A budget tour of South Africa will ensure you experience a variety of cultures and scenery. South Africa showcases fantastic wildlife throughout the country but most importantly the Kruger National Park is most widely known.
South Africa combines untouched natural beauty along with bustling cities such as Cape Town and Johannesburg. Highlights on a South African Tour include Table Mountain and the Cape Point Nature Reserve, the Garden Route along the East coast as well as beautiful Drakensburg Mountain range.
South Africa is hard to beat when it comes to sheer diversity of landscapes and experiences. On the south western Cape coast you can see penguins basking on beaches. Whether on the red sand dunes of the Kalahari Desert or on the peaks of the dramatic Drakensberg mountains. Not forgetting the lush forests of the Garden Route. This is a country of magnificent natural beauty.
Added to its natural riches South Africa also offers cosmopolitan cities. However South Africa Tours are popular for wildlife viewing such as the famous Big Five.
Mother Nature truly blessed South Africa when it comes to sheer beauty. Rugged mountains with waterfalls are contrasted by arid and vast deserts. While shimmering lakes and tropical jungles compete with huge wetlands and endless coastlines. A Safari tour to South Africa ensures diverse choice when visiting this country.
Must see locations in South Africa
Cape Town is located in the Western Cape and is bordered by both the Indian and Atlantic oceans. A visit to this premier holiday destination offers magnificent views of Table Mountain. Either enjoy lazy days exploring the Cape wine lands or spend afternoons soaking up the sun on the beautiful beaches. Enjoy an evening out on the town with some shopping or dinner at restaurants offering both local and international cuisine.
Johannesburg is also known as the ‘City of Gold’ or ‘Joburg’ and is the largest city in South Africa. It is the commercial and industrial heart of South Africa and home to the Apartheid museum showcasing an important part of South African History.
Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is the most famous National Park Reserve and largest in South Africa. It covers an area of 20 000 square kilometers and is home to the ‘Big 5’. However you can also view a variety of wildlife including zebra, antelope, giraffe, hippopotamus and crocodile. Therefore the ultimate destination to kick back in the wilderness on a South African wildlife safari.
The Garden Route
The Garden Route is the most scenic route along South Africa’s coastline. This area offers quiet beaches and magnificent forests. Even wildlife. Popular South Africa tours include Addo Elephant National Park, Tsitsikamma National Park, Route 62 and the Cango Caves of Oudtshoorn. In addition to our South Africa Overland Tours we also offer a variety of budget safari tour packages in South Africa.
More detail on destinations in South Africa
South Africa has incredible diversity of destinations and experiences to offer travelers. Most people who travel to South Africa for the first time visit Kruger National Park and spend time in Cape Town. Cape Town is a beautiful cultural city. If you want world-class attractions then Cape Town offers excellent restaurants, the popular V&A Waterfront and historic Robben Island. In addition there are a host of nature activities for ocean lovers and mountain climbers.
The Western Cape province has beautiful wine producing areas namely Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. These quaint little towns are nestled among dramatic mountain backdrops and picture-perfect vineyards. Complete with historic farm buildings. Adventure seekers love the windswept beaches of the West Coast for kite surfing or hiking the rugged Cederberg mountains. Some say the hidden gem is the Karoo, a semi-arid area of huge horizons and charming villages.
Continue your road trip up the Garden Route with stunning scenery. Then go in search of golden beaches and silent forests or peaceful lagoons and lakes. The Garden Route is lined with mountains and rolling hills. Whether you go whale watching or hiking you will enjoy the best of South Africa’s trails and surf.
The Eastern Cape has some of the country’s best beaches on the Wild Coast. This province has rugged and undeveloped stretches of coastline with tropical forests. Dreamy isolated stretches of sand with world-renowned surf spots. Jeffrey’s Bay draws surfers from around the globe for its perfect waves. Addo Elephant National Park is the best place to see elephants. The park has more than 450 protected elephants.
While the southern Drakensberg and the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area provide incredible hiking opportunities in pristine mountain scenery. Explore the magical ancient forests of Tsitsikamma which form part of the Garden Route National Park.
KwaZulu-Natal is a popular province with travelers for its varied attractions. These include the laid back coastal city of Durban which has fantastic beaches all along the coastline. Here you can surf, snorkel and dive. This region has historical battlefields where you can learn about the bloody battles of the 19th century Anglo-Zulu war.
