Wild Safari Guide's top places to see in Southern Africa
We have the top places to see in Southern Africa—a land of a thousand landscapes. From golden savannah stretches and white-sand beaches to the sublime snow-capped mountains. Its people are as diverse as its landscapes, and thrilling adventures await around every corner. On safari in the Okavango Delta or Kruger National Park, visitors will encounter unique species, while those seeking a beach holiday can bathe in the warm seas of Mozambique’s tropical destinations. For something truly unique, Victoria Falls is one of the world’s seven natural wonders, while Cape Town offers foodies award-winning wines and cuisine. Our highlights of the top places to see in Southern Africa include Chobe National Park, Cape Town, and the famous Victoria Falls.
01. Chobe National Park
Botswana — Places to see in Southern Africa
Image credit: THP Creative
Chobe National Park, in northern Botswana, is home to one of Africa’s largest concentrations of wildlife, including Africa’s Big Five. The park is particularly well-known for its elephant population, which is thought to be one of the world’s largest. The Chobe River runs through the heart of the game reserve, where hundreds of animals congregate to drink, play, and, in some cases, hunt. A river safari is a gratifying and one-of-a-kind experience that allows you to see the park’s numerous birdlife while doing so.
02. Victoria Falls
Zambia and Zimbabwe — Places to see in Southern Africa
Image credit: 2630 Ben
Victoria Falls, also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya or The Smoke That Thunders, is the world’s greatest waterfall in terms of volume and one of the best places to see in Southern Africa. Over 500 million gallons of water fall over the brink of the precipice during the rainy season. The falls are best observed from the air or from one of the overlooks carefully located on the edge of the Zambezi River valley, which is located on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border. The spray from the falls is so powerful here that you’ll be wet to the skin in a matter of seconds.
03. Lake Malawi
Malawi — Places to see in Southern Africa
Image credit: CapturedOnce
Lake Malawi is Africa’s third-largest lake, covering over a third of the country’s entire area. It’s a gorgeous freshwater lake with golden beaches, charming fishing villages, and a wealth of activities. Powerboat trips, sailing, kayaking, swimming, and scuba diving are just a few of the activities available. Keep an eye out for Lake Malawi’s stunning cichlid fish if you decide to take the plunge. There are at least 700 species that call this place home, with all but four being indigenous. It should be noted that bilharzia is a risk in some areas.
04. Cape Town
South Africa — Places to see in Southern Africa
Image credit: Lukas Bischoff
Cape Town, nestled at the foot of South Africa’s famous Table Mountain, is perhaps the most beautiful city on the planet. The surrounding area is filled with award-winning vineyards, pristine beaches, and towering mountains, and of course, culture reigns supreme in the heart of the city. From world-class restaurants and designer shopping malls to rural markets and intriguing museums, there is much to do here. Some of the best places to visit include District Six, Bo-Kaap, and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent most of his incarceration, all of which are historic sites in Cape Town.
05. Skeleton Coast
Namibia — Places to see in Southern Africa
Image credit: Chris Kruger SA
The spooky Skeleton Coast in Namibia is one of the most dramatic and evocative sights in the world. It is named after the countless ships that have sunk here over the years and located on Namibia’s isolated western coast. The rusty wreckage of ships is frequently surrounded by eerie mists, creating dramatic images, fit for any nature enthusiast and aspiring photographer. The Cape Cross seal colony, one of the largest breeding colonies of Cape fur seals, is located on the Skeleton Coast and is undoubtedly one of the top places to see in Southern Africa.
06. Kruger National Park
South Africa — Places to see in Southern Africa
Image credit: Rixie
The approximately 20,000 km² Kruger National Park, located about 420 kilometres northeast of Johannesburg on the border of Mozambique, has some of the best access to wildlife in Africa. Buffalo, elephants, leopards, lions, and rhinos, as well as Nile crocodiles, hippos, and uncommon birds such as southern ground-hornbills and lappet-faced vultures, all live here. But there’s more to this enormous nature reserve than just animals. Apart from being one of the top places in Southern Africa to spot the Big Five, the park’s savanna, thornveld, and forest terrain are dominated by giant baobab, fever, and marula trees. Furthermore, the Albasini and Masorini ruins, which were originally exchanged by Portuguese colonists and members of the indigenous Ba-Phalaborwa ethnic group, are located in Kruger’s Marula and Nxanatseni districts.
07. Quirimbas Archipelago
Mozambique — Places to see in Southern Africa
Image credit: Blue Orange Studio
The ultimate beach holiday awaits on the Quirimbas Archipelago in Mozambique—one of the top places to see in Southern Africa. The archipelago, which consists of 32 coral islands spread out along the country’s northern coast, is a paradise of white sand beaches, tall palms, and crystal clear waters. Brimming reefs lie beneath the waves, making this a popular snorkelling, scuba diving, and deep-sea fishing destination. Ibo Island is also recognized for its crumbling colonial architecture, which is still breathtaking.