One of the greatest touring rugby teams in the world is heading to South Africa in summer 2021 – are you going with them?
If you’ve got an exciting summer of sporting action to look forward to next year, we’re here to make it even better. Here’s our guide to the best things to do in South Africa outside of match days:
The first match of the tour is in Cape Town on 3rd July 2021. When you’re not watching the Lions take on the DHL Stormers, why not take a short stroll to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront? It’s South Africa’s oldest working harbour, and is a great spot for shopping, dining and culture.
Other top things to do within 10-15 minutes’ walk of Cape Town Stadium include – African Story Wine Tours, the Two Oceans Aquarium and Ulungele Tours & Safaris.
If you’re short on time, you can even hop in a helicopter for an aerial tour of the city.
This seaside city is famous for its beaches, but there’s plenty of other attractions to enjoy in Port Elizabeth when you’re not leaping from your seat at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
There’s an art and heritage trail known as Route 67, starting at the historic Donkin Reserve park, along with the fascinating South End Museum.
It’s worth spending more time in Port Elizabeth though, as this area is known for its wildlife and nature reserves. So, leave space in your itinerary for whale watching, visiting the Shamwari Private Game Reserve and meeting the residents of the famous Addo Elephant National Park.
The Lions 2021 tour heads to Durban next, to the Jonsson Kings Park Stadium where you can enjoy live entertainment and a traditional braai (barbecue) on match days. Outside of the stadium, Durban boasts botanic gardens, the Mitchell Park Zoo and the uShaka Marine World theme park, as well as a Natural Science Museum and the Sunken Gardens. Stroll down the boardwalk of the Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve, or see Durban from above by hopping in a Skycar.
Mbombela (formerly Nelspruit)
This vibrant city, hosting the Lions vs. South Africa ‘A’ in mid-July 2021, has a truly remarkable botanical garden. Make a beeline for it if you have the chance, as the Lowveld National Botanical Garden has its own man-made rainforest and is shaped by the two rivers – the Crocodile and the Nels – that meet there.
Mbombela is also known as the gateway to Kruger National Park, so you may want to schedule more time to visit its many game reserves and national parks.
There’s lots to see and do just outside of the Loftus Versfeld stadium where the British & Irish Lions take on the Vodacom Bulls on 17th July. The statue of Nelson Mandela, Union Buildings and Magnolia Dell Park are all within walking distance, with irresistible attractions such as the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, Groenkloof Nature Reserve and Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary slightly further afield.
The last stop on the Lions Tour 2021 is Johannesburg. Not far from the Emirates Airline Park (Ellis Park Stadium), you’ll find local highlights including Johannesburg Fort, Johannesburg Art Gallery and of course, the Ellis Park Rugby Museum. Of course, there’s an enormous amount to see and do in this major South African city, so you may want to get a hop-on, hop-off bus tour to squeeze in as many sights as you can.
Need help planning your grand tour of South Africa in 2021? Get your own Blank Canvas personal travel expert to plan a bespoke itinerary just for you – find out more here.