Best Places in South Africa for Solo Female Travel

Cape Town

1, Cape Town

Cape Town, located on the southwestern tip of South Africa, is a thriving metropolis known worldwide for its breathtaking natural beauty and cultural richness. Nestled between the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the dramatic slopes of Table Mountain, this vibrant city offers visitors a unique blend of stunning landscapes and cosmopolitan charm. Cape Town is famous for its historic landmarks such as Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, and the colorful Bo-Kaap district. Food and wine enthusiasts can relish the offerings of numerous world-class vineyards on the city's outskirts, while outdoor lovers are spoilt for choice between mountain trails, scenic drives, and beautiful beaches like Camps Bay and Clifton. A fusion of African, European, and Malay influences, Cape Town stands as a testament to a powerfully diverse and resilient spirit.


2, Johannesburg

Johannesburg, located in the eastern plateau area of South Africa, is a city rich in culture, history, and modern life. Known as the City of Gold for its roots in gold mining, it fascinates its visitors with a mix of unique attractions. It is home to the largest man-made forest, several art galleries, and the Apartheid Museum which chronicles South Africa's journey through racial segregation. The vibrant neighborhood of Maboneng is a hot hub for food and art lovers, and no visit to Johannesburg is complete without a trip to the bustling marketplaces of Soweto, or a safari in the nearby Pilanesberg National Park for those fascinated by wildlife.

Plettenberg Bay

3, Plettenberg Bay

Nestled in the heart of South Africa's Western Cape province, Plettenberg Bay is a stunning coastal gem that deserves a place on every travel lover's bucket list. Renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, including sweeping sandy beaches, luscious forests, and the sparkling Indian Ocean, Plettenberg Bay leaves its visitors enchanted with its natural beauty. The town itself exudes a relaxed atmosphere, yet is celebrated for its sophisticated eateries, fashion boutiques, and plush accommodations. Plettenberg Bay is also known for its thrilling outdoor activities such as whale watching in the bay, exploring the majestic Tsitsikamma National Park, or enjoying marine safari tours. Rich in history, stunning natural wonders, and vibrant culture, Plettenberg Bay is the epitome of a South African paradise.

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4, Clarens

Nestled in the foothills of the majestic Maluti Mountains, Clarens, fondly known as "The Jewel of the Eastern Free State" is a captivating town in South Africa. Its idyllic location is approximately 330 kilometers from Johannesburg, providing easy accessibility for both local and international tourists. Known for its unparalleled natural beauty, Clarens boasts a rich blend of golden sandstone cliffs that encircle the town, creating a distinctive visual appeal that is simply breathtaking. It is also revered as an artist's haven, being home to a myriad of art galleries sprinkled amidst its picturesque lanes. A wealth of outdoor activities such as hiking, horseback riding, and trout fishing, along with charming local craft breweries, restaurants and boutique shops, make Clarens an unforgettable travel destination.


5, Skukuza

Skukuza, located in the heart of South Africa's treasured gem - the Kruger National Park, is the park's largest rest camp and management centre. Known primarily for its superb wildlife viewing opportunities and remarkable safari experiences, it's home to the Big Five animals - lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos. Aside from wildlife sightings, this buzzing hub of activity offers some unique features such as the historic Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial Library and Museum, the picturesque Selati Restaurant originally an old railway station, and a total of nine different trails in and around the camp. Skukuza promises a well-rounded African experience - merging the thrilling adventures by day with the serene calls of nature by night. A visit to Skukuza offers visitors a mesmerizing window into Africa's rich and diverse ecosystem.


6, Hazyview

Hazyview, a quaint town in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa, is an enchanting travel destination known for its breath-taking, panoramic landscapes and a year-round tropical-like climate. Situated on the Sand River Valley and flanked by the Drakensberg Mountain range, Hazyview boasts an unmatched rural charm. The town is also renowned for its close proximity to the iconic Kruger National Park, offering adventurous wildlife spotting opportunities including the Big Five (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, and rhino). The area is also steeped in culture and history, with various local crafts markets, and it's home to the Elephant Sanctuary and the Chimp Eden – a project dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating chimpanzees. From thrilling hot air ballooning to calming river rafting and hiking, Hazyview offers an array of outdoor activities making it a must-visit location for nature and adventure enthusiasts.

