10 South African Attractions off the beaten path
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10 South African Attractions off the beaten path

If you look beneath the obvious South African tourist attractions like the Big 5 game reserves, Table Mountain, and Robben Island, to name a few, there are, tucked away from most main roads, some amazing sights just waiting to be explored.

Here are 10 unconventional tourist spots that are definitely worth discovering:

  • Riemvasmaak Hot Springs

    1. Riemvasmaak, Northern Cape

    Deep in the Karoo, Riemvasmaak is a 75 000-hectare wonder of dry rocks and craggy canyons. The landscape, carved out by volcanic eruptions, is popular with the 4x4 crowd, while the hot springs are a major draw card for visitors to the Northern Cape.

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  • Golden Gate Highlands National Park

    2. Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Free State

    Nestled in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains in the north-eastern Free State lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. This national park gets its name from the brilliant shades of gold that flicker off the sandstone cliffs in the sun.

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  • Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area

    3. Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area, Western Cape

    Much of the water in Cape Town trickles down from this World Heritage Site 120km north of the city. The Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area is known for its rugged, wild landscape with exceptional rock formations, which are perfect for hiking around. Visitors looking for culture can also see ancient San and Khoi rock paintings.

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  • Valley of Desolation

    4. Valley of Desolation, Eastern Cape

    The Valley of Desolation in the Eastern Cape is a geological phenomenon. Declared a National Monument in 1939, this valley is filled with vertical cliffs and dolerite columns towering 120m into the air - the result of 100 million years of volcanic and erosive forces.

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  • Sani Pass

    5. Sani Pass, KwaZulu-Natal

    The route up Sani Pass, which, by law, requires a 4x4 vehicle to traverse, is not for the faint of heart. The mother of all South African mountain passes, it summits at 2876m (9436 ft) - at 10 000ft aeroplanes need to be pressurised. But for the brave few who reach the top, the view well worth it.

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  • Augrabies Falls National Park

    6. Augrabies Falls National Park, Northern Cape

    With attractions like Moon Rock and Echo Corner, this national park has sights and sounds to behold. The raging falls, plunging 61m into the gorge below, make an almost deafening roar, which is why the native Khoikhoi people named it Aukoerebis - "place of great noise."

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  • Wolkberg Wilderness Area

    7. Wolkberg Wilderness Area, Limpopo

    Known as the cloudy mountains, Wolkberg offers easy and strenuous walking trails alike in a picturesque landscape. But the sheer mountain splendour and mystery of the mist-covered mountains is worth any amount of exertion.

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  • Magaliesberg

    8. Magaliesberg, North West

    The Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve, one of eight in South Africa, is characterized by remarkable scenic beauty, unique natural features, cultural heritage and sites of archaeological interest dating back millions of years.

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  • Namaqualand

    9. Namaqualand, Northern Cape

    Although primarily an arid region, wildflowers bloom in fantastic colours across Namaqualand every spring, earning it the nickname "daisy season". The region also features waterfalls, great areas for off-roading, and a World Heritage Site.

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  • Valley of a Thousand Hills

    10. Valley of a Thousand Hills, KwaZulu-Natal

    Unspoilt nature, wildlife, magnificent scenery, wining and dining, and warm country hospitality, The Valley of a Thousand Hills the perfect combo of local flair and outdoor adventure.

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