6 Best Things to Do in South Africa

6 Best Things to Do in South Africa

Choosing where to go in South Africa is a bit like selecting which countries to visit on a global tour – each region is that different. From the sparkling city of Cape Town and the bottle-green hills of the Cape Winelands to the wild reserves of Kruger, Madikwe and the fantasyland that is Sun City, we’ve selected our favourite places of interest in this highly diverse country.

#6 Go on safari to see the Big 5

South Africa is ideal for first-time and repeat safari goers, with plenty of private reserves and national parks that offer easy game viewing, convenient logistics and good value. The most popular places to see the Big 5, as elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos and buffaloes are known as a group, are the Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands Game Reserve. For a very exclusive experience, head to Phinda Private Game Reserve in the province of kwaZulu-Natal, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve or Madikwe Game Reserve, both of which have totally different landscapes to the Kruger-Sabi Sands area.

Best time to go

Safari high season is from about July to October, when it is coolest and driest. Peak season means more crowds so if you want to avoid them, head out on safari from mid-January to May or during November.

Best for these traveller types

Couples, Honeymooners, Families, Solos

See also:

Why go to Kruger for safari
Why go to Sabi Sands for safari
Why go to Madikwe Game Reserve

#5 See migrating southern right whales

South Africa’s small coastal town of Hermanus boasts some of the best whale watching in the world – migrating southern right whales often come right into the town’s Walker Bay to be spotted from land. To really amp up the experience, join a whale-watching boat and be amazed as these intelligent, gentle creatures dive and breach right in front of you.

Best time to go

The whale migration is seasonal and hard to predict accurately the whale are generally along the Whale Coast from about August onwards. August is the most popular month with the best sightings – charter a private boat if you want to get away from the crowds.

Best for these traveller types

Couples, Honeymooners, Families, Solos

See also:

Top tips for Whale Watching (VIDEO)

#4 Photograph African penguins at Boulders Beach

A wedge of sandy beach punctuated by massive rocks, Boulders Beach is about an hour’s drive from Cape Town and is home to a protected colony of endangered African penguins. You can enjoy their comical antics as they waddle along the shore and dive gracefully into the Atlantic Ocean from a special boardwalk.

Best time to go

This is a year-round activity but check the weather – it can be windy, cold and overcast at certain times of the year. If you want to avoid the crowds, head out early in the morning and then have a delicious breakfast in nearby Simons Town or Kalk Bay.

Best for these traveller types

Couples, Honeymooners, Families, Solos

See also:

Why go to Boulders Beach, Cape Town?

#3 Taste great South African wines

South Africa is home to many wine routes that fan out from Cape Town. The closest is the Constantia Wine Valley, which dates back to the late 1600s and includes some of the country’s most prestigious wines. The Cape Winelands are a group comprising the areas of Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, which are about an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Further afield, Route 62 is touted as the longest wine route in the world and has plenty of down-to-earth estates with a real ‘country’ feel. If you’re driving the Garden Route or going to see the whales in Hermanus, then be sure to pop into the small but boutique Hermanus Wine Route.

Best time to go

Wine estates are open year-round but do check as some may be closed on Sundays. On rainy days, it’s fun to warm up next to the fire in a cosy cellar.

Best for these traveller types

Couples, Honeymooners, Solos

See also:

Destination focus: Constantia Wine Valley
Why go to Cape Winelands for wine tasting

#2 Drive the Garden Route

South Africa’s famed Garden Route is technically a 300km / 185mi swathe of verdant coastal vegetation that runs between the seaside town of Mossel Bay and the Storms River. But most self-drivers will undertake it from Cape Town, wending their way along the Indian Ocean coastline past Hermanus, George, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, the Tsitsikamma Forest, Jeffrey’s Bay (nearby Cape St Francis was made famous in the surfing movie Endless Summer) and ending in Port Elizabeth with a safari at Addo Elephant National Park.