Garden Route

7, Garden Route

Stretching along the scenic south-eastern coast of South Africa, the Garden Route is acclaimed as an Eden of earthly delights. From Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape, this coveted track encompasses verdant forests, tranquil lakes, golden beaches, and ancient mountain ranges which form the brink of the African continent. Famously renowned for its exceptional biodiversity and luscious landscapes, wildflower fields and sprawling vineyards, the Garden Route offers unparalleled outdoor activities - from hiking, bird-watching and golfing to whale-watching, cage-diving with great white sharks, and games drives for close encounters with Africa's Big Five. It's also home to the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee jump. This stunning route is a paradise for those in search of nature's treasures and adventurous pursuits, delivering an unforgettable South African travel experience.


8, Tzaneen

Tzaneen is a lush, tropical paradise nestled at the foot of the Wolkberg Mountains in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Known as the fruit basket of the nation due to its abundance of avocado, litchi, and citruses, it is also studded with coffee and tea plantations, giving the area unique horticultural riches. Punctuated by typical African fauna, it offers breath-taking views of the Magoebaskloof Mountains and opportunities for splendid hikes through untouched rainforests. Additionally, visitors get privy to a vast array of cultural heritage, offering an enticing peek into the numerous tribes inhabiting the region, making Tzaneen a must-visit for the ecologically inclined.


9, Hoedspruit

Nestled in the heart of South Africa's Limpopo Province, Hoedspruit serves as an exquisite gateway to the world-renowned Kruger National Park and Blyde River Canyon. Surrounded by the unspoiled wilderness of the African bush, Hoedspruit is known for offering an array of exciting adventures including safari game drives, bird watching, elephant interactions and hot-air balloon trips. Whether you're exploring the vast expanses of the bushveld on a thrilling game drive or basking in the stunning vistas of the towering Drakensberg mountains, Hoedspruit delivers an unrivaled encounter with the enchanting African wilderness. The area is also renowned for its brilliant wildlife conservation efforts, evident in the variety of rehabilitation centers like the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center which fosters cheetahs, rhinos, and other threatened species.


10, Graskop

Nestled comfortably in the majestic province of Mpumalanga, South Africa, Graskop is a picturesque town renowned for its scenic beauty and adventurous allure. Surrounded by the enchanting beauty of the panoramic Drakensberg mountains and lush verdant forests, Graskop serves as an incredible hub for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Renowned for its iconic landmarks like God's Window, the Pinnacle Rock, and the awe-inspiring Lisbon Waterfalls, the town is a treasure trove of stunning landscapes and untouched wilderness. Not to be missed is the engaging Graskop Gorge Lift, where visitors can descend into a lush forest below, making Graskop a quintessential stop on the South African travel circuit.

Pilgrims Rest

11, Pilgrims Rest

Pilgrims Rest is a small, quaint town nestled in the Mpumalanga province of northeastern South Africa, known for its rich historical significance. As a declared National Monument and a well-preserved legacy of the late 19th-century gold rush, the town is a real trip back in time, captivating visitors with its charming, old-world atmosphere. This once booming setting, named after the Pilgrim's Creek where prospectors found alluvial gold, still showcases original structures like historic churches, cemeteries, and Victorian-era homes which have been converted into mesmerizing museums and delightful shops. Visitors can also enjoy panning for gold and exploring the picturesque hiking trails amidst the stunning natural beauty.


12, Sabie

Nestled in the heart of South Africa's majestic Mpumalanga province, Sabie is a charming town renowned for its mesmerizing natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. It serves as an inviting gateway to the iconic Panorama Route, famous for showcasing some of South Africa's most enchanting landscapes. The town is surrounded by verdant forests, thundering waterfalls, and rugged mountains, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking on the breath-taking Mac Mac falls trails to exploring the panoramic views of the Blyde River Canyon and God’s Window, Sabie offers an array of activities for nature lovers. The town's thriving forestry industry is evident in its Timber Museum, which provides intriguing insights into the region’s history. The nearby gold rush town of Pilgrim's Rest, now a national monument, is another must-visit destination that offers a fascinating peek into the past.


13, Nelspruit

Nelspruit, also known as Mbombela, is a vibrant, sub-tropical city located in the North Eastern part of South Africa, nestled in the fertile valley of the Crocodile River. This cosmopolitan city is the capital of the Mpumalanga province and serves as a major stopover point for tourists on their way to the legendary Kruger National Park and the scenic Panorama Route. Nelspruit is celebrated for its pleasant year-round climate, lush landscapes, and an array of natural attractions including the spectacular Lowveld Botanical Garden. Its close proximity to Mozambique and Swaziland as well as its rich assortment of shopping malls, restaurants, and sports facilities adds to its appeal for both local and international visitors.


