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Explore Epic South Africa

Experience South Africa’s wonders through the eyes of National Geographic’s Your Shot photographers. From urban beaches to ancient peaks, our community’s images offer unique perspectives on people and place.
Photograph by PJ van Schalkwyk

My First

Nambiti Private Game Reserve near Ladysmith

“Whilst on vacation in South Africa, we embarked on a three-day safari and couldn't have lucked out more with our experience. We encountered so many beautiful animals in the reserve. But this photo of an elephant at sunrise was my personal highlight of the trip.” - DANIEL STRUTHERS

The mighty Kruger National Park covers more than 7,500 square miles of South Africa’s northeast, drawing travelers from around the world with its vast, natural beauty and diversity of life. Take time to explore the smaller gems, too. The infamous Big Five also roam less-ventured reserves, and intimate encounters await on the next horizon.

Table View at Sunrise

Cape Town, Western Cape

“I took this shot in early morning in Table View, the Table Mountain at background looked very dreamy at sunrise. Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town. It is a significant tourist attraction.” - VINCENT CHEN

Cape Town’s unmistakable landmark looms large across the City Bowl and beyond. One of Earth’s oldest mountains is a constant amidst the ever-evolving urban landscape below, an omnipresent symbol from the air or the ocean; the Cableway and the coast. Scale it as the sun comes up, or sink a summer sundowner watching as its legendary tablecloth of cloud cascades over the slopes above.

Pot o' Gold

Mpumalanga, Drakensberg

“Epic summer sunset light bathes one of the deepest and greenest canyons in the world. I really could not believe my luck.” - PJ VAN SCHALKWYK

Blanketed in lush, sub-tropical forests, the Motlatse Canyon (also known as Blyde River Canyon) cuts through 16 miles of the Drakensberg mountain range, its soaring cliffs plunging to the Motlatse River below. The region yields one of the world’s most breathtaking drives along the Panorama Route, from Long Tom Pass near historic Lydenberg, past Victorian gold rush towns and waterfalls, to the ancient Echo Caves near Ohrigstad, now a National Monument. Go slow, and discover your own treasures.

Fangs Valley

Mweni Valley, Drakensberg

“It was an eerie afternoon that was interrupted by intermittent rain showers and my hope for a magical sunset faded. But for a brief moment, the valley below Fangs Pass was illuminated in golden light against the green grassy slopes that navigate the narrow tributary to the larger Mbundini River in the Northern Drakensberg. Only those who are prepared to do a backpacking hike of some six miles along the rugged feet of this iconic mountain will ever be privy to such a scene…” - RUDI VAN DEN HEEVER

Stretching more than 700 miles, the Drakensberg mountain range captivates climbers, hikers, and bikers with its rugged beauty.

Electrified Burst

Port Edward, KwaZulu-Natal

“Humpback whale does a massive breach in the late afternoon sun during the migration of whales north to warmer waters during the winter months. This migration along the east coast of South Africa coincides with the sardine run.” - MICHAEL V

South Africa’s national parks and reserves are home to wonderful wildlife, but 40 species of marine mammals also inhabit its waters, and you don’t need to dive in to see them. Dolphins, African penguins and Cape fur seals can all be spotted from land, or take a boat tour for a close-up encounter with humpbacks, orcas and Southern right whales offshore.


Shakaland, KwaZulu-Natal

“Zulu tribal dancers of South Africa showing off their skills with grace, agility and humor – a truly unforgettable experience!”

There’s no better place to connect with South Africa’s traditional tribal culture than in the Zulu Kingdom, otherwise known as the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Here, in the birthplace of the Zulu empire, community customs and spiritual beliefs are kept alive in our modern world through rituals, dance, dress, and song. Head to the heartland of Eshowe to overnight in a village, witness a Zulu wedding, experience a healing ceremony, or join in one of the vibrant drum performances that pulse with passion and energy.

Up the Silos at Zeitz MOCAA

V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

“I spent some quality time with my friend / photographer, Joseph Inns, exploring the Zeitz MOCAA – Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. We visited most of the art exhibitions inside the museum, but will return at a later date for more detailed exhibition photography.” - VERNON CHALMERS

A vast, disused grain silo complex overlooking Cape Town’s historic, working harbor now holds the world’s largest museum for contemporary African art. Spread over nine floors, the Zeitz MOCAA has 80 galleries and a cathedral-like atrium, carved from the silo’s original storage tubes: an incredible transformation that honors the old, while giving center stage to the new.

Nelson Mandela Capture Site

Howick, KwaZulu-Natal

“Marking the 56-year anniversary of what began Nelson Mandela's ‘long walk to freedom’ – and the piece of land that, quite randomly, irrevocably altered the history of South Africa – is a quietly powerful sculpture, set into the environment of this silently potent space (SAinfo reporter). Long may he continue to inspire.” - HELGA WILLIAMS

The small farming town of Howick plays a big part in South Africa’s political history: this was where former president, Nelson Mandela, was arrested in August 1962 for protesting the Apartheid regime. The Capture Site monument reminds us of the struggle that was to come, and it would be 27 years before Mandela tasted freedom.

Lonely Cow at the Hole in the Wall

Hole in the Wall, Eastern Cape

“Here's a lonely cow I found at the Hole in the Wall, which is just outside Coffee Bay in a region of the Wild Coast of South Africa that used to be called the Transkei. It is now part of the Eastern Cape and very close to where Nelson Mandela was born.” - MIKE ELOFF

South Africa’s beaches are full of surprises, not just of the bovine kind. The Wild Coast yields secret bays, traditional Xhosa huts, and swathes of forest, home to species found nowhere else on Earth. Crashing waves are ripe for surfing, while the Big Five and rare white lions roam its Inkwenkwezi Reserve.

Table Mountain

Cape Town, Western Cape

"Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town. It is a significant tourist attraction, with many visitors using the Cableway or hiking to the top. The best moment to go is in the afternoon, with fewer tourists and a beautiful light.” - RÓMULO REJÓN

Whatever your fitness level, South Africa’s iconic Table Mountain offers exciting opportunities to explore its rugged plateau. Take a hiking tour through the Platteklip Gorge, walk the trails around the summit, or catch the rotating Cableway for panoramic views of Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, and Robben Island, floating in Table Bay’s blue far below.

Mystical Sunset

Hermanus, Western Cape

“While spotting for whales migrating along the coast of Hermanus, what was happening on the beach caught my eye instead – this warm, winter afternoon sun brought in this mist that slowly rolled in and engulfed the entire beach, casting a mysterious glow over everyone frolicking along the water, turning them into shadows in the distance. Needless to say, I spent all my time shooting this scene, completely forgetting about the whales altogether!” - LORRAINE YIP

From the Namibian border on the Atlantic west coast, to its meeting with Mozambique on the Indian Ocean to the east, South Africa’s 1,740 miles of coastline is a playground for people and marine animals alike.

Quiver Trees Under the Milky Way

Driekop, Northern Cape

“After seeing this site while travelling back to Cape Town, I planned this shot for more than a year. I got in contact with the owner of the farm. He was very forthcoming and gave me the keys to access the site at night. The photo is a 25-second exposure using some flash lights to illuminate these ancient trees. The crystal-clear sky with the Milky Way looming above, combined with absolute silence, is always an awesome experience!”

Walk the Kokerboom Hiking Trail through the Quiver Tree Forest of the Northern Cape, and you’ll discover South Africa’s flora is as magical as its wildlife.