If you so much as glanced at your Instagram feed over the holidays, you’ll be familiar with that pang of envy you feel when you see people posting filtered photos of magical places and breathtaking views. I’m not just talking about images of exotic, faraway destinations, I’m talking about right here on our own doorstep.

South Africa is one of the most naturally diverse countries in the world with beautiful landscapes ranging from the arid open spaces of the Karoo, to the waterfalls of Mpumalanga, the bushveld of the Kruger National Park, the greenery of the Knysna Forest and the beaches of Cape Town.

The Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga is part of the Drakensberg Escarpment and boasts stunning views from lookout points like the famous, God’s Window. The canyon is 25km long and on average 750m deep. The Kadishi Waterfall, the second largest tufa waterfall on earth can also be found here.

A photo posted by @vcmochilando on Jan 21, 2016 at 2:01pm PST

 

The Karoo is a vast, semi-desert region in South Africa which stretches over the provinces of the Eastern, Northern and Western Cape known for its untamed beauty and stunning sunsets. This magical place, spanning over 400,000 square kilometres is rich in history and contains many fossils from ecosystems which existed hundreds of million years ago. 

The Beaches of Clifton & Camps Bay in Cape Town draw thousands of tourists each year and it’s easy to see why with their idyllic white sand and cool (often freezing) blue waters. The Camps Bay strip is great for daytime cocktails but really comes alive in the evenings when locals and travelers alike flock to the trendy bars and café’s to watch the sun go down.

A photo posted by Chelsea Wilson (@chelseacara22) on Nov 25, 2015 at 10:16pm PST

 The Knysna-Amatole montane forests ecoregion covers an Afromontane area of 3,100 square kilometres in South Africa’s Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces. The Knysna forest is home to a small remaining herd of African bush elephants known as the Knysna elephants and is home to a variety of other wildlife including the African leopard, Bushbuck, Blue duiker and Bushpig. 

The Kruger National Park is one of South Africa’s most popular and largest game reserves, covering over 19,000 square kilometres. The park is home to Africa’s Big Five and a host of other mammals and birdlife; and is famous for its great leopard sightings.

This article first appeared on Computicket Travel Blog.