If you are intrigued by exotic wildlife that cannot be found anywhere else in the world and enjoy luxurious cruises, a South African cruise might be the perfect vacation for you. A country that is flanked by the Atlantic and Indian oceans, South Africa is an exciting destination that every avid cruiser should consider visiting at least once. A South African cruise offers travelers an unparalleled experience that is highlighted by exotic wildlife, rich history, and beautiful coastlines.
These cruises typically stop at popular ports such as Madagascar and Port Elizabeth. It should be noted that the travel periods and time spent on the sea for these adventures are usually longer than that of most North and South American cruises. Many highly rated South African cruises can last up to 10 days.
Top cruise lines offer all-inclusive luxury experiences that encompass fine dining, on-board activities, shore excursions, and transportation between destinations on land. Your cruise planner can give you greater insight into the available ship amenities and will attempt to create a package that works best for you. For ideas on shore excursions, read on to learn about some of the different options.
Explore the South African coast
With the surrounding scenic oceans there is much to explore along South Africa’s beautiful coastline. For example, there are numerous destinations and attractions in Cape Town. Home to some of the world’s best beaches, it provides travelers with a magnificent place to unwind. You can go snorkeling and view coral reefs, as well as native wildlife such as endangered African penguins. Additionally, consider exploring Cape Winelands’ coastal region, where hundreds of award-winning wines are available to taste and purchase. The area is also home to many world-renowned restaurants offering gourmet dishes and an unparalleled fine dining experience.
If you’re a history buff, you can explore Robben Island, which once served as a maximum security prison where Nelson Mandela and other political dissidents were held. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island also houses a historical museum that offers daily tours conducted by a former political prisoner.
Kruger National Park
While there are plenty of coastal excursions in South Africa, many of the continent’s most popular tourist destinations are located too far inland to be accessible to cruisers. Standard docking times for most cruises are between five and nine hours, so it’s best to keep this in mind when working with a cruise planner or travel agent to plan your vacation. However, there are overnight immersion-based cruises that enable to you to venture beyond the coastal areas. A travel planner can also help you find a package that includes a good mix of on-board activities and exhilarating land excursions.
For nature and outdoor enthusiasts, there are many famous national parks farther inland. Quite possibly the most famous tourist attraction in South Africa, Kruger National Park offers guided tours, game-viewing drives, and excellent river and bush walks. Addo Elephant National Park provides visitors with a glimpse of the famed Addo elephants. The park was established in 1931 for the purpose of saving these creatures from the verge of extinction.
In addition to the aforementioned dining options available in Cape Town, there is more to see beyond the coastline region. For instance, you can go hiking at Table Mountain. An alternative to ascending on foot is the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, which provides a captivating view of the coastline and surrounding mountains. There’s also the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, where you can view thousands of indigenous plants that span more than 1,300 acres.
The eclectic and vibrant city of Johannesburg boasts a rich gold-mining history. Notable activities include tours of the Apartheid Museum and a trip back in time at Gold Reef City, the latter of which is a historical representation of the Gold Rush era. No matter what interests you, South Africa has something for everyone.
Get close to native South African wildlife
No South African cruise would be complete without witnessing the diverse wildlife. The country is home to endangered white rhinos, cheetahs, lions, and zebras, among other fauna, and many tourists like to take advantage of the daily safari tours These enable you to get up close to animal species native to the region via tours of areas like ostrich ranches and elephant reserves.
In addition to land animals, cruisers can view sea life in new ways, such as through interactive encounters. For example, small boat tours in Mossel Bay enable travelers to get up close and personal with great white sharks and other marine species, including seals, sea lions, and dolphins.