Behind the mountain lie the dappled vineyards and gastronomic delights of the Cape Winelands and further east is the renowned Garden Route itinerary, where sheer river canyons cut through darkly forested mountains down to a tumultuous coast.
While it is possible to fly everywhere, the country is a great self-drive destination and we encourage you to include at least some self-drive elements in your South African safari.
Recommended South Africa Tours
Places: Victoria Falls Zimbabwe (2 days) → Chobe National Park (2) → Okavango Delta (3) → Cape Town (3)
Tour Highlights: Canoeing and Rafting, Walking with Lions, Helicopter Rides over the Waterfalls, Boat Safaris, Large Concentration…
Since South Africa is a very large country, the climate varies from place to place. The good news is that you can travel to South Africa at any time of the year!
The best time to travel around South Africa depends on what you want to do. Spring is recommended for a wildlife safari tour.
The seasons of South Africa are as follows:
Spring: August – October
Summer: October – February
Autumn: February – April
Winter: May – July
The impressive whale calves thrive from June to the end of October on the coast, while humpback whales have a season from August to December.
Top Travel Tip: Many South Africans like to travel in their own country. From mid-December to late January, holidaymakers flow from the cities to the many national parks and resorts. You should therefore plan your trip to South Africa around the opening hours of national parks and school holidays.
Would you like to go on a South Africa tour? Contact us for an obligation-free and complimentary quote.
Top 10 Attractions, Activities & Highlights in South Africa
Kruger National Park: The best South African safari adventures and one of the most popular safari areas in Africa! In Kruger National Park you have the best chances to see the Big Five within a day.
Visitor the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. Learn all about the country’s turbulent past. Visit the Mandela House in the historically significant Soweto district, where the legendary freedom fighter lived from 1946 to 1962.
Visit Robben Island, the notorious prison island a boat ride from Cape Town. During the apartheid, government bosses – including Nelson Mandela – were imprisoned here. Today this authentically preserved site is a moving museum.
Certainly one of the most beautiful routes in the world is the famous Garden Route between Mossel Bay and Tsitsikamma National Park. Along the varied panoramic route are idyllic small seaside resorts, secluded beaches and dense forests.
Take a cable car up to the top of the imposing Table Mountain, the landmark of Cape Town and a popular excursion for the city’s inhabitants. From here you have a fabulous view of the metropolis, which is said to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Discover scenic Stellenbosch, a charming old town with shaded boulevards ideal for relaxing strolls. Above all, the town is best known as the center of South Africa’s wine-making tradition. Discover some of the best-known wineries in the world.
With seven different ecology habitats, Phinda Private Wildlife Reserve has the nickname ‘Seven Worlds of Miracles’. Probably no other place in the world has so much biodiversity in such a relatively small space.
The Addo Elephant National Park near Port Elizabeth is home to the Big Five, as well as rare white tail frogs, mountain zebra and the black rhino, as well as over 150 bird species.
Dramatic gorges, colored rock formations and spectacular views are promised with a visit to the majestic Drakensberg Mountains, the highest mountains of southern Africa. Explore the wonderful mountain landscapes while hiking, or experience an exciting rafting adventure at the Blyde River Canyon.
Witness impressive animals during your safari in the Madikwe Wildlife Sanctuary: elephant and buffalo herds, rhinos and various predators will take you into wide grasslands that alternate with dense forest areas.
Experience one of the most diverse countries in Africa on a private trip to South Africa.
Formerly a British Colony, South Africa (or the Republiek van Suid-Afrika, as it is known in Afrikaans), was declared a union in 1910 before becoming a Republic in 1961.
European settlers arrived in the 15th century and the country swelled into one with many unique ethnicities. This once fuelled its apartheid past when the country was separated by color and the white minority ruled.
When the apartheid laws were abolished, the first democratic elections took place in 1994 and Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa.
Diamonds and golds were discovered in the 19th century, which led the country to have a prominent and lucrative mining industry that you can see on your South Africa tours eventoday.
Culture of South Africa
Have you ever wondered why South Africa is known as the Rainbow Nation? That’s because it is one of the world’s top multicultural countries. There are immigrants from Europe, India, China, not to mention many indigenous groups.
South Africa has eleven official languages, including are English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Setswana, South Sotho, North Sotho, Tsonga, SiSwati, Venda and Ndebele. Because of this, a special slang language, called funigalore, was developed in the culturally diverse mines, which combines them together!
The majority of South African people are Christian (68%), 2% are Muslim and 1.5% are Hindu. Today, there is still a significant proportion of beliefs that are traditional and animist – about 28.5%.
With its media portrayal heavy on its apartheid past, you may believe that it is not safe to go on South Africa tours. Crime does occur, but as much as anywhere else in the world and you can avoid challenging situations by exercising caution as usual, such as avoiding certain riskier areas at night.
Top South Africa Travel Tips – Culture:
South Africa is popular for woodcarvings, handmade articles, ostrich leather goods, paintings and pottery and a wide, diverse selection exists from area to area.
You can also purchase amazing 18th and 19th-century antique furniture, copper and silverware.
South Africa's Cuisine
Generally most of the dishes in South Africa are prepared in European style.
You will find most meals are extremely tasty and consist of generous portions! Although hotels and camps do serve more traditional South African fare, they also cater for the continental taste.
Are you visiting in July? Then don’t miss the famous annual Pick N Pay Oyster Festivalin Knysna. Near to the Garden Route, this is a major attraction and a wonderful day out – not just for foodies but also sports lovers and for the whole family.
Do try some of the world’s best wines on one of our South Africa tours. We recommend dry white wines such as Buitenverwachting Blanc de Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc, Hamilton Russell Chardonnay, Thelema Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc. Good red wines are Zandvliet Shiraz, Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon, Meerlust Merlot, Beyerskloof Pinotage.
Top South Africa Travel Tips – Cuisine:
It is advisable to make reservations at restaurants. It is not usual to choose a table but to wait at the entrance until one is seated. In most restaurants, smoking is not allowed.
All wine connoisseurs and lovers should purchase the John Platter Wine Guide as it classifies rates and describes each South African wine in detail.
South African drinking water is one of the world’s purest and can generally be consumed without hesitation. The Department for Water Management and Forestry has recently announced that the drinking water quality complies with standards of the World Health Organisation (WHO). In some areas of South Africa drinking water is especially rich in minerals. The slightly brown colouring of South African water, which results from humic acid, is completely harmless and does not influence its quality at all. Water from streams and rivers should, however, not be consumed. Near residential areas the water can contain pathogens, whilst water from mountain streams can usually be consumed without hesitation.
Self-Drive in South Africa
Everyone drives on the left in South Africa and the motor vehicles are built accordingly.
The maximum speed on the motorways is 120 km, the right lane is for overtaking, but pay attention on three lane motorways – everyone overtakes from all sides!
Being caught speeding is an expensive exercise! The maximum speed in national parks is 30-40 km per hour.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is forbidden in South Africa, with a zero tolerance from the authorities.
As a motorist, if you are stopped by a policeman or traffic officer during one of our South Africa tours, request to see his/her South African Police Service Identification card and make a note of the officer’s name and number.
Be aware that if you are issued with a citation for any traffic violation, you are not permitted to pay over any amount of cash directly to the officer. Fines for a traffic violation may only be paid at a Magistrate’s Court or Traffic Department where the official receipt will be issued.
If you are denied these rights, report the matter immediately to the nearest Police Station and/or your Enchanting Travels Trip Coordinator.
The Enchanting Travels team look forward to welcoming you on one of our tailor-made South Africa tours.