If World Cup Football travel ideas are boring you senseless, then take a look at these football-free South African adventures.
The Drakensburg Mountains
A visit to South Africa would not be complete without a trip to what is widely regarded to be the most stunning scenery in the country. The area has been a World Heritage site since 2000 and is home to a fantastic range of flora and fauna amongst the rugged peaks, pinnacles, waterfalls and rivers. If anthropological interests are more your thing then rock art from the San people dating back 40,000 years can be found in over 600 sites.
Sun City, North West Province
Sun City is the resort in South Africa and many of those visiting Johannesburg will be off to one of its four distinct hotels which cater for a variety of tastes – and wallets. There are two golf courses, a huge water park as well as facilities for all the sports you can think of. From there visitors can go on safari in the malaria-free Pilanesberg National Park or perhaps get up really close to the wildlife with an elephant ride.
Robben Island, Cape Town
Robben Island is situated seven kilometres off the coast of Cape Town and gained infamy during the apartheid regime as the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 28 years. Now in happier days, boats leave throughout the day to take tourists on a three and a half hour guided tour of the prison by former inmates. Prices are around £14 for adults and £7 for children.
Cage Diving with Great Whites, Gansbaai, Western Cape
For around 140 Euros (without shuttle transfer from Cape Town), you can come face to face with the fabled Great White Shark. The sharks are attracted to the area due to the large population of seals – one of their favourite foods – and this is one of the best places in the world to see these mighty predators. A boat will take you to the aptly named “Shark Alley” before you don your gear, climb into the cage and try to keep your heartbeat below 200.
Premier Diamond Mine Tour, Pretoria
The world famous Cullinan diamond remains the largest diamond ever found and it was here in 1905 that it was discovered. You can choose to do the surface tour which takes in the Cullinan village with its historic monuments, a viewing of the mining crater as well as trip to the diamond museum and shops. For those who want a more intimate knowledge of mining, then a four hour underground trip is available too.
The Garden Route
Visitors to Cape Town will almost have certainly considered doing this well known 200 km route, which takes the traveller along a stunning series of coastal roads taking in attractive towns en route. During the journey venture into the Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn, visit an ostrich farm (and even have a go at riding one) or explore the Tsitsikamma National Park. A wide range of leisure and adventure activities are offered along the way as well, so no one will get bored.
The Winelands, Western Cape
South Africa has long been renowned for its wine, and the rich, fertile valleys east of Cape Town have become world famous for their vino, sherries and brandies. The “capital” of the Winelands is Stellenbosch which should be on every visitor’s schedule as they tour the area. There are 560 wineries in the Cape which is divided into four regions: The Little Karoo, Coastal, Olifants River and The Breede River Valley.
Kruger National Park and others
There are too many game parks in South Africa to mention but this one, near Johannesburg is probably the most famous. It is a fairly “sanitised” reserve in that visitors keep to metal roads and off-roading is not allowed. For a more “wild” experience choose a lesser known reserve – many of which offer luxury accommodation after a day out spotting the Big Five.
Gold Reef City, Johannesburg
Johannesburg came into existence after the Witwatersrand Gold Reef was discovered which remains the richest gold deposit known to man. Gold Reef City is a theme park which celebrates these beginnings by offering visitors the chance to experience life in a gold mining “museum” town with opportunities to explore a mine, watch gold smelting demonstrations as well as enjoy the numerous themed rides.
Travel on the Blue Train (various routes)
The Blue Train is legendary in South Africa, and if money is no object, then this is the way to see the country. Forget the idea of regular train travel and think more of a deluxe hotel moving at 90 kph through stunning scenery. The name is synonymous with elegance and style and boasting beautiful suites, fine dining and excellent service, that train commute to work will never be the same again.