Travel trends across the world are seeing travellers shying away from the overcrowded sights, rather looking for unique experiences in their destinations. But avoiding the crush of tourists doesn’t mean you should skip visiting some of South Africa’s most well-loved cities. And to celebrate Heritage Day this month – you could even stand a chance to win two nights for two at any Protea Hotel in South Africa. See the bottom of the article for details.

“We’ve noticed a trend of moving away from merely spending a few hours sightseeing… and towards seeking out unusual experiences and sites that tell a different South African story,” explains Danny Bryer, Area Director, Sales and Marketing, Protea Hotels by Marriott, Marriott International, Middle East and Africa.

Next time you’re holidaying in one of South Africa’s major cities, why not try a new experience? Here are some suggestions which are guaranteed to have you feeling like you’re on an exotic holiday, experiencing the authentic undiscovered destinations that South Africa has to offer without breaking the budget…


One of the City of Gold’s attractions is the sense of nostalgia that coats the city, hinting at an old-world charm and the glamour which followed the gold rush.


Kromdraai Gold Mine. Source: Gauteng Tourism
  • Revisit the time of great riches and devastating losses through a trip to one of the oldest gold mines in the province, the Kromdraai Gold Mine.
  • Embrace the vintage era with a glimpse into the past at the James Hall Museum of Transport in Johannesburg – not only will you be left feeling just a little bit “Gatsby”, you’ll also have a view of the most comprehensive museum of transport in South Africa.
  • To another mode of transport, indulge in a sense of nostalgia by tying on your roller-skates and taking a few laps at a 1970s-styled disco roller-skating rink at RollEgoli in Bryanston.


Older than its sister city of Johannesburg, the capital has retained the feeling of an edgy, urban setting.

Rooftop infinity pool parties at the Protea Hotel by Marriott Fire & Ice. Source:
  • Tap into this culture through experiencing urban outdoor art installations, such as the Urban Being Sculpture by Marco Cianfanelli and The Spirit of Tshwane by Anton Smit.
  • While away the afternoon with up-and-coming talent at one of the many outdoor music events in Pretoria, such as Park Acoustics, which is held at the Voortrekker Monument.
  • Cool off from the Highveld heat at a hip and happening pool party, such as the rooftop infinity pool parties at the Protea Hotel by Marriott Fire & Ice! Pretoria Menlyn.

Cape Town

The Mother City forms the intersection of where much of South African culture, history and art meet – bringing the sea and the mountain together in spectacular scenery.

Walking tours allow you to view the street art. Picture supplied
  • Take on some of Cape Town’s oldest scenic roads, with the wind in your hair and the roar of a Harley Davidson engine, or the V8 burble of a classic Cobra sportscar, as your soundtrack; either through a self-driven tour or with a tour guide.
  • Explore the history of one of Cape Town’s most established suburbs through the lens of young artists. Guided walking tours through Woodstock will allow you to view over 40 street art works by both local and international graffiti artists.
  • Immerse yourself in local culture through a visit to the Guga S’Thebe Arts & Cultural Centre, where you can shop for handmade pottery or view a musical performance by local musicians.


With an abundance of sea, sun and sand, Durban is the perfect destination to get away from the rat race and reconnect with nature.

  • Take a walk on the wild side with a hike in the Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve. This hidden wilderness is home to a wetland, and coastal and dune forest, along with a number of indigenous birds and animals, such as bushbuck and duiker.
  • Beyond the breakers lies an underwater world for you to explore. Snorkelling allows you to view marine creatures in calmer waters, without the necessity of diving gear and training. You may even have an encounter with larger mammals, such as dolphins.
  • For a relaxing change of pace, take in the countryside through the classic mode of transport from yesteryear. A steam train will take you on a leisurely puff through the Valley of a Thousand Hills, giving you an immersive experience of the beautifully verdant province.


Enter our Heritage month competition to win two nights’ accommodation for two at any Protea Hotel in South Africa. See Terms and Conditions here.