Postcards from South Africa – Favourite Destinations Series

Visiting South Africa is a destination almost everybody wants to visit, it is almost a right of passage for travellers. Having a stamp in your passport from here will gain the respect of other travelling types. Extra points are available to those that have visited both Johannesburg and Cape Town, as these are the big two cities of the sub-continent.

Happy kids in the Soweto district of Johannesburg in South Africa on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-25-1_african_kids

Happy to pose

It’s easy to understand why it’s such a popular destination, even outside of the two main players in South African tourism. Durban in the KwaZulu-Natal region is probably the next best know city. It’s on the Indian Ocean, has some great sandy beaches including North Beach which is generally considered the best. The beachfront is known as the ‘Golden Mile’, which is a reason I’m particularly fond of it; the promenade in my hometown Blackpool is known by the same name.

Rhino statue outside the International Conference Centre in Durban, South Africa on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-26-1_icc_durban

Outside the International Conference Centre (ICC) Durban

I’m surprised to learn that Durban is the most visited holiday destination in South Africa. However it’s blessed with a mild, sub-tropical climate and the waters of the Indian Ocean are seldom too cool, making it popular with those that enjoy water sports, such as kitesurfers, surfers and body boarders. There is also the huge Suncoast Casino, an extensive flea-market, internationally renowned conference centre, excellent hotels and restaurants. It is home to the largest Indian population in South Africa, and visiting the city without trying a curry would be criminal.

Experiencing a safari probably tops almost every visitors list. Seeing the ‘Big Five’ is a huge draw, and few pass up the chance, often staying in a lodge. Kruger is possibly the best known of all Africa’s game reserves, but there are many more, including Kgalagadi, Sabi Sands and Mapungubwe National Park. There’s little that matches the excitement of a close encounter with some of Africa’s amazing wildlife, whether in the bush or the ocean.

Cape buffalo at Karkloof Spa game reserve in the KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-27-1_cape_buffalo

On safari with the Cape buffalo

Zulu woman in the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-30-1_zulu_woman

Zulu performer and storyteller

The Drakensberg is a beautiful, mountainous landscape, steep-sided cliffs, bisected by deep clefts with powerful rivers flowing in their base. It’s rich, unique diversity is recognised, and it is now a World Heritage site, with great cultural significance. There are around 600 sites displaying indigenous Bushman rock art, and over 35,000 individual paintings.

Helicopter in the Drakensberg in the KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-29-1_drakensberg

The Drakensberg Mountains

On my recent visit Cape Town was not on the itinerary, but there was time to spend exploring Johannesburg. It still has issues which need resolving, and many South Africans have few good words to say about the capital city. However, I enjoyed my day discovering the street art of Newtown and the Maboneng Precinct   is fantastic and finishing off in the lively Neighbourgoods market was perfect. It’s a vibrant place, markets may usually be for shopping but the vibe in the second floor bar area is both chilled and dynamic. The jazz trio set the perfect tone and everybody is out for a good time.

Street art in Johannesburg in South Africa on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-31-1_street-art

Jo’burg street art

The Maboneng Precinct district of Johannesburg in South Africa on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-37_maboneng_precinct

Johannesburg’s Maboneng Precinct

In common with every destination it’s the people who ultimately make it worth visiting, and South Africa isn’t an exception. There are happy, smiling children which seem to love posing for the camera or Zulu women collecting heavy loads high in the Drakensberg equally happy to engage with visitors. Whether enjoying a braai in modern-day Soweto or a stroll along the Golden Mile in Durban, I was met with openness and a friendly smile. The traditional greeting of the ‘Rainbow Nation’ this is reason enough to love South Africa.

Live music at the Neighbourgoods Market in Johannesburg in South Africa on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-32_jazz_musicians

Jamming in Jo’burg

A pavement skateboard park in Johannesburg in South Africa on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-49_african_skateboarder

Jo’burg pavement skateboard park

*All images were taken on a compact camera

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Comments 6

  1. fred mucai

    I agree with South African sentiments about their capital city, Johannesburg, particularly the downtown and Hillbrow area. In the downtown, elevators do not work in most buildings, and infrastructure is falling apart. Hillbrow area is nothing to write home about although you can tell it was once an very attractive residential community. Having said that, a visit to Johannesburg is incomplete without popping into Newtown and Soweto.

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  2. Beth

    I’ve always wanted to visit South Africa, although a few coworkers of mine(born there) always try to dissuade me. Hopefully I’ll get there someday to see for myself what it’s like.

    And as always, I love your photos! It always amazes me that you’re using just a compact camera 😉

  3. NGuyen Huong Giang

    Traveling always has many exciting, right? I just back from Bagan, Myanmar. I’m seeking some ideas, experience in order write articles. You have many creative ideas than me. I will write the same you! Let it be! 🙂

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