Also take a trip on the Midlands Meander with a 80-kilometre stretch of road between Pietermaritzburg and Mooi River. This trip takes in the rolling countryside with hills and misty valleys. Popular highlights inlcude amazing restaurants, small craft breweries and wonderful little pubs. Even gourmet farm stalls and craft food producers.
The Drakensberg lies partly in KZN and offers South Africa’s most dramatic mountain scenery for hiking and climbing. While Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park and iSimangaliso Wetland Park are fantastic safari destinations.
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park may be the most popular attraction in Mpumalanga. However this small province has a wealth of other treasures and things to do. These include dramatic scenery of the Blyde River Canyon which is Africa’s second largest canyon. Also popular, the Sudwala Caves with some of the oldest caves in the world. Lastly the old gold mining town of Pilgrim’s Rest is rich with history.
There are a ton of adventure activities on offer including forest canopy zip lining, quad biking, gorge swinging and rock climbing. The best way to take it all in is by driving the Panorama Route. This is a road trip through the province that includes stops at Bourke’s Luck Potholes which feature cylindrical river rock formations. As well as God’s Window with a breathtaking view point from the edge of a mountain escarpment.
Although the Northern Cape is one of South Africa’s least visited provinces, it has so much to offer travelers. There’s the harsh but beautiful Richtersveld Ai Ais Transfontier Park which spans Namibia’s southern border. Here you can 4×4, camp and canoe along the Orange River as it takes you through spectacular desert scenery.
The Mars-like landscapes of Augrabies Falls National Park where you can see South Africa’s most dramatic waterfall and the photogenic landscapes and wildlife of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. It’s 4×4 routes with vast area and unpaved roads feels wilder than any of the country’s other parks. Most beautiful are the colourful carpets of wild spring flowers that bloom in early spring in Namaqua National Park.
Limpopo Province is in South Africa’s most northern region. Maybe best known for its wildlife. This is the northern part of Kruger National Park with beautiful and secluded Pafuri area. Also in Limpopo you will find the Mapungubwe National Park. This area serves as conservation for animals such as elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, cheetah and wild dog. Also protecting Mapungubwe Hill which is the site of a lost kingdom dating back to the Iron Age.
The Soutpansberg and Waterberg mountain ranges have fantastic hiking trails and are home to wildebeest and giraffe. While Magoebaskloof is a mountainous area of misty indigenous forests where you can hike, mountain bike, zip line and abseil.
Johannesburg in the Gauteng province often gets overlooked by traveler, who may fly in to the city but don’t spend any time there. South Africa’s biggest city may not be as beautiful as Cape Town or offer as many outdoor attractions as Durban, but Joburg has charms of its own. With a bustling contagious energy and a cosmopolitan population that hails from all over the continent. Spend a few days in Joburg and you’ll discover fantastic art galleries and fascinating museums that tell the story of South Africa’s past.
Even the hip revitalised downtown areas are home to the city’s creative talents. Visit wonderful green spaces in botanical gardens and urban nature reserves. The city has one of the world’s largest man-made forests with 10 million trees. Also popular is Gold Reef City which is a theme park with fun rides and historical tours that look at Joburg’s gold mining origins.
When visiting Joburg be sure to make time to visit the Cradle of Humankind. This landmark is a short drive from the city and is a World Heritage site with some of the world’s oldest hominid fossils which were excavated from the Sterkfontein Caves. You can tour the caves with a guide and see replicas of the famous fossils at the nearby Maropeng Centre.
When is the Best time to go on a South Africa Safari Tour?
South Africa has a wide variety of climates so deciding when to visit depends on where in South Africa you’re planning to explore.
If going on safari then the best months to visit South Africa are the winter months of May to September. This is the driest time of the year and the lack of rain means that animals congregate at waterholes. Added to that, sparse vegetation makes spotting animals easier. The autumn months of April and May and the spring months of September and October are best for mild temperatures. These spring and autumn months are also ideal for hiking all over the country.
Plan your trip during our Summer months in the around Cape Town for the best time to visit sun, sea and surf with temperatures ranging 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. The months of November to April are best. Heavy rainfall and average temperatures of 14 to 16 degrees can be expected from June to August.
