These are some of the best selfie backdrops in SA! If you’re planning a trip (or even a staycation) read this…

Source: Mango Airlines

When the world looks as good as it does in South Africa, you’ll want to explore it all by ‘your selfie’.

The self-portrait is a cultural institution, it’s not new to humans by any means – we’ve been doing it for the last five centuries. Why do we love them? It’s simple. It’s not about vanity, it’s all about self-exploration.

As you travel around the country this holiday, here are some picture perfect backdrops to consider when capturing your selfie:

Cape Town #MotherCity

Lonely Planet says it best: “A coming-together of cultures, cuisines and landscapes, there’s nowhere quite like Cape Town, a singularly beautiful city crowned by the magnificent Table Mountain National Park.”

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Our top three selfie backgrounds in the Mother City include:

1. Visit the new kid on the bowl at Zeits MOCAA, the museum of contemporary art. Nothing like a stunning piece of art as your background to the perfect pic. There are nine floors of craft to select from, or be inspired by the intriguing building itself – the space pays tribute to the original industrial design which was once an old grain silo;

2. You won’t need a filter for Bo Kaap with its colourful houses. There are plenty of hues to choose from, and the mix of Cape Dutch and Georgian architecture, on the steeply cobbled roads are an expression of freedom from years gone by.

3. If you’re feeling your Zen – do your best yoga pose at sunset on Signal Hill; it is one of the most famous spots in Cape Town with a vantage point view of Lion’s Head and the City Bowl.

Jozi #CityOfGold

With over 10 million trees, Johannesburg is the biggest human-made urban forest in the world. Jo’burg is a contradiction of history and cultures that have blended to create a distinct energy and creative spirit with a constant hustle in its veins.

Our top three selfie backgrounds in the City of Gold include:

1. Be king of the city with a rooftop bar-hop in Maboneng (seSotho for Place of Light); find the perfect vantage point to capture this magical urban hood which is abuzz with creative energy

2. Get edgy with street art and graffiti surrounding Arts On Main; what better backdrop than celebrated joyful wall art?

3. Meander to Melville to take a shot of hellfire at Hell’s Kitchen. This rock-style restaurant and bar suggests you get your tattoos on, and rock out in dimly lit style.

George #GardenRoute

The town of George, named after King George in 1811, is a star along the Garden Route. It’s a blend of rivers, forests and farms brought to life by the drama of the Outeniqua mountain range, visible from everywhere.

Our top three selfie backgrounds in George include:

1. Have ‘Wellies’ can farm? Then capture your milk moustache at Valcor Dairy Farm; this modern-day dairy farm is set in an exquisite country setting, and worth the drive to capture the view;

2. Take seven selfies along the Seven Seas Road Pass. This 75 km historic road was completed in 1883 and boasts scenes of rivers flowing into deep gorges on their way from the mountains to the sea. There are seven passes along the route, with one as picturesque as the other.

Image: Grobler Du Preez


3. South Africa’s First Post Office – which was an old Milkwood tree – is a must-visit on the Garden Route situated on the Mossel Bay shore-line. Dating back to 1846, it was used as a central trading and meeting area. For all those history and nature lovers, it can’t get better than posing against the majestic Outeniqua mountains

Durban #SurfCity

In the land of bleached locks and sun-kissed cheeks, the chill factor is tangible. The blend of African and Indian influences has created a unique culture that you won’t find anywhere in the world. You’ll find a mix of beaches, nightlife and a booming art scene.

Our top three selfie backgrounds in Durbs include:

1. Moses Mabhida Stadium offers you the chance to walk on the sky! It’s a two-minute SkyCar ride up the stadium arch before you step onto the platform, and take in the unparalleled 360º views of Durban and beyond. Looking in one direction you can take in the ocean view as far as the eye can see, and in the other direction you can see the urban jungle stretched out for miles.

Image: Leon Swart


2. Spread your arms Titanic style at Wilson’s Wharf Durban Harbour. Durban Harbour is the biggest and busiest harbour in the southern hemisphere. There is so much to see and photograph as enormous ships sail past up close.

3. Join the crowds for a public walk through Rivertown art scene if you’re into graffiti. In Cape Town, street art is banned, but in Durban, there are legal walls where people are encouraged to leave their mark on the urban art canvas. There are also lesser-known graffiti galleries as well as more established graffiti hubs like in Glenwood and Rivertown Precinct. Take in colourful spenders by artists like ‘Mook Lion’ and ‘Ewok’.

Port Elizabeth #FriendlyCity

Port Elizabeth is fast becoming one of South Africa’s coolest cities with an exploding food culture, nightlife and creativity. Home to sensational marine life, you can spot the dolphins and whales all year round.

Our top three selfie backgrounds in the Friendly City include:

1. Get spooky in the haunted Opera House built over the gallows. It is rumoured that the Friendly City is also welcoming of its fair share of ghostly tales. The city’s legacy dates back to the early 1800s and many of the buildings in the city centre are over a hundred years old. It is no wonder then that some are said to be the settings of woeful tales that may just send a shiver down your spine! Capture a ghost in your selfie and you may just be the subject of mystery.

2. Put the intricate mosaics under your feet at Donkin Reserve. It is one of the best known historical attractions in PE and boasts exquisite mosaics, metal artwork, modern benches that reflect contemporary graffiti art, a chrome statue of an African woman, as well as plenty of abstract art.

Image: Michael [email protected]


3. Document the street art in a series of selfies along Route 67. One of the most remarkable elements of Route 67 is a collection of 67 art pieces celebrating the years that Nelson Mandela devoted to public life.

Bloemfontein #CityOfRoses

It claims a double-capital status and is pretty much in the centre of South Africa. Bloemfontein, called the City of Roses, is completely surrounded by a nature reserve.

Our top three selfie backgrounds in the City of Roses include:

Fun Fact: J R R Tolkien, Author of Lord of the Rings, was born here, so there must be more than a little magic in the area.

1. Show off your early morning antics at the Boeremark at Langenhoven Park, boasting a hearty South African market experience. Capture the vibe through the lens of your camera as you check out the vibe of the crafters’ market.

2. Get your bush-look on! Only 30kms outside Bloem is a world of loud hungry lion roars and an experience of a lifetime at Bagamoya Wildlife Estate. Savour the privilege of watching and interacting with them – from a distance, in their natural habitat.

3. How better to end off your selfie holiday, than by standing in the shadow of the late, great Madiba at Naval Hill. To date, including the ones in foreign lands, this statue of Nelson Mandela remains the largest one made in honour of this world icon standing eight metres in height.

Tips for picture-perfect photos:

  • Always clean your phone lens first to ensure HD quality
  • Early morning and late afternoon are the best times for outdoor photos as the light is at its best
  • Create structure by following the lines in your landscape
  • Use props, like a single stemmed flower, or a giant-sized colourful cocktail to add depth to your pic
  • Instead of holding your phone in front of you, hold it to the side for a flawless angle;
  • Remember the rule of thirds, dividing your frame into three grids both vertically and horizontally. If you get this right it is a recipe for a stunning pic.