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South Africa
South Africa
South Africa
South Africa
South Africa
South Africa
South Africa
South Africa
South Africa
South Africa
South Africa
South Africa

Cape Town, a most spectacular city

... something more to learn about wine

Whale watching from shore in Hermanus

Little Karoo, a diverse self-drive destination

... whale watching along the Garden Route

70km of shoreline along the De Hoop reserve

Hike in the Augrabies Falls National Park

Admire the scenery of the Little Karoo

Kwandwe, for families with budding wildlife enthusiasts

Bask under Lion's Head at Camp's Bay

... seals pop up to say hello all along the coast

The Waterfront, bustling shops and restaurants

South Africa

South Africa trips

Bounded by two oceans, South Africa is both sophisticated and wild, framed by a landscape of staggering natural beauty.

South Africa

From rust-red, Kalahari sand dunes to protea-filled fynbos, over scenic mountain passes, through sweeping Karoo plains and past pristine golden beaches, South Africa is as diverse as it is spectacular.

Cosmopolitan Cape Town, beneath iconic Table Mountain, is the starting point for many trips, be they foodie forays into the Winelands, gentle road-trips along the Garden Route or exhilarating journeys to off-beat national parks.

On sea and on land, South Africa puts the magic into wildlife safaris. Black-maned lions top the undulating dunes Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park; protected rhino roam free in vast private reserves; cheetah sprint across the Karoo’s open plains.

Watch in wonder as whales pass through Hermanus on migration. See dolphins leap and play around Plettenberg Bay or endearing African penguins as they swim and waddle on the beaches of the Cape.

World-class cuisine – in acclaimed vineyard restaurants, passionately local, farm-to-fork bistros and deeply relaxed fireside braais – remains ardently authentic to their African roots.

Farmers’ markets overflow with colourful seasonal produce and passionate producers, making picnics and pit-stops on road trips an utter joy.

Whether sipping sparkling wine amid Franschhoek’s manicured vines, sharing platters of piri-piri prawns by the crashing Atlantic, or flame-grilling your own fillet steak in a starlit campsite, your tastebuds are in for a treat.

South Africa’s key destinations

Set against the spectacular backdrop of Table Mountain, Cape Town is a must for most visitors: a vibrant city with beautiful beaches, superb restaurants and the historic Robben Island. Fanning out from the city, South Africa’s Winelands welcome visitors to world-class vineyards amidst picturesque hills, while continuing east on a beautiful, wild stretch of coastline, Hermanus is one of the best places in the world to watch whales from land. Whales feature, too, from the fynbos-rich reserves of De Hoop, backed by towering sand dunes, and Grootbos, with its ancient milkwood forests, while many self-drivers are drawn to the Garden Route to explore some 125 miles of lush forests, lagoons and pristine beaches. For adventurous self-drivers, the lure of the Kalahari is strong, epitomised by the huge Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, whose red dunes and dry river valleys are home to wildlife aplenty. Or seek out superb big game at Kwandwe, a stylish safari stop with a true wilderness feel.


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Cape Town

14 places to stay

Set against the spectacular backdrop of Table Mountain, Cape Town delivers on so many fronts that it’s a must for most visitors.

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Kgalagadi

14 places to stay

A huge, off-beat park of red Kalahari dunes and dry river valleys which reward self-drive enthusiasts who take their time.

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Garden Route | Plettenberg

8 places to stay

Plettenberg Bay is a lovely seaside town in an area notable for its beaches and nature reserves.

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Winelands

7 places to stay

Fanning out into the hills around Cape Town, many of South Africa’s top vineyards welcome visitors to taste their wines.

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Hermanus

6 places to stay

Taking centre stage on a beautiful, wild stretch of coastline, Hermanus is one of the world’s best places to watch whales from land.

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Namaqualand

6 places to stay

The fynbos of Namaqualand is quiet for most of the year but burst into life during the flower season (Aug-Sept), while the Cedarberg Mountains offer great hiking year round.

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Kwandwe

5 places to stay

A superb big-game finale to a Garden Route trip, Kwandwe’s a stylish safari stop with a true wilderness feel.

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Addo Elephant Park

6 places to stay

Captivating close encounters with elephants are guaranteed at Addo Elephant National Park: a gentle and affordable Eastern Cape game experience.

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Johannesburg

4 places to stay

Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo International Airport is the gateway for many travellers to southern Africa; we offer a handful hotels for overnight stops en route to other destinations.

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Kariega

4 places to stay

The malaria-free Kariega Private Game Reserve is located 141 km, about a 90-minutes’ drive, east of Port Elizabeth – making it a viable add-on to a trip along the Garden Route.

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Swellendam

4 places to stay

Close to Bontebok National Park, Swellendam’s charming Cape Dutch architecture, friendly guesthouses and artistic community are a delight.

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Garden Route | Knysna

2 places to stay

Knysna is a small town notable for its lovely lagoon, and proximity to a number of reserves – including the spectacular Featherbed Reserve, and the impressive Knysna Forest.

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Little Karoo

3 places to stay

Northeast of South Africa’s Garden Route, over the Outeniqua Mountains, is Little Karoo – a dry and often flat area agricultural area.

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Augrabies Falls

3 places to stay

Soulful solitude awaits amid the russet rocks, dramatic waterfalls and stunning gorge walks of Augrabies starkly beautiful, ancient landscape.

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Garden Route | Wilderness

2 places to stay

An aptly named place to soak up nature: meandering rivers, freshwater lakes, lush forest trails and a stunning beach.

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Shamwari

3 places to stay

Although only 45 minutes’ drive from Port Elizabeth, you will find it set in lush countryside along the Bushmans River.

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De Hoop Reserve

2 places to stay

De Hoop’s rugged coastline, famed for its whale-watching, is backed by towering sand dunes, antelope-rich fynbos and marked with terrific hiking trails.

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Garden Route | Tsitsikamma

2 places to stay

Towering mountains, rushing rivers, deep ravines, indigenous forest and a rugged coastline: Tsitsikamma makes for wild and beautiful exploration.

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Grootbos Reserve

2 places to stay

Ancient milkwood forests, flower-filled fynbos and superb whale-watching: Grootbos is a first-class wilderness reserve between Cape Town and the Garden Route.

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Samara

1 places to stay

Sweeping plains and rugged mountains surround this family-run homestead and Big Five reserve in the blonde Karoo grasslands.

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Port Elizabeth

1 places to stay

Port Elizabeth is generally used at the beginning or end of a trip including the Garden Route. It is also the gateway to the Eastern Cape game reserves.

