Africa has so many amazingly beautiful places to visit. When I thought about a bucket list for Southern Africa, I wanted to make it realistic. Bucket lists, by definition, are basically wish lists. This list is probably not your typical bucket list, rather it’s a list of other lesser known, possibly less touristy places to visit in Southern Africa. So here is my alternative Southern Africa bucket list.
No. 1: Sani Pass
Click on the heading above to take you to Mountain Passes South Africa website where you can watch a video of the pass and you can see why they describe it as “the mother of all South African mountain passes. Statistically and in every sense, it out distances, out climbs, and outperforms all it’s competitors with consummate ease to have become the most iconic gravel pass in SA.”
We love road trips and gravel road driving. Having done Swartberg Pass last year, Sani Pass is definitely the No.1 Mountain Pass I would love to do as part of my Southern Africa bucket list travel experience! My husband did it last year on his BMW GS 1200 motorbike and in his words “sheer fear and determination are the only things that got us through it, never again!” I’m sure he means, never again on a motorbike, only in a 4×4.
Would I take the kids? Probably not.
Here’s a photo I took of Swartberg Pass last year:
No. 2: Blyde River Canyon, Mpumalanga, South Africa
The Nature Reserves and National Parks of South Africa website says “The Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga, South Africa, is the third-largest canyon in the world and has some of the most dramatic and overwhelmingly beautiful scenery in the country.
Check out this link to the Wikipedia page for more details on the canyon, and some awesome photos.
No. 3: Augrabies Falls, Northern Cape, South Africa.
Augrabies Falls is a waterfall on the Orange River, in the Northern Cape.The falls is located in the Augrabies Falls National Park. The falls are around 183 ft high. During the floods in 1988 it was recorded that 7,800 cubic meters of water flowed over the falls every second. With all the rain we’ve had in South Africa this year, I’d love to see it now.
The Orange River is the longest river in South Africa, and forms part of the natural border between Namibia and South Africa, and Lesotho and South Africa. This photo is one I took in December last year of the Orange River flowing near Parys, in the Free State.
No. 4: Matobo Hills, Zimbabwe.
Matopos Hills or Matobo is part of the Matobo National Parks, an area of granite kopjes and wooded valleys commencing some 35 kilometres south of Bulawayo, southern Zimbabwe. The hills were formed over 2 billion years ago with granite being forced to the surface, this has eroded to produce smooth “whaleback dwalas” and broken kopjes, strewn with boulders and interspersed with thickets of vegetation. Mzilikazi, founder of the Ndebele nation, gave the area its name, meaning ‘Bald Heads’. (Source – Wikipedia)
The hills are located south of Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, Bulawayo. The area is rich in history and even has some rock face paintings done by the San people thousands of years ago. I think I went there when I was a very young child, but I don’t remember. I would love to go back to see it all again and to share it with my girls.
Update: I now live in the UK and took my daughters to Brimham Rocks and it reminded me so much of Matopos that I even used some of these photos above to compare. Take a look and see what you think?
ZEN is a conservation project, also known as Wild Is Life. The founder, Roxy Dankwerts, is an amazing woman who is running this elephant nursery in Zimbabwe. Please visit her website, it has all the details, information and links. You can follow the project on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too.
In a nutshell, they rescue young elephants who have been orphaned, and her and her team hand-rear them and raise them as a herd with the aim of releasing them back into the wild eventually. Each little Ellie has its own page where you can read about their own personal circumstances and how they came to be at the orphanage, their progress, their care, and their quirks. It is at once heartbreaking and inspiring. There are also links there about how you can donate money to the orphanage to support this amazing cause. Visiting can only be done by appointment, they are not a zoo, it is a rehabilitation project. Going there for me would be amazing and humbling.
So there you have it. My alternative Southern Africa Bucket List – 5 destinations in South Africa & Zimbabwe to find and discover. How does it compare to your list?