South Africa is full of surprises and my top list of things to do includes riding an Ostrich, canoeing through a desert in bloom, riding a luxury train, spending the night in a tree-house, cage-diving with the Great White shark,playing golf, relaxing a a spa, and checking out a local soccer (football) game.
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South Africa is home to some of the most beautiful golf courses on the planet and they're affordable too. Gary Player and Ernie Els earned their first birdies on South African golf courses. And where else could you find crocs in the water hazards, and have to stop for ostriches crossing the green? Here's a list of top ten golf resorts you must visit if you have even just a little interest in golf. If your spouse is not a golfer, these resorts have excellent spas that will more than make up for your round or two.
Ride an Ostrich
Once you're done attempting to ride the bird, you can taste its relatives by eating some delicious Ostrich Biltong or Paté.
Ride Ostriches at:
Stay in a Tree-House
- Teniqua Treetops is a tented tree-house resort that offers self-catering canopy lodging in the foothills of the Outeniqua mountain range in the Western Cape, not far from the beach.
- Jaci's Tree Lodge is a unique luxury lodge with individual houses on stilts built around giant Leadwood trees in the heart of the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve.
- Sycamore Ave is made up of several tree-houses in the beautiful Drakensberg Mountains. Each tree-house is unique, some even have jacuzzis and fireplaces.
- Pezulu Tree-House Game Lodge in Timbavati, has 7 unique, luxurious thatched tree-houses where you can get eye to eye with passing giraffe.
The South African coastline is defined by a series of points and bays, technically logarithmic spiral beaches, because of their mathematically determined shapes. And, as any surfer worth his or her bar of Mr Zogg's Sex Wax knows, points and bays are the salt and water of surfing. What you may also know is that the quality of the surf depends on the size of the swell and the direction of the wind. For that latter reason, the Cape Peninsula (with Cape Town at its northern end) is pretty much a 360 degrees, 365 days a year ride. But there are some other radical breaks too, so wax up, click on the heading above, and hit the water as we explore South Africa's 10 best surfing spots.
- Strandloper - a 5 day backpacking trail along the southern section of the Wild Coast and Cape Wild Coast where you stay in huts on the beach.
- Hole in the Wall Hiking trail - is also a 5 day hike, nights are spent in small hotels, days are spent walking through spectacular mangroves, beaches and over clifftops.
- WildCoast Walk offers many hikes on the Wild Coast as well as horseback and canoeing trips.
Ride a Luxury Train
There are several excellent luxury train rides you can take in South Africa. The most famous is the Blue Train which has scheduled services between Cape Town and Pretoria. A one way journey takes 27 hours which you spend in 5 star splendor while enjoying spectacular scenery.
Rovos Rail operates a very luxurious railway line and offers trips within South Africa as well as up to the Victoria Falls. Vintage wood-paneled carriages are pulled by a variety of locomotives including steam. Passengers dine on 5 course dinners and enjoy a full-sized bath tub, while chugging through some of South Africa's beautiful landscapes.
Canoe or Raft down the Orange River
The Orange River originates in the Drakensberg Mountains and cuts through some incredible mountain and desert scenery as it winds its way down to the Atlantic Ocean. Well organized canoe and white-water rafting trips down the Orange River are plentiful and most operate in the Richtersveld National Park along the border with Namibia. Typically, a trip will last several days and you camp under brilliant starlit skies.
Canoe and rafting expeditions are absolutely breathtaking during the spring (mid-August - mid-September), when the desert area around Namaqualand, bursts into a riot of color and wildflowers bloom as far as the eye can see.