World-class surf breaks, heart-stopping wildlife, eclectic cities and vibrant markets. There’s much to love about South Africa, and we break it all down in our South Africa travel guide here.
The country is largely synonymous with safari, being home to the world’s most iconic big-five destination, Kruger National Park. However there are plenty more game parks across the country, many of which are private reserves, offering exclusive and luxurious tours. South Africa is the only country to have game parks with great wildlife viewing located within malaria-free areas – .perfect for families with young children.
Away from the wildlife, there are also captivating cities to explore. Cape Town is having a moment, emerging on to the world stage as a design capital, drinking and dining mecca, and all-round cool city. But to skip its classic charms and beauty would mean missing out on some truly unforgettable experiences. Visit the serene Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden nestled at the foot of Table Mountain. It’s a beautiful way to experience South Africa’s indigenous flora in the midst of the city.
There are a growing number of reasons to spend some time in Johannesburg – a place that’s finally finding its feet. The Neighbourgoods Markets, the Apartheid Museum, the Rosebank Mall and a tuk tuk tour of the Soweto area are all highlights.
Geography lessons come to life at the Cape of Good Hope on the Cape Peninsula, a long spindly finger of land pointing south toward Antarctica. Climb to the top of the Old Cape Point Lighthouse where you can marvel up close at the rippling sandstone and swirling blue-green sea below. Be warned: baboons are everywhere so keep your car locked when you pose for that selfie near the Cape of Good Hope sign.
Then there are beaches and world-famous surf breaks. Along South Africa’s dramatic coastline you can find an array of hideaways for soaking up the sun, long coastal walks, surfing and various water sports, as well as simply enjoying the sights and delights of quaint coastal towns. The local beach scene is undeniably diverse, from Cape Town with its penguins and trendy urban beaches, to more tropical shorelines north of Durban – dive on in!
Many visitors love to travel South Africa’s Garden Route which technically spans all the way from just outside Cape Town eastwards towards Port Elizabeth. Its sweet spot is the couple-of-hundred-kilometre stretch where it meets the coast, from Mossel Bay to just past Plettenberg Bay.
Along the way you’ll discover quaint seaside towns surrounded by impenetrable bush, dotted along the contours of the hills and valleys of a coast-hugging road that meanders over low-lying bridges which span large lazy lagoons.
Hidden away from the towns here, in the hills and hinterland, perched on the cliffs, are some of the most luxurious, curious, unique and decadent stays on the whole of the African continent.
If you’re a foodie you might like to focus on the Cape Winelands. Here you can sample award-winning wines grown on beautiful estates around Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, and enjoy some of the world’s best cuisine in decadent restaurants.
The Kwa-Zulu Natal Drakensberg is also filled with luxury lodges dedicated to foodie escapes, incorporating sumptuous food, wine, and picturesque walks to work it all off.
Thrill-seeking travellers are well catered for in South Africa. At the tamer end of the spectrum there’s hiking up Table Mountain in Cape Town, ostrich farms, township tours and whale watching in Hermanus, through to game drives and walking safaris in Kruger, horse riding in the Drakensberg, even cage-diving with great white sharks.
South Africa is a melting pot of various rich cultures that form one country with one fascinating history. As a result, South Africans are renowned for their friendly nature and patriotic passion, loving to share their stories and recommendations with visitors.
History buffs will especially enjoy the Kwa-Zulu Natal Battlefields, with an excellent insight into the bloody battles of the Boer wars, while a visit to Robben Island will allow visitors a glimpse into Nelson Mandela’s lengthy incarceration during the Apartheid Regime.
As far as accommodation, the options are boundless in South Africa. You can holiday like a billionaire at the Delaire Graff Estate, go glamping on a five-star safari, hit the countryside and stay at a farm hotel, or make the classic Mount Nelson Hotel at the foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town your base.