Our top ten holidays in South Africa

All our holidays to South Africa are tailor made, but these are ten of our most popular suggestions, designed to help you decide where to go from the multitude of options.

Focus on one small but pristine area for just a few days, or extend your trip to two or even three weeks. The range and variety within South Africa’s Cape can entice travellers to return time and again.

For some it’s the lure of the beach, or sipping wine on a terrace overlooking picturesque vineyards. For others, it’s the appeal of wildlife, on land or at sea, or the adventure of a self-drive trip across this most magical of countries.

Whatever your interest, have a look through our holiday ideas to the Cape, then call us about a South African trip tailor-made just for you.


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Cape Genet Self-drive Safari

20 days • 8 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Enjoy fine-dining in Cape Town, whale-watching in Hermanus, and a range of walking and water-based activities throughout De Hoop’s Nature Reserve, the Klein Karoo and Plettenberg. This relaxed self-driven safari concludes with stays in The Winelands and Namaqualand.

US$2,830 - US$3,730 per person

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Cape Grysbok Self-drive Safari

20 days • 8 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Explore Cape Town, Hermanus, Franschhoek and Namaqualand, amongst other memorable destinations, during this leisurely self-driven safari. Fine dining, varied activities and impressively comfortable lodges, estates and country houses await.

US$3,730 - US$6,180 per person

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Bontebok Self-drive Safari

12 days • 5 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT

This varied and great-value self-drive trip visits Cape Town, the Winelands and diverse sections of the Garden Route, staying at great places with real local character. It’s ideal for active couples and families who want to explore the Cape’s stunning locations.

US$1,350 - US$1,660 per person

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Waterbuck self-drive

12 days • 6 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT

A classic Cape and Garden Route self-drive taken at a leisurely pace and staying in charming boutique hotels. Great food and wine paired with spectacular scenery and an exciting array of activities.

US$2,320 - US$2,880 per person

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Cape Mountain Zebra Self-drive Safari

12 days • 4 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Fine dining, luxurious accommodation and a wide of range of leisurely activities make this a superbly comfortable self-driven safari. Visit the cosmopolitan Cape Town, tranquil coastal retreats, stylish wine farms and spectacularly peaceful nature reserves.

US$3,510 - US$6,510 per person

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Black Wildebeest Self-drive Safari

19 days • 10 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

Journey from South Africa’s cosmopolitan Cape Town to central Namibia’s Okonjima Nature Reserve during this self-driven safari. The route passes through a stunning variety of landscapes, offering access to this beautiful continent’s rich diversity.

US$3,160 - US$3,620 per person

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The Highlights of Africa

17 days • 7 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

An epic adventure taking in some of Africa’s most incredible sights and wildlife experiences, from Cape Town to the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, the Maasai Mara and an encounter with mountain gorillas.

US$14,300 - US$18,160 per person

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Leopard Safari

13 days • 4 locations
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Victoria Falls, Botswana and Cape Town – a classic southern African itinerary combining luxury, wilderness, safari and culture. We can't think of a better way to spend two weeks.

US$12,060 - US$17,820 per person

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Kwandwe Self-drive Safari

3 days • 1 locations
PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT TO PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT

An elegantly stylish lodge that is well suited to families, Kwandwe offers a range of safari activities and the chance to sight all of the "Big 5" during exploration of the Eastern Cape.

US$2,720 - US$4,230 per person

Our travellers' most recent reviews of South Africa holidays

Our travellers’ honest reviews of the trips and places that they visit in South Africa, as elsewhere, are exceptionally important to us – and are integral to the way we work.

They help us and other travellers to plan their trips; they help us to keep bang up to date; and they're read with interest by lodges in South Africa, who appreciate constructive feedback that is guaranteed to be genuine.

All of our South Africa holiday reviews are published in full on our website without any editing. See all 484 safaris reviews here, or click on a card below to read one of our most recent reviews in full.


99%
484 reviews since August 2007
Excellent
459
Good
20
Average
4
Poor
1
Terrible
0
Mr Antony from Auckland

Arrived 29 Sep 2022, 22 nights

"My Sep 2022 trip"

"As 'Expert' Africa you absolutely live up to that title...exemplary service …" Read Mr Antony’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs T from Exeter

Arrived 24 Jan 2024, 11 nights

"Our Jan 2024 trip"

"Our overall experience of Expert Africa was excellent. …" Read Mr & Mrs T’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr and Mrs G from Bucks

Arrived 15 Dec 2023, 23 nights

"My Dec 2023 trip"

"Fantastic trip; unique experiences and was cleverly designed... …" Read Mr and Mrs G’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mrs H from London

Arrived 27 Dec 2023, 10 nights

"My Dec 2023 trip"

"... it was the best family trip we've ever done, we just loved it! …" Read Mrs H ’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

A&L Polo from USA

Arrived 18 Dec 2023, 20 nights

"My Dec 2023 trip"

"We didn’t have to worry about anything. It was wonderful. Thanks a lot!!! …" Read A&L Polo’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Jane U from London

Arrived 11 Nov 2023, 35 nights

"My Nov 2023 trip"

"I loved my trip. It really was the journey of a lifetime. …" Read Jane U’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs C from Bristol

Arrived 9 Oct 2023, 22 nights

"Our Oct 2023 trip"

"This was the best holiday we have ever had. Thankyou! …" Read Mr & Mrs C’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Caro G from United Kingdom

Arrived 22 Sep 2023, 14 nights

"My Sep 2023 trip"

"Expert Africa are great. …" Read Caro G’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

SoCalCouple from Calif.

Arrived 2 Oct 2023, 17 nights

"My Oct 2023 trip"

"Maruska did a great job planning our trip …" Read SoCalCouple’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

AZ Gang from MacLean

Arrived 7 Sep 2023, 13 nights

"My Sep 2023 trip"

"We can't thank Maruska and Expert Africa enough for the amazing trip. …" Read AZ Gang’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

See all South Africa reviews

Our travellers' wildlife sightings across South Africa

Whenever our travellers embark on a wildlife safari within South Africa, we ask them to consider recording their sightings of key species, from leopard and elephant to hippo and black rhino.

Many travellers find this a fascinating part of their trip, sometimes serving just as a record, sometimes helping them to see a pattern emerging. In turn, their feedback helps us to build up a unique picture of when and where you are likely to find South Africa’s key wildlife species: citizen science in action. Read how this survey works.

To see much more detail for individual camps and lodges, see our interactive map showing the best locations for key wildlife species in South Africa.


