South Africa is affectionately known as the rainbow nation, describing our incredible people and diverse geography. While we’re well known for our mountains, deserts, rivers and beaches, we also have some brilliant locations known almost exclusively for the beauty of their colours. If you’re into all things colourful, this list of our most colourful locations will get you drooling like a kid eating a lollipop.
LESEDI CULTURAL VILLAGE
Located in with the world-famous Cradle of Humankind, the Lesedi Cultural Village brings to life the incredible colours, art, and culture of the Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Basotho and Ndebele tribes. Colour and culture mix perfectly at Lesedi to give visitors an experience of a lifetime, all within easy driving distance from Johannesburg.
Bo Kaap, formerly known as the Malay Quarter, stands out as one of South Africa’s most beautiful and colourful neighbourhoods and is wildly popular to visitors in Cape Town. Steeped in history, there’s a lot more to do in Bo Kaap than simply take photos. From museums dedicated to the origins of the area, to cooking classes in the homes of local residents, Bo Kaap really is worth visiting.
Just down the road from Soweto’s famous Vilakazi Street are the Soweto Towers, two de-commissioned cooling towers previously linked to the Orlando Power Station. The towers are beautifully and colourfully decored with graffiti art and can be seen from miles away. Besides admiring the scale and beauty of the tower art, you can also bungee jump from a bridge spanning the top of the towers.
If you think about South African beaches, few are more iconic and colourful than Muizenberg. The multi-coloured beach huts are a photographer’s dream, especially at sunrise as the morning light rises over False Bay and illuminate the huts in all their glory. Not to be outdone, the St James beach just down the road from Muizenberg has its own set of colourful beach huts, great little beach, and swimmable tidal pool.
ST JAMES BEACH
Not much more than a stone’s throw away from Muizenberg is the quaint and colourful St James beach. Tucked away behind the coastal railway line, St James has a stunning row of colourful beach huts and beautiful tidal rock pool. A favourite with the locals, St James is a beach worth finding.
Once a year, springtime brings the usually arid semi-desert of Namaqualand alive with flowers. The spring rains bring to life some of the almost 4,000 different species of plants transforming much of South Africa’s west coast into an explosion of colour and life. This natural colour fest only lasts a few weeks each year and is so unique it has been protected as the Namaqua National Park. If the Namaqualand daisies are on your wishlist you need to plan your trip carefully to coincide with the bloom.
PRETORIA’S JACARANDA TREES
If you think of a colour to describe Pretoria, you think of purple because of the abundance of Jacaranda trees that turn the city purple when in bloom. There are an estimated 40,000 – 70,000 Jacaranda trees in Pretoria, leading to the nickname ‘Jacaranda City’. Originally imported from Argentina, and first planted in the suburb of Arcadia, the Jacaranda trees became so popular they now line many of the city’s streets. Some of the most popular streets to photograph during bloom include Pienaar Street and Murray Street in Sunnside. Herbert Baker Street in Groenkloof is home to the rare white jacarandas, Klapperkop Nature Reserve offers many high viewpoints over the purple city.
Another winner in the natural colour department is the deep autumn colours of the Free State, most notably the quaint town of Clarens and its surrounds. The poplar trees lining the long winding roads turn a special yellow and burnt orange as the seasons change, perfectly complementing the yellow sandstone cliff faces of the Golden Gate National Park. The competing warm colours and cool temperatures make this a dream destination.
If we left any colourful South African locations off this list, let us know.