South Africa is Africa's most visited country, and is known as the "world in one country". If you travel to South Africa, you have the opportunity to see Africa's magnificent wildlife, sunny beaches, vibrant cities, rich culture and history, and breathtaking nature. From deserts to forests, from mountains to beaches, from grasslands and wetlands to the dry savanna of the Kruger National Park, South Africa is known for its natural beauty, scenic splendour and warm hospitality.
- Kruger National Park safaris
- Scenic Cape Town
- Rich culture and history
- Big 5 game viewing
- World-class dining and entertainment
- Favourable exchange rate
- Easy to get around
- First world infrastructure
- Safe for tourists
South Africa is known for its history, its wines, its wildlife, its breathtaking landscapes, sunshine and beach weather, and its diversity of peoples and cultures. Whatever your travel interests, South Africa has something for you.
The top two travel destinations in South Africa are the greater Kruger National Park, one of the world's greatest game reserves, and the city of Cape Town, famously perched on the slopes of Table Mountain, recently voted top destination city in the world by New York Times and UK Guardian readers.
South Africa is a big country, and it is impossible to see all of South Africa in one trip. Flights are affordable and safe, so the best way to get around is to fly between your main destinations, then rent a car when you get there or let us arrange guided tours and transfers for you.
From Johannesburg to Cape Town it's a two-hour flight. From Johannesburg to George or Port Elizabeth (to visit the Garden Route or Eastern Cape) it's just less than a two-hour flight. The Garden Route is about four to five hours from Cape Town by road. The Kruger National Park is about five to six hours driving from Johannesburg, or a one hour flight. From Cape Town, Kruger Park is a three-hour flight (to Nelspruit, the nearest town).
Please have a look at our map of South Africa to help orientate yourself. You can use the map as a basis from which to plan your trip to South Africa.
Overview of the most popular tourist regions
The Greater Kruger National Park
The Greater Kruger National Park is found in the far northeast corner of South Africa and is the country's premier safari destination. The Greater Kruger includes the Kruger National Park itself (a vast national park of over 2 million hectares) as well as the adjacent private game reserves, such as the famous Sabi Sand and Timbavati reserves.
- The average length of stay in Kruger is between three and six days.
Greater Cape Town
Greater Cape Town is known for its beautiful scenery, pristine beaches (although the seawater is very cold all year), Table Mountain and other majestic mountains, the Cape Winelands (where some of the world's best wines are produced), a rich cultural and historical heritage, and plenty of activities to enjoy (including shark cage diving and whale watching). It's a world-class tourist city that offers something for everyone.
Cape Town is not known as a safari destination, however. The Cape Peninsula forms the southwestern tip of South Africa, and the popular viewing area at Cape Point is famously regarded as the point where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet.
- The average length of stay in greater Cape Town is between four and six days.
The Garden Route
The Garden Route is a scenic region along the southern Cape coast, from Mosselbay to Tsitsikamma. The area is known for its beaches, mountains, forests, lakes and beautiful coastal scenery. The Garden Route is about four to five hours east of Cape Town and stretches for about 200 km along the coast.
Along the way, you can stay in picturesque coastal towns and villages like Wilderness, Sedgefield, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Storms River Village. Further inland is Oudtshoorn, famous for the Cango Caves, arid landscapes and for being the heart of South Africa's ostrich farming industry.
- The average length of stay along The Garden Route is two to four days.
The Panorama Route
The Panorama Route is found along the Mpumalanga escarpment which separates the Highveld from the Lowveld, close to the Kruger National Park. This area is known for its breathtaking viewpoints and waterfalls, and the highlights can be seen in one or two days. However, many visitors combine it with a longer stay in the adjacent Lowveld or nearby Kruger National Park.
- The average length of stay along The Panorama Route is one or two days.
Northern KwaZulu-Natal is a warm, subtropical region of South Africa along the east coast. The city of Durban is a one hour flight from Johannesburg and the gateway to Kwazulu-Natal Province. The northern part of the province is the best area to combine bush and beach (a safari combined with a beach holiday). There are some wonderful game reserves in this region, and pristine beaches along the coast, where the water is warm most of the year.
Further inland, the Drakensberg mountains and a number of historical battlefield sites are popular attractions, too, which is why the region is known for its Bush, Beach, Battlefields and Berg (Mountain) tours. Or just Bush and Beach trips, if you leave out the battlefields and the Drakensberg mountains.
- You can easily spend an entire two-week trip exploring this beautiful province.
Malaria-free safaris are also possible in South Africa. The most popular malaria-free safari destinations are found in the Eastern Cape (greater Addo National Park and surrounding private reserves such as Shamwari), Madikwe and Pilanesberg in the North West Province, the Waterberg region (although a few isolated cases of malaria have occurred there so it is not entirely malaria-free), and the Kalahari region (Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and nearby private reserves such as Tswalu). While the risk of contracting malaria is low in greater Kruger, these malaria-free options are popular among families with young children or expectant mothers.
There are so many other popular regions in South Africa worth visiting, such as the Karoo, the Wild Coast, Namaqualand (famous for the annual flower season in August and September), the Drakensberg Mountains, and various other game reserves and mountain ranges in South Africa.
It truly is a world in one country, and it would take you months, perhaps years, to see it all.
The weather in South Africa is usually mild to warm. We seldom get any snow, and even in winter, the average daytime temperatures are reasonable (around 15°C to 20°C depending on the region). The weather differs from region to region.
