Deciding what to see and experience in Southern can be daunting. There’s just so much to choose from. Hopefully, our bucket lists will help.
- The Cradle of Humankind – South Africa
Where on earth did the 7.674 billion people on earth come from? The Cradle of Humankind has some of the answers. The active archaeological digs and the important three million-year-old fossils found here, make the Cradle one of the richest hominid sites in the world. The heart of the site, the award-winning, world-class Maropeng Visitor Centre, has wonderful exhibits focusing on the development of humans over past millennia. The fossils themselves come from the Sterkfontein Caves. Guided tours to the Caves, start above ground and, with modern walkways and a boardwalk, take you deep into the caves.
- Sani Pass and the Highest Pub in Africa
While the view is spectacular, this is only for the truly adventurous. The untarred Sani Pass is on the list of the 10 Most Freakishly and Terrifying Switchback Roads in the World for a reason! It should only be attempted if you have a 4×4 drive vehicle, and if you have serious experience in off-road driving. The Sani Pass is the only road that crosses the summit of the Drakensberg Mountain connecting Underberg in KwaZulu-Natal with Mokhotlong in Lesotho so you will encounter other 4x4s, laden lorries, and even donkey-trains along the rough drive. The pass is closed in winter when rains make it impassable, but that doesn’t mean you can relax if you traverse it in Summer. The bends can be treacherous, so you need to pay attention all the time! The Highest Pub in Africa is the goal. It’s so high that you should expect to suffer altitude sickness along the way.
- Swakopmund – Namibia
On the edge of an African desert is what seems like a mirage. Palm-lined streets crisscrossing a central European town lost in time. It’s made more unreal by the vast and almost uninhabited Namib Desert surrounding it. Heavy fogs roll in from the cold Atlantic Ocean whose strong currents have wrecked many ships along this, the Skeleton Coast. But Swapokmund has more to offer than the atmosphere. For the active, there is dune carting, quad biking, and sandboarding, as well as great deep sea and beach angling. For the more relaxed, the art galleries, coffee shops, museums and restaurants are perfect.
- Diving with Sharks at Aliwal Shoal – South Africa
Not far offshore from Umkomass in KwaZulu-Natal, is one of the world’s top 10 dive sites, a Marine Protected Area known as the Aliwal Shoal. It sits contentedly in the warm Agulhas current, home to a variety of corals, sponges, marine life and a couple of shipwrecks. But it’s most famous for its sharks! Blacktip, Tiger, Zambezi or Bull sharks, Hammerheads, Duskies, Whale sharks, and Ragged-Tooths. The tranquillity of the site obviously rubs off as, despite the huge congregation of these predators, there has never been an attack on a human. Some sharks are residents, whereas others are seasonal visitors.
Look out for more ‘bucket-list’ ideas coming soon!