Holidays to South Africa: Best Destinations, Accommodations, Activities, & More

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South Africa is home to striking landscapes and diverse wildlife

From the bustling cityscapes of Cape Town and Johannesburg to the pristine beaches of Durban and the untamed beauty of Kruger National Park, South Africa offers a treasure trove of experiences that cater to every type of traveler. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the best holidays to South Africa in 2023, exploring top destinations, accommodations, outdoor activities, and culinary delights that will make your trip extraordinary.

So whether you’re an adventure seeker, a foodie, or a globetrotter simply looking to unwind in breathtaking surroundings, read on because South Africa has something magical in store for you.

Why We are the Best Safari Companion

For almost two decades we have fully dedicated ouselves to creating the best, most wholesome safaris. So, yes, we are not only very experienced but we have also created strong friendlsips with hotels and resorts all across Africa making it easy for us to negotiate the best rates for you. 

That, plus we create the most affordable safaris! Here are some we think you’ll love!

Key Takeaways

  • Explore the riches of South Africa with its iconic Table Mountain, gold-rush history & incredible wildlife!
  • Indulge in the vibrant food and wine experiences, from Western Cape Winelands to traditional dishes!
  • Enjoy thrilling outdoor activities like mountain climbing, water sports & adrenaline-pumping adventures!

Experience the Riches of South Africa: Top Attractions and Destinations

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South Africa is a land of breathtaking contrasts

South Africa is a land of contrasts, where stunning landscapes, bustling cities, and vibrant cultures collide to create an unforgettable tapestry of experiences. From the iconic Table Mountain in Cape Town to the gold-rush history of Johannesburg, South Africa’s cities offer a glimpse into the country’s fascinating past and present. And let’s not forget the idyllic beaches of Durban or the incredible wildlife encounters awaiting you in Kruger National Park. Here are some of the top holiday destinations and attractions that make this country a must-visit.

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Cape Town: The Mother City

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cape town’s Table Mountain is the South Africa’s most photographed tourist attraction

Also known as “The Mother City,”, Cape Town captivatingly blends natural beauty, vibrant culture, and rich history. As the oldest city in South Africa, it is home to iconic landmarks like Table Mountain, Robben Island, and the colorful Bo-Kaap neighborhood. Top things to do while touring Cape Town? Oh, there is plenty… Like taking a cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain or visiting the fascinating World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary. You can also join a Secret Sunrise, visit the Labia Theatre, or learn to make Malay food in the Bo-Kaap neighborhood.

P.S. No trip to Cape Town would be complete without a visit to Boulders Beach, where you can see the famous penguin colony.

Port Elizabeth

Johannesburg: A City of Gold

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Johannesburg is home to the tallest city in Africa

Johannesburg, the “City of Gold,” was once the epicenter of the Witwatersrand Gold Rush, which fueled the development of South Africa’s economy. Today, this bustling metropolis offers a fascinating mix of history, art, and entertainment. Delve into the country’s past at the Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill, and the historic Soweto & Mandela House. For art enthusiasts, galleries like Circa Gallery, Everard Read Gallery, and Wits Arts Museum showcase the city’s vibrant art scene.

In addition to its rich history and cultural offerings, Johannesburg is a gateway to some of South Africa’s most incredible wildlife experiences. The Lion & Safari Park Day, featuring the majestic lion’s head, and the Dinokeng Game Reserve are just a short drive away from the city.

Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets or venturing out to the surrounding wilderness, Johannesburg is a destination that promises adventure around every corner.

Durban: The Golden Mile

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Durban is home to the Ushaka Marine World, the world’s 5th largest aquarium

Nestled along the sun-kissed shores of the Indian Ocean, Durban is a haven for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts. Known for its warm climate and diverse cuisine, this coastal city truly embodies the spirit of the Rainbow Nation. Durban’s famed Golden Mile is a stretch of golden sand and sparkling surf, offering a plethora of activities such as surfing, scuba diving, and dolphin watching.

Indulge in the city’s multicultural culinary scene by dining at some of Durban’s most renowned restaurants, or simply unwind on the beautiful beaches that line the city’s coast. With its vibrant atmosphere and idyllic seaside setting, Durban is a destination that will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired.

Kruger National Park: Wildlife Adventures

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Kruger national Park is home to over 147 species of mammals

For those looking to see wildlife in their natural habitat, look no further than Kruger National Park. Home to the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo) and countless other species, this vast wilderness offers an adventure like no other. Whether you’re embarking on a guided game drive, joining a walking safari, or booking a private tour, the opportunities to witness Africa’s incredible creatures up close are endless.

