Hiking: South Africans have trekking in their blood so combine that with a magnificent fertile, hilly country, striking coastline, great weather, good organisation and you will find some of the world’s best walks here.
The 5 day Otter Trail in Tsitsikamma and the 6 day Hoerikwaggo Trail along the Table Mountain Range are considered the best hikes at present. See photos of hiking areas of Table Mountain, Drakensberg, the Garden Route.
Biking and Horse Riding: widely available but especially good in the Cape area, for example Noordhoek.
Wildlife safaris: all kinds, all over the country, in parks big and small, private and national. Kruger in the far east of the country is the largest and most famous, with self-drive available and a range of accommodation from budget restcamps up to luxury lodges.
Scenic drives: This country is far more mountainous than many people expect, the coast is beautiful and the roads are excellent, so driving can be a great pleasure. The Cape area and the south coast especially – including the Garden Route – offer endless stunning views and make an excellent three or four day round trip.
Constantia winery, Cape Town
Wine tasting tours or just drives through suburbs like Cape Town’s Constantia or nearby towns like Stellenbosch, Franschoek or Paarl are well signposted and yield attractive, varied old Dutch buildings – all whitewashed and often thatched – in spacious surroundings, with vineyards and serious wine tasting sessions on offer all over, sometimes in exquisite surroundings.
If you enjoy a glass of good wine, this is a must. Guides are not necessary and there are at least 12 wine routes within a couple of hours of the city.
Surfing: there are vast numbers of premium, underused surf beaches, though the west half of the country gets thrashed by the chilly Atlantic rather than the warmer Indian Ocean.
Around Durban’s huge beaches the consistent waves are significantly warmer, while shark nets protect swimmers and surfers alike.
Whale watching: Rich waters attract a lot of marine life and whales appear at a distance in many locations, but Hermanus Bay, a few hours drive from Cape Town, expanding but still with a tranquil small-town feel gets regular close-up visits from Southern Right Whales from July-December. From a rocky promontory you can get clear, near views of the puffing, cruising, leaping big boys, if you’re not unlucky.
Rock Climbing: again, Cape Town is the focus for much of this activity – after all it has a lot of amazing climbs in its city limits.
Scuba Diving: much of the country’s water is too chilly for coral but offers good cold-water dives.
The most southerly coral reefs in the world are around Sodwana Bay, northeast coast, with warm, clear waters.
Golf: The courses here are magnificent.
Charging elephant, Kruger
South Africa has three capital cities!
As a result of a compromise that created the Union of South Africa in 1910, the administrative capital is Pretoria, the legislative capital is Cape Town, and the judicial capital is Bloemfontein.