Travelling to new countries is always exciting when thinking about new experiences, places to see and people to meet. And it’s natural that people want to document those moments and experiences by taking photographs, videos or recording in journals. Documenting through photography is the most common and most natural method of preserving your memories when travelling abroad. But there tends to be a lack of interesting photographs captured, since most people take pictures of the same tourist attractions, or aren’t very skilled with their portable camera or basic photography theory. While everyone should take the time before a trip to learn a bit more about their camera and how to make great photographs, they should also be planning interesting, unique places to visit that are off the beaten path and could warrant some interesting pictures much different than what everyone else will be taking.
South Africa is a large country, with many landmarks, microclimates and unique locations. You won’t have time to see them all. But you should spend time seeking out unique areas not on the list of common tourist sites in addition to the main landmarks as well. This will require some pre-planning and possible changes in plans and increased travel, but there are plenty of online resources, and it will be well worth it. Sometimes, the best images are captured in transit between significant landmarks, so make sure to have your camera ready to shoot at all times. Carrying a couple of spare batteries is a good idea to accommodate this. Below are some great options for unique and lesser-known areas of South Africa that will get amazing photographs.
Located in the “Mother City” of South Africa and only about a 10-minute walk from central Cape Town, Bo Kaap is a colourfully-painted township known for its bright buildings. It has a unique history as being the home to a sizeable Muslim population, the descendants of slaves to the area. However, due to apartheid and the gentrification of a majority of townships, this town has lost its unique culture that contributed to the uniquely-painted buildings. However, it’s still a fantastic place to visit and makes for beautiful photographs.
Riemvasmaak Hot Springs
If you’re travelling near Augrabies Falls, be sure to keep going north to Riemvasmaak Hot Springs, a natural hot spring that formed after volcanic eruptions. You’ll have to navigate a deep ravine surrounded by 5,000 hectares of rough wilderness, but it’s well worth the views and unique photo you’ll get from the adventure.
These vast dripstone caverns are the largest in South Africa and stunning to see in person, with its vaulted ceilings and immense depth. It’s located near the more popular Swartberg Mountains, so it’s a great stopping-off point on the way out or back. It was discovered in 1780, but to this day, only about 1/4 of the cave system is open to the public.
Tsitsikamma National Park
While most people come here and spend only a brief time on the Garden Route, there are many other unique areas of the park to see and explore. Try finding the Suspension Bridge and Lookout Trail for a fun walk across a long bridge, taking great pictures. Or try the Waterfall Trail to get some beautiful waterfall images.
While this is only a small list of the thousands of unique activities and small townships to see in South Africa, it should provide a good start to finding some unique things to see off the traditional tourist path. Make sure to mix in a bit of both so that you can see some of the most famous landmarks in the country as well. They are the most popular for a reason. And make it an adventure. Ask around and get some fun ideas from the locals. Don’t be afraid to change your plans midway through the trip. The locals know best anyways.