If you want to drive in South Africa, the Garden Route is the best place to do it since it has good infrastructure, plenty of scenery and things to do, and a wide variety of accommodation, shops and restaurants. You won’t even have to pump your own gas (although you will have to drive on the left)! Our Safari Experts can even arrange an automatic rental vehicle if you prefer that to manual transmission.

Best time to go

Since the Garden Route has a fairly temperate climate with rain that can occur at any time, it is best to plan your holiday around your interests. An uncrowded beach holiday is best between mid-January and Easter; whale watching runs from about July to October; and it is hottest from about November to April. This is a very popular area over the major South African school holidays, which run over Christmas and New Year’s, Easter and during July.

Best for these traveller types

Couples, Honeymooners, Families

See also:

Destination focus: Garden Route
What to expect on an Eastern Cape safari

#1 Live like a local in Cape Town

As South Africa’s oldest city, Cape Town has everything from a fort dating back to the 1600s, colourful neighbourhoods filled with delicious food and unusual architecture, and even the world’s biggest collection of contemporary African art. Throw in English that is widely spoken, excellent infrastructure and a city centre that is better experienced on foot than in a car, and you have one of the best places in Africa to really immerse yourself in the local culture. Plus, there are Table Mountain, golden beaches, the Constantia Winelands and Robben Island right on your doorstep. In summer, the sun sets after 8pm, giving you splendid sunsets as you sip a sundowner before heading to one of the continent’s top restaurants for dinner. You can choose to drive yourself or allow us to curate special private guided tours for you – or do a combination of both. Cape Town lends itself to complete flexibility, depending on your interests and preferences.

Best time to go

Cape Town has two distinct seasons, each with their own advantages. Summer is hot and dry (from about October to March) but has more crowds; winter (from about June to August) is colder and wetter but welcomes visitors with great rates and deals. The city is extremely busy over Christmas and New Year’s, when everything from parking to reservations are at a premium.

Best for these traveller types

Couples, Honeymooners, Families, Solos

See also:

Why go to Cape Town for holiday?

Choosing where to go in South Africa is a bit like selecting which countries to visit on a global tour – each region is that different. From the sparkling city of Cape Town and the bottle-green hills of the Cape Winelands to the wild reserves of Kruger, Madikwe and the fantasyland that is Sun City, we’ve selected our favourite places of interest in this highly diverse country.

#6 Go on safari to see the Big 5

South Africa is ideal for first-time and repeat safari goers, with plenty of private reserves and national parks that offer easy game viewing, convenient logistics and good value. The most popular places to see the Big 5, as elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos and buffaloes are known as a group, are the Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands Game Reserve. For a very exclusive experience, head to Phinda Private Game Reserve in the province of kwaZulu-Natal, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve or Madikwe Game Reserve, both of which have totally different landscapes to the Kruger-Sabi Sands area.

Best time to go

Safari high season is from about July to October, when it is coolest and driest. Peak season means more crowds so if you want to avoid them, head out on safari from mid-January to May or during November.

Best for these traveller types

Couples, Honeymooners, Families, Solos

See also:

Why go to Kruger for safari
Why go to Sabi Sands for safari
Why go to Madikwe Game Reserve

#5 See migrating southern right whales

South Africa’s small coastal town of Hermanus boasts some of the best whale watching in the world – migrating southern right whales often come right into the town’s Walker Bay to be spotted from land. To really amp up the experience, join a whale-watching boat and be amazed as these intelligent, gentle creatures dive and breach right in front of you.

Best time to go

The whale migration is seasonal and hard to predict accurately the whale are generally along the Whale Coast from about August onwards. August is the most popular month with the best sightings – charter a private boat if you want to get away from the crowds.

Best for these traveller types

Couples, Honeymooners, Families, Solos

See also:

Top tips for Whale Watching (VIDEO)

#4 Photograph African penguins at Boulders Beach

A wedge of sandy beach punctuated by massive rocks, Boulders Beach is about an hour’s drive from Cape Town and is home to a protected colony of endangered African penguins. You can enjoy their comical antics as they waddle along the shore and dive gracefully into the Atlantic Ocean from a special boardwalk.

