South Africa

Country Profile

South Africa is one of the most diverse countries on the continent. With an exceptional variety of climate, landscapes and culture, it’s often described as ‘the whole world in a single country’.

South Africa is possibly best known for safari in Northern & Eastern game reserves such as the Kruger, Madikwe and Sabi Sands. There are few better places in Africa to see the Big 5. South Africa is also one of the only places in Africa to offer malaria-free safari, making it a fantastic destination for families with children.

Holidays to South Africa will often include a few days spent in Cape Town - widely regarded as one of the most exciting cities on the planet. Set between the awe-inspiring Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town has a number of exquisite restaurants, luxury hotels and plenty to keep you busy. From paragliding at sunset over Lions Head to swimming with jackass penguins, you’ll wish you never had to leave.

Just an hour east from central Cape Town, the stunning valleys of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and further across to Paarl, Montagu and Robertson make up what’s known as the ‘Winelands’. Offering world class lodging and dining alongside some of the finest New World wines, the area has become a destination in itself.

Stretching 300km east from Mossel Bay down to Storms River in the Eastern Cape, the Garden Route is a spectacular coastal region of South Africa with breathtaking scenery and a whole host of activities on offer. From kayaking, cycling, caving to coastal walks and whale-watching boat trips, you could easily spend a week exploring this fascinating region.

There is no other place in the world where you can enjoy your morning coffee while watching penguins, spend the afternoon admiring a mother cheetah playing with her cubs, dine out in the wild with the roars of distant lions accompanying your South African wine, before spending the night watching turtles nesting on the beach.

Where to go

Cape Town

Greater Kruger

Winelands

Garden Route

Other

KwaZulu-Natal

Eastern Cape

When to go

Having such a diverse climate, South Africa is a fantastic country to visit all year round - it just depends on what you want to see.

With its typical Southern Hemisphere climate, the best time to visit Cape Town and the Winelands is in the summer between November and March. If you plan to whale-watch, the best time to visit South Africa would be between July and November during their annual migration from Antarctica to Mozambique. Peak calving season is during July and August.

The safari regions in the north traditionally experience summer showers between November and February, this can however be the best time for birding. The best time to visit for superb big game viewing is during the winter months between May and September.

To combine a visit to both areas, the best time to visit is during one of the shoulder seasons between Apr/May or Sep/Oct.

Practical information

Time Zone: UTC +2

Currency: South African Rand (ZAR)

Visa: The majority of nationalities do not require a visa to visit South Africa. Certain nationalities must obtain a visa in advance. This process can take up to one month. Please get in contact with us for more information.

Travel Advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/south-africa

Health: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/africa/south-africa

Travelling With Children: Please note that if you are travelling to South Africa with children under the age of 18, under law you are required to show the child’s full unabridged birth certificate. For more information see: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/south-africa/entry-requirements

Conservation Causes