Buffalo

100% success

White Rhino

100% success

Roan antelope

100% success

Sable antelope

100% success

Elephant

95% success

Oryx

94% success

Zebra

93% success

Wildebeest

88% success

Lion

82% success

Cheetah

76% success

Giraffe

73% success

Black Rhino

73% success

Hippo

72% success

Eland

67% success

Meerkat

35% success

Leopard

25% success

Spotted Hyena

22% success

Brown Hyena

16% success

Wild dog

11% success

Pangolin

5% success

Aardvark

5% success

Where to find South Africa’s key wildlife species

Each wildlife repost from one of our travellers enhances our understanding of the prime locations and times for sighting the country’s main animal species.

Find these results on our website – on our reviews of individual camps and reserves, on our dedicated wildlife pages, on our maps and on our individual holiday pages.

If you’re keen on lions or giraffes, or you’re longing to see an aardvark, take a look at our data to work out the best places for seeing them amidst South Africa’s abundant wildlife.

For a map of the best locations to see a given species, click on a card:


Buffalo

Buffalo

Syncerus caffer

One of the ‘Big Five’, buffalo earned a fearsome reputation in hunters’ tales. By contrast, big herds of these sociable bovids are placid, but mount formidable defences against predators.

83% SUCCESS

2,504 sightings from 3,021 observations

Where to see buffalo in South Africa

Cheetah

Cheetah

Acinonyx jubatus

The cheetah is the fastest land animal and the only cat that hunts by pure speed. Found largely in open grasslands, its slim, elegant form is today an increasingly rare sight.

33% SUCCESS

1,028 sightings from 3,085 observations

Where to see cheetah in South Africa

Elephant

Elephant

Loxodonta africana

By far the biggest of the so-called Big Five – indeed, the largest land animal on the planet – the elephant shapes the very landscape it inhabits and is a defining presence on any safari.

91% SUCCESS

3,537 sightings from 3,891 observations

Where to see elephant in South Africa

Oryx

Oryx

Oryx sp.

Oryx are impressive antelopes, with a powerful physique and elegant markings set off by rapier-like horns. They cut a distinctive dash in some of Africa’s harshest landscapes.

70% SUCCESS

1,280 sightings from 1,839 observations

Where to see oryx in South Africa

Giraffe

Giraffe

Giraffa camelopardalis

The world’s tallest land mammal, giraffes are herbivores which have evolved many unique adaptations. Their iconic outlines tower above the bush in many of Africa’s wildlife areas.

86% SUCCESS

3,413 sightings from 3,953 observations

Where to see giraffe in South Africa

Hippo

Hippo

Hippopotamus amphibius

The territorial calls of the hippo create a signature soundtrack to Africa’s rivers & wetlands. Despite an endearing smile, this aquatic herbivore has a notoriously aggressive disposition.

89% SUCCESS

2,591 sightings from 2,910 observations

Where to see hippo in South Africa

Spotted Hyena

Spotted Hyena

Crocuta crocuta

The spotted hyena may be thought of as ‘ugly’ and ‘cowardly’. In fact, this versatile and intelligent carnivore is one of Africa’s most fascinating and warrants attention on any safari.

55% SUCCESS

2,127 sightings from 3,841 observations

Where to see spotted hyena in South Africa

Brown Hyena

Brown Hyena

Parahyaena brunnea

This largely solitary scavenger is one of the more elusive and little-known of Africa’s carnivores. Shaggier than its spotted cousin, it occurs only in the arid southwest of the continent.

16% SUCCESS

239 sightings from 1,453 observations

Where to see brown hyena in South Africa

Leopard

Leopard

Panthera pardus

The most numerous of Africa’s big cats, leopard occur across many habitats, from wild tracts to populated areas. Their grace and their elusive nature make them a unique safari drawcard.

47% SUCCESS

1,889 sightings from 4,029 observations

Where to see leopard in South Africa

Lion

Lion

Panthera leo

Lions are at the top of the food chain and also most safari wish-lists, but with their numbers falling fast, any encounter with these majestic apex predators always feels like a privilege.

81% SUCCESS

2,964 sightings from 3,641 observations

Where to see lion in South Africa

Black Rhino

Black Rhino

Diceros bicornis

The black rhino is the smaller and rarer of Africa’s two rhino species but has the more fearsome reputation. Shy and heavily persecuted, it tends to stick to cover.

31% SUCCESS

615 sightings from 1,995 observations

Where to see black rhino in South Africa

White Rhino

White Rhino

Ceratotherium simum

The white rhino is the largest and most numerous of the world’s five rhinoceros species. They are larger, easier to see and generally more approachable than the black rhino.

44% SUCCESS

481 sightings from 1,090 observations

Where to see white rhino in South Africa

Wild dog

Wild dog

Lycaon pictus

African wild dogs are among the continent’s most compelling animals. Much misunderstood, these rare, tie-dyed canids are amazingly efficient hunters with a fascinating social life.

31% SUCCESS

843 sightings from 2,707 observations

Where to see wild dog in South Africa

Wildebeest

Wildebeest

Connochaetes sp.

Superficially bovine in appearance, wildebeests are known for their spectacular migrations sometimes in huge numbers. These resilient animals are some of Africa’s most successful herbivores.

68% SUCCESS

2,411 sightings from 3,557 observations

Where to see wildebeest in South Africa

Pangolin

Pangolin

Smutsia sp.

Pangolins appear to be more pine cone than animal in their unique armoury of scales. These nocturnal, ant-eating oddities are not only highly elusive but also increasingly rare.

2% SUCCESS

54 sightings from 3,238 observations

Where to see pangolin in South Africa

Aardvark

Aardvark

Orycteropus afer

The aardvark is one of Africa’s most bizarre and enigmatic animals. A shy, nocturnal termite-eater, signs of its presence may be scattered about the bush whilst sightings remain elusive.

2% SUCCESS

67 sightings from 3,241 observations

Where to see aardvark in South Africa

Eland

Eland

Taurotragus oryx

Africa’s largest antelope, eland are culturally important from prehistoric rock art to modern game farms. Though widespread, they are also shy so sightings are uncommon and often fleeting.

49% SUCCESS

1,438 sightings from 2,916 observations

Where to see eland in South Africa

Meerkat

Meerkat

Suricata suricatta

These highly sociable little mammals have an endearing appearance and comical antics. Found in the drier areas of Southern Africa, close encounters are a sought-after experience.

22% SUCCESS

85 sightings from 395 observations

Where to see meerkat in South Africa

Zebra

Zebra

Equus sp.

The zebra is a quintessential African animal: the horse in stripy pyjamas at the end of every child’s A–Z. There are three species, of which the plains zebra is much the most common.

