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9 of the Most Magical Places in South Africa

9 of the Most Magical Places in South Africa

One of the things we love most about travelling are those rare moments when the world seems to shrink in on itself around you. The times when you end up in a place that literally sucks the reality out of your being and leaves you feeling teeny tiny but at the same time hugely significant. Those places where time ceases to exist, where your spirit takes charge and where the meaning of life is within your grasp.


Travelstart asked us to share what we love about travelling. For us, travel is about more than just seeing new places and doing new things together as a family. It is magic in its simplest and most humanly accessible form.


There are certain places where the fabric between magic and reality is torn. Places where people gather and become still and contemplative. These places recharge your spirit and make you content, they strengthen you emotionally and remind you what an amazing gift it is to be alive.


Here are 9 of our most magical places in our beautiful rainbow nation, South Africa:

  1. On Top of Table Mountain

Whether you choose to walk up or catch the cable car to the summit, the world on top of Table Mountain is quietly mystical. It feels like you have arrived on another planet, with a window down onto your previous, tiny little world. Standing on the rocks above the clouds surrounded by absolute silence broken only by whispers of tourists carried in the wind is surreal.

  1. The Eco-Shrine at Hogsback

Artist Diana Graham lives at the end of the world. Her lush green garden is bursting with colourful flowers and filled with birdsong. It is the perfect place to sit and absorb the magic of Hogsback. You can see why she felt impelled to create outdoor art which pays homage to nature, science and a sense of the sacred.  Her Eco-Shrine, with its powerful symbiotic images and windows with a view over the Eastern Cape, must be one of the most peaceful places on the planet.

  1. Addo Elephant National Park

There is nothing as calming as spending some quiet time in extremely close proximity to a herd of elephants. When we are feeling stressed or down, we head to Addo . The bush itself is soothingly beautiful and when you find a breeding herd of elephants, open your windows and turn your engine off, your worries literally melt away.

  1. The Channels at Kosi Bay

Kosi Bay consists of four inland lakes, all connected by a series of narrow channels. These channels are bursting with wildlife, from hippos and giant monitor lizards, to rare birds and shoals of fish. We were in awe of this incredibly unique place as we motored slowly through the kilometres of crystal clear water channels lined by tall, thick reeds and mangroves, before jumping in and snorkelling among thousands and thousands of Moonfish beneath the surface.

  1. Kologha Forest in Stutterheim

The Kologha Forest hides in the Eastern end of the Amatola Mountains near Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape. We were enchanted by its magnificent yellowwoods, stinkwoods and magical mossy greenery. As we pottered through the trails and jumped over stepping stones across the gurgling streams and under the waterfalls, I am quite sure we were surrounded by fairies and sprites and watched warily by forest elves.

  1. Dinosaur Footprints at Mafube

Mafube Mountain Retreat lies midway between Fouriesburg and Clarens at the Western edge of the Drakensburg. Hundreds of millions of years ago the farm was home to massive dinosaurs who plodded along on large hind legs leaving deep imprints on the muddy plains. The plains are now halfway up the mountainside, and their footprints have been preserved forever into the sandstone. It is mind blowing to put your hands into the huge three-toed footprints and journey back in time to another age so long ago.

  1. The Waterfall on the Otter Trail

Part of the magic of the waterfall is the challenge in getting there. The Otter Trail starts out as a pretty forest path but fast becomes a treacherous scramble over boulders and rocks. The three kilometre hike to the falls feels worlds longer and your thighs and calves will be screaming in protest as you search for the elusive waterfall. But wait till you see the tannin stained water falling over the mossy cliff face into the dark pool below, right on one of our country’s most magnificent coastlines. It will take your breath away.

  1. Mirrored Mountains in Underberg

The Drakensburg Mountains are truly magnificent. Wherever you see them from, they will make your jaw drop as you try and get your mind around their sheer scale and beauty. Whether they are wearing their spring coat of verdant green or their brown winter blanket, they are just perfect and even more so when doubled up in the crystal clear calm trout waters of Underberg.

  1. Sardinia Bay Beach

This incredible place is one of the reasons that we relocated to Port Elizabeth. Sitting on the sand dunes and watching the sun set over the ocean, dipping your toes into the cool surf, breathing in the salty air and floating in the calm rock pools is literally heaven on earth.


We travel together as a family to share, discover and experience our world.

Magical places like these enrich our souls and imprint themselves into our hearts, minds and memories. They are everywhere and anywhere – hidden in our home towns, dotted around our country and scattered all over the world. The prospect of discovering and visiting them ignites and motivates us to get out there and experience the wonderful thing that is travel.


Why not make some of your own magic happen with Travelstart’s nifty new flight specials engine – the world is waiting!


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