Natural Scenery

Planning to visit South Africa? Here’s your travel guide

Even as the Omicron variant continues to pose a threat, you can plan a hassle-free travel to countries like South Africa if you adhere to Covid restrictions. Some of the destinations that you can explore are here.

Discover the adventure-filled Drakensberg

KwaZulu-Natal is home to the Drakensberg mountains (the Zulus call them the ‘Barrier of Spears’) in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, a natural and cultural World Heritage Site owing to the mountains’ rock art and natural beauty, and a popular destination for local and international tourists alike. The mountains offer dramatic views and outdoor activities, and are an important cultural resource, containing many thousands of works of San rock art that date back to the late Stone Age.

Travellers can go to Drakensberg during the weekend, to stretch their limbs and indulge in outdoor activities like hiking, biking, hot air ballooning, helicopter rides and horseback trips into the mountains.

Ostriches in Oudstshoorn

Inland from the Cape’s famous Garden Route, travellers will find Oudtshoorn – popularly known as the ostrich capital of the world. The town is home to several interesting attractions like Cango Caves with its truly grand stalactite and stalagmite formations and Cango Wildlife Ranch, which offers thrilling crocodile-cage dives. It is also one of the few places in the world to enjoy a meerkat safari.

Look out for the Big 5 in Limpopo

Known for its huge rivers, splashing hippos and immersive culture, Limpopo is one of the most interesting, and abundant provinces in South Africa. Here you will find vast open spaces with wildlife galore and breathtaking mountainous landscapes covered in mist. With seven of South Africa’s eleven official languages being spoken here, travellers stand a good chance of meeting people from a majority of the country’s ethnic groupings.

The region is also endowed with a remarkable number of game and nature reserves, housing one of the country’s highest population of rhinos and a multitude of elegant antelope species. With Kruger National Park – the largest national park in Africa – situated here, this province can easily be termed the ‘Mecca of Wildlife’. The wildlife seems bigger and more exciting in this place of strong, gushing waterfalls, enormous trees, open sky, and never-ending bushland.

East London

A contemporary setting and a laidback charm gives East London a distinctive identity. Well-travelled Indians would appreciate this picturesque city, still untouched by tourist commercialisation as the perfect solution for leisurely vacations clubbed with a variety of adventure experiences in very untouched natural settings. East London is also one of the few places where one can see the White Lion at the Inkwenkezi National Park.

Slice of history at Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth houses South Africa’s third largest national reserve where travellers can watch hundreds of African elephants roam around freely, making it a great safari experience. The Addo National Park also has a thriving marine life and rich flora and offers the only Big 7 safari options in the world. This safari is a combination of marine safari searching for sharks and whales and the famous Big 5 safari. Port Elizabeth also includes Nelson Mandela Bay where one can find Route 67 – a collection of 67 art pieces celebrating the years Nelson Mandela devoted to public life.

Coffee Bay

Nestled within the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape Province is Coffee Bay – a beautiful coastal town that draws in enormous interest from visitors due to its unspoilt beaches and rich, traditional Xhosa lifestyle. The Coffee Bay is also widely known for the Hole in the Wall, a geographical marvel that rests within its gates. It is an offshore stack of rock through which the elements have eroded a hole; this hole amplifies the sound of the waves onto the rock, inspiring the local Xhosa people to name it esiKhaleni which means ‘place of sound’.

Indulge in water sports at Sodwana Bay

Sodwana Bay is located on the east coast of South Africa, in one of the most unique and unspoiled parts of the world. Sodwana’s spectacular coral reefs in a national marine protected area are among the southernmost in the world, and are a scuba diving and snorkeling mecca. Note to all those keen about fishing: game fish abound.

West Coast

A 90-minute drive from Cape Town, the West Coast is a local favourite for a restorative weekend away. Travellers can hike, explore bike trails through fynbos (small belts of natural shrub land), or visit the icy waters of Langebaan Lagoon for kayaking and sailing. West Coast National Park is great for spring wildflowers (between August and September when the blooms are at their peak). Southern right whales can be viewed between August to November.

Panorama Route

Your visit to the Rainbow Nation would be incomplete without a drive along the Panorama route. With some of the most unique and breathtaking scenery, the highlight of the route is the Blyde River Canyon: one of the longest chasms in the world, consisting of spectacular geological shapes and the most stunning scenic views of the country.

Entry guidelines

South Africa is currently open to all international tourists, including Indians.

– Travellers intending to visit the country will be required to produce a negative PCR test, not older than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa.

– South Africa has no quarantine period for anyone who enters the country and passes all Covid-19 checks at the port of entry.

– Visa: Visa fee, e-visa or not, single/multiple entry, processing time.

– There is no visa fee for Indian nationals.

– The VFS logistics fee to process visas from Mumbai and Delhi is Rs 2,040, and Rs 2,301 to process visas from Gurgaon, Jaipur, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangalore, and Goa.

Processing time:

A minimum of 05 working days in Mumbai and Delhi; a minimum of 07 working days at other centers (Gurgaon, Jaipur, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangalore, and Goa)

– Vaccine passport: Not available currently.

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