10 Local Plekkies That Feel Like Exotic Destinations

exotic local tourist destinations Tsitsikamma National Park


The travel bug is biting, but you're not yet willing/able to travel internationally. Moenie worry nie, as the locals say: South Africa has loads of places that are just as amazing as anything the rest of the world has to offer.


You love to travel. Who doesn't, right? You've got a Bucket List of places to go, things to see, cars to rent, cruises to... erm... cruise. But while travel restrictions remain more or less in place, your plans of heading off to overseas destinations and exotic locales are – at least temporarily – on ice.


Why should that stop you from experiencing all the world has to offer? South Africa may not have ancient pyramids or leaning towers, and ja, we're running low on great walls and mighty cathedrals, but we've got places here that could easily double up for some of the world's most famous tourist destinations.


So check up on local travel restrictions, stock up on masks and sanitisers, top up your travel insurance, hire that road-trip rental car and feast your senses on...


The Amatolas instead of the Alps

You don't have to pack your lederhosen and head off to Switzerland. Rather yodel your heart out from the Eastern Cape's mountaintops (and take a hike to Hogsback while you're there); or, if you're looking for more high-altitude wonderfulness, explore Mpumalanga's stunning Blyde River Canyon or KZN's gorgeous Drakensberg.


Sabie instead of the Serengeti


There's a once-in-a-lifetime safari experience waiting for you in Kenya and Tanzania... but in the meantime, you've got South Africa's own Kruger National Park and the wide-open spaces of Sabie in Mpumalanga.


Bo Kaap instead of La Boca


The barrio (neighbourhood) of La Boca in Argentina's capital Buenos Aires is known across the world for its painted buildings and unmistakable local flavour. So is Cape Town's Bo Kaap. Pay a visit to one of the Mother City's oldest residential areas, and add a pop of seriously bright colour to your Instagram feed.


Ballito instead of Bali


Okay, so we may have overdone the alliteration on this one. Still, if you're looking for rad beaches, you don't have to traipse all the way to Indonesia to soak up the sand and sun. KZN's Dolphin Coast runs north of Durban, taking in gorgeous beach towns like KwaDukuza, Salt Rock and Zinkwazi (and of course Ballito).


The Kalahari instead of the Sahara


Red sands, remote oases, big skies... We could be describing Morocco; instead we're talking about the vast badlands of the Northern Cape, with places like the bone-dry Richtersveld, Kuruman, Postmasburg, Upington and (this is its actual name) Hotazel. If you enjoy open roads and solitude, you've come to the right place.


Tugela Falls instead of Angel Falls


Venezuela's spectacular Angel Falls is, at a whopping 979m, the tallest uninterrupted waterfall on Earth. That is, until some patriotic Saffer corrects Wikipedia's mistake and puts KZN's Tugela Falls (948m or 983m, depending on who's measuring) in its rightful place at the top. Go see Tugela for yourself: it's located in Royal Natal National Park, right on the Lesotho border.


Mapungubwe instead of Uluru


Australia's remote sacred site is an icon of the local cultural landscape, and Mapungubwe Hill should be too. Located south of the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers, this cultural landscape is the original site of a rich civilisation. Today it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site, set in the stark beauty of Mapungubwe National Park.


Tsitsikamma instead of Borneo


Like Costa Rica in Central America, Southeast Asia's faraway Borneo is famed for its lush rainforests and unique wildlife. But while they're half a world away, the Tsitsikamma coastal forests are just down the road on South Africa's gloriously green Garden Route.


The Wild Coast instead of Thailand


Who needs (childish giggle) Phi Phi Island when you've got Coffee Bay? The Eastern Cape's untamed coastline combines luxury lodges with scruffy campsites, all set among mangrove swamps, unspoilt beaches and dude-where's-my-camera sites like the famous Hole In The Wall. Hike it, bike it, horse it, drive it (mind the potholes though!)... whatever you do, just experience it.


Route 62 instead of Route 66


Just can't wait to get back on the road again? Sure, you could get your kicks on the famous road from Chicago to California, or (now hear us out) you could update your car insurance and drive from PE to Cape Town on the comparatively modest (but still lank pretty) Route 62. Montagu, Oudtshoorn, McGregor, Ronnie's Sex Shop... They're all out there, waiting for you.


To locals, Sarf Efrika isn't a global tourism hotspot, it's simply home. But rather than taking our beautiful country for granted, get out and explore it. Hippo's free online tool lets you compare quotes on travel insurance, as well as deals on car rentals!


This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal or medical advice.

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