Tourist Attractions Near Cape Town
Cape Point Nature Reserve
Cape Point lies at the tip of the Cape Peninsula, a nature reserve within the Table Mountain National Park. Originally named the Cape of Storms by the navigator Bartolomeu Dias, it features an 1859 lighthouse. Take the three minute Flying Dutchman funicular ride to it and let yourself be transported to 87 metres above sea level. This is truly a nature lover’s paradise, with its abundance of flora and fauna, including over 250 species of birds and buck and baboons a-plenty, not to mention, the view at the end of the Earth. There is also a world-class restaurant and a curio shop. An adult return ticket is R49, children aged 6 – 16 R21.
Boulders Beach, near Simon’s Town in False Bay, is famed for its resident penguin colony and clean, white sand beach. It is home to at least 3000 African penguins, the Foxy Beach boardwalk being an excellent viewpoint. Your kids will enjoy getting up close and personal with the penguins (taking care not to disturb them unduly as they may bite). The park is also home to other birds and small mammals, while dolphins and whales swim off shore. Entrance fee: adults R55, children under the age of 12, R25 (which goes towards protecting these endangered penguins).
Named after Great Britain’s Queen Victoria and her youngest son Alfred, the V&A is a very popular destination for local families and tourists alike, offering an amazing choice of hundreds of shopping outlets, curio shops, fine dining, lots of (mostly free) live entertainment – including creative workshops, concerts and puppet shows. A choice of museums and markets, and a chance to learn all about the city harbour together with a visit to the popular and family-friendly Two Oceans Aquarium (prices: adults R112, kids under 4 free, children aged 4 – 13 R55, children aged 14 – 17 R87) makes for a great day out. There are many outdoor activities available from the V&A, including fun harbour cruises, helicopter flips and boat charters.
Table Mountain, standing at 3560ft high, is one of the world’s most recognisable natural icons, with its distinctive flat top (which gives it its name). Popular with tourists and locals alike, it offers a choice of either the five minute cable car ride or a day’s hike up to the top. Riding up, you can appreciate the spectacular views as the cableway has rotating floors and enormous windows. Enjoy the magnificent panorama from the top, where you will also find a self-service restaurant. Prices for a return ticket are as follows: R205 for adults and R100 for children aged 4 – 17 – under 4’s ride free. Please be aware that the cableway will be closed for maintenance between Monday 28 July and Sunday 10 August, 2014.
The Robben Island tour is an emotional pilgrimage to the former penal colony where many PAC and ANC members, including Nelson Mandela, were incarcerated. Today, it holds symbolic status, and like nearby Table Mountain, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On visiting, your guides may be former inmates, offering first-hand accounts of prison life. The tour features an interesting interactive exhibit at the Nelson Mandela Gateway, where the tour ferry leaves. The trip, lasting roughly two hours, includes a drive around the island and a visit to the prison. Ferries depart hourly between 9am and 3pm. Tickets cost R150 for adults and R75 for children.
Franschhoek Motor Museum
For lovers of vintage and modern cars the Franschhoek Motor Museum is definitely the place for you! It houses a fantastic collection of vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and fascinating memorabilia, ranging from an 1898 Beeston motor tricycle to a high performance 2003 Enzo Ferrari supercar. The museum is home to a range of antique, veteran, vintage, post-vintage, post-45 and post-60 automobiles housed in four de-humidified halls and presented in chronological order, portraying the evolution of the motor car. Entry prices: adults R60, motor club members R50 and children aged 3 – 12 R30.
!Khwa ttu is a San Education and Culture Centre, providing an amazing learning experience on the first indigenous people of Southern Africa and their descendants. Learn about San history and their complex ‘click’ language, together with their tracking and rock art painting skills. The Centre also offers an in depth photographic exhibition which helps visitors understand the issues facing the San people today, including the dispossession of land and natural resources. Enjoy the local wildlife and plentiful plant species too – a wonderful day out for anyone interested in South Africa and its original people. Tours cost R150 per person and last approximately 2 hours.
