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!