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25 Exciting Things To Do in South Africa on a Budget

Are you planning a trip to South Africa soon? What are the best things to do in South Africa all season? Here I will give an insight into the things to do in South Africa that are budget-friendly and perfect for all seasons.

I remember going to South Africa and instantly falling in love with the people and their culture. Being in South Africa made me appreciate a lot of things, and I already knew that I would want to pay a return visit to the country. South Africa just like most places in Africa is really beautiful. There is so much to learn about their culture, people, and their foods.

Johannesburg is one of the urban cities in South Africa you need to explore. It has this burst of city energy and fun you’d love. You can check out these fun things to do in Johannesburg South Africa.

It was as if there was an endless list of activities to do in South Africa. Every day, you’d see me giving my friends updates on things I was up to. Soon, many of them were already planning their trips to South Africa. 

Below are some exciting things to do in South Africa.

1. Visit South Africa

It isn’t about what to do when you visit South Africa as you cannot do anything if you’re not in the country yet. So, this is your cue to add South Africa to your travel list. Dust your passport, pack your bags, and get all your travel essentials ready! 

I can assure you that South Africa has its arms open and is ready to welcome you. It’s the beginning step of an exciting experience. You can also check out my post on what to pack for a trip to Africa.

2. Learn the language

I’m not saying that I expect you to fully know how to speak and understand Zulu or Xhosa after your trip to South Africa. However, you should be able to say some of their lingoes. It helps you in getting along with the locals perfectly. 

Before my trip to South Africa, I indulged heavily in South African trends on Twitter. Soon, I was able to pick up on some of their slang words like ‘Haibo,’ which is still my favorite today. You’d randomly see me using it when exclaiming. 

Knowing bits of their language helped me feel like one of them while in the country. Plus, I highly recommend google translate as one of the best travel apps you need.

3. Explore Cape Town

You’d probably be landing in Cape Town when you get to South Africa. I don’t know if that would be your end destination while there or if you’d move to another city. However, ensure that you explore Cape Town before you leave. 

Cape Town has a lot to offer to tourists, and you’d be happy if you explore the town. I love the carefree nature that came with being there and watching the mannerisms of the people was quite fascinating. 

4. Visit an Island

Did you know that there are islands to explore in South Africa? 

I got to South Africa with an open mindset, ready to explore everything the country has to offer. But never did I imagine that the country has interesting islands to explore. 

Robben Island is one of the islands you must visit when you get to South Africa. The air of mystery surrounding this place got me very much excited. I got to know that the island housed Nelson Mandela for most of his imprisonment years. 

A lot of historical stories are attached to this island and you’d love to get to know them.

5. Go ziplining

If you’d love to engage in ziplining in South Africa, Ceres is the city to visit. I’d be lying to you if I say that I engaged in this activity as I chickened out at the dying minute. I would most likely do it on my next trip to South Africa. Although this activity is not my cup of tea yet, it is one of the best things to do in South Africa.

However, it was fascinating watching people zipline across the Koekedouw River and Skurweberg Mountain. I can assure you that it’s a safe experience as there are lots of guides there to help you.

6. Visit a national park

South Africa has lots of national parks where you get to see animals, look at intriguing flowers, appreciate nature, relax, meet new people, etc. The list of things to do at a national park are endless.

I wouldn’t want to recommend any specific national park as you should visit the one closest to where you are staying in the country. But, be assured that you would have a swell experience at any of the national parks you pick. Visiting a national park is one of the top things to do in South Africa.

7. Visit a museum

One thing about me is that I always love to learn about new things, including history. Once I get to a new country, I’m on the lookout for their museum so I get to know more about the regions and get tips on how to have the best experience. 

The museums in South Africa are one of the best I have visited as the experience wasn’t underwhelming. The tour guides were also super helpful. 

8. Explore Cango Caves

If you’re looking for something edgy to do in South Africa, then you should explore Cango Caves. I can’t exactly say that I’m an edgy person, but this experience was worth it. I highly recommend this activity as one of the fun things to do in South Africa for adventurers.

At this place, there is the standard tour and adventure tour. I’m not going to give spoilers, but I can tell you that I did both tours and loved them. Exploring the Cango Caves is one experience that stays green in my memory and I recommend it to anyone visiting South Africa.

9. Go shark cage diving

Prior to my South African trip, I never knew that there was an activity like shark cage diving. So, imagine my surprise when my tour guide recommended this activity. Although I was a little bit scared, I decided to indulge in it. 

Being close to a shark? That was my first experience! For this activity, you are in a cage, and sharks come to ‘check you out.’ The thrill that came with engaging in this activity was so surreal. My friends were shocked when they saw my snaps.

10. See Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve

Some people would say that this is one of the most beautiful places in South Africa. I wouldn’t comment on it yet until you’ve taken a trip to SA and explored this place. 

But you can be sure that my camera enjoyed lots of views at this reserve. The waterfalls at this place were my top highlights as they were a sight for the eyes. The reserve also had a calm and relaxing aura. 

11. Have fun on the beach

It shouldn’t be heard that you visit South Africa without having fun on the beach. Who does that? Beaches are one of my favorite places to visit on any trip. So, I can’t do without time at the beach on my visit. A beach visit should be top of the fun things to do in South Africa on your visit.

Need options of what to wear to the beach, check out this post. There I have some fun beach outfits you need to enjoy your holiday.

The country has a good number of beaches. All you need to do is to pick your preference and have the time of your life. It is easy to lose track of time when you’re having fun on an SA beach. 

I got to meet and make lots of new friends and I would say that the experience was worth it. Although these beaches can be busy, you can also find quiet spots to relax. 

