Where to go
South Africa is a mega-diverse country on the southernmost tip of the African continent and is the 25th largest country in the world. The coastline of South Africa stretches for 1 739 miles (2798 km) along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Some countries have deserts; some have subtropical forests but South Africa has deserts, wetlands, grasslands, bush, subtropical forests, mountains, and escarpments. The heart of the country provides some of the most remarkable wildlife sanctuaries in the world. National parks such as Kruger, Addo, Limpopo Transfrontier and Kalahari have captured the imagination of wildlife enthusiast across the world. South Africa is extremely rich in mining and minerals and considered the world’s leader with nearly 90% of all the platinum metals on earth and around 41% of all the world’s Gold. Some of the greatest leaders have too come from South Africa including Nobel Peace Prize winners: Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Often referred to as ‘a world in one country’, South Africa offers an array of unique experiences and accommodation options to suit everyone.
We have more than 50 accomplished South Africa travel consultants ready to help you make your Safari dream a reality. With our in-depth knowledge and first-hand experience, we’re able to tailor a safari to suit your budget, and our price guarantee ensures that you won’t get it cheaper elsewhere…not even by booking direct.
A coming-together of cultures, cuisines and landscapes, there's nowhere quite like Cape Town, a singularly beautiful city crowned by the magnificent Table Mountain National Park. Voted the best city in the world for a fifth time by 90 000 readers of The Telegraph in Britain, Cape Town is a must-see destination.
South Africa’s Cape Winelands have around 560 wineries and 4 400 primary producers. The Cape's 18 official wine routes and two brandy routes are among the most scenic in the world, featuring many historic wine estates that date back centuries. Route 62 is a top attraction and is considered to be the longest wine route in the world. That alone is a good reason to visit South Africa if you haven’t yet been!
The most beautiful region in the Cape is the Garden Route with its 300 km stretch of pristine beaches, mountains, forests, lakes, rivers, and kloofs. The Cape Floral Kingdom is one of the world’s six floral kingdoms – and the only one which is wholly contained within a single country. The Garden Route has an array of activities to offer and is a popular self-drive route in Southern Africa.
Situated along the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, the Eastern Cape offers travelers an adventure unlike any other. From lush subtropical forests and deserted shores to malaria-free game reserves, the Eastern Cape offers a vast array of topography and experiences. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are a variety of fantastic activities ranging from mild to wild, across water, land and air. You can experience bungy jumping from the world’s highest commercial bungee bridge, skydive in Frontier Country or surf the biggest right-hand surf break in Jeffreys Bay.
The Kruger National Park is recognized as one of the world’s greatest reserves. If you visit only one game park in South Africa, this should be it! Its high density of wild animals includes the famous Big 5: lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalos. With 148 mammal species and 505 bird species, game viewing in the Kruger is phenomenal. Enjoy open vehicle game drives, guided bush walks, birdwatching, local village tours, elephant interactions and rides, hot air ballooning, and various wildlife rehabilitation centers.
Keen to see rhinos and whales on the same day? Known for its beaches, mountains and savannah populated by big game, KwaZulu Natal is the perfect location for travelers wanting to experience a beach and bush safari. KwaZulu (Place of the Zulus) Natal is a spectacular multi-cultural destination flanked by the warm Indian Ocean and soaring peaks. This region not only boasts Africa’s oldest proclaimed game reserve, the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, where you will find the Big Five, but also the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, an internationally renowned UNESCO World Heritage site.
Madikwe, Pilanesberg, and Sun City lie in South Africa’s wild and unpopulated North West Province.
Madikwe Game Reserve is one of South Africa's best-kept secrets! Malaria - free and home to the famous Big 5 and endangered wild dog, the reserve offers an exceptional safari experience
Pilanesberg National Park, which covers some 55 000 hectare, is the fourth largest in southern Africa and is too home to the Big 5. Pilanesberg offers a variety of affordable accommodation options and is within easy reach of Johannesburg.
Sun City Resort is home to the Valley of Waves and is sprawled along the border of the Pilanesberg National Park. Sun City enjoys the fine distinction of being the only surf-and-safari destination within a two-hour drive of Johannesburg.
Gauteng which means "place of gold" is defined by two of the nation's largest cities.
Pretoria is the capital city and is home to the Union Buildings, important monuments, and is the headquarters for the South African Rovos Rail - considered to be the most luxurious train in the world!
Johannesburg is a city that bustles with gourmet restaurants and cafes, craft markets, art galleries, world-class shopping malls, and significant tourist attractions which include the Apartheid Museum and Constitutional Hill. It is also the gateway to other African destinations.
Other places of interest include the Soweto township and Maropeng, where the oldest remains of modern humans were found and are well over 160,000 years old.