84% SUCCESS

3,723 sightings from 4,412 observations

Where to see zebra in South Africa

Roan antelope

Roan antelope

Hippotragus equinus

Africa’s second largest antelope and one of its most handsome, with a powerful build and distinctive markings, roan are wary of people, but renowned for their bravery against predators.

23% SUCCESS

458 sightings from 1,965 observations

Where to see roan antelope in South Africa

Sable antelope

Sable antelope

Hippotragus niger

Perhaps Africa’s most beautiful antelope, sable are renowned for their combative nature, even holding off lions. Shy and restricted in range, sightings of sable are always special.

22% SUCCESS

436 sightings from 1,954 observations

Where to see sable antelope in South Africa

When to holiday in South Africa’s Cape region

There’s no “wrong” time to visit South Africa, but choices will depend on many things, including your interests and where you want to visit.

Weather, however, can be key – and is substantially different in the Cape region (including Cape Town and the coast) from the east and centre of the country, including the Kgalagadi .

From November to March, when the rest of southern Africa experiences rain, the Cape is typically hot, sunny and dry. This is also the busiest and most expensive time of the year, as it coincides with South Africa’s long school holidays.

Between around April and August it can be beautiful and dry one moment, blustery and wet the next, with rainfall peaking around June and July. September is the start of the Cape's “spring”, when swathes of open fynbos burst into flower. As rain becomes less frequent, the sun comes out more and temperatures start to rise.

For more details, see South Africa’s rainfall and temperatures here.


Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

South Africa in January

January is considered one of the best months to travel. In Cape Town the weather is hot and generally dry. The Garden Route is also excellent at this time of the year but has a more temperate climate, with slightly lower temperatures and rain can fall at any time of the year. In the Kgalagadi temperatures often top 40°C and short, sharp thunderstorms are also fairly frequent. Wildlife tends to disperse, although birding is excellent.

As this is the high season in the Cape there are numerous events, festivals and outdoor activities to attract visitors. Accommodation books up quickly and it may be necessary to book at least a year in advance. Reservations will often be needed for restaurants and visitor attractions too.

  • Hot, largely dry days with clear skies – except on Garden Route
  • Wildlife disperses in the Kalahari but birding excellent
  • Events, festivals and outdoor activities staged for the high season
  • The high season in the Cape, accommodation can cost up to 50% more
  • Pre-booking of activities & attractions is essential

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in January

South Africa in February

In February conditions are largely the same as in January, although temperatures can be slightly higher, especially in the interior. The wind in Cape Town starts to ease off. Although the Garden Route can experience some rain, the days are pleasantly warm and largely dry.

The Kgalagadi remains very hot, but the birding is still excellent. Wildlife viewing can be tricky especially if there has been some rain, as the resulting long grass can obscure the animals.

For visitors it’s still the high season, but with the local school holidays over and residents back at work, it is less busy than December and January. Accommodation costs remain high and it’s still advisable to pre-book certain activities and restaurants.

  • Hot, largely dry days with little cloud
  • Wind starts easing in Cape Town
  • Slightly less busy than December & January
  • Accommodation costs remain high, activities still best pre-booked

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in February

South Africa in March

March is still a very good time to visit. Conditions remain dry and very warm in Cape Town, although temperatures start dropping off towards the end of the month. The wind has usually died right down.

The Kalahari remains very hot and in years of good rains vegetation is at its most lush – making wildlife viewing tricky.

Typically, the crowds dwindle, but it can get very busy if Easter falls in March. It is also worth bearing in mind that during major events in March, including the Cape Town Cycle Tour, Cape Epic Mountain Bike Tour, The Cape Town Carnival and the International Jazz Festival, accommodation can get very full.

Attractions remain busy but booking is less essential.

  • Temperatures start falling towards the end of the month
  • Cape Town hosts a number of world class sport and cultural events
  • Wildlife in the Kgalagadi disperses, game viewing more challenging
  • Crowds diminish as the high season comes to an end
  • Accommodation can get busy during major events

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in March

South Africa in April

April is South Africa’s “shoulder” season and is often the most pleasant. Not too hot, not too cold, some rain but not masses. In Cape Town and along the Garden Route days are usually sunny, warm, windless and largely dry, although in Cape Town the chance of rain increases from the end of the month.

In the Kgalagadi the rainy season is typically over and migratory birds are starting to make their journey back up North. Vegetation remains lush but wildlife viewing starts picking up towards the end of the month.

The region is still relatively busy (especially of its still Easter) but it gets quieter towards the end of the month thus availability improves. Accommodation rates start to decrease, and it becomes less important to book restaurants and attractions in advance.

  • Temperatures still warm and very pleasant, with little wind.
  • Rain starts easing in the Kalahari and migratory birds start to depart
  • Less busy, especially towards the end of the month - busy over Easter
  • Accommodation frees up and prices start to come down

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in April

South Africa in May

May marks the start of the dry season in the Kgalagadi. Days are warm and dry with almost zero rainfall. Night-time/early-morning temperatures can drop towards 0°C. Wildlife viewing is at its peak as animals concentrate around the few remaining water sources.

Days can still be warm and sunny in Cape Town and on the Garden Route, but the weather becomes a lot more variable. May heralds the start of the rainy season in Cape Town and the winelands. Night-time temperatures rarely drop below 10 degrees in the coastal areas.

With far fewer tourists, accommodation prices are at their lowest. There is rarely any need to pre-book activities, but reservations are still advisable at some of the top restaurants.

  • Higher chance of rain in Cape Town & the Winelands
  • Day time temperatures drop significantly
  • Wildlife viewing peaks in the Kgalagadi
  • Low season so rarely busy & very few crowds
  • Low season rates at the hotels & lodges

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in May

South Africa in June

Winter is now in full swing. Maximum temperatures in Cape Town rarely reach 20°C and the rainy season is well under way. Outdoor activities therefore become limited, but a number of high-quality indoor events are organised.

The Garden Route has, in general milder weather and less rain than Cape Town.

June sees the arrival of the first whales which migrate to the South African coastline to give birth.

In the Kgalagadi, daytime temperatures are warm but nights and early mornings are bitterly cold. Wildlife viewing is excellent as animals are drawn to the few remaining permanent water points.

Overall tourist numbers are at their lowest, as are the costs of flights and accommodation.

  • Cold & wet weather in Cape Town, Kgalagadi warm days but cold at night
  • One of the best months for wildlife viewing in the Kgalagadi
  • Whales start arriving to have their calves
  • Low visitor numbers & no crowds
  • Accommodation & flight prices remain low

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in June

South Africa in July

The winter weather continues with very cold nights and early mornings in the Kgalagadi and virtually no rainfall. Vegetation here is really thinning out now and water even more scarce – so wildlife is easy to spot.

