Even though the Omicron variant continues to pose a threat, you can plan a hassle-free trip to countries like South Africa if you stick to Covid restrictions. Some of the destinations you can explore are here.
Discover the Drakensberg full of adventures
KwaZulu-Natal is home to the Drakensberg Mountains (the Zulus call them the ‘Barrier of Spears’) in uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, a natural and cultural World Heritage Site due to the rock art and natural beauty of the mountains , and a popular destination for local and international tourists. The mountains offer spectacular views and outdoor activities, and are an important cultural resource, containing several thousand works of San rock art that date back to the late Stone Age.
Travelers can head to the Drakensberg during the weekend to stretch their legs and indulge in outdoor activities like hiking, biking, hot air ballooning, helicopter rides, and mountain horseback riding.
Ostriches in Oudstshoorn
Inland from Cape Town’s famous Garden Route, travelers will find Oudtshoorn, popularly known as the Ostrich Capital of the World. The town is home to several interesting attractions like Cango Caves with its truly awe-inspiring stalactite and stalagmite formations and Cango Wildlife Ranch, which offers exciting crocodile cage dives. It is also one of the few places in the world to enjoy a meerkat safari.
Look for the Big 5 in Limpopo
Known for its huge rivers, splashing hippos and immersive culture, Limpopo is one of South Africa’s most interesting and bountiful provinces. Here you will find vast open spaces with abundant wildlife and breathtaking mountainous landscapes covered in mist. With seven of South Africa’s eleven official languages spoken here, travelers have a good chance of encountering people from the majority of the country’s ethnic groups.
The region is also blessed with a remarkable number of game reserves and nature reserves, home to one of the highest populations of rhinos in the country and a host of elegant antelope species. With Kruger National Park – Africa’s largest national park – located here, this province can easily be called a ‘Wildlife Mecca’. The wildlife seems bigger and more exciting in this place of strong gushing waterfalls, huge trees, open skies and endless bush.
A contemporary setting and relaxed charm give East London a distinctive identity. Well-traveling Indians will appreciate this quaint town, still untouched by tourist commercialization as the perfect solution for a tranquil vacation accompanied by a variety of adventure experiences in highly untouched natural settings. East London is also one of the few places where you can see the white lion in Inkwenkezi National Park.
Slice of history in Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth is home to South Africa’s third largest national reserve where travelers can watch hundreds of African elephants roam free, making for a great safari experience. Addo National Park also has thriving marine life and rich flora and offers the only Big 7 safari options in the world. This safari is a combination of a sea safari in search of sharks and whales and the famous Big 5 safari. Port Elizabeth also includes Nelson Mandela Bay where Route 67 can be found – a collection of 67 works of art celebrating the Nelson Mandela years devoted to public life.
Nestled on the rugged coastline of the Eastern Cape Province, Coffee Bay is a beautiful coastal town that attracts huge interest from visitors due to its unspoilt beaches and rich, traditional Xhosa lifestyle. Coffee Bay is also widely known for the Hole in the Wall, a geographical wonder that rests inside its gates. It is an offshore rock pile through which the elements have carved a hole; this hole amplifies the sound of the waves on the rock, inspiring the local Xhosa people to name it esiKhaleni which means “place of sound”.
Indulge in water sports in Sodwana Bay
Sodwana Bay is located on the east coast of South Africa, in one of the most unique and unspoiled areas in the world. Sodwana’s spectacular coral reefs in a National Marine Protected Area are among the southernmost in the world and a mecca for scuba diving and snorkeling. Notice to all fishing enthusiasts: there is no shortage of game fish.
A 90-minute drive from Cape Town, the West Coast is a favorite with locals for a restorative weekend. Travelers can hike, explore cycle paths through fynbos (small belts of natural shrub land), or visit the icy waters of Langebaan Lagoon for kayaking and sailing. West Coast National Park is ideal for spring wildflowers (between August and September, when blooms are at their peak). Southern right whales can be seen between August and November.
Your visit to Rainbow Nation would be incomplete without a drive along the Panorama Route. With some of the most unique and breathtaking scenery, the highlight of the route is the Blyde River Canyon: one of the longest sinkholes in the world, comprised of spectacular geological forms and the most breathtaking panoramic views in the country.
South Africa is currently open to all international tourists, including Indians.
– Travelers intending to visit the country will be required to produce a negative PCR test, dated no more than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa.
– South Africa has no quarantine period for anyone entering the country and passing all Covid-19 checks at the port of entry.
– Visa: Visa fees, e-visa or not, single/multiple entry, processing time.
– There are no visa fees for Indian nationals.
– The VFS logistics fee to process visas from Mumbai and Delhi is Rs 2,040 and Rs 2,301 to process visas from Gurgaon, Jaipur, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangalore and Goa.
Delay of treatment :
A minimum of 05 working days in Mumbai and Delhi; a minimum of 07 working days in other centers (Gurgaon, Jaipur, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangalore and Goa)
– Vaccine passport: Not currently available.