The northern and eastern areas (including the Kruger National Park) are hot in summer and mild in winter. Summer is the rainy season. It does not really get very cold in these areas, except at night when temperatures can drop to below 10°C in winter, and sometimes even reach freezing point.
In Cape Town, winter is the rainy season and it gets rather cold and windy between June and August, but never below freezing. Summer is usually dry and sunny (from October to April). The central parts of South Africa (the Highveld, Karoo, Kalahari and the mountain regions) do experience frost in winter, and occasional snow in the high lying areas.
Any time of year is great for visiting South Africa, although generally summer is considered better for Cape Town and winter is considered better for safari destinations. This is why autumn (April and May), as well as spring (August to November), are popular for trips that combine these destinations.
Safety is a concern for most visitors to a foreign country. As far as tourists are concerned, South Africa is as safe or safer than many other tourist destinations in the world. The tourist areas are generally not crime hotspots, and millions of tourists visit South Africa each year without incident. That said, we are aware that South Africa sometimes receives bad press regarding the crime situation. However, most incidents of crime involving tourists occur in areas or situations that are known to be unsafe. Please read this blog post about safety in South Africa.
Speak to us before you travel to South Africa, so we can give you advice on where to go and where not to go. Venturing into a township on your own, for example, is not safe. We only recommend lodges and hotels in safe areas and have never had an incident of violent crime on any of our safaris.
Don't let the fear of crime stop you from visiting this beautiful country!
Thornybush Game Reserve recently dropped their eastern boundary fence and now forms part of the Greater Kruger conservation area. Thornybush has a diverse collection of safari lodges.
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park along with the nearby Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve is a fantastic, semi-arid safari destination. The Kalahari desert teems with wildlife and boasts dramatic scenery.
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A guided safari in Kruger Park (using the national park camps) is quite different to a safari at a private game lodge. Both have their advantages. This trip idea combines two nights in Kruger, followed by two nights at a private game lodge for you to experience the best of both worlds. All game drives in open vehicles with expert and knowledgeable guides.
Our 4-day Kruger Park and Panorama Route Safari combines two of South Africa's most popular destinations in one affordable fully-guided tour. Go on small-group open safari vehicle game drives in the Kruger National Park and explore scenic Panorama Route highlights in an air-conditioned minibus while overnighting in comfortable, air-conditioned bungalows. Feel free to ask us about group discounts.
Our unique Battlefields, Bush and Beach Safari takes in the highlights of South Africa's exciting Kwazulu-Natal Province. From spectacular scenery and the fascinating history of the British/Zulu/Boer wars to unforgettable Big 5 safaris at Phinda Game Reserve and a pristine beach lodge with endless beaches, warm waters, incredible snorkelling and scuba diving, this itinerary includes cultural visits to local tribal villages. Scenery, history, culture, wildlife, sunny beaches, our Battlefields, Bush and Beach has it all in spades.
This 5-day Garden Route Safari is an exciting way to explore the Garden Route, Little Karoo, the Whale Route, Addo Elephant National Park and Route 62, the world's longest wine route! An active tour with a good mix of culture, adventure and wildlife. Departs on Mondays from Cape Town, ends in Port Elizabeth. (A 6-day option starts and ends in Cape Town. May go in reverse itinerary order as a private tour option, availability permitting).
This trip idea combines the best of South Africa's top two destinations - Cape Town and Kruger National Park. Spend four nights in Cape Town, often voted the most beautiful city in the world, followed by four nights on safari in the world-renowned Kruger National Park, home to a diversity of wildlife larger than anywhere else in Africa. The trip can be booked on a self-drive or fully-guided basis, as you prefer.
Our 4 Day Luxury Northern Kruger Park Safari is a luxury safari based at The Outpost, a beautiful, remote safari lodge overlooking the Levuvhu River in the community-owned Makuleke Conservancy in the far north of the Kruger National Park. This is one of Kruger Park's most breathtaking and remote locations, with beautiful scenery, good game viewing and fantastic birding opportunities.
The popular 5-Day Best of Kruger Safari is a 4-night/5-day safari in the Kruger National Park offering open vehicle game drives with an experienced safari guide. Includes a night drive and guided bush walk. Spend two nights each at two different camps, in different areas of Kruger Park, giving you the best game-viewing opportunities. Book early to avoid disappointment!
This Flexible Walking Safari is ideally three or four days and offers a combination of guided bush walks and game drives, giving you greater flexibility to choose your preferred game viewing activity day by day, depending on your group's preferences. Our guided walking safaris are within the Greater Kruger Park, possibly the greatest nature conservancy on Earth.
Our popular 3-day Kruger Park safari is designed for those who want a quick and affordable way to see the Kruger National Park in the company of an expert guide, but are really short on time. This 3-day Kruger Park safari is sometimes called our Kruger Quick Safari. We offer regular scheduled departures from Johannesburg or Nelspruit. Custom departure dates and private departures can be arranged on request. Book early to avoid disappointment!
The 4-day Budget Kruger Park Safari is easy on your budget and big on game viewing. This small group, fully-guided safari in Kruger National Park overnights inside the park with scheduled departures from Johannesburg or Nelspruit. Custom departure dates may be arranged (additional cost applies). Book early to avoid disappointment!
Our 15-Day Southern Africa Signature Safari is what we consider to be an ideal safari itinerary on a mid-range budget to see the best of Southern Africa within a limited time frame. Take in some of Southern Africa's top destinations – the spectacular Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe; Chobe National Park in Botswana; picturesque Cape Town and the Garden Route; the Kruger National Park and the famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa.