Experience a Novel Adventure in South Africa with These Less-Explored Gems

K.C. Dermody

Written by Justin Mewse

July 2023

Join us as we embark on a journey to experience South Africa’s less-explored gems, where untouched wilderness, cultural heritage, and authentic encounters await. From pristine coastlines to rugged mountains and enchanting wildlife reserves, we invite you to indulge in a truly immersive and unforgettable adventure.

Woman inspecting the flowers of an Aloe tree in Namaqualand - South African Tourism


KwaZulu-Natal is a diverse province in South Africa, offering a rich tapestry of experiences. From the bustling coastal city of Durban with its beautiful beaches and vibrant culture, to the majestic Drakensberg Mountains and the abundant wildlife of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, this province showcases a captivating blend of nature, history, and modernity, providing travellers with a truly unforgettable journey.


Durban, located on the eastern coast of South Africa, is a bustling coastal city known for its vibrant energy and cultural diversity. The city’s golden beaches and warm waters make it a popular destination for sun-seekers and surf enthusiasts alike. Durban’s rich history and blend of cultures are evident in its bustling markets, where visitors can sample delicious Indian cuisine and experience the vibrant Zulu traditions. The iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium, with its arch-shaped SkyCar offering panoramic views, and the poignant KwaMuhle Museum, which delves into the city’s apartheid past, are must-visit landmarks.

The Drakensberg Mountains

The Drakensberg Mountains, a majestic range in South Africa, are a natural wonder that captivates with their breathtaking beauty and serene wilderness. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these mountains boast dramatic peaks, lush valleys, cascading waterfalls, and ancient rock art, providing a captivating playground for hikers, nature enthusiasts, and adventure seekers alike. The unique sandstone formations, including iconic landmarks like the Tugela Falls and Amphitheatre, present awe-inspiring vistas that beckon explorers to immerse themselves in the stunning landscapes. Rich in cultural heritage, the Drakensberg Mountains reveal the fascinating rock art of the San people, offering a glimpse into ancient traditions and history.

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, nestled in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is a wilderness haven that holds significant conservation importance. As one of the oldest game reserves in Africa, it played a crucial role in the revival of the white rhino population, making it a vital sanctuary for endangered species. The park’s diverse landscapes encompass rolling hills, ancient forests, and meandering rivers, creating an ideal habitat for a wide array of wildlife. Visitors to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park can embark on thrilling game drives and guided safaris, offering the chance to spot the renowned Big Five, including elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, and rhinos.

Enjoying the views of Blyde River Canyon and Three Rondavels - South Africa Tourism

Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape province of South Africa is a hidden gem brimming with diverse attractions and lesser-known treasures. From the wild landscapes of the Wild Coast and the untamed beauty of the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area to the historical charm of Grahamstown and the incredible landscapes of the Amatola Mountains, the Eastern Cape promises an enriching journey for travellers seeking unique experiences.

The Wild Coast

This rugged less-trodden coastal paradise entices travellers with its pristine beaches, rolling hills, and traditional Xhosa villages, where the warm embrace of local culture awaits. The untouched landscapes and meandering rivers provide opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and discovering hidden coves. As the sun sets over the horizon, the Wild Coast’s allure lies in its unspoiled character, inviting visitors to disconnect from the modern world and reconnect with the raw essence of South Africa’s coastal wilderness.

The Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area

This remote and unspoiled landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, celebrated for its pristine wilderness and rich biodiversity. Ancient cliffs, dramatic gorges, and crystal-clear streams create a mesmerizing backdrop for hikers and nature enthusiasts to explore. The area is a sanctuary for numerous plant and animal species, including rare Cape mountain zebra and the majestic black eagle.

The Amatola Mountains

These mountains are a majestic range that captivates with their stunning beauty and diverse landscapes. This picturesque region boasts rolling hills, dense forests, and meandering rivers, providing a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. With an extensive network of hiking trails, the Amatola Mountains offer thrilling treks that reward visitors with superb views and encounters with an array of wildlife. Rich in history and folklore, the area is steeped in cultural significance, making it an intriguing destination for those seeking to connect with South Africa’s past.

Horse riding on the beach in the Eastern Cape - South African Tourism

Western Cape

The Western Cape province of South Africa is a destination that extends beyond the iconic city of Cape Town. This diverse region showcases a myriad of beautiful places, from the charming winelands of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, where exquisite wines and gourmet delights await, to the rugged coastlines of the Garden Route, offering pristine beaches, lush forests, and thrilling outdoor adventures. The quaint town of Hermanus entices visitors with its whale watching opportunities, while the picturesque Cederberg Mountains beckon hikers with their striking sandstone formations and ancient rock art. The West Coast, less frequented by overseas tourists, unfolds a tranquil landscape of wildflowers and bird sanctuaries, providing a serene escape from the bustling city life.

Cape Town

While Cape Town is undoubtedly a popular tourist destination, it is also home to several lesser-known places that offer a more off-the-beaten-path experience. One such place is the Bo-Kaap neighborhood, a vibrant area known for its colourful houses and rich Cape Malay heritage. Farther afield, the Cape Flats Nature Reserve provides a unique opportunity to witness a variety of bird species and fynbos vegetation in a tranquil setting. The Kalk Bay Harbour, a charming fishing village, is a hidden gem where visitors can savour fresh seafood and explore quirky art galleries. Additionally, the Wolfgat Nature Reserve near Yzerfontein offers striking coastal scenery and opportunities for coastal hiking, providing a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.


Nestled along the scenic Cape Whale Coast, found along the famed Garden Route, Hermanus is a charming coastal town in the Western Cape, South Africa. Renowned for its unparalleled whale watching opportunities, it offers a unique chance to witness the majestic southern right whales as they frolic in the bay during their annual migration. Beyond its marine delights, Hermanus boasts a delightful blend of art galleries, boutique shops, and charming cafes that add to its laid-back ambiance. The Walker Bay Nature Reserve and Fernkloof Nature Reserve provide picturesque hiking trails and an opportunity to encounter the rich flora and fauna of the region. Whether strolling along the scenic cliff paths or savouring the local seafood at the Old Harbour, Hermanus invites visitors to indulge in a tranquil and memorable coastal retreat.

The Cederberg Mountains

This striking mountain range offers a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts, with dramatic sandstone formations and rewarding treks to unique landmarks like the Wolfberg Arch and Maltese Cross. The region’s rich history comes alive through the fascinating San rock art, providing a glimpse into the cultural heritage of the area. As a designated wilderness area, the Cederberg Mountains promises serenity, inviting visitors to disconnect from the world and immerse themselves in the untamed beauty of South Africa’s mountainous heart.


Maltese Cross, Cederberg - South African Tourism

Northern Cape

With its tranquil beauty, starry night skies, and intriguing historical sites, the Northern Cape promises a truly authentic and off-the-beaten-path exploration of South Africa’s wild frontier. It’s a vast region of contrasting landscapes. Known for its arid deserts, striking canyons, and unique geological formations, the province offers a mesmerising canvas for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. From the stunning Augrabies Falls National Park to the iconic red dunes of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, visitors can experience the raw beauty and untamed wilderness of this remote destination. Rich in cultural heritage, the Northern Cape boasts historical towns like Kimberley, where the famous Big Hole and Diamond Mine Museum offer a glimpse into the province’s diamond mining past.

Augrabies Falls National Park

With hiking trails and scenic viewpoints showcasing the falls and the Orange River, Augrabies Falls National Park invites visitors to immerse themselves in the untamed beauty of South Africa’s wild frontier.


Renowned for its awe-inspiring wildflower displays, Namaqualand comes alive with a vibrant tapestry of colours during the spring months (August to September). This arid landscape, usually barren, transforms into a carpet of flowers, attracting visitors from around the world. Beyond its floral wonder, Namaqualand offers stunning desert vistas, unique succulent plants, and a diverse range of wildlife, making it a haven perfect for photographers especially.


Namaqualand daisies in full bloom - South African Tourism

Recommended Tour Itineraries That Are Perfect For Those Seeking a Unique Adventure

We’ve delved into the holiday portfolio from a number of our favourite Africa travel experts and found what we believe are the best trips you can book that combine the incredible highlights you’d expect to see – plus providing you with the opportunity to discover the paths less trodden in South Africa.

Beautiful rhino grazing in Kruger National Park

10-Day South Africa & Eswatini

Small Group Adventure Tour
Visit the great game reserves of South Africa and Eswatini. Search for the Big Five, learn about the history of the Zulu battlefields, explore the wetlands of St Lucia and discover the last absolute monarchy in Africa.

Why we love this trip…
See Africa’s greatest population of white and black rhino in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi park
Experience an open game drive in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Amble to the St. Lucia beach for a relaxing dip in the ocean
Soak up the spectacular views of the Drakensberg
Visit the famous battlefield of Rorke’s Drift
Enjoy a safari in Kruger National Park
Explore one of Eswatini’s best wildlife reserves, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
ABTA & ATOL protected

** SAVE up to £200pp **

From £1,629pp
Price includes 1 nights simple bungalow, 3 nights comfortable lodge, 3 nights premium lodge, 2 nights comfortable rondavels, 9 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners, activities as detailed in the itinerary, expert tour leader, driver and overland vehicles

Operated by Explore

Visit Website

Group experiencing a vineyard in the Western Cape Winelands - South Africa Tourism

15-Day South Africa Culinary Delights

Tailor-Made Self-Drive Tour
South Africa is a food lover’s paradise, and plays host to some of the continent’s most amazing cuisine. From traditional Boma dinners in the bush, to contemporary cuisine in Cape Town, to fine dining and wine tasting in the Winelands, this holiday will guide you through them all.

Why we love this trip…
Stay on Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront – close to the city’s bustling foodie scene
Enjoy fine dining experiences in the Winelands
Hop on the Franschhoek Wine tram
Stop at a number of wine estates en-route to Plettenberg Bay
Enjoy open-air meals in a private game reserve
Sleep at a luxury safari lodge such as in Pumba or Shamwari
Stay at hotels that all offer incredible in house dining

** Flexible Options for Your Accommodations **

From £2,340pp
Price includes 14 nights accommodation (various options available for each night of stay), car hire and return flights

Operated by Africa Collection

Visit Website

Aerial view of Thonga Beach Lodge

12-Day Rhino Ridge & The Elephant Coast

Tailor-Made Self-Drive Tour
Combine exceptional wildlife viewing in KwaZulu-Natal’s oldest nature reserve with five nights of pure relaxation at its most secluded beachfront retreat.

Why we love this trip…
Wander Durban’s Golden Mile and explore its renowned Botanical Gardens
Spend three nights in the heart of the ‘Big 5’ Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park
Enjoy morning and evening game drives and bushwalks into the reserve
Relax by the Indian Ocean at the exclusive Thonga Beach Lodge
Go snorkelling or kayaking, or enjoy sundowners by Lake Sibaya
Lodge stays on a full-board basis
ABTA & ATOL protected

** Enjoy a Stay on a Secluded Stretch of the Elephant Coast **

From £2,340pp
Price includes 2 nights accommodation at 4* Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani, 3 nights 4* Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge, 5 nights 4* Thonga Beach Lodge, 1 night 5* The Oyster Box, 12 days car hire and return flights

Operated by Freedom Destinations

Visit Website

Enjoying the Drakensberg views - South Africa Tourism

16-Day South Africa For Solo Travellers

Solo Traveller Escorted Tour
This wonderful 16-day tour is designed to highlight South Africa’s truly amazing diversity of cultures, its curious blend of old and new, and it’s phenomenal scenery and wildlife. You leave with the feeling that the new South Africa, open to the world after years of isolation, is a land of superlatives which cannot fail to impress the welcome visitor!

