Pretoria Union Buildings

16 Free Things to do in South Africa

The best part of a visit to South Africa is the plenty of family-friendly free things to do both locals and visitors can enjoy. Every major city in South Africa boasts of free activities a visitor can do. Here are some of our top picks:


1. Visit the largest transport museum in the country – the James Hall Museum of Transport.
2. Johannesburg houses world class art galleries such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery and the Goodman Gallery in Rosebank where illustrious names such as William Kentridge, Picasso, Monet and Degas adorn the walls.
3. Spend a wonderful afternoon with the entire family at Museum Afrika in the Newtown precinct.
4. Slow down the pace at Zoo Lake. The serenity offers a welcome getaway from the energetic pulse of the city.
5. Johannesburg’s botanical gardens and nature reserves are a tribute to the glorious beauty of Mother Nature. They provide the perfect spot for a picnic or photo opportunities with loved ones.

Cape Town:

6. The South African Astronomical Observatory hosts 45 minute presentations on Open Nights (held every second and fourth Saturday of the month in the evenings). Topics are announced before hand and the public are welcome to join the tour of the site and be amazed by star gazing opportunities.
7. A free tour that provides a fascinating and behind the scenes look into the creation of diamonds is the Diamond tours at Shimansky located at Clock Tower, V & A Waterfront.
8. A leisurely stroll along one of Cape Town’s many beautiful beaches offers wonderful scenic views.
9. Green Point Park is a stunning landscaped garden that features more than 300 indigenous plant species. Visitors of all ages will enjoy this cleverly designed greenway.


10. Durban flea markets are popular with both locals and visitors. Notable among the many markets in the city is the Essenwood Street Market which is open every Saturday morning.
11. Visit the most famous building in Durban designed in modern renaissance style – the Durban City Hall. Also on site are the eThekeini Art Gallery and the Natural Science Museum which features a unique range of stuffed animals, a dodo skeleton and the only ancient Egyptian mummy in the country.
12. The Durban Cultural and Documentation Centre has on show cultural artefacts, paintings, traditional clothing and jewellery of the Indian culture.
13. The Japanese Garden is a quaint landscaped garden characterized by oriental gardens, koi ponds and temples that provide unrivalled photographic opportunities.


14. Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary is a beautiful nature reserve with no entrance fee situated in central Pretoria where visitors can view fauna such as cranes and other birdlife, small sized deer and tortoises.
15. The terraced gardens, statues and monuments on the grounds of the Union Buildings are well worth a visit.
16. For architectural buffs, Church Square in the centre of the city displays a number of examples of 19th and 20th century designed buildings.

South Africa has a wide variety of entertainment activities that are free for international and local visitors to indulge in. The culturally inclined tourists and wildlife enthusiasts will find ample opportunities to take delight in and which showcase the extraordinary attractions the country has to offer.

Blue Flag beach

Blue Flag status for 8 Cape Town beaches and 2 marinas

If the unstinting beauty of Cape Town beaches is not a good enough reason worth a visit, here is more motivation for you says the municipality – clean, safe, secure and adhering to international safety and tourism standards have earned beaches in Cape Town the distinguished Blue Flag status. The accreditation was awarded to 8 beaches and 2 marinas in the Mother City on Tuesday, the 8th of October 2013.

Cape Town beaches boast the highest number of Blue Flag accreditation in South Africa. In 2012 the city of Cape Town was the first in Africa south of the Mediterranean with marinas receiving the Blue Flag status.

The Blue Flag accreditation is a major tourism advantage and attraction as both local and international visitors can be assured of the stringent safety and security features characteristic of the awarded Blue Flag beaches and marinas. The status promises that the beaches are clean, safe and environmentally friendly.

Belinda Walker, mayoral council member, expressed delight saying, “The city is very pleased at this acknowledgement of our commitment to maintaining world-class beaches.”

The 8 beaches in Cape Town awarded Blue Flag status is: Bikini, Mnandi, Strandfontein, Muizenburg, Llandudno, Camps Bay, Clifton 4th and Silwerstroomstrand; with the 2 marinas being Granger Bay Water Club and False Bay Marina.

