From romantic picnics in history-steeped wine lands, game watching on sprawling veldts (that’s plains to the uninitiated), and native culture that will rock your world, to rugged and remote beaches, South Africa has a multitude of delights in store for you.
At a glance
At the southernmost tip of arguably the world’s most epic continent, lies a diverse country with so many facets to its terrain that we defy you to ever get bored. There’s the vast expanse of the dry Kalahari desert, the iconic silhouette of Table Mountain and Cape Town’s colonial buzz, the wildlife of Kruger National Park’s savannah, bustling Zulu villages, innumerable untouched beaches, the untamed Drakensburg mountain range, safaris in the Tswalu Game Reserve… How long have you got?
What to see
Head to the south west for very tasty South African wines, the big-name growers all create their vintages in the Breede River Valley, where the Mediterranean climate creates lush, fertile ground. By far the most famous is Stellenbosch, with its modern experimental vintages, set in the gorgeous Dutch colonial town of Stellenbosch, and foodies will be well impressed with the number of world-class gastro delights to be found in these parts.
If you’re coming this far, you can’t leave without seeing the ‘Big Five’ – lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo – but then there’s also zebra, giraffe, hyena, springbok, baboons, monkeys, hippo…. Biblical amounts of wildlife. Head off on safari to Kruger National Park with an expert guide who will make sure that you don’t miss a paw print, roar or tail-twitch. You’ll fall asleep to the sounds of the wild in one of the areas many plush safari lodges.
Take a road trip along Route 27, which snakes up the rugged west coast, taking in empty white beaches, occasional fishing villages and, in winter, whales just metres from the shore. Then, from June to September, the fertile land is covered in a carpet of vibrant wildflowers.
Don’t miss KwaZulu Natal: it’s South Africa’s smallest province and a dream for thrill-seeking travellers. From wave riders to hang-gliders, and golfers to mountain bikers, there is a pair of outdoor boots that will fit. The region’s subtropical climate supports sprawling grasslands, endless golden beaches, and masses of animals from monkeys to hippos, elephants to rhinos and the dramatic Drakensburg mountain range will tempt you into abseiling, rafting and climbing adventures.
Back in the bright city lights, you have to try one of Durban’s hot curries and sample the rocking nightlife. While in Cape Town, the streets of Woodstock are being lauded as the South Africa’s answer to Shoreditch or Brooklyn: all edgy cool and cutting-edge creative. And, after a Lion Lager at sunset in Camps Bay, head to Long Street to pull some shapes at some of the lively bars and clubs.
Why we love it
South Africa has it all: larger-than-life landscapes, fierce wildlife, adrenaline-pumping outdoor adventures, magnificent beaches, great wine and food, awesome nightlife. We love it and we’ll almost guarantee that you will too.