A guide to South Africa’s most breathtaking views

Table Mountain sunset (creative commons)
Table Mountain sunset (creative commons)

South Africa boasts some stunning landscapes that really will take your breath away. If you love seeing amazing views while on holiday – and returning home with fantastic photos of these vistas – why not theme your trip to South Africa around taking in some of its best scenery?

There are a lot of great places to choose from, though, so if you decide you’d like to go on a tailor-made tour of South Africa and focus on outstanding views, think carefully about which spots you’d like to visit. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best places for this kind of sightseeing in the country, while you’ll find further information about how to arrange your perfect South African getaway if you click here.

1. Table Mountain, Cape Town

We thought we’d start with one of the most obvious choices – Table Mountain. There are two ways to look at this though; the first is the views from the top of this iconic landmark, where you can look out over Cape Town and the ocean below. The second is taking in vistas of the mountain itself, with the Bloubergstrand in Blouberg being one location that provides a clear view of the flat peak.

If you’re feeling active another option is to hike up Lion’s Peak, a smaller summit that sits within the Table Mountain National Park and stands some 669 metres above sea level. When you reach the top, you’ll have an amazing view over Cape Town in one direction and the sheer cliff faces of Table Mountain on the other.

2. Franschhoek, Western Cape

Franschhoek is one of the many villages in the country’s Western Cape region that has developed as a result of the wine industry and it has the distinction of being one of the oldest, having been founded in 1685. The village is nestled among towering mountains, so there are spectacular views in every direction.

A fantastic way to experience the striking scenery is to hop on the open-air Franschhoek wine tram, which travels through the valley and will show you some of the oldest vineyards, as well as panoramic views of the surrounding peaks. You can also follow one of the hiking trails into the Franschhoek Mountains, with many of these boasting stunning views over the valley.

Drakensberg and Tugela River at Sunset (creative commons)
Drakensberg and Tugela River at Sunset (creative commons)

3. Amphitheatre, Drakensberg

The Amphitheatre is one of the most impressive features of the Northern Drakensberg mountain. It’s a sheer cliff that stretches for some 5 kilometres and is over 900 metres high. There is also a waterfall – the Tugela Falls – that plunges from the top of this astounding cliff face, adding a further dimension to the outstanding views you’ll get if you stand in the valley and look up at this towering feature.

Should you have a head for heights, you can follow the hiking trail up the Drakensberg’s lower slopes before ascending a chain ladder to reach a vantage point at the top, from where you will have breathtaking views of the valley below and the mountains stretching away from you on either side.

4. Kosi Bay, KwaZulu-Natal

The Kosi Bay region in KwaZulu-Natal (which is the homeland of the famous Zulu tribe) is a stunning place to visit while you’re on a tailor-made tour of South Africa. This destination not only presents fantastic wildlife-watching opportunities, but also some amazing views. Kosi Bay is actually a series of interconnected lakes with an estuary on the Indian Ocean that is renowned for the clarity of its water.

The whole area is a protected nature reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site, with pristine beaches and vast wetlands that are home to the likes of hippos, crocodiles, rock salmon and night herons, while bull sharks are found in the lakes and estuary. You’ll have the best views of this incredible ecosystem as you enter through the park gate, as you can see where the lakes meet the ocean from here.