Gaze out over Cape Town from iconic Table Mountain, catch a glimpse of a majestic lion then take an emotional tour through historic battlefields – holidays in South Africa are one of a kind
A holiday in South Africa is the taste of a plum-tinged red from the vines of a world-class winery, or your first sight of a leopard slinking silently through the grass on a game drive at dawn. It’s a place to experience the kind of wonders you’d never expect to find in one country: whale-watching from your hotel room in Hermanus, internationally famous wineries in the Cape Winelands, vintage train journeys and safaris where you can take a walk on the wild side with Africa’s Big Five in Kruger National Park. We’ve been to South Africa and we know it well. We can tell you where to find the best afternoon tea in Cape Town, the most postcard-worthy picnic spots in the Winelands and where you can sleep in a treehouse on safari. Get in touch with us and we can help you plan your ultimate South Africa holiday.
South Africa’s seasons are the reverse of ours in the UK as it lies in the Southern Hemisphere. The most popular time to visit South Africa is in December and January, which are its main summer holiday months when temperatures average at around 21⁰C and there are 11 hours of sunshine per day. The best time to visit Kruger National Park is between May and September when the days are cool and wildlife are easier to spot in the shorter grass. For whale watching, visit between June and December. The shoulder seasons around April and October are also great times to visit South Africa for good weather and wildlife viewing with fewer crowds than you’ll find at the height of summer. From the beginning of July to the end of September, you can expect cold conditions in most of the country and rain in the Western Cape. Travelling with children – important information South Africa has exceptionally strict entry requirements for travelling with children under the age of 18. We strongly recommend checking online or with your Personal Travel Expert to ensure you have the required documents in order to travel.
South Africa holiday highlights
Cape Town, where most travellers start their South Africa holiday, is a city that embraces its heritage and stunning surrounds. Check in to your hotel and head straight out to explore once you land – a rare luxury for somewhere so far flung. It’s where the jetlag-free, two-hour time difference is a bonus. Classic hotels serve up afternoon tea and simple indulgences like eating good food, drinking fine wine and taking leisurely strolls along the Victoria & Alfred waterfront are kept sacred, although a modern age is just around the corner with Africa’s largest contemporary art museum, the Zeitz MOCAA. There are unreal city views that melt into the ocean from Table Mountain – we recommend walking up if you’re up to it and rewarding yourself with a cable car ride down (pre-booking is advised). Just an hour inland, go wine tasting in the picture-postcard Winelands where kitchens produce flavoursome food worthy of each pairing. In game reserves like the famous Kruger National Park, a Big Five safari welcomes you into the fold of the bushveld and its mesmerising wildlife. Early starts are alleviated by hot coffee and biscuits as you venture into the wild by 4x4 in search of both predators and prey and at night, you’ll gather under the stars at a boma for hearty food by the bonfire. This is the ultimate country for city, wine and safari – and it’s still vast enough to have hidden, off-the-beaten-track places to discover like KwaZulu-Natal.
South Africa is at the southernmost tip of Africa. Its southern half has a coastline of over 1700 miles and is where the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean meet. South Africa shares its northern borders with several African countries so you can easily create multi-centre holiday to combine a safari in Kruger National Park in the north-east with a trip to Victoria Falls, or a self-drive on the Garden Route with a beach escape on Mauritius or the Seychelles with direct flights from Johannesburg
The most convenient way to get around South Africa is by driving. South Africans drive on the left-hand side and roads are generally well-maintained and signposted in English. Driving also means you’ll be able to reach smaller towns and combine the best sightseeing spots of the Western Cape such as Hermanus for whale watching and beautiful coastal drives on the Cape Peninsula. If you’re not driving or want to combine the popular Western Cape with stops in other regions, there are regular domestic flights between Cape Town, Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, Durban and Johannesburg. Kruger National Park is well connected with three airports and many game reserves have their own airstrips for convenient access and shorter transfer times.
