To ensure that 100,000-plus Indian travellers who visit South Africa annually experience something new and different, the South Africa Tourism Board has been promoting places beyond the cities of Cape Town and Durban and activities that are novel and exciting. Here are 10 reasons why they will want to return to the country.
Indian travellers, a lot of whom are repeat travellers to South Africa, want more experiences. An Indian traveller demands an average of six activities per day in South Africa. They want to spend less time and money on transfers and prefer staying out of metros to experience a different kind of shopping that involves local indigenous artists. Coastal towns like Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, George, Mossel Bay, Oudtshoorn and Port Elizabeth on Garden Route and East London a little further on, are picturesque areas where travellers can pack in a lot of action into shorter time spans.
Plettenberg Bay in Western Cape is becoming popular amongst adventure junkies due to its proximity to the Bloukrans Bridge. Just outside of Plettenberg Bay is the largest single dome free- flight multi-species bird aviary in the world, called Birds of Eden. Wildlife lovers will also find themselves drawn to Monkeyland, a primate sanctuary nestled in the forests of the Garden Route, just next to Birds of Eden.
Situated in the heart of Garden Route, Knysna plays host to numerous adventure activities. Knysna Lagoon, a must-see in the town, opens between two sandstone cliffs known as the Heads. Children love playing in the shallow waters, as adults sit in their deck chairs and marvel at the Knysna Heads. The town also has to its name an Oyster Festival amongst other annual events, where approximately 200,000 oysters are consumed over a 10-day period.
Halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth on Garden Route, George – Garden Route’s largest city – is a tourist mecca with offerings that cater to all age groups. Travellers can dance the night away on the Insomniac Party Bus, a 40-seater single decker bus complete with bar, DJ booth and bathroom facilities for group tours. Families can choose to spend a day of bonding at the RedBerry Strawberry Farm plucking fresh strawberries.
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 offering a hairraising crocodile-cage dive. It is also one of the few places in the world to enjoy a meerkat safari.
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.
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, offering 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.