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Ali Alsulaiman gives a travel guide to South Africa

If you’re looking for a destination that combines incredible wildlife, diverse landscapes, stunning coastlines and a vibrant culture, look no further than South Africa. With a wide range of destinations to visit – including vast grasslands, sandy beaches and iconic towns like Cape Town and Jo-Berg – the country offers plenty of adventures for all types of travellers.

Ali Alsulaiman is an avid explorer who fell in love with South Africa. His wanderlust eventually led him to London to pursue his passion for photography and travel.

“I love medicine and the rewarding feeling I get every time I help a patient. However, the practical part is sedentary and does not allow me to be creative,” he shares. “Travelling, on the other hand, has filled my life with passion and drive.

Now, the doctor-turned-content-creator is enthusiastically exploring beautiful locations around the world while capturing his adventures along the way on camera. Of the many places he has ventured to, South Africa has proven to be one of his all-time favorite destinations for great food, people, adventure and nature.

To help you make the most of your next trip to this bucket list spot, Alsulaiman shares his guide to South Africa below.

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Ali Alsulaiman

WHY SOUTH AFRICA?

South Africa simply has it all. Great weather, lots of beaches, great food, breathtaking safari experiences and friendly people! It’s hard not to fall in love with this country! Plus, you can’t get bored as there are plenty of activities ranging from hiking, surfing, horse riding on the coast to trekking in the bush! It is therefore a must-visit country, especially for those who want to relax, enjoy incredible views and escape the hectic lifestyle.

South Africa travel guide
Ali Alsulaiman

What is one thing every first-time visitor should see or do in South Africa?

Every visitor must feel the wild side of South Africa and spend a night in the bush. One of my favorite experiences was a night under the stars in a tree house, just below the strikingly beautiful steep cliffs of the Waterberg in Marataba. An elephant visited me in the middle of the night and two roaring lions just under the tree woke me up at 2am. These are unforgettable moments that everyone should have.

However, if you are in Cape Town, you absolutely must encounter the penguins at Boulders Beach. Ancient granite boulders protect it from wind and big waves, making it ideal for swimming. If you want to get up close with the penguins, head to Foxy Beach. Don’t get too close – those beaks are razor sharp

South Africa travel guide
Ali Alsulaiman

South African city with the best food scene?

I really like Cape Town’s food scene. There are lots of little cafes and bistros all over the place, many serving excellent fresh seafood, some right on the beach with great views. I would suggest trying Cousins ​​Trattoria, great authentic Italian food. My favorite meal was their signature dish, Tagliolini tossed in a wheel of Parmigiano.

There are also many excellent restaurants for those who enjoy haute cuisine and fancy dining. My favorite in Cap is La Colombe, a Michelin starred restaurant. The tuna dish is legendary and the passion fruit curry is one of the most memorable dishes I’ve had on a tasting menu.

South Africa travel guide
Ali Alsulaiman

The best South African place to spend time in nature?

Bloubergstrand Beach offers spectacular views of Table Mountain and the coastline. It is the ideal place to take a walk and admire the sunset. It is also an excellent place for surfers and kitesurfers.

South Africa travel guide
Ali Alsulaiman

Best excursion or outdoor adventure activity to do in South Africa?

Personally, my favorite outdoor activity is horseback riding on Noordhoek Beach. A stretch of white sand beach as far as the eye can see. Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and tranquil! Wonderful ride on the beach with well-tamed horses. It is also perfect for a walk.

South Africa travel guide
Ali Alsulaiman

The coolest hotel or place to stay?

It is difficult to name just one place as South Africa has so many places of breathtaking beauty. If you are in Cape Town, Villa Obsidian and Llandudno Rock Villa are by far my two favorite places to stay. Leased by CapeConcierge, Villa Obsidian is located in Clifton, my favorite part of Cape Town. The villa is steps from the beach and has the most spectacular view of the Twelve Apostles.

As for Llandudno Rock Villa, it is an architectural masterpiece nestled in the natural rocky outcrop of Llandudno’s exquisite shores. Sitting by the fire watching the sunset was a highlight of my last trip to Cape Town. With stunning sea and mountain views as well as a luxurious design, this villa offered me peace and harmony.

However, if you are planning to experience wildlife, my two favorite lodges are:

And beyond the Phinda Rock Lodge. Set into a cliff, with panoramic views of the Lebombo Mountains, this lodge is the ultimate safari destination. With just six intimate suites, each with a plunge pool and viewing deck for spotting rare wildlife. A real paradise, peaceful and relaxing. This is the most romantic lodge I’ve been to.

Ali Alsulaiman
South Africa travel guide

Marataba Mountain Lodge is in its exclusive location, secluded in the Waterberg and surrounded by Marakele National Park. Just five private Eco Suites – open onto a setting renowned for its stunning scenery and thriving wildlife, including the critically endangered black rhino.

On the same private game reserve, Marataba Safari Lodge is a collection of very exclusive luxury tents. Where rich red mountain rock meets verdant plains. I remember coming out of my tent in the morning and seeing an elephant passing very close by and shortly after some baboons. I felt so connected to nature. I also loved relaxing at the pool lounge with a cool breeze and the soft chirping of the birds as the antelope roamed around the pool.

South Africa travel guide
Ali Alsulaiman

Best time of year to visit?

If you are visiting Cape Town then I would suggest going March to May or September to November. These shoulder seasons offer enviable weather, fewer crowds and lower prices. If you go on safari, the dry season is from May to October. The grass is shorter and therefore provides better visibility for wildlife viewing. Nevertheless, I deliberately went there at the end of November (rainy season) and loved the green grass as my photos show.