12. Go to Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

This was my go-to location for food and entertainment while in South Africa. I don’t know your ideal definition of fine dining. However, mine is having the best meals in a restaurant that overlooks the waterfront, which is what I get at this place. 

This place is home to many restaurants and even has cinemas as well. I dedicated a full day to eating at the restaurants, seeing movies at the cinema, and just feeding my eyes with the views at this place. 

13. Explore Table Mountain

Have you heard of table mountain? 

Hiking or climbing to the peak might be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of a mountain. Trust me; it is also what I think. 

However, table mountain was a delightful surprise as it is a place that has many unique plants. I saw so many beautiful flowers that I have never seen before. I couldn’t stop taking pictures and making videos. 

It was such a refreshing experience visiting this place as it’s something different from other things to do in South Africa. 

Exciting things to do in South Africa

Table Mountain view from a cable car

14. Eat from a local restaurant

I know I talked about fine dining earlier. But let’s deviate a bit and explore local restaurants. You get some of the best local meals for fair prices at these local restaurants. I love trying out the local delicacies. One of the fun things to do in South Africa is to eat at a local restaurant. To enjoy this, make friends with the locals for the best food recommendations.

If you want to immerse yourself in the local South African cuisines, you should eat from a local restaurant. I loved the variety in terms of food and drinks. The servers at these places are also warm and help with recommendations for you to have the best experience. 

15. Go wine tasting

Toward the end of my SA trip, someone took me to the Cape Winelands. I didn’t have high expectations when visiting this place as I had never been to a Wineland before. However, I can tell you that I enjoyed the time I spent there. 

I got to taste fresh wines and know more about their composition. I also got to feed my eyes with the beautiful scenery at this place. If you have the opportunity, ensure that you visit this place when in South Africa. 

Things to do in South Africa on a budget

16. Attend the Zulu festival 

I had always heard about the Zulu festivals before arriving in South Africa. So, you can imagine my joy and excitement when I got to know that I visited the country at the perfect time as the festival happened while I was there. 

From the people to the music, to the dances, traditional activities, etc, everything was on point. I was delighted to be in their midst, and it ranks as one of the best things I have experienced in my life. 

17. Go motorbiking

Motorbiking is another thing you can do while in South Africa as they have dedicated tracks for this activity. I love the badass way I looked when I was kitted up for this activity. 

Now, don’t ask me how it went as it was my first time engaging in it. However, I can assure you that you would have an enjoyable experience if it is something you would like to do.

18. Indulge in tandem paragliding

As much as I love to be adventurous, this was another activity I had cold feet about doing in South Africa. Not to say that there is anything wrong with doing it. But I had not put myself in that mind frame yet. It is on my list of things to do in South Africa during my next visit. 

My friends who engaged in it have nothing but the best words to describe their experience. Now, I regret not engaging in it then.

19. Go for a boat cruise

You can also go on a boat cruise while in South Africa. Luckily for me, my tour guide was organizing a group boat cruise then, and I was more than happy to be a part of it. Boat Cruise is one of the best things to do in South Africa.

The experience was fun as we had food, drinks, music, etc. Going for this boat cruise was one of my best ways to unwind and savor my vacation experience

Fun things to do in South Africa

20. Visit the Lion park

his place is as the name implies. You can say that it is a zoo dedicated to lions. Was I scared to visit it? Yes. Did I visit it? Yes. 

Life is about doing new things, and you can be sure that I want to make the most out of life. I wouldn’t say much until you come back to tell me about your experience at this park. 

21.  Bungee jump at Bloukran Bridge

Another of the exciting things to do in South Africa is Bungee Jumping. Many people have reservations about this activity as they want to be sure of their safety before engaging in it. I didn’t have the time to do it while in South Africa, but I’ve heard only positive reviews from people’s experiences. 

If you love a good adrenaline rush, this is the activity to do in South Africa. 

22. Party at a South African club

Trust me when I say that South Africans have energy for days. These people know how to party and you just can’t resist the amapiano beats! 

From the moment I stepped into the club to when I left, I was on my feet dancing! You can be sure that I’m readily available the next time someone invites me to a South African club. 

It was a swell experience that I would recommend to anyone. 

23. Shop at the local markets

I love South African clothes so much and couldn’t wait to get them at the local market. When I got to the local markets, my mouth was in awe at what they had to offer. I had to exercise lots of self-control to curb my shopping as I didn’t want to finish all my money. 

There is always something to get your attention at a South African market, and it is also a delightful experience conversing with the sellers and haggling about prices.

24. Learn how to make a South African Jewelry

I got one of my South African friends to teach me how to make their local jewelry like beads and earrings before I left the country. Although I didn’t finish learning it, I was enjoying the process. This is one of the fun things to do in South Africa on a budget.

It’s something I must complete learning on my next trip as I cannot wait to make and rock them!

25. Make memories

It isn’t about doing things in South Africa but making sure that you make memories out of them. These memories would remain in you and make the country dear to your heart!

Travel resources you need to travel to South Africa

  1. Book fun activities in South Africa on GetYourGuide. Some activities sell out really fast. So, book your spot now.
  2. Earn cashback and book cheap flight tickets: Sign up on WayAway.
  3. Search for the best flight deals: Book it on Trip.com

4. Book a hostel for your stay in South Africa on Hostelworld.

5. Book your travel insurance for health and emergencies on Insubuy.

6. For Budget-friendly hotels for your trip to South Africa, book it on Trivago.

7. For ease of moving around book your airport transfers from GetTransfers.

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