Overview for South Africa
With something to suite all travellers, from the world class safari lodges of Kruger, to the sophistication of Cape Town and the laid back lifestyle of the winelands and garden route, South Africa offers an experience like no other. Our South African Essentials tour covers all the must-see destinations of South Africa.
Best time to visit
South Africa is a year round destination. Wildlife viewing is best in the northern areas of Kruger during the winter months of May to September. The southern parts of Cape Town and the Garden Route are best during the summer months, October to March, when the temperature can reach 28 - 30°C or higher and rainfall is low. The warm waters of the east coast make for almost year-round swimming. Winter is mild, except in the highest parts of the country.
There are many ways to experience South Africa, from organised tours to self drive itineraries. For those who like to travel at their own pace, talk to us about creating your South African bucket-list experience
Johannesburg & surrounds
Johannesburg is a bustling and vibrant metropolitan area. A popular place to stay is Sandton - with its shopping malls and international hotels. A visit to Soweto is an authentic glimpse into South Africa's culture and history. Two hours away from Johannesburg is Sun City, a glittering holiday resort in the midst of the bush. With a choice of hotels ranging from relaxed and family friendly accommodations, to sophisticated luxury options. There is plenty to see and do including game drives into Pilanesberg or Madikwe game reserves, a game of golf, or simply relax by the pool.
Kruger National Park
This world famous park offers some of the best game viewing in Africa. The park is a five hour drive from Johannesburg and is serviced by flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife in the Southern African Lowveld, Kruger National Park covers nearly 2 million hectares of land, and is home to a large number of animal species including lions, wildebeest and cheetahs. Travellers can choose from escorted tours departing Johannesburg such as our 'Call of the Kruger' tour, accommodation within the park itself or from a number of lodges inside private concession areas adjoining the park. Many lodges offer completely flexible safaris by 4WD and walking tours.
Some of the most popular lodges in and around Kruger National Park include:
Thornybush: Adjacent to Kruger National Park lies Thornybush Game Reserve, consisting of 14,000 hectares of pristine African bushveld and boasting an abundance of bird and animal species, including the Big Five.
Motswari: Motswari is set deep in the Timbavati, a part of the Greater Kruger National Park Conservancy, traversing an area of approximately 15,000 hectares. In operation for over 30 years, this family-owned lodge prides itself on the value of conservation, exquisite cuisine, award-winning wines, luxurious accommodation and hospitality in the tradition of one of the original lodges in South Africa.
Ngala: Ngala Private Game Reserve sits on the western boundary of Kruger National Park. It has exclusive traversing rights over 14,700 hectares of game rich wilderness.
Mala Mala: Mala Mala is the oldest and most historical private game reserve in South Africa in existence since 1927. Situated in the Sabi Sand, sharing a 19 km unfenced border with the Kruger National Park and miles of Sabi River frontage.
Sabi Sabi: Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is set within the world renowned 65,000 hectare Sabi Sand, in the southern section of the Kruger National Park. This award winning reserve offers exceptional close wildlife encounters, personal service and delicious cuisine.
Cape Town is dominated by the 1086 metre high Table Mountain and surrounded by vineyards, beaches and hiking trails. The cableway up Table Mountain is well worth the ride for the magnificent views. The renowned Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, is packed with restaurants, bars and shops.
Robben Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. The 2 1/2 hour tour takes you through the old prison, as well as a 45 minute bus ride around the island with commentary from your guide, a former inmate. Book the Essential Cape Town tour for an introduction to this beautiful city.
For those wanting an adrenaline rush, our Adventure Cape Town tour will get the blood pumping with shark diving, surfing and hiking on this 5 day package.
The Garden Route and Winelands
The Garden Route stretches from Slangrivier to the Tsitsikamma forest and Storms River in the east. It is a picturesque area with golden beaches, indigenous forests with giant yellowwood trees, lakes and rivers.
Many travellers fly into Port Elizabeth and pick up a rental car to explore the surrounding areas. This is an ideal self-drive destination and the towns of Knysna, George, Mossel Bay, Jeffrey's Bay and the stunning Plettenberg Bay are well worth a visit. Cango Caves, Outeniqua range, and Oudtshoorn’s ostrich farms are just some of the many things to see and do along the way.
The Winelands Region is within an hour’s drive of Cape Town, and is where you will find the small villages of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek and a great place to spend a couple of days sampling the wine and food. Choose from the escorted Garden Route & Wineland Wonder, or the Winelands & Garden Route self drive options to see this scenic corner of South Africa.
With warm weather all year round, Durban welcomes visitors to an outdoor lifestyle where beaches, barbecues, seafood and curry restaurants, clubs and upmarket accommodation establishments provide everything a visitor could wish for. Durban is South Africa’s self-styled 'playground', where year-round warm weather encourages visitors to make the most of the province’s outdoor lifestyle. For a tour that explores Durban plus other popular destinations within South Africa, our Kruger to Cape Town itinerary offers an excellent insight.