Despite the winter and local school holidays, Cape Town remains a great place to visit. On a wet and cold day, the Two Oceans Aquarium, Zeitz Mocca (art museum) and the Cape Town Comedy Club all make for great days out, as does a trip to the wine country or the annual Oyster Festival at Knysna.

By mid-July most of the whales have arrived to give birth. Hermanus is the best place to see them.

At the height of the low season, so accommodation and flight prices remain low.

  • Generally cold & wet in the Cape, but good quality indoor events
  • Very good wildlife viewing in the Kgalagadi
  • Oyster festival in Knysna
  • Local school holidays can make places a little busier than usual
  • Accommodation and flight prices remain low

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in July

South Africa in August

While August experiences mostly wintry weather it does mark the very beginning of spring with temperatures starting to rise. Visitors are drawn to the West Coast and Namaqualand to see the wildflowers, which start blooming in late August and can be seen until mid-September. Whales are still in abundance now too.

The Kgalagadi is now very dry and wildlife vieiwng is still good. Temperatures start climbing towards the end of the month.

Despite the weather , visitor numbers can be high as the northern hemisphere schools close for their summer holidays. It may be a good idea to book certain attractions and restaurants in advance.

Simlarly, although accommodation prices are still low, flight prices can be a little higher than in previous months.

  • Temperatures start rising – but still potential for cold & wet weather
  • Wildflowers on the West Coast & in Namaqualand
  • Good wildlife viewing in the Kgalagadi
  • Whales continue to attract visitors
  • Can get busy due to northern hemisphere school summer holidays

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in August

South Africa in September

Good wildlife viewing in the Kgalagadi continues and daytime temperatures increase quite dramatically. Mornings and evenings are still on the chilly side, but not as cold as they are in June, July and August.

The 1st of September is officially the start of spring in Cape Town. Days become warmer but not quite warm enough to enjoy the city’s beautiful beaches. Venues all over Cape Town play host to various artists during the Cape Town Fringe Festival.
Rainy days are fewer, but night times can still get chilly. Many hotels are still charging low season rates making September great value for money.

Elsewhere, Hermanus hosts the popular annual Whale Festival, and in the West of the Cape, wildflowers continue to bloom until the middle of the month.

  • The start of spring; temperatures start rising
  • Whale festival in Hermanus
  • Cape Town Fringe Ferstival attracts a wide range of artists
  • Wildflowers blooming well until the middle of the month
  • Good wildlife viewing continues in the Kgalagadi

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in September

South Africa in October

The weather starts warming up nicely, Cape Town experiences pleasant days, with much less rain, nights can still be quite cool, but not cold. Some days are now warm enough to enjoy the beach. This is one of the best months to visit the Cape Region.

October is one of the hottest months in the Kalahari. Water remains very scarce, so the wildlife viewing is still very good. Towards the end of the month the odd spectacular thunderstorm is possible with much lightning and thunder. Migratory birds start to arrive, and resident species gear up for the breeding season.

The whales are still present with Hermanus and False Bay the best places to see them.

  • Days start warming up; fewer rainy days in Cape Town
  • Very hot in the Kalahari – thunderstorms season starts
  • Migratory birds start arriving & resident birds start breeding
  • Whale watching still excellent in Hermanus and False Bay areas
  • Start of the high season, getting busy and accommodation prices rise

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in October

South Africa in November

By November Cape Town is experiencing summer conditions with hot, clear days and warm, pleasant evenings. It’s a great month to enjoy the beaches before the peak holiday season in December. There are no real downsides to visiting in November and you may even get a few accommodation specials before prices go up for the festive season. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens begins their summer outdoor concerts with local and international artists performing.

The Kgalagadi remains hot but thunderstorms are a bit more regular. With the rains, water sources become more plentiful and wildlife disperses but this is when herbivores such as Springbok start lambing. Photography improves as conditions become less hazy.

This is the last month for regular whale sightings – they tend to migrate back down south by early December.

  • Summer now in full swing, with temperatures often reaching 30°C
  • Rainy days scarce; evenings warm & very pleasant
  • Antelope start lambing in the Kgalagadi; wildlife generally dispersed
  • Last month for regular whale sightings
  • Good time to visit Cape Town before the peak holiday season

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in November

South Africa in December

December is usually Cape Town’s hottest month when temperatures frequently breach 30°C. You can expect hot and cloudless days, and almost no rain but December does see the occasional very windy day.

The Kalahari is still hot, but temperatures are not quite as high as previous months. With the rainfall the bush transforms into various shades of green. Wildlife disperses as water become more widely available.

The Garden Route enjoys warm to hot days with rain at any time but usually not over an extended period.

Mid to late December becomes incredibly busy with concerts, festivals and various outdoor activities in Cape Town. Hotel prices rise, tourist attractions and beaches are crowded and most popular sites and restaurants need to be booked in advance.

  • Long, hot sunny days
  • Kgalagadi bursts into life as rainy season kicks in
  • Wildlife viewing a bit trickier as wildlife disperses
  • Cape Town buzzing with concerts, events, festivals etc
  • Peak season: attractions get very busy & accommodation costs rise

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in December

Country guide

Country guide

Whether you're seeking to relax, explore or escape, a holiday in South Africa’s Cape region has much to offer. The more adventurous can hike through unique mountain fynbos in the craggy Cedarberg Mountains or search for black-maned lion in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, but most come here seeking the good life on a gentle coastal trip: idyllic landscapes, comfortable hotels, good food and fine wine.

Expert Africa’s game-viewing safaris concentrate on the south and west of South Africa. You can watch lion, cheetah and meerkats in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, and all of the “big five" in the reserves of the eastern Cape, such as Kwandwe. For whale-watching, between August and November, Hermanus is the place to be, whilst Cape Town – with its superb beaches and dramatic mountainous scenery, as well as great restaurants, shops, bars and hotels – really is a great destination at any time of year.


Where to safari in South Africa

Where to safari in South Africa

With our focus on South Africa’s Cape region, we’d highly rate a safari in the southern game parks. Offering a taste of the “big five”, these parks are malaria-free and child-friendly, making them excellent for a family safari.

First-time visitors to Africa often spend 2–3 nights here, either as part of an affordable self-drive holiday or at one of the luxurious, all-inclusive safari lodges in the eastern game reserves, such as Kwandwe or Shamwari.

More challenging would be to head north to the remote
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, where you can expect great game viewing, from cheetah to meerkat. A self-drive adventure here, immersed in the wilderness among the red Kalahari dunes, is ideal for a longer, no-frills safari. You could even combine the Kgalagadi into a self-drive trip between Namibia and the Cape.

Where to stay in South Africa

From old manor houses to top hotels and exclusive guesthouses throughout the Winelands and the length of the Garden Route, the range of holiday options across the Cape is seemingly endless. We have hand-picked excellent hotels and small guesthouses that we know from experience, and are confident in recommending for comfort, value – and often luxury.

With these we've included some interesting safari lodges, on the east side of the Cape. These can't offer a safari experience to compete with those in Botswana, Namibia or further north, but you can do a very comfortable, malaria-free safari here. And if self-catering is more your style, there are the remote and very simple camps of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Self-driving in South Africa

Self-driving in South Africa is ideal for the independent traveller, or for families who appreciate the flexibility to be able to stop where and when they want. It's a great way to see the country and meet the people

Driving here is easy. The roads are generally well signposted and well-maintained, and almost all – from multi-lane highways to mountain passes – are tarmac. Driving is on the left.

Typically you’ll collect your hire car from the airport, and it's wise to obtain some local currency before you set off. Fuel stations often only accept cash in South African rand, and some won’t take credit cards.

Distances in the southern Cape are usually small, but how far you travel is entirely your choice. If you’re up for adventure, you could even consider starting in Cape Town and ending in the Namibian capital, Windhoek – or vice versa.

South Africa in context: history, environment & people

After thousands of years of early history, South Africa hit a turbulent period following the growth of exploration. The Dutch Cape Colony came under British control in the early 19th century, ultimately leading to wars with both the indigenous Zulus and the Boer settlers.

The second half of the 20th century was marred by a policy of apartheid, which was finally ended with the release of Nelson Mandela from prison and the country’s first democratic elections in 1994.

Today’s population of around 60 million people is a diverse mix of ethnicities, cultures, languages and religions, resulting in a culture that is a blend of indigenous African, European and Asian influences.

South Africa is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, with ecosystems that range from deserts and grasslands to forests and wetlands. Environmental challenges are many, including habitat loss, pollution and poaching, but conservation efforts are in hand to mitigate their effects.

Maps of South Africa: two styles

The scale of South Africa’s natural diversity is thrown into relief with different styles of maps. Zoom into the areas and then the lodges and reserves on our maps for a vivid indication of the country’s topography.

At first glance, South Africa appears to be dominated by a vast arid landscape, with a fertile green fringe that stretches north towards Botswana and Zimbabwe. Switch to satellite imagery and you’ll see that much of that “arid” land is taken up by the great mountain ranges that dissect the country, opening out to the north into the desert areas of the Kalahari.

Click onto any of the markers, and follow the links in the bubbles until you find maps of these areas, with precise locations for the various safari camps and lodges.


Reference map
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Understand more about South Africa

Sometimes it’s the practical details that help to make a holiday run smoothly, and South Africa is no exception.

Even with our team of specialists behind you, it helps to understand a little of what to expect. Whether you’d like to know more about flights to South Africa, or are undecided about car hire, this is where to start.

You’ll also find a quick fact-check on things such as currency and language, along with information on South Africa’s attitude to LGBT travellers, and our advice on the sometimes thorny subject of tipping.


Flights to South Africa
Flights to South Africa

Flights to South Africa

Our travellers come from across the globe and most prefer to arrange their own flights. We then organise an itinerary that fits around your flight schedule.

From the UK, British Airways operates direct flights to Cape Town from London’s Heathrow Airport, departing in the evening and arriving the following morning. This is ideal for holidays based in the Cape area, including the Garden Route.

For trips starting further east, or to the Kgalagadi, a better alternative is to take British Airways’ overnight flight to Johannesburg, then to connect onward to Upington or Port Elizabeth with Airlink.

From the USA, some travellers opt to fly to South Africa via London, while others take a direct flight, for example between New York and Cape Town or Johannesburg.

Flights to South Africa

Car hire in South Africa

All our self-drive trips within South Africa include a Group B/C manual vehicle, or similar. We can request a particular group of vehicles, but unfortunately we are unable to guarantee a specific model.

These hire vehicles come with unlimited mileage, all local taxes and comprehensive insurance that includes theft and accidental damage. We believe that we offer the highest level of cover available in the industry.

Many of our travellers prefer to pick up a car at one airport and drop it at another, which could even be in Namibia. We can easily arrange this, but note that one-way drop-off fees are usually payable.

Car hire in South Africa

South Africa general information

At the time of writing (spring 2024), UK and US passportholders do not need visas when travelling to South Africa, but it’s important to check this before you travel. South Africa’s currency is the rand (ZAR), and credit cards are widely accepted, with the exception of some fuel stations.

Although English is widely spoken throughout South Africa, and is the lingua franca for communication in official settings, it’s just one of 11 official languages in the Rainbow Nation.

Afrikaans is the first language for many South Africans, while others that you may come across in the Cape region include the Bantu languages of Sotho, Swazi, Tswana and Zulu.

Time in South Africa is just two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2), which means that jet lag for those travelling from Europe is minimal. There is no time difference between the summer and winter months.

South Africa general information

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel to South Africa

South Africa is a shining beacon for LGBT travellers in comparison to most of Africa. Equal treatment of the LGBT community is enshrined in law and same-sex marriage is recognised. South Africa Tourism actively encourages gay travellers – one factor behind Cape Town becoming Africa’s de facto “gay capital”, and ranking among the world’s top gay cities.

That said, be aware of not only the law, but also the current climate of opinion. The vast majority of people in South Africa are friendly to visitors, gay or straight, and in our experience, LBGT travel here is usually fine and uneventful. However, outside of the cities, homosexuality is frowned upon by many, so always check your government's latest travel advice before you visit.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel to South Africa

Tipping in South Africa

Tipping is a sensitive issue, but there is no need to feel awkward. It’s a normal part of the service industry in South Africa, as it is in many countries. Just remember that tipping is voluntary, and should depend on the standard of service. And bear in mind that thoughtless tipping by relatively affluent visitors can have a big impact on the local economic and social balance.

Deciding who to tip, and when, is as important as how much. On safari, consider tipping the back-of-house team as well as your guide and waiter, usually at the end of your stay. The same goes for tour guides or activity leaders, who may be integral to your enjoyment of a day out. Porters, filling station attendants, taxi drivers and car guards will normally appreciate a tip, but tips are not normally expected for transfers, or in bars.

Tipping in South Africa

Ideas for holidays in South Africa

For some travellers, South Africa is all about safari. Others are in search of sophistication and culture, while still more will be seeking a family holiday or even an adventurous trip of a lifetime. With such exceptional diversity, choosing a holiday in South Africa requires some guidance.

