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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

Map of the Cape of South Africa showing holiday areas and national parks

See South Africa in different ways, with different styles of maps.
Click on the buttons below.


Our map of South Africa

This a sketch map of South Africa – showing its key road arteries, national parks, towns, and areas of interest for visitors.

Reference map

Google map of South Africa

This map splits areas for holidays and safaris in the Cape into seven areas, each marked by a large blue marker. Read about them by clicking on these large markers.

To see the more detailed maps of these areas follow links in the bubbles – or at the bottom of the page. These more detailed area maps mark the precise locations of various different hotels, guest houses and safari lodges and camps – and can be viewed as fully-detailed street maps in some areas.

Our top trips in South Africa

Here are 11 great South Africa trips to inspire you.


Itinerary image

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$3,250 - US$3,890 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$4,280 - US$6,450 per person

Itinerary image

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$2,660 - US$3,010 per person

Itinerary image

Bontebok Self-drive Safari

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

This varied and great-value self-drive 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$1,550 - US$1,730 per person

Itinerary image

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$4,030 - US$6,800 per person

Itinerary image

Meerkat Self-drive Safari

8 days • 5 locations
UPINGTON AIRPORT TO UPINGTON AIRPORT

Explore the wildly remote Kgaladgai Transfrontier Park from four simple, self-catered bases before concluding with two nights at Augrabies Falls National Park. An exciting safari including varied game and birdlife, well-suited to the autonomous traveller.

US$1,060 - US$1,090 per person

Itinerary image

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$3,820 - US$3,920 per person

Itinerary image

Ostrich Self-drive Safari

14 days • 9 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

Great value self-drive adventure through the epic desert landscapes of southern Namibia and South Africa’s Kalahari, visiting highlights such as Fish River Canyon, the ghost towns of Lüderitz and Sossusvlei’s dunes.

US$2,320 - US$2,930 per person

Itinerary image

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$12,680 - US$15,310 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$8,280 - US$11,230 per person

View all holidays in South Africa

When to go to South Africa

Our month-by-month guide to the best time for visiting South Africa


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

Where to find the key wildlife species in South Africa

Understand the detail of where our travellers have most frequently seen the main big game species in South Africa.


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

1,218 sightings from 1,460 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.

29% SUCCESS

459 sightings from 1,568 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.

90% SUCCESS

1,729 sightings from 1,911 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

695 sightings from 996 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.

83% SUCCESS

1,648 sightings from 1,979 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

1,266 sightings from 1,422 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.

51% SUCCESS

996 sightings from 1,952 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

122 sightings from 761 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.

45% SUCCESS

917 sightings from 2,032 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.

79% SUCCESS

1,425 sightings from 1,793 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.

29% SUCCESS

283 sightings from 974 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.

42% SUCCESS

232 sightings from 550 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

412 sightings from 1,319 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.

64% SUCCESS

1,153 sightings from 1,807 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

31 sightings from 1,611 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.

3% SUCCESS

48 sightings from 1,696 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.

45% SUCCESS

665 sightings from 1,475 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.

19% SUCCESS

40 sightings from 206 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.

83% SUCCESS

1,862 sightings from 2,232 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.

24% SUCCESS

252 sightings from 1,041 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.

21% SUCCESS

217 sightings from 1,028 observations

Where to see sable antelope in South Africa

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