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Africa

South Africa Holidays

Step into South Africa

A trip to South Africa is a bucket list dream for many travellers. This country of contrasts has it all – beaches and cities, culture and history, wildlife and wine. And, thanks to the minimal time difference, you can explore this far-flung land without fear of jet lag. Combine this with the favourable exchange rate, and it’s easy to see why South Africa holidays are more popular than ever.

Five times the size of the United Kingdom, South Africa packs an incredible amount into its borders. The Rainbow Nation boasts dramatic mountains, rugged coastlines, pin-striped vineyards and more. So, when you’re deciding how to spend your time here, you’ll be spoiled for choice. You can sip chenin blanc in the Cape Winelands, admire the scenic Garden Route, and learn about the country’s history in cosmopolitan Cape Town.

But there’s no doubt that wildlife plays a big part in any holiday to South Africa. Brushed by two oceans – the Atlantic and the Indian – South Africa’s surrounding waters are filled with dolphins, whales and sharks. Meanwhile, the vast plains and national parks are home to more than 850 bird species and 300 species of mammal. The ‘Big Five’ – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo – are the most famous. But you’ll see plenty of other creatures on your South Africa holiday, including cheetah, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and warthog.

There’s so much to see and do in South Africa that it can be difficult to know where to start – and that’s where our travel experts can help. We can tailor your trip to you and your interests, so that you can experience South Africa your way. Tick off Cape Town, the Winelands and Kruger National Park. Or opt for a multi-centre holiday to Hermanus and the Garden Route, followed by a three-day safari. Prefer to take a tour? Our experts will help you choose the right one for you. Whatever you’re looking for, we’ll make sure your South Africa holiday is everything you want, and more.

The Garden Route

South African safari

Cape Town

Best time to go

Essential Information

The Garden Route

When you talk about South Africa holidays, you’ll often hear about the Garden Route. Stretching for nearly 200 miles, this scenic drive meanders from Mossel Bay all the way to Storms River – but you can easily extend your journey and continue on to Cape Town. The route runs parallel to the rugged coastline, and weaves past rolling hills, sweeping lakes and the stunning Tsitsikamma mountain range. You’ll also see rich forests and beautiful wild flowers – hence the name.

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Most people spend about five days making their way along the Garden Route, as it’s not something you want to rush. There are some great viewpoints on the way – the most famous of which is Bloukrans Bridge – and several places to stop and explore. Plettenberg Bay has a fantastic beach and some lovely coastal walks. And the town of Kynsna boasts a beautiful lagoon, where you can go kayaking, sailing and paddle-boarding. If you have time to spare, you could also take a detour north to Oudtshoorn. This place is home to vineyards, enormous limestone caves and the Swartberg mountain range, which is part of the Cape Floral World Heritage Site.

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Safaris and game drives

No holiday to South Africa would be complete without a safari – even if you just go for the day. As you explore the wilderness in a 4x4, your knowledgeable guide will be able to point out all kinds of animals, reptiles and birds, including the ‘Big Five’. And, when it comes to game reserves, you’ve certainly got plenty of choice.

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Tucked in the northeast corner, on the Mozambique border, you’ll find Kruger National Park. Covering a whopping 7,000 square miles, this is probably the country’s most famous safari spot. Kruger is filled with wildlife and a range of accommodation, and it’s all just a few hours away from Johannesburg. But there are loads of fantastic game reserves in South Africa, so it’s worth doing your research. If you’re travelling with young children, for instance, you may wish to head to a reserve in the malaria-free Eastern Cape. Just a stone’s throw from Port Elizabeth, Addo Elephant National Park, Kariega Game Reserve and Shamwari Private Game Reserve all offer amazing safaris and luxury lodges.

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Cape Town

Instantly recognisable thanks to the imposing backdrop of Table Mountain, Cape Town is a must-visit on your South Africa holiday. Home to fascinating museums and bustling markets, this city – one of South Africa’s three capitals – gives you an insight into the country’s mish-mashed heritage and poignant history. Discover art and culture at Iziko South African Museum, and book a Robben Island tour to learn more about apartheid and the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela. Ride the cable car up Table Mountain or, if you’d prefer to get your heart pumping, why not hike up to the top of Lion’s Head and admire the view?

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Show Less

As a coastal city, Cape Town also has a number of beaches. Unwind on the sands of Camps Bay, or hop along the four beaches of Clifton. Or you could head out on a whale-watching trip – sightings are pretty much guaranteed between August and November. Alternatively, visit Boulder’s Beach to see Cape Town’s famous colony of wild penguins.

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Best time to visit South Africa

Since South Africa is in the southern hemisphere, its seasons are the opposite of those in the UK. The summer months are December to March, while winter runs from June to August. But the weather varies by area, so you’ll need to plan your trip carefully.

If you’re planning to hit Cape Town, the Western Cape or the Garden Route, summer is the best time to go – you’ll have long, dry days. This is also a great time to go on safari in any of the Eastern Cape’s game reserves, on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth.