How about a day out learning all about the history of beer? Sounds like thirsty work! A tour of Newlands Brewery illustrates the brewing process from start to refreshing finish. The beer, first brewed here by Pieter Visagie in 1658, grew from strength to strength. The tour takes in the whole production line, including the speedy bottling method and how the brewery makes sure its beers are produced following stringent quality practices. Best of all, you get the chance to enjoy two beers to try for yourself! Tour price is R80 per adult and R50 per pensioner and student, includes two drinks, a tasting and the tour.
Groot Constantia is noted for its high quality Shiraz, Merlot and Grand Constance, the celebrated Constantia dessert wine. Its history extends back 300 years to 1685, when the farm land was assigned to Simon van der Stel. One of the oldest South African wine farms, its history is well documented, with carriages on show in the Coach House and the Wine Museum displaying drinking vessels and wine storage methods from days gone by. Price: Adult R30, SA students R15, kids aged 6 – 18 R15. Under 5’s free and families (two adults and 2 kids) R75.
World of Birds
World of Birds, with its walk-through aviaries, is the largest bird park in Africa and a must-see for bird lovers. Situated in beautiful Hout Bay, it houses over 400 species, totalling 3000 birds – including parrots, turacos and flamingos – and small animals, comprising various species of monkey, such as tamarins, marmosets and baboons. World of Birds is home to a breeding centre for threatened species and a rehabilitation centre for injured birds. Your kids will love the Monkey Jungle, with its delightful squirrel monkey residents. Entry fee: adults R85, children R40 and students (with card) R55.
Tourist Attractions near the Garden Route
If you enjoy going underground, a visit to the Cango Caves in the Swartberg Mountains, 30 kilometres north of Oudtshoorn, is the way to go. The 20 million year old caves consist of a progression of hidden chambers, cut deeply into the solid limestone rock layer. Have fun exploring some of the stalagmite formations on either the standard or adventure (for the fitter members of your party) subterranean tours! The Interpretive Centre will explain more about the caves history, and there is also a curio shop selling African collectables. Prices subject to change.
The Big Tree at Tsitsikamma
For all you nature lovers, a visit to the Big Tree in Tsitsikamma is something not to be missed. Estimated to be between 600 and 800 years old, this majestic tree stands 36.6 metres high, with a trunk circumference of 9 metres. A very pleasant and gentle 10 minute walk through the verdant, cool forest takes you to the tree or, for the more intrepid among you; there are two more challenging trails, respectively 2.6 and 4.2 km long. Price: free.
Bloukrans Bridge is an arched road bridge and the highest in the African continent. Standing 708 feet above the floor of the gorge, it is part of one of only three highways in the world to have a bridge exceeding 500 feet. Take a bungee jump or ride the Flying Fox cable slide across the gorge. For those who prefer keeping their feet on the ground, a gentle walk along the catwalk to the top of the arch is probably a better option. Bungee jump per person: R790. Flying Fox per person: R180. Per person tandem: R150.
Ostrich Farm, Oudsthoorn
Oudsthoorn is the capital of the ostrich industry; a visit to the farm will clarify all about how the birds are bred and the various ways in which ostrich products are marketed and fashioned. For example, ostrich skin is used for handbags and shoes, and eggshells for decorative purposes. Ostrich meat is also popular, as it lean and full of protein. Your kids can sit on one of the wide eyed birds and also hold an ostrich egg, which would make an awfully big omelette! Prices: adults R80, kids R45.
Tourist Attractions near Port Elizabeth
Addo Elephant National Park
The Addo Elephant National Park is home to more than 550 elephants, various lions, black rhinos, buffaloes, hyenas, leopards, zebras and a plentiful variety of antelopes. It is the third largest park in South Africa and also concentrates on preserving a wide variety of flora. Entrance fee is R50 per adult, R25 per child for South Africans plus a Standard Conservation Fee for foreign visitors at R200 per adult and R100 per child. There is also a main camp for tourists featuring a swimming pool, restaurant, floodlit water hole and different types of accommodation.
Bathurst is one of South Africa’s largest pineapple growing areas and has a 16.7 metre giant pineapple with a fibre-glass skin and a metal structure just to prove it! Inside the 60-seater auditorium, watch documentaries about the pineapple industry and then climb further up to the top to take in the amazing views of the landscape. Back on the ground, the kids can enjoy a farmer’s tractor ride through the pineapple fields. A fun attraction for the whole family. No entrance fee.
