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What is your idea of an ideal holiday break? Maybe it's spending time with friends and family exploring new places. Perhaps it's meeting interesting people or trying exciting activities like hiking, horse riding and game viewing. Is it lazy lunches in beautiful surroundings and days spent soaking up the sunshine on a sandy beach?

Welcome to beautiful South Africa – where we can honestly say that you can have it all. Here are our top 10 reasons to visit South Africa, often referred to as 'a world in one country'...

1. The Beaches

Why Visit South Africa?

1. Breathtaking Beaches

Camps Bay in Cape Town, South Africa | Go2Africa
Camps Bay in Cape Town.

Cape Town arguably has the best urban beaches in the world, from fashionable Camps Bay (close to the city centre) to Boulders Beach, with its comical colony of endangered African penguins which waddle about. All the way along South Africa’s Garden Route and KwaZulu-Natal’s Indian Ocean coastline, you’ll find long stretches of pristine soft sand lapped by waves that become warmer and warmer the further north you go. There are even tropical coral reefs and excellent diving and snorkelling spots to discover when visiting South Africa.

2. The Big 5

2. The Best Big 5 Sightings in Africa

Leopard sighting in Sabi Sands, South Africa | Go2Africa
Sabi Sands is prime leopard country.

South Africa is one of the very few places on Earth where you’re able to tick off all of the Big 5 (elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion and leopard) in one day – arguably one of the best reasons to visit South Africa. The country is one of the world’s finest Big 5 safari destinations thanks to its outstanding conservation areas and national parks such as:

  • Kruger National Park and its private game reserves like Sabi Sands, Thornybush, Londolozi, MalaMala, Lion Sands and Dulini
  • Madikwe Game Reserve
  • Phinda Game Reserve
  • Pilanesberg National Park
  • Addo Elephant National Park
3. Food & Wine

3. Superb Food & Wine

Wine tasting and snack platter in Cape Winelands, South Africa | Go2Africa
Enjoy wine tastings and snack platters in the Cape Winelands.

If you’re looking for fantastic culinary delights at unbeatable value for money, look no further than South Africa. When visiting South Africa’s Mother City, Cape Town, we highly recommend spending time in the Cape Winelands, the country’s undisputed ‘gourmet capital’. Explore the beautiful estates, sample award-winning wines in cool cellars and on vine-covered patios, and relish some of the world’s finest cuisine in its incredible restaurants.

On the country’s eastern seaboard, indulge in a gourmet getaway in the lush hills of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, fortifying yourself for a comfortable hike in the foothills of the magnificent Drakensberg Mountains.

Cape Town is South Africa’s oldest ‘foodie’ destination, but Johannesburg is catching up fast! Both are hubs for craft beer, great coffee, exciting markets and inspiring restaurants that meld local flavours with international trends, all dished up with typical South African hospitality.

4. Activities in Abundance

4. Activities in Abundance

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway in Cape Town, South Africa | Go2Africa
Ride the cable car up and down Table Mountain.

With plenty of sunshine, mountains, sea and rivers, South Africans tend to treat their country like a massive playground. For a taste of the great outdoors, hike to the top of Table Mountain; horse ride in the Drakensberg; watch whales in Hermanus; discover South Africa’s urban culture on a guided walking tour of Johannesburg; paraglide over Cape Town’s beaches; take a walking safari in the Kruger; cycle through the Cape Winelands; explore the forest canopy in the Garden Route; enjoy a round on one of the many world-class golf courses… You’ll never have a dull moment when you visit South Africa!

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5. People & Local Cultures

5. Friendly People & Local Cultures

Friendly lodge staff in South Africa | Go2Africa
Enjoy world-class service with a smile when visiting South Africa.

Visitors often comment on the fact that South Africans smile a lot… yes, we are a friendly bunch! We love to meet new people and passionately recommend our favourite places and things to do. We are a melting pot of many fascinating cultures forming one nation, so you’ll hear several distinct accents in our English, notice many different faces, and taste a rich fusion of flavours in our cuisine.

In Cape Town, you can learn to cook traditional Malay curries while in Johannesburg, you can visit Nelson Mandela’s house and walk in the footsteps of our history in Soweto.

6. The Weather

6. Near-perfect Weather

Tinyeleti Treehouse in Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Kruger, South Africa | Go2Africa
Sleeping under the stars in Kruger’s Sabi Sands Game Reserve.