Best time to go

This is a year-round activity but check the weather – it can be windy, cold and overcast at certain times of the year. If you want to avoid the crowds, head out early in the morning and then have a delicious breakfast in nearby Simons Town or Kalk Bay.

Best for these traveller types

Couples, Honeymooners, Families, Solos

See also:

Why go to Boulders Beach, Cape Town?

#3 Taste great South African wines

South Africa is home to many wine routes that fan out from Cape Town. The closest is the Constantia Wine Valley, which dates back to the late 1600s and includes some of the country’s most prestigious wines. The Cape Winelands are a group comprising the areas of Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, which are about an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Further afield, Route 62 is touted as the longest wine route in the world and has plenty of down-to-earth estates with a real ‘country’ feel. If you’re driving the Garden Route or going to see the whales in Hermanus, then be sure to pop into the small but boutique Hermanus Wine Route.

Best time to go

Wine estates are open year-round but do check as some may be closed on Sundays. On rainy days, it’s fun to warm up next to the fire in a cosy cellar.

Best for these traveller types

Couples, Honeymooners, Solos

See also:

Destination focus: Constantia Wine Valley
Why go to Cape Winelands for wine tasting

#2 Drive the Garden Route

South Africa’s famed Garden Route is technically a 300km / 185mi swathe of verdant coastal vegetation that runs between the seaside town of Mossel Bay and the Storms River. But most self-drivers will undertake it from Cape Town, wending their way along the Indian Ocean coastline past Hermanus, George, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, the Tsitsikamma Forest, Jeffrey’s Bay (nearby Cape St Francis was made famous in the surfing movie Endless Summer) and ending in Port Elizabeth with a safari at Addo Elephant National Park.

If you want to drive in South Africa, the Garden Route is the best place to do it since it has good infrastructure, plenty of scenery and things to do, and a wide variety of accommodation, shops and restaurants. You won’t even have to pump your own gas (although you will have to drive on the left)! Our Safari Experts can even arrange an automatic rental vehicle if you prefer that to manual transmission.

Best time to go

Since the Garden Route has a fairly temperate climate with rain that can occur at any time, it is best to plan your holiday around your interests. An uncrowded beach holiday is best between mid-January and Easter; whale watching runs from about July to October; and it is hottest from about November to April. This is a very popular area over the major South African school holidays, which run over Christmas and New Year’s, Easter and during July.

Best for these traveller types

Couples, Honeymooners, Families

See also:

Destination focus: Garden Route
What to expect on an Eastern Cape safari

#1 Live like a local in Cape Town

As South Africa’s oldest city, Cape Town has everything from a fort dating back to the 1600s, colourful neighbourhoods filled with delicious food and unusual architecture, and even the world’s biggest collection of contemporary African art. Throw in English that is widely spoken, excellent infrastructure and a city centre that is better experienced on foot than in a car, and you have one of the best places in Africa to really immerse yourself in the local culture. Plus, there are Table Mountain, golden beaches, the Constantia Winelands and Robben Island right on your doorstep. In summer, the sun sets after 8pm, giving you splendid sunsets as you sip a sundowner before heading to one of the continent’s top restaurants for dinner. You can choose to drive yourself or allow us to curate special private guided tours for you – or do a combination of both. Cape Town lends itself to complete flexibility, depending on your interests and preferences.

Best time to go

Cape Town has two distinct seasons, each with their own advantages. Summer is hot and dry (from about October to March) but has more crowds; winter (from about June to August) is colder and wetter but welcomes visitors with great rates and deals. The city is extremely busy over Christmas and New Year’s, when everything from parking to reservations are at a premium.

Best for these traveller types

Couples, Honeymooners, Families, Solos

See also:

Why go to Cape Town for holiday?