Lying on the coastline about 70km west of Port Elizabeth, Jeffrey’s Bay (J-Bay to the locals!) is one of the most popular surfing spots in South Africa and the world. Starting off as a small fishing village, it has grown in leaps and bounds; a lot of this due to the fact that it prides itself on having some of the best right hand breaking waves in the world! Surfing lessons can be taken at a cost of R250 (wetsuits supplied), and sand boarding costs R200.
Tourist Attractions near Kimberley
The Big Hole
The world’s largest hand dug excavation site, The Big Hole was mined to about 800 metres and, in its time, yielded 2.7 tons of diamonds. The mine closed in 1914 and is now an enormous water filled crater. The first recorded South African diamond, the Eureka, is on display in the very informative museum. You can try your luck by sifting through some diamond bearing gravel and also experience a diamond mining operation. Refreshments are available at the bar and admission to the museum is free.
The formidable and thunderous flow of Augrabies Falls courses down the Orange River when it is in full flood. The 55 000 hectares on both sides provide plenty to explore for hikers and nature and animal lovers. The eerie looking kokerboom (quiver trees) have made their home here, together with many succulents, birds, zebras, springbok, gemspok, giraffes and various reptiles. Take a walk to the summit of Moon Rock to see one of the park’s best views. A great day out for everyone. Price: adults R12, kids R6.
Namaqualand Flower Route
Lying five hours north of Cape Town, the Namaqualand is famous for its burst of colour every spring (July to October), when almost 4000 species of flowers bloom into life and when the semi-desert plains of Namaqualand are transformed into a sea of colour. You can spend a day or three here, driving, hiking or cycling. The Goegap Nature Reserve provides both picnic areas and overnight facilities. For botany lovers it shouldn’t be missed!
Tourist Attractions near Johannesburg
The Apartheid Museum
Designed to illustrate life under South Africa’s Apartheid regime from 1948 until 1990, within the Apartheid Museum there are photographs, film footage, text panels and 22 individual exhibitions which include visuals of life as it was then in the townships, including the forced removal of local residents. Many of the exhibitions are quite explicit and therefore children under 11 are not allowed to attend. This is well worth a visit for all those who wish to learn more about this challenging time in South African history. Price: adults R65, children R55.
Gold Reef City
This large amusement park, located around an old Johannesburg gold mine and themed on the famous Gold Rush of the 19th Century, consists of a museum exhibiting many gold mining techniques, including the chance to see how real gold is poured into casts by staff wearing period costumes. There is also a casino and, best of all for the kids, an exciting theme park with thrilling attractions, including roller coasters, water slides and the raging river rapids thrill ride! A perfect family day out.
Newtown Cultural Precinct
Centred on Mary Fitzgerald Square in downtown Johannesburg, Newtown is at the heart of the city’s rejuvenated centre. There is so much to enjoy here; listen to live jazz in nearby restaurants, attend a performing arts play in the Market Square Theatre, shop for samosas in the colourful Oriental Plaza, walk around the centre’s two art galleries or have fun searching for bargains around its weekly Saturday morning flea market. All interests are catered for in this lively location.
Between 1908 and 1909 Satyagraha House was the South African base of Mahatma Gandhi. Built and designed by Ghandi’s friend Hermann Kallenbach, it was fashioned and named The Kraal, with its two rondavel-style rooms. Satyagraha is the tenet of passive resistance, the stance upon which Ghandi developed his successful struggle for India’s independence from the British Empire. The house, situated in Orchards, Johannesburg, has been restored and provides the option to appreciate its tranquillity either through a day visit (free) or an overnight stay in one of its seven rooms. Prices vary from R1735 for a Superior Room to R4850 for the Family Cottage.
Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary
Situated west of Hartbeesport Dan, in the Magaliesberg mountain range, at Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary a guided walking tour on elevated wooden walkways through natural forest will captivate you through encounters with a range of exotic monkeys. It provides the perfect environment for monkeys and is one of several sanctuaries that specialise in providing rehabilitation for abused and orphaned animals, enabling them to remain in their natural environment. Learn all about the sanctuary and its work while enjoying the incredible bushveld views. Rates: R195 per adult, R95 per child (aged 4 – 14).