Find out when is the best time of year to visit South Africa
January is the best time of the year for a beach and photography getaway with lush landscapes and dramatic thunderstorms. Until mid-January, most of South Africa’s coastal towns and game parks are crowded with locals who are making the most of the summer school holidays. If you are planning to travel in the earlier part of the month, you should try to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Game viewing in the Kruger National Park and other reserves like Madikwe and Pilanesberg can be challenging as animals move away from rivers and waterholes and spread out into the thick bush. When visiting any of the South African game reserves, it is recommended that you consider private concessions in order to have a more exclusive safari experience. Skilled rangers lead the off-road morning and afternoon game drives, and are able to track down animals in the lush vegetation. The greenery and blue skies make for the best photography. It is also a wonderful time for bird watching, with many resident species breeding and migrant birds flocking to the region. Temperatures on the east coast are very warm but the humidity can be uncomfortable for some. The Indian Ocean has a warm current which makes swimming pleasant throughout the year. On the beaches of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, loggerhead and leatherback turtles arrive to begin the nesting season. Turtle tours operate in the evening and bring you up-close with these incredible animals.
February marks the peak of the summer season, with the country experiencing sunny weather and occasional rainfall. February is the best time to visit South Africa if you looking to go on a safari and beach getaway. The Kruger National Park is hot by day, warm at night, and has an occasional thunderstorm. When going on a safari, it is best to take advantage of the cooler early mornings and evenings when animals are out and about. This ensures a greater opportunity of seeing a variety of wildlife, including the big five and various migratory birds. It is also the calving season for many antelope species, such as eland, impala, and gemsbok. With newborn animals about, there is a lot more predator activity. KwaZulu-Natal has a wonderful contrast of coastal and inland destinations, making a visit here very rewarding. Although the province experiences a lot of rain, it doesn’t distract from the experiences had in places like the Drakensberg, Phinda Game Reserve, and Durban. February also falls into the nesting season for loggerhead and leatherback turtles along the beaches of iSimangaliso, and turtle-tracking tours are offered in the evenings.
March is the best time to visit South Africa if you are looking for a beach vacation, with all of the beaches along the South African coast offering lots of sunshine and a variety of water adventures. Durban in particular experiences very warm and humid conditions, and fewer crowds in the month of March making it a really good place to visit. March marks the end of the nesting season for loggerhead and leatherback turtles along the beaches of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in KwaZulu Natal. Cape Town experiences warm days and regular windy spells, with cooler evenings and early mornings. The majority of activities are not affected by the weather conditions in Cape Town, except for those activities that are weather dependent, such as helicopter flights, boat-based activities, and diving. Game viewing in the Kruger National Park, Madikwe, and other reserves start to pick up as the rainfall subsides and makes it easier to spot wildlife. This is an excellent time for birdwatching with a number of resident and migratory birds present. The summer months are special because it is when you are most likely to see animals give birth to their young.
April is the best time to visit South Africa if you looking for ideal weather conditions that allow you to go on a safari, dive amongst pristine coral reefs, or go hiking in the Drakensberg Mountains. April is a wonderful time to visit the Cape Winelands, indulging in exceptional cuisine and visiting century old vineyards to discover how wine is made and sample wines that have won local and international awards. In the nearby town of Paarl, you could even take to the sky at sunrise in a hot air balloon - a once in a lifetime experience. The Drakensberg Mountains offer the most spectacular scenery during the month of April, and pleasant weather conditions make it easier to experience the wide range of activities on offer in the region - hiking, mountain biking, fly-fishing, and swimming. The landscape in the game reserves starts to change with leaves falling from trees and trees bearing fruit - a favorite time for elephants and monkeys. The reserves generally experience hot and humid days that usually result in an afternoon thunderstorm. Migrant birds have generally left and April marks the start of the best game viewing season.
Not too hot and not yet cold, the month of May is the best time to visit South Africa for a safari, city, and beach experience. There is only a small chance of rain so you can expect a great dose of sunshine each day. After the summer rains, game viewing in the Kruger National Park and other South African game reserves tend to improve as animals start to congregate around the more permanent sources of water. Considered to be the autumn season, leaves begin to fall off the trees and the lush bush begins to shrivel up with the lack of rainfall. This is most beneficial to spotting wildlife. Cape Town and the Western Cape experience warm, pleasant days and cooler evenings; with a chance of wind and rainfall. There are a number of food and wine festivals and the pleasant daytime temperatures afford you the opportunity to enjoy top attractions in Cape Town. There are generally some great accommodation specials running during this time, making it the best time to visit South Africa if you are on a specific budget. In the evenings, you can enjoy a number of the finest Cape restaurants that prepare the most sumptuous cuisine, paired with great wine and a fireplace for a warm and cozy atmosphere.
June marks the beginning of the winter season and is the best time to visit South Africa if you would like to venture into the bushveld and escape to the mountains. Winter in the Drakensberg Mountains is spectacular, with extremely cold weather conditions and a high likeliness of snowfall at the higher mountain peaks. Despite the cooler weather, with average temperatures of 9°C (48°F) during the day and -3°C (26°F) overnight – it is a wonderful time to take a hike, try out on of the various 4x4 adventure trails, and enjoy a number of outdoor activities. The Golden Gate Highlands National Park too transforms into a winter wonderland with snowfall seen for miles. The KwaZulu coastline doesn’t really experience cold winters, with temperatures averaging ranging from 24 – 26°C (75 – 78°F) and the warm Indian Ocean hardly ever dropping below 20°C (68°F). It is a destination still worth considering, especially if you are a keen diver.
