This is generally the most popular region of Africa for backpackers, largely as it boasts some of the best travel infrastructure, making it easier to take advantage of what the region has to offer. Compared to elsewhere in Africa the south is much more about having outrageous fun and going along for the wild ride offered to visitors.
Most people will start in South Africa, often in Johannesburg, a thoroughly modern city packed with shopping, restaurants, and vibrant nightlife, or Cape Town, which has all of those things alongside the beautiful coastline and Table Mountain.
In many ways South Africa is a microcosm of the continent: the massive Kruger National Park has zebras, elephants, and big cats galore, the coast is laden with beaches and resorts, and inland the scenery looks even better than the documentaries promise. You zip line, sample wine, fine dine, bungee jump on a piece of twine, and marvel at landscapes divine. South Africa kind of has it all.
From there you can travel to Botswana or Namibia, the latter particularly renowned for its ecotourism and must-see destinations like the Skeleton Coast Park, Caprivi Strip, and the Etosha Salt Pan. You could even try your hand at sandboarding the giant dunes of Namibia’s Swakopmund. The region also includes Swaziland and Lesotho, although these countries are not particularly well-equipped for travellers.
You’re likely to pay a little more in southern Africa than you might elsewhere on the continent, but it’s bound to be worth it.