Welcome to one of the most diverse countries in the world. From a land of lions to snowcapped peaks; penguin colonies and tropical jungles, South Africa is a miniature planet. Take the bustling metropolis of Cape Town, torn through its heart by Table Mountain, and mix it with the coastal cliffs pummeled by the southern Atlantic ocean or the rolling green Garden Route hills. You’ll find the world’s largest nature reserve, Mandela monuments to civil rights, tributes to South Africa’s tumultuous history, and some of the world’s best wineries. With such a choice, you might struggle knowing where to start. So below, we’ve summarised our favourite five parts of the country to help make up your mind.
Step into a city split in half. The dominant Table Mountain pierces Cape Town’s centre, creating a dramatic beauty rarely found in metropolitain hotspots. Admire the beauty, kick back on the sun kissed Sandy Bay, partake in a hiking adventure, marvel at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens or indulge in a world of food and wine in the city’s memorable restaurants. Make sure to take a day to visit Cape Point and soak in the magnificent scenery on the way there. You won’t find anything else quite like it.
Our Hotel Pick: The 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa . A hotel perched at the edge of the world. Indulge in the luxury in-room amenities or soothe your soul at Sanctuary Spa.
A South Africa holiday is always going to be crammed with diversity, but the country’s Eastern Cape takes it to a new level. Think tropical forests, vast deserts, snow capped mountains, gorgeous coastlines and bustling towns. A South Africa holiday to the Eastern Cape has something for you, whether it’s lolling yourself to sleep on a beach hammock , learning about the fascinating Xhosa culture, hiking to see the stunning natural waterfalls or catching sight of lions, leopards, buffaloes, elephants and rhinos in the region’s private wildlife reserves. Visiting the Eastern Cape is also the best way to experience authentic life on a South Africa holiday.
Our Hotel Pick: Kariega Main Lodge. Enjoy authentic Africa at this resort, whilst taking advantage of all the upscale luxuries on offer.
If you could only choose one park to visit in your life, it has to be Kruger. At 7000 square miles, the world’s greatest national park isn’t only mammoth in size, but wildlife populations too. Whether you want to catch a glimpse of the crocodiles in their natural habitat, witness big beasts battling it out on the plains, or enormous elephants lazing in the sun, there’s a story waiting to be seen. With expertly guided tours, over 140 species of mammal, and 400 kinds of birds to see, you’ll be sure to return with a collection of memorable moments.
Our Hotel Pick: Amakhala Safari Lodge. Live the life of an explorer tucked deep into a game reserve whilst enjoying 4* star decadence.
Laid back vibes, rolling hills, health spas and some of the world’s best wine: welcome to the Winelands. A South Africa holiday here will unleash the luxury aficionado within you, whether you’re seeking relaxation, pampering or simply a sun soaked calm. It’s one for the food too – this is an upstart region of trendy chefs cooking up cuisine to satiate your senses in small-town escapes like Stellenbosch and Franschoek. Grab yourself some wheels to explore some of the over 400 wineries, or arrange an organised tour if you see yourself indulging a little too much. Bottoms up!
Our Hotel Pick: Mont Rochelle Hotel & Mountain Vineyards. Boutique escape in the heart of the Winelands featuring plenty of activities from nature hikes to, of course, wine tasting.
A Garden Route South Africa holiday is a vast vista of nature, winding coastlines, lagoons, excellent beaches, and enchanted forests. Natural beauty certainly draws the crowds, particularly in the towns of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, but if you book ahead, there’s a world of thrills, and activities at your doorstep. Seek out rare birds to photograph, or catch sight of the rare ‘forest elephants’. Sports fans have canoeing, hiking, and more to enjoy, whereas nature lovers will enjoy paying tribute to the 600 year old yellowwood tree. The Garden Route really caters to all: the distance from Mossel Bay in the west to just beyond Plettenberg Bay in the east is under 300km, yet the range of topography, vegetation, wildlife and outdoor activities is remarkable.
Our Hotel Pick: Hog Hollow Country Lodge. Environmentally conscious private Tsitikama nature reserve with breathtaking valley views.