Why we love this trip…
Tour the Zulu War battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift
Experience a full-day guided safari in the Kruger National Park
Stay in the Western Cape’s Winelands with a cellar tour and tasting at a 300-year-old wine estate
Visit the legendary Cape of Good Hope
Gaze at the awe-inspiring Blyde River canyon, the third largest in the world
Enjoy a scenic drive through the beautiful small country of Eswatini
ABTA & ATOL protected

** Visit Hermanus for the World’s Finest On-Shore Whale Watching **

From £4,199pp
Price includes 13 nights 3* & 4* hotel accommodation, 13 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners, activities as detailed in the itinerary, expert tour manager, transfers and return flights

Operated by Riviera Travel

Visit Website

Cederberg landscape, South Africa

11-Day The Cape Triangle

Tailor-Made Self-Drive Tour
Take in a combination of Cape Town’s greatest highlights, sample South Africa’s renowned food and wine scene by tram and explore the Cederberg Mountains rugged landscapes on foot, while discovering ancient San rock art.

Why we love this trip…
Take in the unrivalled panoramic views from the top of Table Mountain
Visit Cape Town’s cultural quarter of Bo-Kaap before enjoying a sundowner on the waterfront
Join a private driver and guide for a full day exploring the Cape Point and Peninsula
Savour the award-winning restaurants and wine estates of Franschhoek
Experience the wild and rugged surrounding of the Cederberg Mountains at Bushmans Kloof Nature Reserve
ATOL protected & award-winning tour operator

** Flexible Options for Your Accommodations **

From £4,290pp
Price includes 3 nights accommodation at 5* Abbey Manor Guest House, 2 nights 4* La Cabrière Country House, 3 nights 5* Bushmans Kloof (alternative options available for each night of stay throughout trip), car hire and return flights

Operated by Audley Travel

Visit Website

Lioness and cub, Kruger National Park, South Africa

16-Day South African Surprise

Luxury Escorted Tour
This itinerary really packs a punch with so many activities and opportunities for adventure available to you – with plenty of free-time added in too for you to do a bit of exploring at leisure.

Why we love this trip…
Witness the wonderful flora and fauna of Kruger National Park
Visit the Tsitsikamma Forest and the Storms River Mouth
Travel along the circular Panorama Route via Graskop and see Blyde River Canyon
Experience a guided tour of an ostrich farm and the famous Cango Caves
Enjoy the coastal surrounds of Durban
Spend time in a real Chief’s village in Eswatini
ATOL protected & award-winning tour operator

** Once-in-a-Lifetime, Bucket List Adventure **

Price available upon request
via the link
Includes 14 nights hotel accommodation on a bed & breakfast basis, 4 dinners, activities as detailed in the itinerary, game drives in Kruger National Park, experienced tour manager, transport and return flights

Operated by Somak Luxury Travel

Visit Website

South Africa Tourism logo

Playing in the sea at Virginia Bay Beach, Florida

Find My Perfect Holiday Destination

By using our intelligent search tool, we will present you with a tailored list of destinations based on your requirements.

Inspire Me

From the European beaches of Antalya and Majorca or the Caribbean sands of Barbados to the culture and cuisine of Thailand or majestic scenery of the Canadian Rockies, we’ve well over 400 destinations to inspire you.

Couple enjoying drinks by the side of the pool

Holiday Inspiration Delivered To Your Inbox

Sign-up to the Inspire My Holiday newsletter for the following…

* Receive details of the latest offers – plus savings that are exclusive to our subscribers
* Be the first to hear about some amazing competitions with truly incredible prizes

* Keep abreast of the hottest travel trends
* Discover outside-the-norm holiday ideas
* Discover articles, blogs & travel guides to your next getaway

Sign-Up Now

Top Holiday Offers

We’ve hand-picked a range of enticing offers to incredible destinations. If you want value for money on your next trip, start by reviewing our dedicated Top Holiday Offers page.

Top Offers