This is a really tough one. Not because there are so few to choose from, but because there are thousands of absolutely stunning places in South Africa that would make your Instagram profile seriously enviable.
Who loves cold, wet weather? Me neither! Here in the South, we are blessed with a pretty temperate climate. Our summers are enticingly hot and our winters are relatively mild. Most vacationers opt for a climate where you can make the most out of activities and it’s far easier to take photos on a sunny day. Travellers from the northern hemisphere are especially fond of our summers, since the weather is usually the polar opposite of their winters at home.
2023 best in travel countries
Condé Nast Traveller
2022 readers’ choice awards for the best countries in the world
One of the top trending countries for a road trip, including Chapman’s Peak Drive and Route 62
International Civil Aviation Organization
The aviation sector has been ranked among the best in the world
International Congress and Convention Association
In the world’s top 10 long-haul destinations for hosting international meetings and conferences
UK Post Office
Cape Town was ranked the world’s best-value hotspot
Cape Town was ranked the third-best city on the planet
U.S. News & World Report
Kruger was voted one of the best national parks in the world
Cape Town is fourth on the list of cities to visit before you die
– Cape Town was ranked one of the best food destinations in the world
– Kruger was ranked one of the best nature destinations in the world
Cape Town was voted on the bucket list travel list
Cape Town ranked 5th best city for mindful travellers
And for those of you that are more comfortable in your birthday suit than your office suit, you’ll be thrilled to know that South Africa is one of the top destinations for skinny dippers, as voted by MyDatingAdviser users.
There are many stunning spots in Hout Bay and the touristy destinations such as the harbour and beach, are certainly all over Instagram. However, we know a couple of absolutely breathtaking secret spots that will give your profile a facelift. Just off the beaten path near our Vida Nova Retreat eco-hotel, are exclusive hiking trails, that lead to impressive wonders, like this waterfall. It’s only accessible to those with keys to the path’s gate, so it doesn’t get any more special than this.
For wilder photo and Reel opportunities, you can visit the colony of Cape fur seals at Duiker Island. Capture the moments from a boat, or interact with the seals on an extraordinary seal snorkelling adventure.
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There is no doubt that Table Mountain deserves its recognition as one of the Seven Wonders of Nature. This uniquely flat-topped mountain is an iconic symbol of South Africa and arguably the most photographed landmark in the country. The mountain towers over the city bowl, within the Cape Floristic Region, and boasts around 1,500 flora species. Flower-power people will be delighted to know that this has earned it a place as one of the smallest, most flora-abundant areas on earth.
You can reach the top by hiking the protea-rich trails if you’re fit and active. The rest of you will be pleased to know that there is the option of riding a cable car to the top, which offers up some of the most incredible, photographable views over the city
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This is said to be the world’s most beautiful stretch of road, and we can’t argue with that. It is truly a photographer’s paradise. There are multiple sections where you can pull over to snap very Instagram-worthy photos. These vantage points furnish you with spectacular panoramic views. Photos will be augmented with incredible backdrops of the cloud-scattered sky, rich contrasting colours and incredible rock formations.
The light at sunset will lift your photos to new heights and if you’re lucky to capture them at the right moment, the scenery will be spangled with wildlife, birdlife and flora. Even the occasional whale can be seen when you look across to Hout Bay.
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Who hasn’t heard of Kruger National Park? It is a place of wildlife wonders and, of course, one of the best places in Africa to photograph the Big Five in their natural habitat. If there’s something pretty much every Instagram user likes to see, it’s Africa’s iconic animals in all their glory. Although selfies with these animals are a little more difficult, given their undomesticated nature, capturing awe-inspiring wildlife is any animal photographer’s dream.
If you yearn to add a specific African land animal to your Instagram grid, find out when your best chance will be to spot it, in our blog.
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The little sister to its neighbour, Kruger National Park, Marloth Park is a wildlife haven in its own right. Although you won’t find the Big Five roaming around the community, you will find plenty of glorious African wildlife. Giraffes graze the trees, zebras grace the lawns and kudus drink from the pools.
At our Vida Nova Kruger eco-lodge, we get daily visits from warthogs, wildebeest, zebras and buck. And what’s more, we have a huge viewing deck that overlooks Crocodile River from which you can sit back with a cocktail or two, watching the elephants and hippos bathing.
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Much like the Drakensberg peddlers of yesteryear, who perilously traipsed to the top of this mountain with only a mule for transport, you can follow their hoof steps, to take a selfie at the highest pub in Africa.
Well, ok, you might be a little better off when you travel in the supreme comfort of an air-conditioned 4×4 Land Cruiser driven by a guide who has travelled the route hundreds of times, but the sentiment is there.
This spectacular road didn’t make it onto Lonely Planet’s most epic road trips without good reason. As well as the obligatory pub selfie, you will have the opportunity to photograph the hairpin bends and endless views of the route, dinosaur footprints, cave paintings, wildlife and Basotho culture, depending on how long your tour is.
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To reach this legendary landmark, you’ll drive through an incredibly scenic pass with the rocky outcropping of Swartberg Mountains towering on either side. The now tar road was laid upon a natural gorge created by the Groot River, many millennia ago. This thoroughfare, in itself, creates a beautiful backdrop for photographers and leads to the historical little village of Klaarstroom, home to our hotel. The waterfall is a gentle stroll along a serene path, with indigenous flora lining the edges.
Once at the waterfall, don’t be surprised if it takes your breath away, not only because of its stunning beauty, but because it’s notoriously chilly if you’re brave enough to take a dip. Look out for the fabled mermaid… a photo of the famous “Eporia” would certainly go viral!
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Cast your mind back 20 million years… ok, that’s probably a bit tough. It makes you really think about how we’ve only been around for the blink of an eye when you enter the Cango Cave system. These ancient hidden chambers are gouged into the thick limestone rock layer, and jam-packed with dramatic stalactites, helicities, and stalagmites.
This incredible geology is stunning to photograph, however, adventurous types will love the opportunity to head deep into the cave system, crawling and sliding your way along, with a final ascent where you ‘post’ yourself through the Devil’s Postbox. Everyone needs a good spelunking pic on their grid!
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We carefully selected our portfolio of eco-retreats, not just because the properties are stunning, but because the areas that surround them are awe-inspiring and exciting. We know that not everyone likes to have the same kind of vacation, so one of the best things about our eco-retreats is whether you decide to take part in all the activities in the area or choose to do nothing at all, you’ll have an amazing, Instagram photo-worthy break.