An active holiday in South Africa

enter image description here Trail biking in South Africa

With its fine year-round climate and varied landscapes, South Africa is custom-made for active travellers. Indeed, there are a few parts of the country where a good selection of fun activities can be integrated into a regular holiday.

An active holiday in South Africa_Surfing Ballito Surfing in Ballito Bay

A lovely area for active travellers is the Garden Route, where low-key physical activities range from canoeing along the Touws River and several excellent mountain biking routes to any number of coastal and montane day walks ranging from 5 km to 20 km in duration - none finer perhaps than the cliff top trail through Robberg Nature Reserve. The Garden Route is also a great area for swimming, surfing, sea-kayaking and other marine activities.

Cape Town and environs offers a similar array of activities to the Garden Route. These range from cliff walks in the whale-watching capital of Hermanus or on the stunning Cape of Good Hope, to a steep but scenic day hike from the City Bowl to the summit of Table Mountain.

Another popular walking destination is the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg. The foothills of this lovely range can easily be explored by casual ramblers, but the upper slopes are unpredictable in terms of weather, and recommended only to experienced and properly equipped hikers.

An active holiday in South Africa_Hiking Table Mountain Hiking up Table Mountain

Generally speaking, game viewing is a rather inactive pursuit, since most reserves understandably forbid unguided walking.

Overnight guided wilderness trails are available in the likes of the the Kruger National Park and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, but these must usually be booked well in advance. Most private reserves will also offer guided walks as an alternative to game drives, but these tend to focus on birds, insects and other small wildlife rather than seeking out the Big Five. Unguided nature trails are typically free and up to 10 km in duration. They can be found in many minor reserves that lack dangerous wildlife.

An active holiday in South Africa_Horseback riding Noordhoek Horseback riding on Noordhoek beach, Cape Town

South Africa has a strong culture of recreational running and cycling. Mountain bikes can easily be hired at most destinations with good cycling possibilities, and you can ask local running clubs about park runs, time trials and other good local routes.

If you plan on walking a lot, bring suitable footwear and a few pairs of thick socks. A walking stick can be useful in more hilly areas or trails with loose rocks underfoot. Binoculars will greatly enhance bird and other wildlife sightings on the trail.


Popular South Africa Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | South African Holiday Adventure (10 days)

South African Holiday Adventure (10 days)

Explore the southern-most city on the African continent, before jetting off to spot the Big Five...

 | Sabi Sands and Okavango Delta Big Five Tour (8 days)

Sabi Sands and Okavango Delta Big Five Tour (8 days)

Explore the famous reserve that offers exceptional game viewing and sight the elusive Sitatunga antelope in the Okavango ...

 | Kruger’s Sabi Sands and Timbavati Discovery Safari

Kruger's Sabi Sands Discovery Safari (5 days)

Enjoy an authentic African safari. Game viewing possibilities are unparalleled and include the Big Five in the Sabi Sands and white lions in the Timbavati Nature Reserve....

 | Cosmopolitan Cape Town and Kruger Tour (7 days)

Cosmopolitan Cape Town and Kruger Tour (7 days)

Discover the Big Cats in the Kruger National Park and enjoy the bustling harbour, world-class beaches and top-notch vineyards in Cape Town...

 | Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa Safari Adventure (19 days)

Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa Safari Adventure (19 days)

Africa safari adventure will take you to the tip of the African continent...

 | South African Bush to Mozambican Beach Holiday (9 days)

South African Bush to Mozambican Beach Holiday (9 days)

In this exciting safari holiday, you'll get to experience both Southern Africa's bush and beach beauty...

 | Luxury South Africa to Zimbabwe Safari (8 days)

Luxury South Africa to Zimbabwe safari (8 days)

Spot the Big Five in Thornybush Private Game Reserve and enjoy the majesty of Zimbabwe's roaring Victoria Falls ...

 | The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)

The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)

Get the best possible chance to see the Big Five wildlife in the iconic Kruger National Park and Manyeleti Game Reserve ...

 | Cape Town, the Winelands and Kruger Luxury Journey (9 days)

Cape Town, the Winelands and Kruger Luxury Journey (9 days)

Experience Cape Town, the lush Cape Winelands and a safari in the Kruger National Park and you'll fall under South Africa's spell...

 | South Africa’s Garden Route Odyssey (14 days)

South Africa's Garden Route Odyssey (14 days)

Discover one of South Africa’s best kept secrets - the Garden Route...

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