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Show Less

But if you want to visit Johannesburg and go on safari in the northeast, it’s actually best to book your South Africa holiday between May and October. Kruger National Park and KwaZulu-Natal experience dry winters – which makes it easier to spot wildlife – but see heavy thunderstorms in the summer. It’s also worth remembering that July to November is the best time to see whales in South Africa.

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Essential Information

  • Visa: No visa required for visits lasting less than 90 days
  • Language: Afrikaans, English and Zulu
  • Currency: South African rand (R)
  • Time difference: GMT +2 hours
  • Flight duration from London: 11 hours direct to Johannesburg
  • Capital city: Pretoria (executive capital); Bloemfontein (judicial capital); Cape Town (legislative capital)
Show More
Show Less

The Garden Route

The Garden Route

When you talk about South Africa holidays, you’ll often hear about the Garden Route. Stretching for nearly 200 miles, this scenic drive meanders from Mossel Bay all the way to Storms River – but you can easily extend your journey and continue on to Cape Town. The route runs parallel to the rugged coastline, and weaves past rolling hills, sweeping lakes and the stunning Tsitsikamma mountain range. You’ll also see rich forests and beautiful wild flowers – hence the name.

Show More
Show Less

Most people spend about five days making their way along the Garden Route, as it’s not something you want to rush. There are some great viewpoints on the way – the most famous of which is Bloukrans Bridge – and several places to stop and explore. Plettenberg Bay has a fantastic beach and some lovely coastal walks. And the town of Kynsna boasts a beautiful lagoon, where you can go kayaking, sailing and paddle-boarding. If you have time to spare, you could also take a detour north to Oudtshoorn. This place is home to vineyards, enormous limestone caves and the Swartberg mountain range, which is part of the Cape Floral World Heritage Site.

Show More
Show Less

South African safari

Safaris and game drives

No holiday to South Africa would be complete without a safari – even if you just go for the day. As you explore the wilderness in a 4x4, your knowledgeable guide will be able to point out all kinds of animals, reptiles and birds, including the ‘Big Five’. And, when it comes to game reserves, you’ve certainly got plenty of choice.

Show More
Show Less

Tucked in the northeast corner, on the Mozambique border, you’ll find Kruger National Park. Covering a whopping 7,000 square miles, this is probably the country’s most famous safari spot. Kruger is filled with wildlife and a range of accommodation, and it’s all just a few hours away from Johannesburg. But there are loads of fantastic game reserves in South Africa, so it’s worth doing your research. If you’re travelling with young children, for instance, you may wish to head to a reserve in the malaria-free Eastern Cape. Just a stone’s throw from Port Elizabeth, Addo Elephant National Park, Kariega Game Reserve and Shamwari Private Game Reserve all offer amazing safaris and luxury lodges.

Show More
Show Less

Cape Town

Cape Town

Instantly recognisable thanks to the imposing backdrop of Table Mountain, Cape Town is a must-visit on your South Africa holiday. Home to fascinating museums and bustling markets, this city – one of South Africa’s three capitals – gives you an insight into the country’s mish-mashed heritage and poignant history. Discover art and culture at Iziko South African Museum, and book a Robben Island tour to learn more about apartheid and the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela. Ride the cable car up Table Mountain or, if you’d prefer to get your heart pumping, why not hike up to the top of Lion’s Head and admire the view?

Show More
Show Less

As a coastal city, Cape Town also has a number of beaches. Unwind on the sands of Camps Bay, or hop along the four beaches of Clifton. Or you could head out on a whale-watching trip – sightings are pretty much guaranteed between August and November. Alternatively, visit Boulder’s Beach to see Cape Town’s famous colony of wild penguins.

Show More
Show Less

Best time to go

Best time to visit South Africa

Since South Africa is in the southern hemisphere, its seasons are the opposite of those in the UK. The summer months are December to March, while winter runs from June to August. But the weather varies by area, so you’ll need to plan your trip carefully.

If you’re planning to hit Cape Town, the Western Cape or the Garden Route, summer is the best time to go – you’ll have long, dry days. This is also a great time to go on safari in any of the Eastern Cape’s game reserves, on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth.

Show More
Show Less

But if you want to visit Johannesburg and go on safari in the northeast, it’s actually best to book your South Africa holiday between May and October. Kruger National Park and KwaZulu-Natal experience dry winters – which makes it easier to spot wildlife – but see heavy thunderstorms in the summer. It’s also worth remembering that July to November is the best time to see whales in South Africa.

Show More
Show Less

Essential Information

Essential Information

  • Visa: No visa required for visits lasting less than 90 days
  • Language: Afrikaans, English and Zulu
  • Currency: South African rand (R)
  • Time difference: GMT +2 hours
  • Flight duration from London: 11 hours direct to Johannesburg
  • Capital city: Pretoria (executive capital); Bloemfontein (judicial capital); Cape Town (legislative capital)
Show More
Show Less

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Whether you're looking for luxury or simplicity, we've got the perfect holiday for you.

Trust

Travelbag is fully protected by ATOL and ABTA, so your booking is completely secure.

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