Did you know that Durban, Ballito and the beaches of the KwaZulu-Natal Coast average over 300 days of sunshine a year? Even the December to March ‘rainy season’ over the Kruger is actually quite sunny: rainfall generally consists of short-lived thundershowers in the late afternoons, leaving the air washed clean of dust and making for bright, crisp photographs.

South Africa is blessed with a generally temperate climate, meaning sensational summers and mild winters. Enjoying great weather is vital for a memorable vacation and for many travellers (especially from the northern hemisphere), this is one of the top reasons to visit South Africa.

Choosing the best time to visit South Africa depends entirely on what you want to see and do:

Experience Best Time
South Africa safari May to October
Cape Town beach holiday November to March
Cape Winelands tours All year round
Garden Route holiday All year round
Whale watching July to November
7. Family Friendly

7. It’s a Family Favourite

Game drive at Madikwe Safari Lodge, South Africa | Go2Africa
Learning about the African bush in Madikwe Game Reserve.

Your kids will love it! Beautiful South Africa has plenty of child-friendly accommodation and loads of great options for a family holiday. Cape Town and the Garden Route are particularly popular for a beach break.

For a family safari in Africa, we recommend the Pilanesberg, Madikwe or one of the Eastern Cape reserves – all malaria-free with superb game viewing. For loud, unrestrained whoops of joy, try thrill-a-minute Sun City, a holiday resort that even has a sandy ‘beach’ and ‘ocean’ built in the middle of the bush, less than a 2-hour drive from Johannesburg.

If you are bringing young children on safari for the first time, ask your Africa Safari Expert to find you a lodge that is geared for kids: many have amazing junior rangers’ programmes, shorter game drives, educational games and special play areas with trained babysitters. Long game drives can be tough on little ones but gentle nature walks with trained guides that teach them about bugs, birds and blooms can be very exciting.

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8. The Rich History

8. Rich in History

Nelson Mandela Capture Site in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Go2Africa
Nelson Mandela Capture Site in KwaZulu-Natal.

How far back do you want to go when visiting South Africa? We have the Cradle of Humankind, where the 2.3-million-year-old fossil nicknamed Mrs. Ples was found – along with numerous other (and some of the oldest) hominin fossils.

For a taste of more recent history, we highly recommend the KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields. Excellent guides bring to life the world of 1875, when bravery, victory and defeat played out in the bloody battles between British soldiers, Boer commandos and Zulu warriors. South Africa’s remarkable modern history is perhaps best illustrated in a visit to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his incarceration alongside other political prisoners.

Cape Town is our oldest city, the Constantia Winelands date back over 300 years and San Bushmen can teach you more about their desert lifestyle that remained largely unchanged for thousands of years. Cultural travellers thoroughly enjoy the country’s plethora of ideas, customs and social behaviours, which is why it makes our list of top reasons to visit South Africa.

9. Value for Money

9. Excellent Value for Money for Any Type of Traveller

Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa | Go2Africa
The exquisite Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch.

When you visit South Africa, it’s easy to find a cosy guesthouse or family-run lodge that offers that extra bit of holiday pampering plus great value for money. What’s more, eating out in South Africa is affordable, so you can generally enjoy a great meal and local vintage without the bitter aftertaste of an unreasonable bill.

In addition to being value for money, a safari can often be all-inclusive so you know exactly what you’re in for, upfront. Ask your Africa Safari Expert to create a tailor-made itinerary around your budget that is as inclusive as possible.

10. Getting Around is Easy

10. Getting Around is Easy

Chapman's Peak Drive in Cape Town, South Africa | Go2Africa
The stunning Chapman’s Peak Drive in Cape Town.

South Africa welcomes a steady flow of international airlines at international airports around the country. Also, once here, you’ll find a network of national highway roads criss-crossing big sky Karoo landscapes, winding through farmlands, nipping along coastlines and over magnificent mountain passes. Beautiful South Africa is one of only two countries in Africa where we recommend a self-drive holiday – one of the best reasons to visit South Africa if you’re an independent traveller.

In additon, Wi-Fi is widely accessible, the mobile phone network is excellent, ATMs are readily available and self-drivers will never be far from a full-service petrol (gas) station.

Ready to Start Planning Your Visit to South Africa?

Get in touch with one of our Africa Safari Experts to help tailor-make an itinerary based on your travel wishes:

Written By

Sandra Mallinson

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