14, Hluhluwe

Tucked away in the heart of Zululand, South Africa, Hluhluwe is an enchanting destination known for its undulating hills, exceptional wildlife, and rich cultural heritage. This quintessential South African gem is world-famous for the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa, which is home to Africa's Big Five: the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and buffalo. Visitors to Hluhluwe will also be privileged to experience its substantial Zulu culture, history, and traditions, catch sight of breathtaking landscapes dotted with acacia trees and enjoy the serene environment of its iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its diverse offer, Hluhluwe makes a marvellous travel destination for both nature and culture enthusiasts, promising a captivating retreat from the outside world.


15, Dullstroom

Nestled in the heart of Mpumalanga province, halfway between Johannesburg and the world-renowned Kruger National Park, Dullstroom is a splendid South African retreat, often hailed as a fly-fishing haven. This charming highland town, renowned for its cool, subtropical climate and misty scenery, is dappled with quaint shops, artisanal eateries, and cozy pubs, all of which pay homage to the town's rich Scottish heritage. Dullstroom is also home to the highest railway station in South Africa as well as an array of outdoor pursuits to keep you entertained, from hiking and mountain biking to bird watching, with highlights including the locally endemic Blue Swallow. Whether you are an angling enthusiast or a nature lover, Dullstroom offers a tranquil, idyllic escape from the rush of city life.


16, Pretoria

Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, is located in the northern province of Gauteng and is known for its rich political history and vibrant multicultural vibe. Embracing magnificent greenery, Pretoria is characterized by its extensive line of jacaranda trees, earning it the nickname “Jacaranda City.” The city is home to numerous significant landmarks such as the Voortrekker Monument, which reflects Afrikaner heritage, and the Union Buildings, the seat of government filled with awe-inspiring architecture and beautiful gardens. Pretoria also has a thriving arts scene, including the Pretoria Art Museum and the National Zoological Gardens, widely considered to be one of the world’s top zoos. Whether it’s strolling through expansive gardens, exploring historical sites, or immersing yourself in arts and culture, Pretoria offers a rich and diverse travel experience.


17, Hartbeespoort

Nestled at the foothills of the breathtaking Magaliesberg mountain range and near the Hartbeespoort Dam in North West Province, South Africa, Hartbeespoort is a serene escape for nature enthusiasts. Known for its exquisite landscapes, it offers a bevy of outdoor adventures such as hot air balloon tours, water sports, hiking, and wildlife spotting. This vibrant town also boasts a rich cultural heritage with unique attractions like the Elephant Sanctuary, Aerial Cableway Hartbeespoort, the Hartbeespoort Snake & Animal Park, and Jasmyn Farmers Market known for its local produce. Moreover, its idyllic setting and proximity to both Johannesburg and Pretoria make Hartbeespoort an intriguing blend of accessibility and escapism.


18, Potchefstroom

Potchefstroom, located in the North West province of South Africa, is a city that exudes a rich heritage and breathtaking natural beauty. Known for being an academic city with the prominent North-West University, it has a vibrant student life mixed with a tranquil residential atmosphere. The city is renowned for its well-preserved Victorian and Edwardian architectural style that narrates its historical century's journey. Potchefstroom is also notable for hosting Aardklop, an annual national arts festival that has been a significant cultural event in South Africa. With a variety of outdoor activities like hiking and bird watching as well as extensive shopping and dining opportunities, the city provides an intriguing blend of old charm and modern allure.


19, Parys

Located in the heart of South Africa's Free State province, Parys presents a unique blend of natural beauty and vibrant lifestyle. Famous for its exquisite antique shops, vibrant arts scene, and casual cafés, this small yet multifaceted town acts as the gateway to the stunning Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site, the largest verified impact crater on Earth. Outdoor enthusiasts frequently visit Parys for its spectacular river adventures, including white-water rafting, fishing, and bird-watching along the banks of the Vaal River. Whether it's the thrill of adrenaline-packed activities, the serenity of the surrounding landscapes, or simply the charm of a leisurely village life, Parys invites everyone with its undeniable allure.


20, Klerksdorp

Tucked away in the North West Province of South Africa, Klerksdorp beckons as a thriving city steeped in history and natural beauty. Established as part of a gold rush, it endures as a hub for mining and agriculture, with a robust city life balancing its rural allure. Cultural aficionados are invited to walk the historical streets, delighting in attractions like the Faan Meintjies Nature Reserve, or exploring the Klerksdorp Museum - a converted prison showcasing the city's mining history. The Goudkoppie Hill, a registered national monument littered with Stone Age artefacts, unearths a fascinating journey into the past, while the Rio Casino offers modern entertainment. Klerksdorp, with its seamless blend of historical charm and contemporary appeal, guarantees a well-rounded South African experience.

Frequently asked questions

What are the best places in South Africa for solo female travellers?

The best places in South Africa for solo female travellers are: