South Africa is an exhilarating mix of purple mountains, white-sand beaches, delicious green vineyards and scattered bushveld. Spot the Big Five in South Africa’s fabulous game reserves, or watch as the spring rains transform the desert into a carpet of sweet-smelling flowers.
Shop in cosmopolitan Cape Town, experience fine vintages and excellent cuisine in the Cape Winelands, or take a ride on the legendary Rovos Rail (or the Blue Train).
Beach resorts beckon, too, as do marine spectacles such as the annual sardine migration off the South African coast, which attracts a frenzy of sharks, seals and whales from August until the end of October.
Places To Visit
Cape Town is arguably the place everyone wants to see. As well as being a vibrant city with great shopping and restaurants, it also makes a good base for exploring the region. Don’t miss the incredibly scenic drive along Chapman’s Peak, climbing Table Mountain and reaching the Cape of Good Hope.
Northeast of Cape Town, against a backdrop of sublime countryside and towering mountains, lie the Winelands, dotted with beautiful towns and villages characterised by their unique Cape Dutch architecture. Enjoy some slow-paced wine tasting and don’t miss the first-class restaurants in Franschhoek.
The Garden Route is one of South Africa’s highlights, a stretch of stunning coastal scenery that sweeps up into the mountains. The activities on offer are plentiful: go horse riding, play golf, taste some delicious wine or test your bravery by diving with great whites in a shark cage. And don’t miss Walker Bay along the Southern Cape, one of the best places in the world to watch whales.
The best-known of South Africa’s national parks is the mighty Kruger – 20,000 sq km of land that is home to 147 species of mammal, 507 species of bird and 336 species of tree across 16 distinct habitats. The Greater Kruger Park comprises a significant swathe of land on the western flanks of the National Park, and it is generally this larger, combined area that people are referring to when they mention the park.
The Rovos Rail is one of the most luxurious rail journeys in the world, offering a unique perspective on the African landscape from the comfort of Edwardian-style carriages (complete with world-class service and gourmet food). The Blue Train, which has been running more than 60 years, is also synonymous with luxury, with service comparable to that of a 5-star hotel (and sumptuous suites to match).
Local Weather & Useful Info
South African Rand
English, Afrikaans, German
Best combined with
Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius
12 hrs 30 min
Cape Town or Johannesburgi
No visa is required for British passport holders
Le Quartier Francais
Samara Private Game Reserve
Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Leopard Hills Safari Lodge
Kruger National Park
Singita Lebombe Lodge