Finding out-of-the-way spaces and places that haven’t yet been annexed by tourists and their ilk isn’t difficult in South Africa – there’s so much to discover and see that you won’t have to share with others. READ here 10 BEST NON-TOURISTY THINGS TO DO IN SOUTH AFRICA
There are still non-touristy things to do in South Africa that do not require a queue, waiting your turn, or requiring you to arrive at dawn.
South Africa does non-touristy activities just as well as the next country, if not better – scroll down to see how many of these non-touristy activities in South Africa you are aware of…
10 NON-TOURIST ACTIVITIES IN SOUTH AFRICA!
Hike through the Grootvadersbosch and Boosmansbos Wildernesses.
The Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve is not well-known in South Africa. As long as you come here out of season, you’re likely to be the only ones in the reserve.
A hike along paths through indigenous forest in the Langeberg (nearest little ‘dorp’ in which we strongly recommend you overnight is Suurbraak) is one of the most beautiful non-touristy things to do in South Africa.
The reserve isn’t large, but it borders the Boosmansbos Wilderness, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with 70 kilometres of unmarked trails (and only 12 hikers at a time), and it’s here that the magic happens. If you want to explore these places or do any fun activities you can book a South Africa trip or stay in a South Africa safari lodge. Live your best life today.
NON-TOURISTY THINGS TO DO IN SOUTH AFRICA | Attend Lady Grey’s Easter Passion Play.
Lady Grey is a picturesque, historic rural town in the foothills of the Witteberg Mountains on the border of the Free State and the Eastern Cape (near the border with Lesotho).
Although word has spread about the authentic passion play that truly captures the religious character of Easter and takes place in the streets and environs of Lady Grey (perfect for our list of non-touristy things to do in South Africa), so book your accommodation ahead of time.
The beautiful Dutch Reformed church and the Perdedam are incorporated into the play.
NON-TOURISTY THINGS TO DO IN SOUTH AFRICA | Investigate the Aukoerebis, also known as the “place of noise.”
When the Gariep River is full, the Augrabies Falls makes a thunderous crashing sound, similar to the sea, as it slams into the rocks with a ferocious vengeance and booms its way down 90 odd metres and into a massive 18 km granite canyon.
The river rushes through the narrow gorge at breakneck speed, turgid and soaring. It is nothing short of spectacular when viewed at sunrise or sunset. But wait, there’s more. Back roads beyond the gorge, to quote Jacques Marais, lead “into an extra-terrestrial melee of rock and dust and Tim Burton botany.” Explore by bicycle or on foot. Overnight nearby. National Park of Augrabies Falls
NON-TOURISTY THINGS TO DO IN SOUTH AFRICA | Buy a pair of vellies in Wuppertal
In Wuppertal, you can purchase a pair of vellies. If you haven’t heard of the legendary veldskoen, now is the time to learn about the Afrikaner-inspired shoe made from hide and worn in the veld.
Because Wuppertal, a Rhenish/Moravian mission village deep in the Cederberg (about 3 hours from Cape Town), has a veldskoen factory that was founded in 1836 and still makes shoes.
We must warn you that, while a visit is wonderful (just getting there, staying overnight, and possibly risking a donkey cart ride over the Pakhuis Pass is worthwhile), you cannot be certain of finding a shoe in your size. It’s a good idea to place your order ahead of time!
Wuppertal Lie whale watching on an almost deserted beach De Hoop Nature Reserve is one of the most beautiful places along the Whale Coast for whale watching.
NON-TOURISTY THINGS TO DO IN SOUTH AFRICA | Lie watching the whales on an almost deserted beach
The World Heritage Site is teeming with fynbos (ericas, proteas, restios, and heather), a Ramsar listed wetland, and a series of monumental sand dunes that separate you from the beach.
The beach is one of the reasons the reserve is one of the best whale viewing spots in the country; if you go on a weekend outside of school holidays, you’ll probably have the sandy shoreline to yourself (book your accommodation here), and you can literally lie and watch whole pods of whales offshore, their fins, tails, and spray the only indication that they’re there.
The Sea at DeHoop Drive up one of South Africa’s highest mountain passes (whilst you still can)
Ascending the magnificent Drakensberg Mountain on a series of zig-zag curves known as the Sani Pass ranks sixth on our list of non-touristy things to do in South Africa. The views from 3200 metres above sea level, also known as the “roof of Africa,” are nothing short of spectacular.
This non-touristy South African thing to do is up a steep rough track with hairpin bends, tight switchbacks, and views of snow-covered mountain tops (if you drive it in the colder months), and there are plenty of pull over spots for photos.
Note: Sani Pass is about to be tarred (although it will take some time: upgrades began in 2016 and the third stage is still in the works…), so drive it naked while you can!
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NON-TOURISTY THINGS TO DO IN SOUTH AFRICA | Swim in the Lekgalameetse rivers.
Nobody knows about Lekgalameetse Nature Reserve, so you’re likely to have it all to yourself!
It’s difficult to believe given that it’s an 18 000-hectare mountain wilderness protecting the Wolkberg mountains (on the outskirts of the Drakensberg, just outside Tzaneen) and wildlife reserves (look out for the rare butterfly species).
Lekgalameetse means “place of water,” and among its forests, grasslands, and steep gorges are incredible rivers, rock pools, and waterfalls that offer swimming and lazy picnicking on the edge of water.
The Lekgalameetse Nature Reserve – Non-Touristy South African Activities
At Luphathana, photograph the rocky ledge and Waterfall Bluff.
This part of the Wild Coast is largely uncharted territory, so it’s all rather mysterious. The Luphathana River mouth is suddenly visible at the end of a seemingly pointless straight dirt road (you get there from Lusikisiki travelling through a wide, flat plain populated only by donkeys and cattle).
The series of flat rocks on either side of the Luphathana River mouth make this a photographer’s dream.
Waterfall Bluff, a waterfall that drops straight into the sea from the Mlambomkulu River, is a short walk from the river mouth and sends up huge salt sprays (watch the filters and lens!) that make for incredible photo moments.
NON-TOURISTY THINGS TO DO IN SOUTH AFRICA | Attempt the Cederberg 100 trail.
This week-long, 100-kilometer hike through the incredible rock formations of the Cederberg is a slackpacking trail that gets A+ reviews not only for the overnights in a selection of the area’s 14 Moravian villages (South Africans have no idea how many villages hide in the folds of the Cederberg), but also for the incredible scenery.
Highlights include the top of Gabriel’s Pass, mountains with names like Tafelberg, donkey carts, sculpted sandstone formations, caves, flowers, rare cedar trees, local guides who regale you with stories about their chickens, and blisters (if you can’t do the full 7 days, the Cederberg Heritage Route can be rearranged to suit you!).
NON-TOURISTY THINGS TO DO IN SOUTH AFRICA |Explore the Karoo Roggeveld’s backroads and byroads.
One of the best non-touristy things to do in South Africa is to explore the Northern Cape and the Great Karoo.
The roads here are slate, and those who travel here frequently advise you to bring not one, but two spare tyres. But it’s worth it for the breathtaking scenery, corbelled houses, friendly people, windmills, and star-studded skies.