Off the beaten track in South Africa

Bungee jumping off Bloukrans Bridge

Calcutta: South Africa has much more to offer than Cape Town, Johannesburg and the Kruger National Park, tourism officials of the country said in Calcutta on Wednesday.

Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital, Knysna with its lagoon cruises and Plettenberg Bay's sweeping beaches, estuaries and indigenous forests have seen a surge in tourists.

"We want to create awareness about new destinations. These are picturesque areas where travellers can pack in a lot of action into shorter time-spans," said Hanneli Slabber, a regional general manager of South African Tourism for Asia and Australia.

Nearly 90,000 Indian tourists have been to South Africa between January and November 2017, nearly 7,000 of them from Calcutta.

"Indian tourists usually want an action-packed holiday even if it is a short trip. So, these new destinations should be a hit among them," Slabber told Metro.

The Garden Route, a more than 200km stretch of the south-western coast of South Africa that extends from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms river in the Eastern Cape, is another attractive destination. The name is derived from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation along the coast. The coast is dotted with beautiful beaches and the inland full of picturesque lagoons and lakes.

It includes towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Tsitsikamma National Park.

Knysna waterfront

In Knysna, cruising on the lagoon in a ferry, yacht or kayak is an unforgettable experience while Plettenberg Bay offers visitors miles of sweeping beaches, estuaries and indigenous forests.

Tsitsikamma, tucked between the mountains and the sea on the southern coast, boasts a marine reserve and deep gorges and Storms, a blackwater river. "Blackwater tubing on the Storms is the ultimate adventure experience," said a senior official of South African tourism.

The Bloukrans Bridge, an arch bridge near Nature's Valley in the Western Cape, is famous for the world's highest commercial bridge bungee. At 216 metres (709ft) above the Bloukrans river, this is not for the faint-hearted.

Oudtshoorn, a town in the Western Cape province, is home to the world's biggest bird. The region is also home to the spectacular Cango Caves, Africa's largest show cave system, and the Swartberg mountain range, part of the Cape Floral World Heritage Site.

The South African Tourism conducted its annual road show in Calcutta on Wednesday where some 200 South African hoteliers and other service providers interacted with more than 50 travel agents in the city.


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