What's your ideal vacation? Do you enjoy sunbathing on the beach? Does the thought of getting up close and personal with the local wildlife get your heart pounding? Perhaps you're a foodie who loves to explore the culinary delights of the local culture. Whatever your pleasure, you'll find it in South Africa. From surfing, scuba diving, and swimming in the sunny beaches of Port Elizabeth's Algoa Bay to hiking Table Mountain in Cape Town, there are loads of fun activities for every member of your party when you embark on an Africa cruise.
When you cruise to South Africa with Norwegian Cruise Line, you open up a world of exciting possibilities. If you're someone who likes to get off the beaten path and push boundaries, South Africa does not disappoint. Whether you want to stare a dangerous predator straight in the eye, sip wine with a good meal, or check out the view from above, be sure to try these seven unexpected things you can do on your trip to South Africa.
1. Go for a Game Drive
Have you ever dreamed of seeing an elephant in its natural habitat? Port Elizabeth is the perfect place to make your dreams come true. Board an off-road safari vehicle and head out on a game drive in Addo Elephant National Park, located just 45 minutes from Port Elizabeth. Founded in 1931 to save the last 11 South African bush elephants on Earth, Addo now provides a safe refuge for more than 600 of these amazing creatures. Black rhinos, Cape buffalo, zebras, and lions are just a few of the other animals that call Addo home.
2. Visit Robben Island
Less than 5 miles from Cape Town's beautiful beaches lies one of South Africa's most notorious historical sites. For nearly 400 years, Robben Island served as a place of imprisonment, isolation, and banishment. Most notably, the UNESCO World Heritage Site was a maximum security prison for political prisoners of South Africa's apartheid movement from the 1960s to 1990s, including Nelson Mandela. Today, Robben Island stands as a reminder of this sad time in South Africa's history and the power of the human spirit to overcome.
3. Cage Dive with Great White Sharks
Are you up for the ultimate adrenaline rush? Thanks to its diverse marine life, warm waters, mild climate, and calm sea conditions, Mossel Bay is one of the best places in the world to dive with great white sharks. All you need to do is board a boat and wait for the sharks to appear. Then, you'll enter the cage for an up-close view at some of the ocean's top predators. During the summer months, it's possible to see as many as 17 sharks in one outing.
4. Search for Rare Birds
Take a stroll through Umlalazi Nature Reserve on your visit to Richard's Bay. The 2,500-acre coastal park boasts an abundance of lush forests and pristine beaches. A nature lover's paradise, the reserve is known for its rich biodiversity and natural beauty. Enjoy an overhead view of the reed beds and mangroves from the footbridge over the Siyaya River. Birdwatchers won't want to miss the opportunity to glimpse the diverse bird species that make their home in the reserve. You may even spot the rare palm-nut vulture amid the cathedral-like tree grove at Raffia Palm Monument.
5. Sample Award-Winning Wines
If you're a wine connoisseur, take time to experience the robust wines of the world-famous Cape Winelands region on a tour from Cape Town to Stellenbosch or Franschhoek. As you journey to several wine farms and estates in one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa, you'll learn the history of winemaking in the area and find out about the techniques and traditions that local vineyards use to create each unique offering. You'll also get a chance to explore behind the scenes at a working cellar, relax on vine-covered patios, and sample various wines from across the region.
6. Send a Letter at the Post Tree
According to local legend, an ancient milkwood tree at the Bartholomeu Dias Museum Complex in Mossel Bay became South Africa's first mailbox in the 1500s. Sailors passing through the area often left messages to one another dangling from the tree in old boots and pots. Today, people continue to come to the landmark to send letters around the world through a large mailbox in the shape of a boot at the base of the tree. After posting a letter, explore the rest of the complex, including a replica of the ship Bartolomeu Dias that was used to sail along the African coast.
7. Take a Helicopter Tour
One of the best ways to view the entire Cape Peninsula is from above. Ride in style and comfort aboard a helicopter for a breathtaking 360-degree tour of Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles, Cape Town Stadium, Lions Head, and many other local attractions. As you soar thousands of feet above the ground, you'll see South Africa from a totally different point of view.
From swimming with sharks to visiting historic sites, South Africa has something to suit everyone and every budget. If you're looking for fun ideas about how to spend your time in port on your Norwegian cruise, check out these seven unexpected things you can do on your trip to South Africa. Be sure to sign up for emails from Norwegian Cruise Line to stay up to date on the latest South Africa itineraries, cruise deals, and special offers.