Fun things to do in South Africa while studying
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Fun things to do in South Africa while studying

South Africa is an incredibly diverse and multicultural country, and is known for ‘having it all’ i.e. the berg (mountains), the bush (grasslands and game reserves), and the beaches. You couldn’t ask for a wider range of sights and activities, and all right on your doorstep at any of the International Hotel School campuses in Durban, Cape Town, or Johannesburg.

Here’s our list of some fun things to do in South Africa when you’re taking a study break! In no particular order…

Water sports

South Africa has beautiful weather all year round, at least in Durban anyway. But wherever you are, you’re never more than a two-hour flight away from the sun, sand and sea! And most beaches are perfectly placed for surfing, as well as kite and wind surfing, especially Jeffreys Bay and Durban. And you can also get into paddling, bodyboarding, sailing, and snorkelling. If you’re into scuba diving, the coasts have many beautiful reefs and even a few shipwrecks!

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A beach in the Western Cape.

The Winelands, Cape Town

You can’t visit South Africa without driving through Stellenbosch, Franschoek and Paarl – the heartlands of wine, and some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll find in the country. South African wines are up there with the best in the world, so a wine tasting is definitely not to be missed. Your biggest problem will be choosing which wine estates to visit – there are loads!

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A wine estate in the Cape, South Africa

Nightlife

Every city has at least one street that’s filled with restaurants, bars, and clubs, and always hot and happening. In Cape Town, Long Street is always buzzing, and you’ll meet people from all over the world everywhere you turn. In Durban, Florida Road is always packed to the rafters with loud and lively locals.

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Durban at night.

Gold Reef City, Johannesburg

This historical theme park harks back to the days of gold mining in Johannesburg. Take a trip back in time with museums, wild rides, and gumboot dancing displays. You will feel like you’re walking through an old mining town, and if the history isn’t for you, then you might like the rollercoasters and typical amusement park festivities.

Outdoor activities

Whether you’re into rock climbing, road cycling, mountain biking, swimming, golf, trail or road running, or any number of outdoor activities, you’ll find clubs and groups in every city catering for your outdoor activity of choice. You’re never too far from a world-class golf green or nature trail, and the scenery is usually the best part of being outdoors in Africa.

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Golden Gate National Park in the Free State

Robben Island, Cape Town

South Africa has a troubled history and a visit to Robben Island is a sobering reflection of life under Apartheid. The half hour boat trip starts you off on a historical tour through the island’s history as a prison colony. Nelson Mandela was once imprisoned here and you will feel the weight of this prison’s history as you walk through its crumbling walls.

Fishing

South Africa is a fisherman’s paradise. Whether you’re interested in fly fishing, standing on the beach and throwing in your line, or heading out for deep sea fishing, fishing is a favourite pastime for many South Africans.

Head to the mountains

Hiking through the Drakensberg mountain trails in KwaZulu-Natal and going to the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town are must-dos. With some of the most beautiful scenery that South Africa has to offer, the sights, scenery and views of both are incredible.

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The famous Table Mountain in Cape Town.

City Tours

Your weekend will be jam-packed trying to fit in all the activities that a tour through the city can offer. In Johannesburg, you can fill your day with politics and history at the Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill, Nelson Mandela Bridge in Newtown, and the Hector Peterson memorial. In Cape Town, you can hop from the Company Gardens, to Good Hope Castle, to the Malay Quarter, to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. In Durban, your options are a rickshaw ride down the Golden Mile, the Indian Spice Market, Durban Harbour, and uShaka Marine World.

Safari

South Africa boasts some of the best game reserves in Africa and it would be a pity to come all this way without experiencing the country’s wildlife, and particularly the Big 5! Some of the most well-known and most frequented reserves include Kruger National Park, Addo Elephant Park, Hluhluwe and Umfolozi Game Reserves, and Shamwari. Whether you drive yourself, or take a guided game drive, keep your eyes peeled for big cats such as lion, leopard and cheetah…

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A leopard scanning its surroundings from the safety of a tree.