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South Africa holidays

Holidays in South Africa

South Africa completely embodies the term ‘Rainbow Nation'

We fly to Johannesburg and Cape Town daily

11 hours
M T W T F S S
London Heathrow - Johannesburg
London Heathrow - Cape Town
Seasonal service begins 25 October 2020.
Connect from other UK airports

You can also fly from regional UK airports on one of our partner airlines.

Jet off on a trip to South Africa for an exciting escape. From wildlife spotting on safari to exploring lush vineyards and immersing yourself in city life, there's a new discovery to be made around every corner on holiday in South Africa. This colourful destination is steeped in history and home to some of the world's most breathtaking, undisturbed natural beauty spots, from Cape Town to Kruger National Park. Find both relaxation and adventure with our South Africa holiday packages.

Where to stay in South Africa

Hotels in South Africa

Retrieving our hand picked hotels...

Essential information for South Africa

Local time
+ 1hrs
Currently
Language
south-africa-flag
English and Afrikaans
Currency
Rand (ZAR)
Official currency of South Africa
Flight information
11h
Johannesburg (JNB)
Direct flight
Flight schedule
Virgin Atlantic fly daily to Johannesburg from Heathrow.
are our main partner airline

Do I need a VISA?

Your UK passport should be valid for a minimum period of 30 days from the date of exit from South Africa and it should have at least 2 blank pages when you present it at immigration to enter or leave South Africa.

Find out more about Travel Visas here »

Travelling with children

South Africa has relaxed the entry requirements for adults travelling with children under the age of 18. Children are only required to present a valid passport, regardless if they are with a parent or legal guardian. For more information, please see this advisory from the South African Department of Home Affairs.

Sun, sea and safari: South Africa highlights

Welcome to the wild! Is an African safari the ultimate tick on your bucket list? It should be! South Africa is special, there is no doubt about it, it is dusty and adventurous and warm and crazy and so much fun - we guarantee you will be back for more. Not only is South Africa home to the world’s only Big Five reserves but it also boasts glorious beaches, wondrous waterfalls, spectacular self-drives, history, culture, great gastronomy, luxury, romance… we could go on and on!

South Africa is a vast country with each province, city and game reserve offering a different experience, so where do you start? Most visitors combine a few different places within the country or across the region, travelling by plane, train or self-drive, and this is certainly what we would recommend.

The first place to start when planning your holiday to South Africa is to think about the weather or season in which you are travelling. South Africa has the opposite seasons to the UK — their summer is roughly November to March and winter is from April to October. The north of the country (Kruger, Madikwe, Sun City) is generally warm all year but the cooler winter temperatures have a stronger effect on the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces which includes Cape Town and the Garden Route.

The summer in Cape Town brings glorious weather and a drive through vineyards and along the Garden Route is one of the country’s highlights but also don’t be put off by travelling in the winter months! Sipping white wine under oak trees in the Cape vineyards in the summer months turns into drinking rich reds around the fire and warm evening safaris and hot summer storms gives way to the dry winter months, allowing low grass, less water-holes and easier wildlife spotting. Winter is also the best time to see the famous Southern Right Whales as they migrate to the Whale Coast from April to November.

So as a year-round destination and boasting amazing accommodation and sights across the country, the choice is yours! Here are a few of our favourite combinations across South Africa and beyond:

  • Settle into an oceanside room in Cape Town then stay in the thick of it inside a game reserve. You can fly direct from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth for the Eastern Cape private game reserves or straight into Hoedspruit or Skukuza airports for the Kruger National Park.
  • For a relaxing break that includes a bit of the bustle of city life, start in Cape Town then take a meandering drive along the famous Garden Route ending in one of our wonderful game reserves in the Eastern Cape.  
  • Not a city person? Then just skip the high-rises and get straight out into the bush. Sun City and Madikwe, Madikwe and Marataba or just an extended stay in the Kruger, there are loads of options for the wild at heart.
  • Culture vulture? South Africa has a fascinating history and is a melting pot of cultures. Johannesburg and Cape Town are a great place to start with a choice of museums and exhibitions and further afield the battlefields of Kwa Zulu Natal give an immersive experience of the zulu wars.
  • Enjoy the Cape Town summer at The Bay Hotel in fun and funky Camps Bay, home to some of the city’s trendiest bars and restaurants. Stay here for the best of both worlds – where city life meets a sandy beach and the very best spot in the city for sunset cocktails.
  • Head into the winelands and opt for Richard Branson’s Franschhoek lodge, Mont Rochelle, the ultimate in luxury. If you have a bit more time then add on a few nights in Hermanus too to spot whales and the infamous Great White Shark!

