From the Big 5 to Whales, Winelands and a Whole Lot More
There's not much that South Africa doesn't have to offer its visitors. The Kruger's private reserves deliver Africa's most reliable Big 5 game viewing, while Cape Town and its surrounding wine valleys provide an elegant, Mediterranean twist to a South Africa safari.
July to November sees South Africa’s Whale Coast hum with activity as migratory whales arrive from the icy Antarctic to mate and give birth in warmer waters. The town of Hermanus lies at the centre of the whale-watching experience and is known as the best land-based whale-watching destination in the world.
The gorgeous Garden Route is ideal for failproof family holidays and self-drive adventures – especially when combined with the malaria-free reserves of the Eastern Cape. You can always add KwaZulu-Natal's big game and pristine beaches to the mix before visiting the continent’s favourite family holiday resort, Sun City. Home to championship golf courses, superb hotels and entertaining water theme parks, it’s the perfect end to your South Africa safari.
Truly a world in one country, South Africa is one of the top holiday destinations in Africa. Here are five reasons why:
1. Experience the Finest Big 5 Game Viewing
One of the major items on any safari goer’s bucket list is encountering Africa’s iconic Big 5 (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo) in the wild. South Africa is one of the very few places on Earth where you’re able to tick off all five in one day. 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 reserves like Sabi Sands, Thornybush, Londolozi, Mala Mala, Lion Sands and Dulini.
- Madikwe Game Reserve
- Phinda Game Reserve
- Pilanesberg National Park
- Addo Elephant National Park
2. Effortlessly Combine Bush and Beach
South Africa’s 2 500km (1 550mi) coastline is one of the world’s most varied and beautiful. Bordered by the warm Indian Ocean on one side and the cooler Atlantic on the other, South Africa offers its visitors sun-kissed beaches, craggy shores, quaint towns and indigenous forests to explore. Thanks to the country’s superb infrastructure and daily domestic flights, combining a South Africa safari with a beach holiday is as effortless as it is enjoyable.
South Africa’s coastal highlights:
- Cape Town – a city of gastronomic delights with some of the most beautiful beaches on Earth.
- Cape Point Nature Reserve – scenically spectacular and home to the smallest yet richest of the world’s six floral kingdoms.
- Boulders Beach – meet endangered penguins.
- Garden Route – a gorgeous stretch of coastline, ideal for self-drivers and families.
- Whale Coast – experience the best land-based whale-watching on the planet.
- KwaZulu-Natal – 600km (370mi) of safe swimming beaches, colourful coral reefs and turtle breeding grounds.
3. Getting Around is Easy
South Africa’s tourism infrastructure network is outstanding. Daily commercial flights link all its major cities, while chartered airplanes can get you to the Kruger National Park and safari lodges that have their own private airstrips. OR Tambo International Airport is a major travel hub and the gateway to the rest of Africa. Road transfers are conducted in modern and comfortable vehicles and, because of its sophisticated infrastructure, South Africa is the ideal place to rent a car. The country’s well-maintained roads and highways make it a fantastic destination for a self-drive holiday through the Cape Winelands and along the Garden Route.
Your South Africa safari can easily be combined with:
- Botswana – to experience the pristine Okavango Delta, Chobe and Kalahari.
- Victoria Falls – for a soul-stirring encounter with the world’s biggest waterfall.
- Namibia – Southern Africa’s secret corner and home to our planet’s oldest desert.
- Zimbabwe and Zambia – for superb big game viewing in raw wildernesses.
- Kenya and Tanzania – to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration.
4. Savour Gourmet Cuisine and Flawless Service
South Africa offers its visitors a fair share of fine restaurants that serve the most exclusive gastronomical delights. From Cape Town and Johannesburg to the heart of the Kruger, South Africa is a country of culinary excellence. Framed by sun-splashed vineyards and craggy mountains, the picturesque valleys of the Cape Winelands are famous for their grand old estates, quaint towns, award-winning restaurants and – of course – internationally acclaimed wines. The sensational Sabi Sands Game Reserve is contiguous with the Kruger National Park and pioneered the luxury safari concept. This private reserve not only harbours the Big 5, but is also home to some of Africa’s finest luxury safari lodges offering gourmet cuisine and five-star personal service.
South Africa’s gastronomic highlights:
- Cape Winelands – the town of Franschhoek boasts an undeniable reputation as the country’s culinary capital.
- Cape Town – widely hailed as Africa’s gourmet superstar.
- Johannesburg – a modern, exciting and budding food scene.
- Sabi Sands Game Reserve – a luxury safari experience par excellence.
5. Perfect for Multi-generational Family Safaris
If you’re travelling with youngsters or older relatives on their first safari, then South Africa is an excellent choice because it offers so much to see and do. The Kruger area has both public reserves and a massive national park where lodges offer children’s programmes, playgrounds and age-appropriate activities to keep kids occupied while the adults go out on comfortable game drives. South Africa also has smaller but equally rewarding reserves and parks located in 100% malaria-free regions:
- Madikwe Game Reserve – encounter the Big 5 and endangered African wild dog.
- Pilanesberg National Park – see the Big 5 and enjoy family entertainment at Sun City.
- Addo Elephant National Park – home to the Big 7 (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo, great white shark and southern right whale).