South Africa

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South Africa is beguiling in its variety. It’s confident, cosmopolitan Cape Town but it’s also big game viewing in Kruger National Park, the farmsteads and valleys of the Winelands, and the remote, wild Elephant Coast. Our South Africa specialists have thoroughly explored this land of contrasts, from the north to the Cape Peninsula, and can recommend the best South African experiences for you.

On your holiday to South Africa, you could learn about the country’s colonial past in the battlefields of KwaZulu Natal, or focus on its more recent history with a visit to Robben Island. Take a relaxed road trip along the Garden Route, enjoying views over the wave-lashed coast. Or go on a Big Five safari in the Eastern Cape. Meanwhile, rail journeys traversing South Africa’s mountain ranges, grasslands, and semi-arid Karoo Desert allow you to see the country’s untouched, far-flung areas.

South Africa is one of the continent’s most varied countries, and choosing which places to visit on your trip can be daunting. There are the cities to consider: unmistakable Cape Town, overlooked by its constant companion Table Mountain; and up-and-coming Johannesburg, which has become a hotspot for art galleries and bohemian markets. Big Five safari destinations include Kruger, one of Africa’s oldest and largest national parks, while further days can be spent exploring the history of the Battlefields, chinking glasses in the Winelands or strolling the wild shores of Plettenberg Bay.

Our South Africa specialists can help you decide on the best places to go according to your interests.

South Africa is renowned for its excellent safaris, and one of the best places to spot wildlife is Kruger National Park. The country offers far more than wildlife viewing, however, and visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to things to see and do.

A trip up Table Mountain in Cape Town offers superb views, while in the Winelands you can sample some of the country’s finest vintages on a tour of a wine estate. Another highlight is a boat trip to the historic and poignant Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent most of his time as a prisoner.

Ideas for experiencing South Africa

Experiences you have as you travel often hold the longest memories. As part of their research trips, our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know South Africa, and the best local guides. These activities reflect some of their best-loved experiences.

  • A journey aboard the blue train
    A journey aboard the blue train

    A journey aboard the blue train

    Cape Town

    A journey aboard the blue train

    Take in the 1,600 km (994 mile) route between Pretoria and Cape Town with two nights aboard The Blue Train. Over 31 hours, you pass through mountainous landscapes, sprawling farmland and vine-woven valleys. And, with a live camera feeding TVs in the club car and your suite, you can watch the journey’s scenery unfold in real time.

  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
    Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

    Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

    Cape Town

    Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

    Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens occupy a large swathe of beautiful land on the lower slopes of Table Mountain. They house a huge collection of indigenous flora, such as heathery fynbos, flowering proteas (the South African national flower), and dramatically coloured strelitzias. The upper areas of the gardens run unfenced into the slopes of the mountain and there are various pathways that meander through the woods and bushes.

  • Wine Tour
    Wine Tour

    Wine Tour

    Cape Town

    Wine Tour

    During the day you will visit different wine estates ranging from the larger well known to the small personal family run cellars, often sharing a glass with the wine maker themselves and being taken first hand through the process.

  • Table Mountain Tour
    Table Mountain Tour

    Table Mountain Tour

    Cape Town

    Table Mountain Tour

    Guest are taken to the lower terminal for the cable-car up Table Mountain. The cable-car is a very modern affair, and completes a 360º rotation during the ascent, affording you fantastic views over the city. Once at the top, you can explore the various pathways and viewpoints: these do not just look over the city, but also down the peninsula toward Cape Point, and, if you walk far enough, north toward the Winelands.

  • Cape Town City Tour
    Cape Town City Tour

    Cape Town City Tour

    Cape Town

    Cape Town City Tour

    No visit to Cape Town is complete without a tour of the "Mother City". Your tour will include visits to the Castle of Good Hope, the Parliament Buildings and Bo-Kaap, plus of course the iconic Table Mountain.

  • Peninsula Tour
    Peninsula Tour

    Peninsula Tour

    Cape Town

    Peninsula Tour

    The Cape Peninsula is an area of dramatic natural beauty and huge ecological significance, which manages to retain a wild feel despite its huge popularity with visitors.

  • Sani Pass & Lesotho Trip
    Sani Pass & Lesotho Trip

    Sani Pass & Lesotho Trip

    The South Coast

    Sani Pass & Lesotho Trip

    Driving through the pretty Midlands, you head for the town of Underberg, where the tar road runs out and the graded track begins. Lesotho is isolated from KwaZulu-Natal by the towering Drakensberg Mountains, and the Sani Pass is the only way through them. The road cuts cut the slopes, switching through tortuous hairpin bends and offering dizzying views of valleys far below.

  • Ravos Rail
    Ravos Rail

    Ravos Rail

    Cape Town

    Ravos Rail

    The beautifully restored carriages of Rovos Rail combine luxury travel with the chance to experience living history.

    Restaurant cars, observation carriages and sleeping compartments are all restored originals from a bygone era of rail travel, with dark woods and period fittings designed for pioneering travellers and colonial grandees

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