South Africa safaris, tours & holiday packagesA self-styled "World in One Country"
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Africa's most popular and best-developed travel destination is famed for its sun-soaked beaches and vast game reserves, but it also provides exceptional opportunities to indulge in pursuits as varied as wine-tasting, hiking and museum-hopping
South Africa is a land of extraordinary natural wealth and variety. Indeed, one recent ecological survey ranked it as the third-most important country in the world in terms of biodiversity. The Big Five – lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino – roam freely through South Africa's premier safari destination, the vast Kruger National Park, along with a host of other iconic large mammals.
And the country is even more remarkable when it comes to smaller creatures – it is home, for instance, to more endemic and near-endemic bird species than any other African country, while the tiny Cape Floral Kingdom in the southwest contains around five percent of the world’s plant species.
I've probably travelled in South Africa for more than two years in total, and I've yet to exhaust its incredible variety. Obvious favourites spots include Cape Town and the Kruger Park, but I'm equally drawn to lesser-known highlights such as the remote Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and Augrabies Falls National Park in the little-visited Northern Cape.
Popular South Africa safaris
These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates
From Sun City's hedonistic pleasures to the majesty of nature at Madikwe Game Reserve, this journey combines the best of two very different worlds
per person6 days
Combine Cape Town and the surrounding Cape Winelands with a safari in the Kruger National Park for a relaxing and exhilarating South African safari
per person11 days
Combine Cape Town chic with Africa's most luxurious train and an elegant Big Five safari for a stylish South African holiday
per person11 days
More on South Africa holidays
The main coastal tourist focus is Cape Town, which ranks alongside San Francisco and Sydney among the world’s most beautiful harbour cities. Elsewhere, a 3,000-kilometre coastline includes the wild forested dunes of Cape Vidal, the family-oriented resorts of the KwaZulu-Natal south coast, and the spectacular cliffs of the Garden Route and Cape Point.
The interior is even more varied. Contrast the mesmerising red dunefields of the Kalahari region with the autumnal purple winelands inland of Cape Town. Or the tangled green forests that blanket parts of the eastern coastal belt with the spring wildflower displays that enliven the wide open plains of Namaqualand.
At the heart of it all rises the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg, a hiker's paradise known for its imperious montane landscapes and immense wealth of prehistoric rock art.Part of South Africa’s fascination is its emergence as a unified nation, boasting a unique multicultural cocktail of indigenous, European and Asian influences, following the 1994 elections that swept Nelson Mandela to power. This achievement is placed in perspective by Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum and Cape Town’s District Six Museum, which confront the country's racially divisive recent past. Elsewhere, traditional Zulu and Ndebele cultural villages offer insight into life here prior to the arrival of Europeans.
Know before you go
South Africa has 11 official languages, however English is widely used in most areas, learn a local saying and impress the locals.
South Africa is a lively new democracy and a multi-racial society with a liberal constitution.
Landscape wise South Africa is extremely diverse and many have called it a world in one country.
Cape Town is often ranked as one of the world’s best cities especially for tourists and it has been compared to other great cities around the world including the iconic San Francisco.
South Africa is often credited for leading the way in Africa as being a highly developed country, with fantastic amenities such as world class airports, beaches and natural splendor in vast abundance.
The South African population also makes up 5% of the entire population of Africa with just over 50 million people.
When to go
Most of the country experiences 4 seasons, however in the coastal region of KwaZulu-Natal the weather is more subtropical and winter and autumn are extremely mild with no real need for warm clothes. It’s considered that this is the best area to visit KZN around June till the end of August.
There is no set time to travel to South Africa as even in the colder areas of the country winters are generally mild compared to Europe or The United States. Snowfall happens fairly regularly in certain mountain areas especially in neighboring Lesotho, which is unique as it’s a country within South Africa’s borders. Travel in South Africa is entirely governed by what you would like to experience at a particular time of year.
What to pack
- Lightweight summer clothes when visiting during the hotter months
- An assortment of shorts, T-shirts, skirts and sundresses
- Sweater or long-sleeved button-down shirt
- Swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat
- Sunblock and a wide-brimmed hat
- Long pants and a heavy windbreaker
- If you are going to be in colder areas make sure you pack for possible snow, South Africa’s weather changes drastically from area to area.
Weather and Climate
- Summer is generally mid-October to mid-February
- Autumn is February to April
- Winter is May to July
- Spring falls between August and October
Safari / Holiday Styles
South Africa has a world of natural game parks such as the famed Kruger National Park where luxury game Safaris are a must.
Road trips are also a very popular way of seeing the country as there are many well-kept roads to explore with splendid wine estates, resorts and world class hotels just waiting to pamper you.
The Garden Route is particularly spectacular.
Hiking is a hugely popular activity in the country and some of the trekking trails even boast wonderfully luxurious lodges to stay at on in-between gazing at amazing natural sites and scenes.
Urban holidays in the bigger cities such as Cape Town, Durban or Johannesburg are also popular and all the major cities are in close proximity to world class natural scenery, whilst boasting top restaurants, coffee shops, and 5 star accommodation facilities.
South Africa also has world class rail travel, where your every wish will come true as you travel through majestic African landscapes.
Golfing holidays and resorts are also popular in South Africa.
Where to stay
Aforementioned South Africa has some of the best accommodation facilities in Africa there really is a world of beautifully kept establishments to suit any budget.
From KwaZulu-Natal’s Oyster Box to Cape Town’s Mount Nelson. You really don’t have to worry about finding the perfect place to stay and be pampered at on your South African adventure.
South Africa Map
South Africa's location on Google Maps
Frequently Asked Questions about South Africa
Whether you are in the Southern or East Africa you will generally be able to see the big five. The difference really comes in when considering antelope as they are based on your chosen location.
This is all dependant on the countries that you will be visitng and due to the status of certain vaccinations changing at times, please consult our experts before getting vaccines.
In some parts of Southern Africa it is safe to drink the tap water, however it is highly recommended to stick to bottled water (mostly supplied) during your trip as even drinkable African water is completely different in taste and…
It's important to take activities into account instead of weather when planning a South African holiday. If you're planning on going on safari, it's best to visit during the dry winter months of May to October. Game viewing is outstanding…
South Africa and countries in the Southern African region have a very varied climate and depending on what time of year you travel you may need to pack for all weather conditions. Getting stuck in a storm on safari is probable so always make…
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One of the main reasons why people travel to Africa is to see the Big Five - the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and the White/Black rhinoceros. However, one of the most frequently asked questions we get is… read more