Safest Places in South Africa for Solo Female Travel

Located at the southernmost tip of the African continent, South Africa is a place where captivating culture and breathtaking nature harmoniously coincide. Renowned for its diverse ecosystem, it hosts an array of activities such as thrilling safaris at Kruger National Park, hiking to the awe-inspiring Table Mountain, and spotting the astonishing marine life along a vast coastline. Home to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, the nation speaks volumes about novel historical narratives and the struggle against apartheid. South Africa's vibrant cities, like Johannesburg and Cape Town, are celebrated for their cosmopolitan atmosphere, highlighting delectable cuisine, world-class wineries, and a thriving art scene. A journey to South Africa provides an unforgettably rich tapestry of experiences that serve as a feast for the senses.
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.

Clarens

2, 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.

Johannesburg

3, 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

4, 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.

Kruger National Park

5, Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park, located in northeastern South Africa, is one of Africa's largest game reserves. Internationally esteemed for its vast landscape spanning 19,485 square kilometers and diverse wildlife, it's home to hundreds of species including the majestic Big Five: elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards, and buffalo. Frequented by avid nature enthusiasts, this remarkable park is peppered with historical sites of ancient rock art and archaeological remains. Moreover, it also provides an array of photographic opportunities with its unrivaled landscapes spanning dense woodlands, extensive grasslands, and meandering rivers. A visit to the Kruger National Park promises a captivating journey steeped in natural spectacle and profound history.

Skukuza

6, 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.

Hazyview

7, 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

8, 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.

Giyani

9, Giyani

Giyani, located in the heartland of the Limpopo Province in South Africa, is a remarkable tourist destination that's steeped in vibrant culture and natural beauty. The town is notable for its rich histories seen throughout, nestled between the animal rich Kruger National Park to the East and the characteristic Venda to the West. Giyani is renowned for its lush greeneries, teeming wildlife, and serene landscapes owing to its subtropical climate, typifying the African tropics like few others. Known for its plethora of indigenous fruit trees and traditional Tsonga music, this captivating town unlocks several gateways to the exploration of South African heritage and lively local cultures. Every visit promises unique experiences, be it the distinctive sounds of local Tsonga music, wildlife viewing opportunities, or simply soaking in the quintessential South African ambiance.

Tzaneen

10, 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.

Polokwane

11, Polokwane

Located in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, Polokwane is a vibrant and bustling city known for its cultural diversity and rich history. It’s an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts, offering an abundance of wildlife preserves such as the Polokwane Game Reserve, where zebras, antelopes and over 200 bird species can be observed. Devoted to the preservation of local culture and history, Polokwane is also home to the Hugh Exton Photographic Museum, which houses a valuable collection of over 20,000 glass negatives capturing the initial years of the city, and the Bakone Malapa Northern Sotho Open-Air Museum, showcasing the traditional lifestyle of the North Sotho people. Visitors can also enjoy the thriving local food scene, or shop for traditional crafts at the many markets.

Hoedspruit

12, 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.

Graskop

13, 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

14, 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.

Ohrigstad

15, Ohrigstad

Ohrigstad, situated in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa, is a serene, small town that artfully blends historical significance with natural beauty. Nestled at the foot of the Drakensberg mountain range, it's known for its panoramic views, and rich history evident in the ancient San Rock Art and the Ohrigstad Dam Nature Reserve teeming with wildlife. This erstly populated settler town established during the 19th-century gold rush, goes beyond its historical sites and enthralls visitors with scenic drives, pristine hiking trails, rock climbing opportunities, and abundant bird watching. A haven for explorers and nature enthusiasts, Ohrigstad encapsulates the untamed spirit and raw beauty of South Africa.

Sabie

16, 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.

Lydenburg

17, Lydenburg

Lydenburg, a charming town in the scenic province of Mpumalanga, in South Africa, is steeped in history and surrounded by incredible nature reserves and striking landscapes. Known for its historic allure, the town is home to the famous Lydenburg Heads, one of the world's oldest artworks, and several well-preserved old buildings embodying the 19th-century gold rush era. Along with its historical allure, Lydenburg is also well-recognized for trout fishing, owing to its location on the bank of the Sterkspruit River. With nearby attractions like Sudwala Caves and natural parks for enticing eco-tourism opportunities, Lydenburg unfolds as an astonishing mix of history and nature, offering an unforgettable experience for travel enthusiasts.

Nelspruit

18, 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.

Hluhluwe

19, 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.

Waterval Boven

20, Waterval Boven

Waterval Boven, also known as Emgwenya, is a delightful small town situated on the edge of the Escarpment in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. It is a popular destination for tourists, known for its breathtaking beauty and a wide array of outdoor activities. Renowned for its historical significance, the town features Elands River, exquisite waterfalls and the NZASM tunnel, a national monument from yesteryears of gold mining. Rock climbing enthusiasts from around the globe flock to Waterval Boven for its world-class sport climbing routes. The town also offers unparalleled opportunities for fly fishing, bird watching, and hiking amidst its scenic landscapes and diverse wildlife. Whether you're a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or a tranquility seeker, Waterval Boven offers an extraordinary escape.

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Frequently asked questions

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

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

What is the ranking methodology?

The ranking is based on over 5000 reviews from verified female travelers. Five crucial rating factors are taken into account: overall experience, food, safety, affordability, and things to do.