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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: In depth

A guide to visiting South Africa

This is our introductory page on South Africa, but it's important to note from the start that Expert Africa doesn't offer trips to the whole of South Africa. Instead, we concentrate only on what we know best: South Africa's Cape.

Outside of the Cape, the only places that you'll find on our website are a few hotels in Johannesburg that we use as stopovers, included here because our travellers often need to spend a night near the airport, to catch connecting flights.

The Cape of South Africa

Whether you're seeking to relax, explore or escape, a Cape holiday has much to offer. The more adventurous can hike through unique mountain fynbos in the craggy Cedarberg Mountains or search for wild, black-maned lion in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, but most come on holiday here seeking the good life on a gentle coastal trip: idyllic landscapes, comfortable hotels, good food and fine wine. For them the range is endless, from old manor houses to top hotels and exclusive guest houses throughout the Winelands and the length of the Garden Route. The main areas of South Africa's Cape are:

Augrabies Falls National Park

At the southern end of the Kalahari sands, this starkly beautiful park surrounds the Augrabies Falls and its gorge. Come for some gentle game viewing, lovely walking and excellent birdwatching. (Read more about Augrabies Falls National Park...)

Cape Town

This beautiful, cosmopolitan city is African and yet very European. Spend at least 3-4 nights of your holiday here if you can; there's a lot to see and do, from shopping and restaurants to hiking around beaches and mountains. (Read more about Cape Town... )

The Garden Route

This compact coastal belt is sandwiched between the warm Indian Ocean and rugged mountain ranges. Numerous copy holiday hideaways (as well as many smarter hotels) are dotted amongst lovely beaches, verdant forests and small, bustling towns. (Read more about the Garden Route... )

Hermanus

Plan your holiday between August and November when Hermanus area is Africa's top spot for whale-watching, by boat or from scenic cliffs. Nature-lovers will seek out Grootbos Private Reserve, for first-rate insights into the Cape's unique flora and fauna. (Read more about Hermanus... )

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

This huge, offbeat park, amidst red Kalahari dunes, is ideal for a self-drive holiday if you want a no-frills safari with great game-viewing. Come here for great cheetah and meerkat sightings, and a real sense of wilderness, and perhaps combine the Kgalagadi into a self-drive between Namibia and the Cape. (Read more about the Kgalagadi... )

Namaqualand

Between Cape Town and the Orange River, the border with Namibia, this is a vast open area reminiscent of undulating moorlands. This area is tremendously popular during Namaqualand's short annual flow season, between about the second half of August and the start of September – when the moorlands burst into vibrant colour in one of nature's most remarkable floral displays. (Read more about Namaqualand... )

Port Elizabeth

This friendly, laid-back beachside town is the gateway to the Eastern Cape game reserves, and often used at the beginning or end of a trip to the Cape's Garden Route.(Read more about Port Elizabeth…)

Southern Game Parks

Malaria-free and child-friendly holidays here offer safari parks with a taste of 'the big five'. 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 here. (Read more about the Cape's safari parks... )

Winelands

A scenic area of mountains and vineyards, dotted with welcoming retreats. Visit this wine region for the day from Cape Town, or stay for a few nights of your holiday, to enjoy the Cape Dutch architecture, first-class wine tastings and great food. (Read more about the Winelands... )

Where to Stay

With a family run guest house or luxury hotel around every corner, the Cape of South Africa probably has a greater range of accommodation for holidays than anywhere else in Africa. Consequently, we don't try to cover everything; we are very selective. We have hand-picked a range of excellent hotels and small guesthouses that we know from experience, and are totally confident in recommending them for holidays with comfort, value – and often luxury.

With these we've included some interesting safari lodges, on the east side of the Cape north of Port Elizabeth. These can't offer a safari experience to compete with those in Botswana, Namibia or further north. We never pretend that they do. However, you can do a very comfortable introductory safari in these and, being malaria-free, are a great favourite for family safaris.

Combined Trips

It's easy to combine a few days in the Cape with a trip to Namibia, Botswana or even Mozambique for a holiday covering several countries. Just call one of your team and discuss the options with us. Just a few examples would be:

Self-drive holidays between Namibia and the Cape There's an endless choice of options for fairly adventurous trips with start in Cape Town and end in Windhoek, or vice versa. You can fly into one, collect your hire car, and leave from the other – the choice is entirely yours. Give that the Namibia's Fish River Canyon, and the northern Cape's Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park are both between the two … a long self-drive can make a lot of sense. Allow about 3 weeks for such a trip – and expect to be amazed by the change in scenery as your drive from one to the other!

Botswana safaris and Cape Town It's very easy to combine a safari in Botswana with a few days in Cape Town, or even longer in the Cape. Generally the flight work best if you visit Botswana first – as this usually avoid the need to over-night in Johannesburg in the middle of your trip.

Holidays to the Cape and Mozambique beaches These might not seem an obvious combination, but a trip to the Cape – when the weather's not quite hot enough for lying on its beaches, can combine quite well with a stay on a tropical island beach – like those in the Bazaruto Archipelago.

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings in South Africa

This is their success in sighting key species on our trips in South Africa. Click on a species for more detail. How we work this out.


Buffalo

100% success

Elephant

100% success

Oryx

100% success

White Rhino

100% success

Roan antelope

100% success

Sable antelope

100% success

Zebra

94% success

Cheetah

82% success

Giraffe

82% success

Lion

82% success

Hippo

82% success

Eland

81% success

Wildebeest

80% success

Black Rhino

67% success

Meerkat

38% success

Spotted Hyena

33% success

Brown Hyena

25% success

Leopard

25% success

Wild dog

17% success

Pangolin

17% success

Aardvark

9% success

South Africa holiday styles & special interests

From family adventures to romantic breaks, find ideas here for your perfect South Africa trip


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.

Inspire me

Need inspiration?

Let our trip chooser narrow down the options for you

Inspire me

Our top trips in South Africa

Here are 11 great South Africa trips to inspire 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$3,370 - US$4,040 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$4,450 - US$6,700 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$2,760 - US$3,120 per person

Itinerary image

Bontebok Self-drive Safari

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

This well-rounded safari encompasses fine dining, a range of activities and elegant accommodation across some of South Africa’s most stunning locations. Visit Cape Town, the Winelands and sections of the spectacularly diverse Garden Route.

US$1,610 - US$1,790 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$4,180 - US$7,050 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$1,100 - US$1,140 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$3,970 - US$4,070 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$2,400 - US$3,040 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$12,750 - US$15,380 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$8,340 - US$11,280 per person

View all holidays in South Africa

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