At Expert Africa, we focus on South Africa’s Cape region, stretching from Cape Town in the west through the Winelands and whale-watching “capital” of Hermanus, and out along the Garden Route.

To the east we incorporate some small, private safari reserves – Shamwari, Kariega, Samara and Kwandwe – while to the north we focus on the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which between them offer plenty of big game – whether you’re on an all-inclusive safari or a serious self-drive adventure.

With so much to offer, we have put together a selection of holiday suggestions, below. Once you’ve had a look through these, give us a call, then one of our South Africa experts can help to design the best trip for you.


Showing 1-9 of 9
Name
Duration
Cost
Most popular
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Black Wildebeest Self-drive Safari

19 days • 10 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

Journey from South Africa’s cosmopolitan Cape Town to central Namibia’s Okonjima Nature Reserve during this self-driven safari. The route passes through a stunning variety of landscapes, offering access to this beautiful continent’s rich diversity.

US$3,160 - US$3,620 per person

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The Highlights of Africa

17 days • 7 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

An epic adventure taking in some of Africa’s most incredible sights and wildlife experiences, from Cape Town to the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, the Maasai Mara and an encounter with mountain gorillas.

US$14,300 - US$18,160 per person

Itinerary image

Leopard Safari

13 days • 4 locations
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Victoria Falls, Botswana and Cape Town – a classic southern African itinerary combining luxury, wilderness, safari and culture. We can't think of a better way to spend two weeks.

US$12,060 - US$17,820 per person

Itinerary image

Kwandwe Self-drive Safari

3 days • 1 locations
PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT TO PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT

An elegantly stylish lodge that is well suited to families, Kwandwe offers a range of safari activities and the chance to sight all of the "Big 5" during exploration of the Eastern Cape.

US$2,720 - US$4,230 per person

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Bontebok Self-drive Safari

12 days • 5 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT

This varied and great-value self-drive trip visits Cape Town, the Winelands and diverse sections of the Garden Route, staying at great places with real local character. It’s ideal for active couples and families who want to explore the Cape’s stunning locations.

US$1,350 - US$1,660 per person

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Cape Genet Self-drive Safari

20 days • 8 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Enjoy fine-dining in Cape Town, whale-watching in Hermanus, and a range of walking and water-based activities throughout De Hoop’s Nature Reserve, the Klein Karoo and Plettenberg. This relaxed self-driven safari concludes with stays in The Winelands and Namaqualand.

US$2,830 - US$3,730 per person

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Waterbuck self-drive

12 days • 6 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT

A classic Cape and Garden Route self-drive taken at a leisurely pace and staying in charming boutique hotels. Great food and wine paired with spectacular scenery and an exciting array of activities.

US$2,320 - US$2,880 per person

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Cape Mountain Zebra Self-drive Safari

12 days • 4 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Fine dining, luxurious accommodation and a wide of range of leisurely activities make this a superbly comfortable self-driven safari. Visit the cosmopolitan Cape Town, tranquil coastal retreats, stylish wine farms and spectacularly peaceful nature reserves.

US$3,510 - US$6,510 per person

Itinerary image

Cape Grysbok Self-drive Safari

20 days • 8 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Explore Cape Town, Hermanus, Franschhoek and Namaqualand, amongst other memorable destinations, during this leisurely self-driven safari. Fine dining, varied activities and impressively comfortable lodges, estates and country houses await.

US$3,730 - US$6,180 per person

Showing 1-9 of 9

Let us help you customise your trip

All of our holidays on this site are just ideas; none are fixed. All of our trips are tailor-made, so we'll always adapt them to suit you. Talk to an Expert and let us help you to work out your perfect trip.


Talk to an Expert

Call us now! We’ll match you with the Specialist in our team who is best suited to help you. Then together we can start planning your trip.

Set up your itinerary

Based on our experience and your ideas, your specialist will create a detailed, costed itinerary. We’ll refine it together, until we have a trip that you’re perfectly happy with.

Prepare for your trip

The same Specialist will make the seamless arrangements for your trip, send you detailed travel documents, and be available to answer any questions before you depart.

Travel with peace of mind

After you set off, you’ll be cared for by our partners in Africa, most of whom have worked with Expert Africa for decades. And if you ever need us urgently, we’re available 24/7.

When you return

We love to learn about your trip, and so will always be grateful if you’ve the time to give feedback to your Specialist when you return.

Special types of holiday to South Africa

Whether you’re travelling solo, or after a romantic honeymoon with candlelit dining à deux, South Africa can deliver. It makes a superb destination for a luxury holiday, combining a stylish safari with the sophistication of Cape Town, and for an action-packed family holiday, the country is spot on.

South Africa offers some of the best hiking on the sub-continent, or you can explore the Cape’s rolling hills and sandy beaches on horseback instead. Watersports lovers, too, will be in their element along this magnificent coastline, from kayaking and fishing to snorkelling and diving.

And then there’s the wildlife. For the classic safari, head off on a self-drive adventure to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, or seek out one of the private reserves in the Eastern Cape, from the well-known Shamwari to the excellent Kwandwe. Birders are drawn to the fynbos specials around De Hoop Nature Reserve, and for whale watching, Hermanus comes into its own. Not surprisingly, it’s a photographers’ dream too!

Take a look at the options, then talk to us and we’ll help you to create your perfect trip to South Africa.


Beach holidays

Beach holidays

Discover Africa's coast and tropical islands.

Birdwatching

Birdwatching

Diverse habitats, discreet hides and superb guiding.

Family holidays

Family holidays

Hand-picked camps for an incredible family safari.

Honeymoons

Honeymoons

Romantic safaris and castaway island retreats.

Luxury

Luxury

First-class service, scenic vistas and unparalleled comfort await you during these carefully selected luxury holidays. 

Photography holidays

Photography holidays

Great holidays to suit the keen photographer.

Private villas & houses

Private villas & houses

Enjoy Africa with just your friends & family

Riding holidays

Riding holidays

Explore Africa's wilderness on horseback.

Walking

Walking

Explore Africa's most scenic trails on foot.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing

Wellness escapes in stunning locations

Wildlife safaris

Wildlife safaris

These trips include hard-hitting game and fascinatingly elusive species alike, as well as superb guiding and a variety of diverse ecosystems.

Frequently Asked Questions

South Africa FAQs

All too often, travellers to South Africa have questions that they’d like to ask, but feel they’re too trivial to mention.

Yet such questions are important, so below we’ve included some of those that we’re frequently asked – from what you can expect to eat in South Africa to where to watch whales and why it’s a great place for a family safari.