By the month of July, South Africa is well into the dry season in the northern and eastern regions of the country. Temperatures average around 13°C (55°F), so visitors to South Africa are encouraged to pack warm clothing. Out in the wilderness, in parks such as the Kruger and Madikwe Game Reserve, the skies are blue, the vegetation is shriveled up, and water sources are limited; making it the best time to visit South Africa if you are looking to spot the elusive leopard and wild dog. The winter night sky is full of stars and is best appreciated in the untouched wilderness regions, particularly Tswalu Private Game Reserve. Stargazing and bush dining experiences are at their very best during this time of the year. When traveling to Cape Town or the Garden Route, you may expect some rainfall so be sure to pack in a waterproof jacket or umbrella just in case. The Knysna Oyster Festival takes place in July each year and is jam-packed with wine tastings, oyster competitions, and sporting events; so it advisable to book a trip to Knysna well in advance.
The month of August is part of the dry winter season, so days are warm, evenings are cold, and the vegetation is less dense; making it the best time to visit South Africa for a safari adventure. With the cooler weather conditions and minimal water supplies, an abundance of wildlife is regularly seen congregating around permanent rivers and waterholes. The chances of seeing the famous Big Five are incredibly high, often spotting the more elusive nocturnal species on evening and early morning game drives. Don’t forget to pack in some warm clothing! August also marks the start of the whale-viewing season in Hermanus and shark cage diving in Gansbaai is still at its best, with plenty of breaching activity. It is a wonderful time to enjoy an ocean safari with pristine diving sites and plenty of marine life.
September is the best time to visit South Africa if you looking to go on a safari and beach vacation on the Indian Ocean coastline of KwaZulu Natal. The daytime temperatures are pleasant with very little chance of rain, and the vegetation is still relatively dry, making it easier to spot wildlife. Animals are still seen gathered at the permanent water sources. It is usually a quieter time to visit the Kruger National Park and other game reserves but can get busier towards the latter part of September when the local schools break for their holiday. The weather conditions on the Eastern and Western Cape coastline are not as predictable but this shouldn’t hold you back from visiting the region’s top attractions or going on a safari. September is a fantastic time to go whale-viewing in Hermanus, whilst the West Coast National Park offers the opportunity to see rolling fields of spring flowers.
The month of October is the best time to visit South Africa if you are looking to visit the Western Cape and go on a big five safari. October is part of the peak whale-viewing season in Hermanus and the Western Cape, so land and boat-based excursions are available. There are also many festivals and outdoor events are held in and around Cape Town during this month. A gorgeous array of flowers are now in bloom, making it the perfect time to visit the Kirstenbosch Gardens for an afternoon picnic. A trip to the Cape Winelands and self-drive along the Garden Route are great add-ons to your South African vacation, exploring century-old vineyards and 200 kilometers of gorgeous coastline. This month usually offers excellent game viewing in the Kruger National Park, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Madikwe, and Pilanesberg. Although some rainfall may be experienced in the late afternoons, the game reserves in South Africa are still relatively dry and animals continue to congregate around the permanent water sources, affording fantastic sightings.
The month of November is the best time to visit South Africa if you are a keen birder, enjoy photographing gorgeous landscapes of lush greenery and colorful flowers, or just wish to enjoy one of South Africa’s pristine beaches. In the Kruger National Park, temperatures rise considerably during the day, generally resulting in dramatic afternoon thunderstorms. The dense bushveld makes it more challenging to spot animals but if you decide to stay in one of the private concessions, you will have an expert guide who will track animals down during off-road game drives. It is a bird watching paradise in the Kruger, with many migratory birds abound. November is an ideal time for beach vacations along the South African coastline. Beaches in KwaZulu Natal are a popular choice, boasting the Indian Ocean and some of South Africa’s most pristine diving sites. It is also the start of the loggerhead and leatherback turtle nesting season in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Turtle-tracking tours are offered in the evenings in order to witness this incredible event. Cape Town experience hot, dry days and cooler evenings; making it a wonderful time to explore the city’s top attractions. It is also an ideal time to venture along the Garden Route or visit the West Coast National Park and Namaqualand for incredible sightings of wildflowers. It is also generally the last month to see the whales in Hermanus who then migrate north.
Christmas is peak season in South Africa as the local schools close for their long summer holidays and many families travel to popular beaches and game reserves. Seaside towns such as Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, St Lucia, and Sodwana Bay are some popular vacation spots amongst local South Africans. The hot and humid weather conditions are what attracts many to the coastline, looking to experience an array of water adventures such as diving, jet skiing, fishing, and surfing. With so many locals about, it is the best time to visit South Africa if you want to gain in-depth knowledge of the South African culture. National reserves such as the Kruger National Park, Pilanesberg, and Hluhluwe all receive a number of local travelers with many cars seen on the roads. If you wanting to go on a safari in December, you need to book well in advance but may want to consider the private game reserves such as Sabi Sands, Madikwe, and Phinda Game Reserve who offer exclusivity.
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