally built for the Orlando Power Station, which at the time was the most advance facility in the southern hemisphere.
Although the power station is located in Soweto, the electricity was used to light the white suburbs, whilst Soweto remained in the dark!

Chaf Pozi - a restaurant/pub at the bottom of the Orlando towers. Go eat some Shisanyama (direct translation: burnt meat – it’s delicious BBQ but we call it a braai).


The Orlando Stadium, built in 1959, I don’t know much about soccer but the South African soccer giants are Kaiser Chiefs and Orlando Pirate and this is where they played their Derbys. The stadium was renovated and used for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. 
The stadium was the center of the June 16th 1976 student uprising and was later also used for polical rallies. 


The Oppenheimer Tower - gives you sprawling views of Soweto from above. The bricks that built the tower were collected from demolished houses in Sophiatown from 1955 when the apartheid government started forcibly removing black residents to Soweto.  
The Credo Mutwa village is on the grounds of the towers and is an outdoor museum  displaying traditional African art, culture and folklore

Hector Petersen Museum  - was opened in 2002. The museum is close to where Hector was killed by the apartheid police on June 16, 1976, during the student uprising. Almost 500 students were killed on this day and today we commemorate this day as Youth Day in South Africa and it is an official public holiday.

Vilakazi Street – The only street in the world to have been home to 2 Nobel Peace prize winner – Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Walk down the street and you are bound to have a rich history filled experience, sample some of our best local food and find a local watering hole. The street is always a party but Sundays are definitely my favourite days to visit.

Drakensberg

The Drakensberg is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa. The park and the adjoining Sehlabathebe National Park in the Kingdom of Lesotho are part of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park, which was first declared a World Heritage Site on 30 November 2000.

The park offers a wide range of accommodation from luxury lodges at Giant's Castle and Royal Natal National Park or fully-equipped cottages and chalets to rustic mountain huts and over-night caves.
The scenic uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is a rich wildlife sanctuary. A diverse range of habitats protects high levels of rare and endangered animals and plants. A significant concentration of San rock art can be seen in hundreds of caves and rock-shelters at this Drakensberg nature reserve in KwaZulu-Natal - the largest group of Bushmen paintings south of the Sahara.
The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park was declared a World Heritage Site because it is the largest group of rock paintings south of the Sahara Dessert in Africa and because so many different subjects appear.

The park offers a number of enjoyable recreational activities such as day walks, self-guided hikes, fly fishing, rock-climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, bird watching, swimming, photography and painting. 

Johannesburg
You can call it the city of gold, Jozi, Joburg or eGoli – I simply know it as home.
Johannesburg is a city found in the Gauteng province. If Gauteng were a country, we would be the 5th largest economy in Africa. Johannesburg is the largest city in the world that is not built on a body of water at 1750m above sea level. 

The province contributes more than one third of the SA GDP, close to 40%.


My city is home to Sandton, the richest square mile in Africa and this is our shopping Mecca where you will find some of the most exclusive luxury brands on this continent. When it comes to shopping, we have it all – bring your credit card.
Our summers are sunny and warm and the best part are the late afternoon summer Joburg thunderstorms that do not last very long. Our winters are sunny warm with cold evenings. My friends from African countries do not enjoy our winters as they find them to be too brutal to what they are used to.
My city is also home to the world's largest urban man-made forest.

Johannesburg is absolutely bursting with cultural endeavor.  Come party with us at events such as Afropunk, DStv delicious, standard Bank joy of jazz just to mention some of our annual festivals.

Blyde River canyon

One of the most instagrammable places in South Africa according to thesouthafrica.com.

At the meeting point of the Blyde River (river of joy) and the Treur River (river of sorrow) water erosion has created one of the most phenomenal geological phenomenon in South Africa. The Blyde River Canyon, officially the Motlatse Canyon is a significant natural feature of South Africa, located in Mpumalanga, and forming the northern part of the Drakensberg escarpment. Located in the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, it is 25 kilometers in length and is, on average, around 750 meters deep. 

You can experience the canyon on a self-drive, boat cruise, or on a helicopter. Readmore

The Blyde River Canyon lies on the Panorama Route. In my opinion, the most affordable, scenic route in South Africa to travel and it is your gateway to the Kruger National Park.

There are up to 32 other points of interest on the panorama route which include Berlin Falls, Mac Mac falls, God’s Window, Wonder view, Bourkesluck potholes and Echo caves to mention a few.

Kruger National Park


The Kruger National Park was first established by the President of the Transvaal, Paul Kruger, in 1898.  The park was open to tourism in 1927 with over 3000km of road covering the 19 485 km² size of the Kruger National Park. The park is found in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga province and has 11 entry gates.
There are several rest camps and lodges in the park that cater to different budgets. There are 24 rest camps, 6 bushveld camps and 2 bush lodges.

The Kruger is most popular for the Big 5 and it is the only game reserve with the highest number of large mammals than any other African game reserve. The park is estimated to have about 175 species of large mammals.


There are almost 254 known cultural heritage sites in the Kruger Park, including nearly 130 recorded rock art sites.
Thulamela (stonewalled site from the iron age that forms part of the Zimbabwe culture and is linked to the UNESCO World Heritage site Mapungubwe) and Masorini (The site was inhabited by the Sotho speaking people during the 1800’s, who developed an industry of mining, smelting iron ore and trading in these iron products.) are two areas where significant archaeological ruins are found.

Entry fees into the Kruger National Park:

SA residents: R100 for adults and R50 for children under 11 years
SADC residents: R200 for adults R100 for children below 11years
International: R400 for adults and R200 for children below 11years

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#Thesolowanderer

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