Holidays to South Africa wouldn’t be complete without a spectacular Big Five safari. You can choose to stay within a reserve or stay just outside and self-drive through – either way, this is your chance to spot some incredible wildlife.

  • Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in South Africa, with over 500 bird species and around 150 species of mammals. You’ve got a great choice of accommodation from tip-top luxury lodges to smaller, traditional hotels and homesteads outside of the park, great for the more budget-conscious.
  • The Garden Route and Eastern Cape are home to some great private Big Five reserves including the famous Shamwari Game Reserve, with luxurious lodges and loads of activities on offer.
  • Do you have a budding Ranger in the family? South Africa has some great options for family safaris in malaria-free reserves, check out Shamwari’s Riverdene Lodge, Madikwe Safari Lodge or if you wanted to venture into the Kruger, look up Ulusaba Rock Lodge and Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge. Age ranges can apply so check the inclusions before you book!
  • If you like the idea of a safari but without staying in a lodge, try Sun City. This entertainment resort offers a good range of accommodation, a huge waterpark and choice of activities and a prime location just outside of the Pilanesberg National Park.

Immerse yourself in history and everyday life in vibrant Cape Town. The lively metropolitan city is home to a myriad of boutiques, museums, restaurants and nightlife hotspots.

  • Take a cable car up Table Mountain National Park for breathtaking views. Go early to miss the intense heat or abseil down if you’re feeling particularly adventurous.
  • The V&A Waterfront is the most visited tourist attraction in South Africa and a great place to find your feet. The Watershed is an oceanfront warehouse selling local crafts, and it’s the place to go for souvenirs. It doesn’t open until 10am so stop by after tucking into an al fresco breakfast of eggs, bacon and boerewors.
  • When you've had enough of the hustle and bustle, escape to one of the beaches on the Cape coast for a picnic, Clifton or Camps Bay are a great option. In the evenings, get the party started on Long Street. On hotter summer nights, seek out a rooftop bar for epic views (and Instagram-worthy photo ops).
  • Learn about the country’s rich history in one (or all) of the city’s many museums. District Six museum is a must-see to learn about the history of the apartheid. Set aside at least two hours to take in all the exhibits.

Alongside the wildlife, there’s all manner of forests, mountains and lagoons waiting to be explored. Here are a few you might not want to miss.

  • Take on the Cango Caves on the Garden Route. These massive chambers are easy to explore and the perfect escape from the midday heat. If you're adventurous (and don't mind tight spaces), opt for the extended tour.
  • After exploring the beautiful Karoo, take a majestic drive along the Swartberg Pass, dropping down from Oudtshoorn to the Garden Route coastline. Here you can immerse yourself in dramatic mountain scenery and beautiful flowers.
  • Grab a car and spend a few nights in Hazyview, the prime location of this town allows for spectacular self-drive safaris in the Kruger National Park but also close-by is one of the largest canyons on earth, the Blyde River Canyon. The region is known as the Panoramic Route which includes God’s Window, the Three Rondavels and Bourke’s Luck Potholes.

You can discover lush scenery, breathtaking mountain views and exotic wildlife with holidays to South Africa. Plan your trip and discover our South Africa holiday packages and hotels today.

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Your holiday may be affected by the government’s travel restrictions

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office UK have advised against all but essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected.

You’ll be away before you know it

Your next holiday is only a click away - our website has thousands of hand-picked options ready to book. But if you need more help, just let us know.