The best time to visit Kruger National Park for wildlife viewing is during the dry season, from May to October. This is when the vegetation is sparse, making it easier to spot animals, and they are drawn to waterholes to drink.

Regardless of when you visit, Kruger National Park promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of Africa’s wild beauty.

Garden Route: Scenic Road Trip

The Garden Route is a scenic road trip that winds its way along South Africa’s stunning coastline, showcasing picturesque landscapes and charming towns. From the pristine beaches of Mossel Bay to the lush forests of Knysna, the Garden Route is truly a beauty to behold. Other popular attractions along the way include Robberg Nature Reserve, Storms River Suspension Bridge, and the Knysna Elephant Park.

The best time of year to travel the Garden Route is between July and April, offering mild weather and vibrant landscapes.

South African Accommodation for Every Traveler

South Africa offers a wide range of accommodations to suit every type of traveler, from luxurious lodges and hotels to budget-friendly options and unique stays. Whether you’re seeking opulence and elegance or a more down-to-earth experience, you’re sure to find the perfect place to rest your head after a day of exploring this remarkable country.

Here’s a closer look at the varied accommodation options available in South Africa, to help you find the perfect home base during your memorable adventure.

Luxury Lodges and Hotels

For those who crave the finer things in life, South Africa is home to an array of luxury lodges and hotels that offer unparalleled comfort, top-notch amenities, and prime locations. Some examples include:

  • Londolozi Game Reserve
  • Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
  • Molori Safari Lodge
  • Lion Sands Game Reserve

In addition to their sumptuous surroundings, these luxury lodges and hotels often feature:

  • On-site restaurants
  • Spa and wellness facilities
  • Swimming pools
  • Concierge services

With such an incredible array of options, your only challenge will be choosing which luxury lodge or hotel to call home during your South African adventure, and whether to fly direct or opt for a layover.


Budget-Friendly Accommodations

If you’re traveling on a budget, fear not! South Africa boasts a wide selection of affordable accommodations that provide comfort and value for money without compromising on quality. Options such as Mount Nelson A Belmond Hotel Cape Town, The President Hotel, and Hilton Sandton in Johannesburg offer excellent service, comfortable rooms, and convenient locations at a fraction of the cost of their luxury counterparts.

Unique Stays

For those seeking a truly one-of-a-kind experience, South Africa offers a variety of unique stays that are sure to leave a lasting impression. Some examples include:

  • Tsala Treetop Lodge in Plettenberg Bay
  • Bubble Valley in Clarence
  • Baby Blue Houseboat
  • Misty Mountain Reserve
  • OR Tambo Guest House which is near the Tambo International Airport

Whether you’re dreaming of sleeping in a treehouse, an eco-lodge, or a boutique hotel, South Africa’s unique stays offer a level of luxury and adventure that sets them apart from traditional accommodations. So, why not step away from the ordinary and immerse yourself in the extraordinary during your South African holiday?

Adventure Awaits: Outdoor Activities and Experiences in South Africa

With its diverse landscapes and thrilling outdoor activities, South Africa, located in the southern hemisphere, is a playground for adventure-seekers. From conquering mountain trails and exploring the country’s beautiful coastline to experiencing heart-pumping adrenaline rushes, there’s no shortage of outdoor experiences to keep you entertained and inspired throughout your journey.

Here are some of the thrilling outdoor activities and experiences South Africa has to offer during your South Africa holidays.

Hiking and Mountain Climbing

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South Africa’s is every hiker’s dream destination

South Africa is a hiker’s paradise, with countless trails and climbing routes that cater to all levels of experience and fitness. Some of the top hiking and mountain climbing destinations in South Africa include:

  • The majestic Cederberg mountains
  • Table Mountain National Park
  • The awe-inspiring Golden Gate Highlands National Park
  • The dramatic Blyde River Canyon

Before embarking on your hiking or climbing adventure, be sure to consider safety measures such as wearing appropriate clothing, protecting yourself from the sun, and choosing a route that matches your ability and fitness level.

Water Sports and Beach Fun

With its stunning coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and warm waters, South Africa is an ideal destination for water sports enthusiasts and beach lovers. Some exhilarating water activities to enjoy along the country’s beautiful shores include:

  • Sea kayaking
  • Boat cruises
  • Shark diving
  • Surfing

For a more leisurely experience, simply relax on the pristine beaches that line the country’s coast, taking in the breathtaking scenery and soaking up the sun. Whatever your preference, South Africa’s water sports and beach activities provide endless opportunities for fun and adventure in the great outdoors.