This sanctuary, which focuses on the wellbeing and understanding of various endangered species, including rare white lions, cheetahs and wild dogs, is a wonderful opportunity for your kids to learn all about the different African species and to see lions, zebras, giraffes and various antelopes close up as they freely roam the area. Price: adults R270 (R300 with lion cub interaction), children aged 4 – 12 R160 (R190 with lion cub interaction). Under 4’s, no charge.
Nelson Mandela Square
Within Nelson Mandela Square, at the core of Africa’s most influential economic district, stands a six metre tall statue of the eponymous beloved grandfather of South Africa. The square is situated in Johannesburg’s European-styled piazza of the same name, in lively Sandton, Gauteng Province. It is home to a variety of chic boutiques, upmarket shops, fashionable African, Italian, Greek and French restaurants and water fountains for the kids’ amusement, with the statue standing centre of it all. What a wonderful opportunity to have your photo taken side by side with a giant ode to the great man!
Some might say its gaudy, and its Tuscan inspired architecture looks out of place on the Joburg skyline, but there’s no denying that Montecasino offers an attractive option if you’re looking for entertainment in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs. Located at No. 1 Monte Casino Boulevard in Fourways, this exciting recreational complex is a destination for the whole family to enjoy. From clothing, jewellery and shoe shops to 40 dining restaurants (including the opportunity to dine in the sky) to choose from, as well as the ten pin bowling, casino, amazing nightlife, theatre, movies, and a comedy club, it makes for an exciting visit (not forgetting the Piazza’s musical fountain)! And with its three onsite upmarket hotels, there’s little reason not to base yourself here throughout your stay in Johannesburg.
SAB World of Beer
Located in the heart of the Newtown Cultural Precinct, World of Beer is a great place to learn all about the ‘golden nectar’ from its early Mesopotamian days to Europe and Africa. Breweries were established down here as early as 1658; to learn more about the process, take a tour and watch floating holograms, 3D movies and a 12m high screen to see how it all happens. After this thirst inducing 90 minute tour, enjoy two beers of your choice on the house, in the centre’s Tap Room! Price: adults R65, kids up to 17 years R15.00.
The Voortrekker Monument stands in Pretoria, the nation’s capital, as homage to the Voortrekker Pioneers and their 1835 to 1854 journey of discovery from the Cape into South Africa, then named the Interior. Situated in a beautiful nature reserve area in the Tshwane area, it is a very popular heritage site; the museum within offers the opportunity to learn about the often treacherous journey the Voortrekkers undertook and how they survived. There is also a restaurant and a picnic area. Fee: R55 for adults, parents with own children under 18, R110.
The Union Buildings
The Union Buildings in Pretoria form the official seat of the South African Government and are a National Heritage Site. The Buildings are an iconic South African landmark, having born witness to its democratic change as well as its challenging past. In fact, this is where, in 1994, Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South Africa’s first black president. Though the buildings themselves are not open to the public, the attractively landscaped gardens that surround the building are popular for picnics, with a new statue of Mandela to oversee it all.
Tourist Attractions near North West Province
The Maropeng Exhibition in the Tumulus Building within the Cradle of Humankind Heritage Site is an hour’s drive from Johannesburg, and is one of eight World Heritage sites in South Africa. The 47 000 hectare complex, having revealed and answered many questions about our ancestors, exhibits clear and thought provoking exhibits, including stone tools, original fossils and engraved rocks. Their technology suggests that they originate from the Stone Age, approximately 1 million years ago! This is a fascinating learning experience for the whole family. Price: adults R145, Kids aged 4 – 14 R82, under 4’s free. Price for a combination ticket, which includes Sterkfontein Caves: adults R215, kids aged 4 – 14 R155, under 4’s free.
The Sterkfontein Caves consist of a set of limestone caves situated in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, near Maropeng. Fascinating discoveries have been made within the caves, including the world renowned “Mrs Ples” and “Little Foot”, which is an almost complete 3 million year old Australopithecus skeleton! Go back in time by taking a fascinating tour deep into the caves themselves – an educational experience for the whole family. Price: adults R150, kids aged 4 to 14 R88.
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