As someone who loves exploring Mzansi, Thabiso hopes to encourage as many people as he can to explore every inch of our vibrant nation and as he continues to celebrate Heritage Month, Thabiso shares five of his must-visit small towns around South Africa.
Graskop is known for its natural beauty, Thabiso explains that it’s easy to fall in love with a small town like Graskop. God’s Window and the Graskop Gorge Lift Co remain popular tourist attractions near the city which sees thousands of visitors flocking to it every month. “God’s Window has one of the most spectacular views in Mzansi, the name is completely justified as you stand above or in the clouds looking over Mpumalanga,” Thabiso says. “When visiting Graskop, a visit to the Graskop Gorge Lift Co is a must. It’s a lift that takes you into the forest to explore. If you’re in the area for a while make sure you get to the potholes too to see the natural rock pool formations. All of these unique places make Graskop such a great place to visit. It’s super green now in spring and it’s definitely a must-visit for anyone wanting to take in some of Mpumalanga’s beauty.”
Kosi Bay is a special place because it is a series of four interlinked lakes within the Maputaland area of KwaZulu-Natal. The bay is the perfect destination for adventure seekers and many have likened it to a little bit of Mozambique in Mzansi. “I love Kosi Bay because it was the first time I ever got to snorkel. I love the clear waters there and all the different types of fish you get to encounter. I also love the fact that you also can’t get to the ocean without a 4×4 – which is great for me because I am such a thrill seeker,” the Jacaranda FM presenter explains. “What really struck me is that eagles, hippos, rhinos and so many more animals are right at your fingertips and you don’t have to look long before you spot them.”
Not too far away from Graskop lies the vibrant town of Dullstroom. Situated high upon the mountaintops in Mpumalanga, its many lakes have made this city a popular trout fishing destination. “I got married in Dullstroom so this town holds a very special place in my heart,” Thabiso says adding that his favourite time to visit is in winter. “Dullstroom in winter is perfect for sitting around the fireplace and it’s absolutely lekker! I don’t enjoy the cold but I don’t mind winter in Dullstroom because you have the fire going, you feel warm and the people there are also super warm.” He adds that the town has something for everyone. “You must go fly fishing or visit the Highland Gate Golf Club for a four-ball if you go with friends. Make sure you make a stop at Wild about Whiskey – a bar that offers over 500 different types of whiskeys and an interactive tasting experience.
One South African destination Thabiso believes locals should explore is the Augrabies Falls in the Northern Cape. The falls are a series of separately channelled cataracts and rapids on the Orange River and culminate in an incredible 56m drop. “Man! What an incredible place to visit,” Thabiso says. “I remember visiting once during the rainy season and the waterfall was bursting at the seams. The water was so loud that we could barely hear one another speaking. It was really breathtaking and I feel like it is such an underrated tourist hotspot. I highly recommend a trip here, especially if you are on a road trip down to Cape Town.
Situated on the banks of the Sabie River in Mpumalanga, Sabie has cemented itself as one of Mzansi’s best tourist hotspots. Thanks to its bustling city, beautiful surrounds and being so close to the Kruger National Park, Sabie remains a fan-favourite – especially for Thabiso. “If you want to stand in a forest surrounded by the tallest trees you can imagine, Sabie should definitely be on your travel bucket list. Sabie is a place where you can do it all. You can go abseiling, quad biking, river rafting and, of course, experience a safari in the Kruger.”
Many know Groblersbrug as a border crossing between South Africa and Botswana on the Limpopo River in Limpopo so the town is often overlooked as a tourist destination. However, Thabiso explains that it’s one of his favourite destinations in South Africa. “Whenever I am in the area, I love stopping at the Palala Boutique Game Lodge and Spa. The service and amenities are out of the world, the spa is world-class and you get up close and personal with some incredible wildlife like elephants, giraffes, eagles and buck on your drive there. Yes, I may have a thing for spotting eagles! It’s a bucket list type of experience and I definitely think more people need to experience this part of Mzansi.”
Catch Thabiso Khambule every Saturday between 14:00 and 18:00 and as the host of ‘The SA Music Show’ every Sunday from 18:00 to 22:00 on Jacaranda FM.