No matter how small your query may seem, please don’t hesitate to ask us; Our experts have years of experience travelling in Africa – and we’re here to help.


Why is the Cape’s flora so special?

Why is the Cape’s flora so special?

South Africa’s Cape is fascinating as the smallest and richest of the world’s six floral kingdoms – and as such is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to more than 9,000 plant species, its level of diversity and range of endemic species is comparable to that of the great tropical rainforests.

Characteristic of the region is the dominant fynbos vegetation, whose plants are well-adapted to the Cape’s hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Prime among these are the proteas, big, showy flowers that are at their finest between May and October.

While the cooler months, between September and November, are the best for wildflowers, there’s never a “wrong” time to seek out the region’s plantlife, or to visit Cape Town’s renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

For a truly vibrant display, it’s also worth visiting Namaqualand, typically in late August and early September, when the hills and heathlands burst into a mass of multi-coloured flowers.

Where to see whales in South Africa

As much as “where” is “when” – for the migration period of (predominantly) southern right whales is date dependent. While you will often see whales between July and November, peak sightings occur between August and October.

Hermanus is one of the best places in the world to watch whales from land. Take a stroll along one of the scenic cliff paths that lead from the small town and settle down to watch with a pair of binoculars.

A boat trip from the town, or the nearby Gansbaai, gives the added opportunity of spotting dolphins relatively close up, along with other species of whale such as humpbacks and even killer whales.

For nature-lovers it’s worth seeking out De Hoop Nature Reserve, or Grootbos Private Reserve, where you can combine whale sightings with first-rate insights into the Cape's unique flora and fauna.

Why is South Africa particularly good for a family safari?

One of the most important factors is that the majority of the Cape region, including the private reserves in the eastern Cape, the Garden Route, and the whole area around Cape Town and the west, is considered to be malaria-free.

Family-friendly lodges are another big plus, from family suites or interconnected rooms and flexible mealtimes to child-centred activities, such as bush walks and children’s game drives. Kwandwe even offers a frog safari from Ecca Lodge!

An independent self-drive family safari to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a popular alternative. With a good road network, driving in South Africa is very straightforward – something that most parents will appreciate.

Add to this the opportunities to combine a family safari holiday with time spent on the coast, or hiking in national parks, or indulging in outdoor adventure activities, and it’s not difficult to see the appeal.

What is the appeal of South African wines?

With a history dating back nearly 400 years, South Africa’s vineyards are not quite as new as the marketing gurus might suggest. Originating in the Constantia Valley near Cape Town, they now extend across the Cape region, in particular in the rolling hills around Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.

The typically Mediterranean climate of the region enables a variety of grapes to be grown, resulting in many styles of wine. That said, the country’s best-known wines are Chenin Blanc, and the red Pinotage – from grapes that are a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault (or Hermitage).

These and other wines benefit from blending traditional wine-making techniques with modern innovations – while the focus on biodiversity and conservation is a plus for the environment. As many of South Africa’s vineyards have their own restaurants, visitors can not only taste their wines, but can enjoy them over a leisurely lunch looking out over the hills.

What’s the food like in South Africa?

Most South African restaurants serve international cuisine featuring high-quality food that’s relatively inexpensive. Accompany it with award-winning South African wine from the vineyards around the Cape, or the local Castle beer.

On the coast, seafood is a speciality, from lobster and oysters to prawns and calamari. Kingklip is a popular and versatile white fish that features on many menus, typically grilled or pan-fried.

“Braais” – or barbecues – are a quintessential South African tradition, often featuring excellent steaks or boerewors (spicy sausage). Other traditional foods includes biltong (dried meat), potjiekos (slowly cooked meat and vegetable stew), and the ubiquitous mielie pap, a starchy maize staple.

Our other African destinations

As specialists in Africa, we are well-placed to help you choose the right country for your African adventure.

While South Africa offers plenty of variety, those in search of a more focused safari experience might like to consider neighbouring Botswana, whose Okavango Delta and excusive private concessions are a big draw for many.

Rather less costly are Zambia or the more rustic Zimbabwe, both offering high standards of wildlife guiding and the added bonus of the Victoria Falls.

For something a little less “wild”, take a look at Kenya or Tanzania, whereas for a self-drive holiday, Namibia is a must – and combines well with a longer self-drive trip through South Africa.

Then there’s Rwanda, where visiting a family of mountain gorillas is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Like South Africa, several other countries – Kenya, Mozambique and Malawi – present the combined appeal of safari and beaches, or how about an idyllic island add-on to Zanzibar or even the Seychelles?

The choices are many and varied, so do call us; we’re here to help you plan your perfect African holiday.


Botswana

Botswana

With big game, glamorous lodges and one of the greatest unspoilt wildernesses on Earth, Botswana is perhaps Africa's most exclusive safari destination.

Read more about Botswana
Kenya

Kenya

Humanity’s ancestors lived in Kenya, which is now home to people speaking 42 languages, and some of Africa’s rarest, most magnificent wildlife.

Read more about Kenya
Malawi

Malawi

With tropical rivers, Rift Valley plateaux, the crystal-clear waters of Lake Malawi and a stunning lakeshore, Malawi invites relaxed exploration.

Read more about Malawi
Mozambique

Mozambique

An ocean paradise protected by world-class marine parks, Mozambique’s idyllic archipelagos offer heavenly hideaways, outstanding diving and laid-back luxury.

Read more about Mozambique
Namibia

Namibia

Spectacular scenery, diverse wildlife and a rich cultural heritage await discovery by air, with a guide or on a self-drive adventure.

Read more about Namibia
Rwanda

Rwanda

This small, mountainous country offers Africa’s best gorilla treks, other good safari options and a profound human element in every trip.

Read more about Rwanda
Seychelles

Seychelles

The ultimate glamorous getaway: the lush islands of Seychelles are enchantingly beautiful and stylish sanctuaries for both wildlife and ocean-lovers.

Read more about Seychelles
Tanzania

Tanzania

East Africa’s biggest country has a wide range of parks to explore and some of the Indian Ocean’s best island retreats.

Read more about Tanzania
Zambia

Zambia

Home to walking safaris, exceptional wildlife, superb guiding and the mighty Victoria Falls, Zambia is Africa at its most alluring.

Read more about Zambia
Zanzibar

Zanzibar

The ultimate Spice Island: Zanzibar’s mystique, marine life and chic beach retreats make it Africa’s most alluring archipelago.

Read more about Zanzibar
Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

Stunning national parks teeming with game, plus Africa's finest professional guides and the spectacular Victoria Falls: Zimbabwe is enthralling.

Read more about Zimbabwe

Elephant safari
in Linyanti

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