South Africa as a travel destination has so much diversity in its beauty that it would be a waste of a trip to go all the way there and only really explore one place. This is especially true if you’re going to the most popular places that are marketed to international visitors, such as Cape Town.
Don’t get it twisted – you’ll have a royally good time in Cape Town, with so much to see and do. There’s a bit of an insiders’ joke which has been doing the rounds for a while now, which is that of how Cape Town is considered to be somewhat of an independent ‘country’ of its own. It’s not uncommon for locals to quip about quickly driving over or flying to ‘Europe,’ in reference to what’s more affectionately known as the Mother City of Cape Town…
So, whether Cape Town would be the last place you visit prior to flying out, or indeed if it’s part of your itinerary, but not necessary a terminal point, there is so much more to see and do in the southernmost tip of the African continent.
That said however, either Johannesburg, Cape Town and maybe even Durban should probably make for one to the terminal or arrival points, because that’s where the biggest and busiest international airports are – O.R. Tambo International in Johannesburg, in particular. This is the hub of air travel in the whole of the African continent and not just in South Africa itself. So you might perhaps land in Durban, for example, do a road-trip that goes all the way up to Johannesburg, and then catch one of many daily flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town where you might perhaps ultimately fly out.
The road-trip pathway you take from Durban to Johannesburg doesn’t have to be a direct one. South Africa is a pretty much perfect for a full trip around the entire country as a result of its size, with a very well developed road network that makes access to the remotest parts as easy as renting a car. You’d probably be better off renting an SUV though, because some of the roads aren’t in the best condition, but more so because you might want to drive off the beaten roadways and explore some of the more rural beauty the country has to offer.
If you’re not too sure how to explore the country, try hugging the vast, vast coastline in addition to visiting inland cities such as the famous Johannesburg.
One of the least visited provinces, even by the locals, is South Africa’s largest province in the Northern Cape. It’s admittedly the least developed, but is ironically the richest in minerals, offering great tourism for those who are truly seeking to explore beyond the beaten path. Rolling landscapes alternate between desertous and semi-desertous in this part of the country, with some uniquely beautiful scenery that is the preserve of those who seek to go beyond the travellers’ clichés.
Check out the Eye of Kuruman for some inspiration, otherwise what’s a visit to South Africa without exploring a safari? There are plenty of national parks to explore, some of which are cheaper than $2 to go on a self-driven game drive!