South Africa

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  • The Cape

Overview

South Africa, located at the southernmost tip of Africa, is home to some of the richest biodiversity on earth, with numerous national parks and incredible landscapes ranging from mountains, lakes and oceans to winelands, game farms and deserts. With renowned highlights such as Table Mountain, Kruger National Park and big five safari areas, amongst numerous others, South Africa remains one of the world's favourite safari destinations.

Also, this destination is not only about South Africa safaris. With its colourful history, there are also fascinating historical sites to visit such as Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, the Natal battlefields and Apartheid Museum. As well as the big game reserves and national parks, South Africa also has excellent private wildlife reserves such as the Timbavati, Sabi Sands, Amakhala, Shamwari and Kariega.

Coming to South Africa tours and safaris, the Kruger National Park is one of the largest game parks in Africa, spanning both the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. With an astonishing variety of species including 147 mammals, 507 birds, 114 reptiles and 336 trees, Kruger is situated in the Lowveld, with baobab, fever, marula and mopane trees. On this safari trip to South Africa, expect to spot the big five, as well as the little five and the birding big six, exploring on a wide variety of activities such as wildlife safaris, mountain biking trails, guided walking safaris, golfing and birdwatching.

The other South African safari tours include the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Situated in Kwa-Zulu Natal, the richly diverse iSimangaliso Wetland Park comprises eight unique ecosystems including swamp forests, lakes, Africa’s largest estuary, coral reefs and 220kms of beaches. The park is particularly special in that the oldest land mammal (rhino), the world’s biggest land mammal (elephant), the world’s oldest fish (coelacanth) and the world's biggest marine mammal (whale) can all be found here. At this South Africa safari, there are a wide variety of ways for visitors to experience this beautiful area such as birding, fishing, game viewing, hiking, whale watching, scuba diving, kayaking and more. Notable hiking spots include the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, Mkuze and Drakensberg.

The next on the list of safari vacation in South Africa is the Garden Route, Which is a renowned stretch of coast spanning from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to Storms River neighbouring the Eastern Cape. This spectacular route encompasses beaches, lagoons and lakes, as well as the ancient forests of Knysna and Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountain ranges. With many outdoor activities such as canoeing and other water sports, as well as birdwatching, canopy walks and hiking, the Garden Route South Africa safari also boasts wildlife parks where visitors can see elephants, big cats and a large variety of bird species.

Addo Elephant Park is the third largest park in South Africa, situated close to the city of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. With more than 600 elephants, 400 Cape buffaloes, 48 endangered black rhinos and a variety of antelope species, it's also home to a large variety of rare and endemic plants, particularly succulent shrubs and geophytes. This South Africa safari offers traditional game safaris, boat cruises,sandsledding and adrenaline sports such as ziplining and quad biking.

 Owing to the large diversity of this country, there are ample South African safari vacation packages for you to choose from. These are made available by top South Africa safari tour operators and comes at the best prices. So, check out the best South African safari packages below and embark on a journey you’ll treasure forever.

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Quick Facts - South Africa

 

South Africa Safari Travel Seasons

  • Jun–Aug Low Season. Winter - temperatures can reach zero at night in places but days are generally sunny and warm. It's the rainy season in Cape Town and the Western Cape. The ideal months for wildlife watching and prices should generally be low but watch out for school holidays (late June to mid July) as prices can increase.
  • Apr–May, Sep & Oct Shoulder Season. Sunny spring and autumn weather, temperatures peak in late October. August is a great time for the Garden Route and Northern Cape as it is wild flower season while March onwards offers fantastic wildlife watching conditions.
  • Nov–Mar High Season. Summer - peak times are early Dec to mid Jan, as well as around Easter. It is essential to book accommodation in national parks and on the coast well in advance during these periods - be aware that prices can rise by at least 50% in the most popular locations.


General Information

  • Currency - South African Rand
  • Languages - English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Sotho, Ndebele
  • Size - 1,221,037 sq km, five times larger than Great Britain
  • Population: 55.45 million (2017)


Health and Safety

  • Travel insurance is essential for all international travel. Click below to find out more:



  • The CDC recommends the following vaccinations for South Africa: hepatitis A and typhoid. Check with your doctor which other vaccinations you might need and make sure your routine vaccinations are all up-to-date.
  • Malaria is a risk in the northeastern regions so talk to your doctor about the best prophylaxis to take.
  • The water from taps in most developed areas is of a high quality, but in rural areas stick to drinking bottled water. 
  • South Africa has a high crime rate but the majority of travellers visit without any incident - be sure to take basic safety precautions.


Tourist Information

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 14 National Parks
  • Huge diversity in landscapes
  • Well connected international and internal flights
  • Fabulous wildlife
  • Rich history
  • Well priced, wide variety of safari options

Cons

  • Crime in urban centres
  • Quite large distances between areas
  • Availability during peak times

Travel Info

Arriving in South Africa

  • South Africa is incredibly well connected to the world, with international airports in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Most visitors arrive in South Africa by air, often through the regional hub of Johannesburg.
  • If you are already in the region then you can drive, bus or train in.

Getting Around

  • South Africa is a large country with very specific tourism areas and distances between them can be large.
  • There is a well maintained road network connecting the main safari areas, it's the ideal country to self drive around.
  • Easy to travel around with great internal flights on a wide range of competitively priced airlines.
  • There are good transport link out of all airports including the excellent Gautrain from Johannesburg airport into central Johannesburg and Pretoria.
  • Stunning train journeys between Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

Visas

  • Visitors from Commonwealth countries (including Australia, Canada and the UK), Western European countries, Japan and the USA are issued with a free, 90-day visitor's permit on arrival.
  • Ensure you have at least two completely blank pages in your passport.
  • Children aged under 18 must show an unabridged birth certificate on arrival.
  • Please check for visa requirements as changes do occur - South African Visas >>

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