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Five of South Africa’s Most Beautiful Natural Wonders

From breathtaking canyons to spectacular national parks, lush mountains, powdery beaches and striking flowery landscape, South Africa really is a photographer’s playground.

Whether you’re looking to capture some beautiful shots on your camera or you just want to wander amongst the country’s beauty, check out our pick of South Africa’s top five natural wonders. 

Table Mountain

1. Table Mountain

A true icon of South Africa, you can’t say you’ve visited Cape Town until you’ve reached the top of the 600-million-year-old Table Mountain.

Named one of the ‘New 7 Wonders of Nature’ and commanding Cape Town’s landscape, this majestic natural wonder is home to the richest – yet smallest – floral kingdom on earth, boasting over 1,470 floral species! You might also catch a glimpse of wildlife when you reach the summit, including jackal buzzards, booted eagles, African hawks, peregrine falcons and more.

If you’re feeling adventurous want to conquer the peak on foot, you can choose one of the many routes that lead up to the top. There are different levels of difficulty and numerous routes, starting with the most popular and easier, Platteklip Gorge, all the way to the trickier India Venster. But if you are not up for a fitness quest, don’t worry, there’s an easier option to get on top: the iconic cableway will take you to the summit in just over six minutes (without any effort required). 

2. Augrabies Falls National Park

Waterfalls are always spectacular, but there’s something extra special about South Africa’s Augrabies Falls. The native Khoe-Sān people used to call it ‘Aukoerbis’, meaning a place of great noise, due to the immense amount of water the falls carry.

Formed where the Orange River crashes into a deep gorge, measuring over 240 meters in depth and 18 kilometres in length, the main falls drop 56 meters, while the Bridal Veil Falls plunge over 75 meters amid ancient granite rocks, into a pool of emerald green waters.

The area surrounding the falls has been named a National Park with over 15,000 hectares of untouched natural scenery, where you might spot giraffes, elephants and black rhinos, together with impressive rock formations and granite ravines.

3. Bourke’s Luck Potholes

Located amid South Africa’s #1 natural wonder – Blyde River Canyon – Bourke’s Luck Potholes are the result of thousands of years of water erosion which have created this unique geological feature: cylindrical potholes filled with deep-blue waters. 

Situated in the confluence of the Treur and Blyde River, these astounding potholes (which get their names from local prospector Tom Bourke, whose ‘luck’ was discovering alluvial gold in the area during the 1880’s Barberton rush) can be seen from the bridges and viewing platforms around the area, allowing you to admire each and every angle of these formations.

A tip from the experts: visit the potholes after midday, when the sunlight brings out the beautiful orange colour of the surrounding rocks.

4. Namaqualand

A kaleidoscope of indigenous flora that blossoms every spring into a colourful sea of wildflowers, Namaqualand is a land of beautiful contrasts. 

This arid region stretching between South Africa and Namibia covers over 170,000 square miles, and offers a different experience for each month of the year: from October to July, Namaqualand is a quiet place, where you can spot birds and wildlife amid the deserted landscapes. From August to September though, the so-called flowering season of Namaqualand begins, and the scene changes dramatically: the landscape is covered in an immense blanket of multi-coloured flowers stretching as far as the eye can see – a true sight for the eyes.

5. Blyde River Canyon

Prepare to be left speechless in front of the beauty of Blyde River Canyon, one of the world’s largest canyons and one of South Africa’s most impressive natural wonders.  

Boasting some of the deepest, precipitous cliffs of any canyon on the planet, Blyde River Canyon is also considered one of the largest ‘green canyons’ thanks to its lush subtropical covering. The majestic peaks and slopes are home to an outstanding variety of flora and fauna, unique rock formations and thundering waterfalls, making it one of the most magnificent natural features you will ever lay your eyes on.

Images courtesy of South Africa Tourism


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