The tourism industry in South Africa accounts for a significant portion of the country's national income and 10.3% of the nation’s workforce. In 2012, the industry directly contributed approximately 102 billion South African Rands to the country's GDP according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.
South Africa has a lot to offer in regards to tourism with a wide array of attractions for both international and domestic tourists. Such attractions include game reserves, highly valued wineries, picturesque nature reserves, a diverse cultural heritage, and other natural landscapes. Popular destinations for tourists include the beaches and coastlines found in Western Cape provinces and KwaZulu-Natal, major cities such as Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town, and several national parks including the extensive Kruger National Park located in the northern region of the country.
Attractions In South Africa
South Africa has been listed as one of the 17 megadiverse countries of the world. Lions, blue wildebeests, hippopotamuses, leopards, hyenas, white rhinoceroses, kudus, giraffes, cheetahs, and impalas are among the large mammals found in the northern ecoregion of the bushveld. A large extent of the bushveld is still in existence in the northeastern part of the country extending to the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and Kruger National Park.
Founded in 1926, Kruger National Park is one of the most visited places in the country. It attracted approximately 1,659,793 visitors between 2014 and 2015. South Africa is also rich in flora diversity, offering a broad range of ecosystems throughout the country. The endemic fynbos biome, the succulent Karoo found in the central region of South Africa and grasslands in the Highveld make up the majority of the plant life and area in the Cape floral region of Western Cape. The unique vegetation is protected as a portion of the Table Mountain National Park, the country's most visited national park with approximately 2,677,767 visitors in the period between 2014 and 2015.
South Africa also boasts attractions that are of cultural significance. Such cultural attractions include several historical sites in the cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Soweto Township, the Castle of Good Hope, and Robben Island. Others include the Kingdom of Mapungubwe ruins found in the northern region of Limpopo, the wine routes of the Western Cape and the fossil-bearing caves in Gauteng that form a part of the Cradle of Humankind.
The Top Three Source Countries For Tourists To South Africa
Approximately 9,549,236 overnight visitors entered the country in 2014, resulting in a 0.1% increase from the 9,536,568 tourists who visited South Africa in the previous year. Most of the tourists entering South Africa were residents of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) accounting for 76.2% of arrivals in 2014. Besides, 23.6% of tourists came from overseas while 1.9% came from other countries in Africa. The UK was the leading source of tourists visiting South Africa in the year 2015 with approximately 407,846 visitors. The US was the second leading source of tourists to the country with 297,226 while Germany was the third leading source of tourists visiting South Africa with 256,646 tourists. Other top leading source countries for tourists to South Africa included France, Netherlands, Australia, China, India, Canada, and Italy.