Looking for inspiration? Explore our destinations and holiday types and save your faves to your very own Wishlist.

Or dive right in to our 2021 holiday offers.

Your holiday will not be going ahead as planned

Due to the ongoing situation regarding COVID-19, the Foreign Commonwealth Office have advised against all but essential travel. Therefore, with known airline cancellations, the following holidays will not go ahead as planned:

  • Any holidays departing before 27th April 2020.
  • Any Caribbean holidays departing before 1 May 2020.

We’re flexible with your holiday plans

We understand you may want to change your holiday plans. You can postpone your holiday to any time before 31 December 2021, and even choose a different destination. We won’t charge you to make these changes.

For now, we do ask you not to contact us. As a priority, we are currently supporting those customers whose holidays have already been directly affected by cancellations. We will contact you as soon as we can, or if there are any further changes that could affect your holiday.

We know you’ll want to get this sorted as soon as possible, and we’re very grateful for your understanding.

Please look out for an email from us in the coming days and weeks with our latest advice. See our Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for latest updates.

You’re good to go

In line with the advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office UK, and known airline cancellations, all trips booked from June onwards are currently going ahead as planned.

As a priority, we are currently supporting those customers whose holidays have been directly affected by cancellations.

So, for now, we ask you not to contact us. Rest assured we are contacting all of our customers by email in departure date order to support them with options, and we will absolutely let you know if your situation changes.

Please look out for an email from us in the coming weeks. See our Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for latest updates.

Rebook your holiday


We are sending all affected customers a voucher by email that is valid for the full value of your cancelled holiday. When you rebook, we’d like to gift you with 4,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles too.

There’s no rush. You can redeem your holiday voucher on a new booking with us any time before 31 July 2020.

We know you’ll be wanting to get this sorted as soon as possible. So please look out for our email for more details of how to amend your holiday plans.

Cancel your holiday


We're sending all affected customers a voucher by email that is valid for the full value of your cancelled holiday.  

Rather than cancel, if you’d like to travel with us sometime in the future, we would still love to find a great holiday for you (and gift you with 4,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles as a thank you).

If you'd prefer to cancel completely, we understand. We will refund you in full. Refunds will be successfully returned in approximately 90 days.

We know you’ll be wanting to get this sorted as soon as possible. So please look out for our email for more details of how to amend your holiday plans.

Your holiday is in safe hands


No need to contact us. Be assured, that if the situation changes, we will contact you as soon as this happens with the options available to you.

Change it up


You can postpone your holiday to travel any time before 31 December 2021, and even choose a different destination. We won’t charge you to make these changes and our Service Team are there to help – just give us a call.

Please bear in mind our wait times are currently longer than usual due to high demand.

Your holiday is in safe hands


Your holiday is scheduled to depart as booked. Continue to pay off your holiday balance with the assurance that your money is fully protected through ATOL. Be assured, that if the situation changes, we will contact you as soon as this happens with the options available to you.

The choice is yours


No problem! To amend your holiday dates, just give us a call. Any amendments to your booking can be made for £50pp, and our Service Team can help you decide on dates, or even a different destination.

Please bear in mind our wait times are currently longer than usual due to high demand.

Register yourself as away from home


If you’re abroad and your flight home has been cancelled please let us know, as relief flights will end soon.

Register as away from home

Alternatively, call our UK Duty Office on +44 0344 472 9646 (option 3) to discuss your options for getting home.

Book online


Looking for inspiration? Explore our destinations and holiday types and save your faves to your very own Wishlist

Or dive right in to our 2021 holiday offers

Help is at hand


Looking for inspiration? Explore our destinations and holiday types online and save your faves to your very own Wishlist

If you’re ready to book but can’t find the information you need on our website, just call our travel experts who will be happy to help.

To redeem your holiday voucher on a new booking with us, just give us a call and quote your old booking reference.

How would you like to talk to us?

Important information: We are working hard to help all of our customers, particularly those already on holiday or due to travel in the next 72 hours.