In more good news for South Africa’s tourism and hospitality industry in the Cap region, Port Elizabeth along the south eastern coastline also received 2 Blue Flag certificates – Kings Beach and Humewood in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality area.

“For a beach to get a Blue Flag status it has to follow strict guidelines and put systems in a place to make sure that the beach commits to environmental management, water quality improvement, safety and security,” said spokesperson for the Port Elizabeth municipality Roland Williams.

The Blue Flag status is awarded for a season and should the condition of an awarded beach or marina change for the worse, then the accreditation would be cancelled.
Close to 4 000 beaches and marinas in 44 countries spanning Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean are awarded Blue Flag certificates every year.

Four criteria have to be met with in order for a beach or marina to receive a certificate. These include water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management; and safety and services available.

The popularity and success of the Blue Flag campaign can be attributed to economic development opportunities presented for the hospitality and tourism industries which local authorities are keen to take advantage of. The campaign has seen a dramatic rise in the number of beaches entering the campaign.

10 things to do in Cape Town

Top 10 things to do in Cape Town in Winter

Cape Town in winter offers a magical myriad of indoor and outdoor attractions for both local and international visitors. Discover Cape Town and witness the city showcasing its unique culture and heritage in the arts, food and wine attractions.

1. Winter wining and dining
Whet your appetite at some of the most exquisite eateries in Cape Town. The Mother City boasts plenty of fine dining establishments where one can savour sumptuous meals in multiple course set menus. Food lovers are spoilt for choice with dishes ranging from Cape Malay inspirations to haute cuisine.

2. Shopping
Shopping enthusiasts are presented with an array of shopping destinations housed comfortably with the city of Cape Town. The premier V&A Waterfront, Cavendish Square and Canal Walk are just some the shopping malls offering unrivalled adventures to shopping connoisseurs of local and international fashion. The V&A Waterfront draws in huge numbers and is celebrated as an ultimate entertainment venue housing theatres, craft markets, specialty shops and pubs.

3. Theatre
World-class theatrical performances can be enjoyed at the Artscape, the Baxter and Masque Theatres and the Theatre-on-the-Bay. From ballet to drama productions to comedy shows there is something to suit every taste.

4. Winter music festivals
Pencil in a music festival whilst in Cape Town. The Cape Town International Jazz festival is a musical extravaganza of note. The fourth largest Jazz festival in the world highlights the talents of 30 international and local acts

5. Two Oceans Aquarium
Explore South Africa’s largest aquarium and savour the enchanting exhibits of aquatic life. The Two Oceans Aquarium promises to delight both the young and old alike. This popular tourist venue displays in excess of 3 000 marine life forms from the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.

6. Indoor Markets
A leisurely amble around the numerous indoor markets is a perfect introduction to the colourful culture and unique identity of Cape Town. Sample the local cuisine or soak up the buzzying atmosphere of Hout Bay’s Bay Market or V&A Waterfronts’s Market on the Wharf.

7. Historic Museums
Robben Island is synonymous with exile, isolation and imprisonment; this now world renowned museum located only 12 kilometres from Cape Town was where freedom fighter and former South African president Nelson Mandela spent 27 years of his life fighting oppression.

8. Kirstenbosch Botantical Gardens
This top tourist attraction situated against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain is celebrated the world over for the astounding beauty and diversity of Cape flora it is home to. Indigenous South African plants are grown exclusively in the 528 hectare estate.

9. The Ice Station
Labelled as a premier South African ice rink, The Ice Station provides experienced and novice ice skaters with plenty of pleasure-filled ice-scapades. Part of the exciting line-up of events held by The Ice Station is ice hockey games and figure-skating competitions.

10. Visit a wine farm
Cape Town is famed for its wine estates and excellent wine. A visit to one in Constantia, Stellenbosch, Paarl or any of the other wine farms is highly recommended and should be included on every visitor’s itinerary.

30 more things to do in Cape Town