Meat plays a big part in South African cuisine: there’s biltong (a thick beef jerky), bobotie (a Cape Malay dish reminiscent to moussaka) and bunny chow (hollowed-out bread filled with curry). You might also find delicacies such as springbok and ostrich on the menu, while seafood is popular on the coast like in Knysna, which is famous for its annual oyster festival. Braais (South African barbecues) take advantage of the sizzling weather in the summer months and on safari, lodges typically have a boma, an outdoor dining space with a bonfire where safari goers can share stories over dinner. For dessert or something sweet to go with your coffee, there’s melktart, vanilla custard tart, and koeksister, fried and glazed twists of dough. Food and drink is good value in South Africa because of the favourable exchange rate – all the more reason to sample plenty of the signature pinotages. The standard of wine is excellent and cheaper than in the UK. Amarula, a sweet and creamy liqueur, is another popular South African export, and for non-alcoholic refreshment there’s rooibos (red bush) tea. Food is a highlight in Cape Town, where locals and visitors flock to favourite haunts for Sunday brunches and afternoon tea.
Shopping in South Africa can be exceptionally good value thanks to the favourable exchange rates of the pound against the South African rand. Wine is particularly worth indulging in as you can get a very good bottle of wine for around £5 and you can ship a box of your favourite back home if the shipping cost works out reasonably enough. Cape Town’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is the go-to spot for shopping with plenty of souvenir options from high-end South Africa designer shops to local boutique stalls for handcrafted jewellery and textiles.
The Complete Oman Tour Planned by Experts
- Big Five safaris (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant) in Kruger, KwaZulu-Natal, the malaria-free Eastern Cape and Madikwe
- Self-drive adventures with left-hand-side driving and glorious landscapes along the Garden Route
- Excellent dining and spellbinding sights in one-of-a-kind Cape Town
- Vineyard estate stays and the Franschhoek Wine Tram in the Cape Winelands
- A rich variety of colonial residences, boutique hotels and luxury safari lodges.
Resorts & hotels in South Africa
Bask in the glamour of the place the locals refer to as the best spot for brunch or make friends with the few fellow guests at a quirky boutique hotel. We can help you find the right hotel, whether it’s a hotel right on Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront or a luxury treehouse out in the wild bushveld. In South Africa, it’s as much about the safari lodges as it is about the central hotels and our hand-picked selection includes the best game reserves for spotting the Big Five.
Combine South Africa’s picturesque landscapes with island retreats, spectacular wildlife viewing or a Middle East stopover.South Africa’s easy driving routes and top game reserves make it an unmissable long-haul destination. But sharing a border with other wildlife-rich nations, plus easy airline access to world-class beaches and cities beyond, makes it easy to combine with a range of other countries on a multi-centre holiday. For an unforgettable African safari experience, you may fancy adding a trip to neighbouring Botswana, home of the impressive Okavango Delta. You could also cross the border to explore Zambia and Zimbabwe’s wetlands and National Parks, and the away-from-it-all beaches of Mozambique are just a short flight away. Two popular island choices for a multi-centre escape with South Africa are Mauritius and The Seychelles. Unspoilt beaches and thrilling watersports are particular highlights, and these islands are superb options for an exotic honeymoon. You could also break up your journey with a short stay in Arabia. From spectacular architecture in Oman, to the lavishness of Qatar or the UAE, the Middle East has lots of increasingly popular stopover destinations. Whichever combination you opt for, and however you want to unwind, we’ll tailor your multi-trip experience in a way that works best for you.
Kruger National Park
When it comes to wildlife safari, Kruger national park is the best place to explore. As it is one of the biggest national parks. Here you will find Africa's iconic safari species including elephant, cheetah, lion, leopard, rhino, giraffe, hippo, buffalo, and zebra. It also includes a supporting cast of 137 other mammal species and around 500 varieties of bird or even more.
South Africa is a place where you find numerous beautiful golf courses, and they're surprisingly in your budget. Ernie Els and Gary Player achieved their 1st birdies on South African golf courses, and country's various top spots were designed by these two legends. Some of South Africa's golf courses are connected with luxury spa hotels so that visitors have plenty of things to do here except playing golf.
Swimming with Shark
Swimming with shark may sound scary, but it is one of the most fun activities you must do on your trip to South Africa. Many companies in Mossel Bay, Gansbaai, and Simonstown provide cage-diving tours so that you to witness the sharks in their natural environment while keeping the safety measures.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
If you want to see the actual beauty of Magalies River Valley go in a hot air balloon and experience the view from the sky during sunrise. It’s located in North West of Johannesburg, the capital of South Africa. Once you realize you’re in the air, you will notice the silence around you. Only you, the weather, and the birds. Isn’t sound interesting? So get ready for this amazing experience on your visit to South Africa.