The incredible, heart-stopping beauty of South Africa, from Cape Town to KwaZulu-Natal, to the Kalahari to Namaqualand is the stuff photographers’ dreams are made of. South Africa still charms the socks off the world as the number one most beautiful tourist locations in 2015.
Living in South Africa, we easily forget how special our country is and it is great to see it from an outside perspective. Sweeping international travel prizes, travellers rave about its beauty so much that SA has the highest repeat tourism of any long-haul destination in the world. Not only does the country have abundant natural beauty, but it’s urban-amazing too.
- The town of Franschhoek has been named amongst the five loveliest in the world.
- The metropolis of Cape Town is more often than not picked as the most beautiful city on earth by travel lists and tourists alike, because of both its unparalleled natural setting and gorgeous architecture.
- The Cape coastline is hailed as the most beautiful on Earth.
- Cape Town has three of the world’s 10 most beautiful coastal drives including Clarens Drive and Chapman’s Peak.
South Africa also has an astonishing variety of marine life, with almost twice the number of marine species as the whole Mediterranean in a coastline only 2 000 miles long. It’s the best place in the world to view whales from shore, and to swim with great white sharks. The world’s largest migration of ocean life occurs here, and is one of the two largest migrations of any kind on Earth.
With some of the finest national parks in the world, including the Kgalagadi, Isimangaliso, Hluhlue Imfolozi and Tsitsikamma, South Africa has been rated the finest wildlife destination in the world and is Africa’s most biodiverse. The Greater Kruger National Park and Limpopo Transfrontier Park has more species of large mammal than anywhere else in the world. Surrounding Cape Town is the world’s densest plant kingdom by species count.
Making Mountains Out Of Molehills
Surrounded by Cape Town is one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, Table Mountain. When viewed from across Table Bay, this world wonder provides one of the greatest views on Earth, and has been named one of the world’s greatest mountains. Incredibly, two of the 11 mountains chosen for this honour are located entirely within South Africa, more than is claimed by any other country. The other is the Amphitheatre, in the Drakensberg, a gigantic cliff regarded as one of the most impressive in the world.
Falling off its face is possibly the tallest waterfall on earth, though officially the second tallest, which is about 20 times the height of Niagara. The Tugela Falls plunge over 3 000 feet in five abrupt steps. This, together with the Augrabies Falls, is one of two South African falls named in the Top 10 waterfalls in the world.
In the north of the Drakensberg is one of the greatest and most beautiful canyons in the world, the subtropical Blyde River Canyon. Other mountain ranges in the country include the best-exposed fold mountains in the world, The Swartberg or ‘Black Mountains’. Unlike their name suggests, these mountains display astonishing technicolour sandstone cliffs folded in all directions through what geologists call anticlines and synclines. They house one of the most beautiful cave systems in the world, the Kango Caves.
Four of the 10 oldest mountain ranges in the world are found in South Africa, including the breathtaking Waterberg and the stunning Makhonjwa range, the oldest in the world. This is a country with a lengthy heritage, where both the oldest fossils and the oldest gold have been found.
Even the deserts in this country are astonishingly beautiful, from the powdered red sands of the Kalahari to the Karoo and Namaqualand. The latter is an area of arid desert larger than California that turns into the world’s largest garden each spring in a floral display unrivalled anywhere on Earth. Thousands of species of flowers bloom and transform the landscape into an unimaginable blanket of blooms. It, together with technicolour city suburbs like the Bokaap, is part of why the country has been called the world’s most colorful.
Unsurpassed wildlife and mountains, whales and waterfalls, architecture and antiquity, and the world’s most beautiful city, make South Africa a traveller’s dream, and a country that the locals need to boast about more often!
Complied by: Melissa Jane Cook
Source by: Buzz Feed