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A South African city guide: from Johannesburg to Cape Town

by Misty Foster

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South Africa provides endless opportunities for travellers to explore the country’s nature, culture, and wildlife. You can safari by day and dance by night in bustling Johannesburg. You can get your culture fix in Cape Town or enjoy tropical vibes in Durban. There’s no shortage of activities for travellers of every kind.

Colourful streets of Bo Kaap, Cape TownBeyond the stunning nature reserves and wildlife experiences one can experience in South Africa, part of what makes it such a fun place to visit is the variety of ways to explore the major cities and their surrounding areas. In particular, Johannesburg and Cape Town offer some unique ways to transport yourself in, around, or to these two city hubs.

Whether it’s your first time visiting one of these two cities, or you are a seasoned pro, we’ve come up with some ways to walk, fly, and roll on the wild side of South Africa.

Johannesburg

Bungee jump between two towers

Bungee jumping at Orlando Towers, South AfricaDo you have an adventurous streak? Bungee jumping between the Orlando Towers in Soweto will surely provide the thrills you seek! The two towers have become a distinctive landmark in the township due to the murals depicting local life, painted on them and for the action-packed fun they now provide. They are also the world’s first bungee jump site situated between two cooling towers. If you don’t get enough of a thrill sailing through the air, you can add on an abseil and/or SCAD (suspended catch air device) failing. There’s also paint ball and a variety of other sports to enjoy. Once you’ve gotten your fill of thrills, grab a bite (and a drink) at Chaf Pozi, a local institution that serves traditional South African grub and frequently has local musicians playing live music. It’s a great spot to delve into the cultural vibe of the township of Soweto.

Take the Premier Classe train from Johannesburg to Cape Town

Trains in South AfricaWhile the Garden Route provides a scenic drive from one part of the country to the other, you might not be interested in driving. If you’d still like to catch breath-taking views without handling a vehicle, the Shosholoza Meyl Premier Classe train from Joburg to Cape Town might just be for you! It also happens to be a much more eco-friendly alternative to driving. This affordable and luxurious train will not only treat you to sweeping views of the African plains, you’ll be transported to a bygone era. The Premier Classe train hearkens back to the golden age of train travel complete with private bunks, dining cars, a bar, and even a health spa coach. You’ll be greeted with a glass of champagne and will enjoy several four course meals, and high tea during the trip. There’s also the option of taking the Blue Train, which is an even higher-end train travelling from Pretoria to Cape Town. The 25 hour trip provides ample opportunity to relax, enjoy the countryside, and journal about your trip thus far. The train only runs on Thursdays and tickets must be purchased in advance.

Cape Town

Walk through the tree-tops at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Tree-top walkway through Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape TownTable Mountain isn’t the only spot in Cape Town to catch a view overlooking the city; the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens boasts its own spot: the tree canopy walkway or boomslang. The winding steel and timber bridge was built inside the arboretum back in May of 2014 and has quickly become a favourite destination for visitors and locals alike.

Measuring 130 metres long and 12 metres high, the bridge sits perched among the trees and showcases panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains and cityscape. The low-impact bridge was built in 2013 as a way to celebrate the centenary of the Kirstenbosch gardens - it was made from eco-friendly materials and integrates nature in the most fabulous way. Entrance to the park is 65R for adults and there is no additional fee to enjoy walking on the boomslang. Your only job is to look out over the beauty of the land and let your jaw drop to the floor.

Segway through a vineyard in Stellenbosch

Vineyard in Stellenbosch, South AfricaUnwind as you wind your way through the vineyards at Spier Farms on a segway, in Stellenbosch. Located right outside Cape Town, Stellenbosch is renowned for its wines. Spier Farms is one of the area’s top wineries and has many award-winning varietals, like their Pinotage. But it’s more than just a winery, the farm also serves as a guest-house and houses top-rated restaurant, Eight.

The grounds are stunning and capture the natural beauty of the Western Cape. There are plenty of activities to do on this 620 hectares of land and if you aren’t overnighting at the hotel, a day-trip from Cape Town is a fun way to visit the farm. You can cover a lot of land via their segway tour which takes you through the vineyard, gardens, and lands you right at the wine bar for some cheese and well...wine. After the tour, you can also browse through the craft markets and purchase something hand-crafted and made by local artisans.

Make it happen:

If you've been inspired by Misty's words to travel to South Africa, then don't hesitate to get in touch with our local experts. They have a fabulous wine-inspired itinerary that takes you around Cape Town's glorious surrounds, but are far from limited to it! They can put together you're perfect safari break, or help you to explore the Garden Route with a true local's perspective. To speak to someone in the TravelLocal office, call +44 (0) 117 325 7898.

About the author:

Misty is the founder and chief content creator of Green Suitcase Travel. She is a consultant, travel writer, and all around travel maven. When she is not traversing the world, spreading the news about sustainable travel, she is in Tucson, Arizona enjoying the desert.

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