Adrenaline-Pumping Activities

If you’re in search of an adrenaline rush, South Africa has plenty to offer. Here are some heart-pounding adventures that will leave you breathless:

  • Bungee jumping off the towering Bloukrans Bridge
  • Shark cage diving with great white sharks
  • Zip-lining through lush forests
  • Canyoning along a river

Safety is paramount when embarking on these thrilling activities, so be sure to follow all guidelines and instructions provided by experienced guides and operators.

Savor South Africa: Food, Wine, and Culinary Experiences

South Africa’s culinary scene is as diverse and flavorful as its landscapes and cultural heritage. From wine tasting in the picturesque Western Cape Winelands to sampling traditional dishes and participating in cooking classes, the country offers a smorgasbord of delicious experiences that will tantalize your taste buds and expand your culinary horizons.

Relish the flavors of South Africa, as we highlight the country’s vibrant food and wine experiences that exhibit its rich culinary heritage and diverse influences.

Western Cape Winelands

The Western Cape Winelands is a region renowned for its world-class vineyards and wine estates, offering an abundance of tasting opportunities and scenic beauty. Some must-visit destinations for wine lovers in the Western Cape Winelands include:

  • Leeu Estates
  • Babylonstoren
  • Vergelegen
  • Spier Wine Farm
  • Waterford Wine Estate

Not only can you sample exquisite wines, but you can also visit the vineyards themselves, learning about the region’s long winemaking history and the unique characteristics of South African wine.

Traditional South African Dishes

No trip to South Africa would be complete without sampling some of the country’s traditional dishes. With influences from indigenous, Dutch, French, and Indian cuisine, South African food offers a rich tapestry of flavors that reflect its diverse cultural heritage. Some must-try dishes include:

  • Biltong: a type of dried, cured meat that is similar to beef jerky
  • Chakalaka: a spicy vegetable relish that is often served with braai (barbecue)
  • Cape Malay curry: a fragrant and spicy curry that combines Indian and Malaysian flavors
  • Malva pudding: a sweet and sticky dessert made with apricot jam and served with custard or ice cream

Many restaurants across the country specialize in serving traditional South African fare, providing an authentic dining experience that will introduce you to the country’s culinary delights. So, why not tantalize your taste buds and delve into the captivating realm of South African cuisine during your visit?

Culinary Tours and Cooking Classes

To truly immerse yourself in the flavors of South Africa, consider joining a culinary tour or taking part in a cooking class. These experiences allow you to explore the country’s rich culinary heritage, learn about local ingredients, and create your own delicious dishes.

Withlocals offers private food tours with a local guide, providing an intimate and personalized experience that will introduce you to South Africa’s diverse culinary scene. Alternatively, you can hone your skills in the kitchen by participating in a cooking class, such as those offered by Stir Crazy Cooking. These classes cover a wide variety of cuisines and techniques, ensuring that you leave with a newfound appreciation for South African food and the skills to recreate your favorite dishes at home.


In summary, South Africa is a land of breathtaking beauty, diverse cultures, and unforgettable experiences. From the vibrant cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg to the pristine beaches of Durban and the wild wonders of Kruger National Park, there’s something for everyone to explore and enjoy.

So, why wait? Start planning your South African holiday today and discover the magic and wonder of this incredible country for yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of year to go to South Africa?

The best time to visit South Africa is from May to September when you can enjoy great wildlife watching, drier conditions, and warmer temperatures. Plus, winter mornings and nights are much less cold, which is perfect weather for game viewing in reserves such as Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, Thanda, or Nambiti Private Game Reserves.

Is it safe to travel to South Africa right now?

It is generally safe to travel to South Africa, however it’s advised to exercise caution due to the threat of violent crime and to avoid any areas affected by protests and demonstrations. Be sure to use major roads where possible and verify alternate routes recommended by your GPS before travel.

Is it expensive to holiday in South Africa?

South Africa is incredibly budget-friendly, with luxury hotels and restaurants costing far less than in Europe or North America. Enjoy a luxurious holiday without breaking the bank!

Is South Africa a good place for a holiday?

South africa is definitely a great place for a holiday! It’s safe, with the most visited areas – such as Cape Town’s city centre, the Cape Winelands, the Garden Route and safari destinations – among the safest in the country. So go ahead and make those travel plans!

How much does it cost to go to South Africa for a holiday?

Discover South Africa at an amazing price – £154/$175/€179 per person per night! An overall cost of £1537/$1746/€1785 per person excluding flights makes it an unforgettable holiday.