As any avid adventurer will inform you, the best places to go to when travelling are those magical “off-the-beaten-track”, hidden gems that are both beautiful and unexpected. Take a look at our favourite secret spots in South Africa for inspiration for your next getaway!
1. Augrabies Falls National Park, Northern Cape
Few places compare to the wonder of the Augrabies Falls of the Orange River. This 61m (200 feet) high waterfall creates such a roar as it plunges into a gorge below, that it gets its name from the Khoi-San word; Ankoerebis or “place of big noises”. For added excitement consider an Augrabies Hot Air Ballooning adventure (go to www.hotairballooningsa.co.za) and enjoy the brilliant night sky and breath-taking sights and sounds.
2. Pongola Game Reserve, Northern KZN
Love elephants? The Pongola Game Reserve is home to a fantastic array of animals, including 4 of the Big 5 and over 350 bird species. This is the place to be if you are looking for a safari, canoe, birding or fishing adventure, you can even try new experiences like rhino tracking or elephant monitoring programs. For accommodation, the White Elephant Lodge offers excellent self or full catering.
3. Akasha Mountain Retreat, Heidelberg (WC)
Talk about a hidden gem! The Akasha Mountain retreat is like a deep clean for your soul; the exceptional scenery, wild horses and activities available (including creative lessons and day trips) will definitely make you feel connected and at peace with the planet, for more info go to http://www.akasharetreat.co.za/.
4. Cradle of Humankind, Gauteng (50km from JHB)
A World Heritage Site since 1999, the location of this site, near Witwatersberg and Magaliesberg (the world’s oldest) mountain ranges, makes you feel like you stepped into another time. Visit the Sterkfontein Caves for 4million year old fossils and the Maropeng exhibition center for an underground boat voyage through time. For more information go to http://www.cradleofhumankind.co.za/.
5. The Otter Trail, Garden Route, WC
The Garden Route is always an SA must, not only for hidden local spots for hikes, picnics or a surf, but also for the Otter Trail! Considered the best hiking trail in the world, the 5-day-walk trail which starts at Storms River Mouth and ends in Natures Valley where you can see the Cape Clawless Otters playing offshore or spend your nights in a local hut or under the starry skies.