The Kruger Park area experiences heavy Summer showers from December to March.
Kruger Winter dry period are from May to October which is when the animals tend to congregate around the waterholes which makes for beautiful wildlife viewing as they drink and splash around in the water.
The East Coast offers sunshine throughout the year and a very mild winters. The warm ocean temperatures ensure that anytime is a good time!
How to get to South Africa
The largest airport in South Africa is OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. There are daily flights to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Maun(Botswana), Nairobi and Windhoek in South Africa.
Kruger National Park is the country’s flagship game reserve and one of the best places to see wildlife. The area spans 25 000 square kilometers and is home to a remarkable diversity of animals including the the Big Five – buffalo, rhino, elephant, leopard and lion. In the Kruger National Park you can also find other mammal species such as hippo, giraffe, zebra and cheetah as well as more than 500 bird species.
In addition there are also 40 other parks and reserves spread across the country, and each have something different to offer in terms of wildlife. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Northern Cape also stretches into Botswana. This areas is famous for its massive black-maned lions and is a good place to spot cheetah and see meerkats. While herds of elephants are the main attraction at Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape.
In northern KwaZulu-Natal near the Mozambican border, iSimangaliso Wetland Park offers the best of land and ocean animals. In this reserve you can see elephant, leopard, rhino and buffalo, as well as whales, dolphins and turtles.
There are many chances to get up close with South Africa’s wildlife. Whether it’s joining a ranger for a walking safari in a reserve to see animals such as elephants on foot or snorkeling with seals and diving with cow sharks. Maybe you want to swim with penguins in Cape Town or take a boat cruise to see whales in Hermanus.
Walking with elephants in the bush or experiencing the Sardine Run is all possible. The Sardine Run is an annual migration of millions of sardines swimming up the east coast of South Africa followed by sharks, whales and dolphins.
10 reasons to travel to South Africa
1. Natural diversity
Not many countries can compare with South Africa when it comes to sheer diversity of natural landscapes. Desert, mountains, forests, and rugged coastlines. South Africa has it all.
South Africa is one of the best places to experience the continent’s wildlife, from lions and elephants to cheetah and rhino. Whether you want to live in luxury in a five-star lodge in a private reserve or camp under the stars in a national park. A drive in an open-sided 4×4 or walk through the bush. South Africa Tours offer ways to see and experience wildlife to suit every traveler.
3. Cultural Experiences
South Africa is a country with 11 official languages and is a truly multicultural nation. Tourists can learn about South Africa’s different cultures by going on a city township tour or a Cape Malay cooking class in Cape Town. Other ways to learn about the culture are by a tour of Indian restaurants in Durban or learning about how to track animals from the San people in the Kalahari.
A trip to South Africa also offers you the chance to visit one of the many cultural villages in the country such as Lesedi Cultural Village near Johannesburg. Here you can experience Ndebele culture through song, dance, story telling and traditional food.
4. Adrenaline adventures
South Africa has just about every outdoor activity you could think of! Take your pick from bungee jumping off of the world’s highest bungee bridge or walking on foot in Big Five territory. If you are more adventurous you can go white water rafting, skydiving, sea kayaking or sand boarding on coastal dunes.
A 4×4 trip in the desert, mountain biking or extreme climbing and zip lining. Maybe you have always dreamed of paragliding or swimming with whale sharks. South Africa tours are also popular with international kite surfers.
5. Vibrant Cities
South Africa’s cities are destinations in themselves. Cape Town is the most popular city for tourists. Here European and African heritage meet in history, architecture, food, culture and music. The city is one of the most beautiful in the world. Cape Town is an amazing location sandwiched between iconic Table Mountain on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other.
Cape Town really has it all with outdoor activities. These range from hiking up the mountain and paragliding down. Or surfing big waves and diving with cow sharks. With wonderful restaurants, cafes and bars as well as great shopping you can’t go wrong. Also boasting historical sights and scenic wine lands to explore a short drive from the city center.
On the east coast of South Africa, Durban has a welcoming laid back atmosphere. These golden sand beaches and surf spots right in the city are a special treat. With some of the best Indian food this side of the subcontinent.
Johannesburg is the country’s financial capital and is permanently abuzz with energy. Offering both fun nightlife and trendy restaurants brought to life by friendly locals.
6. Historical Attractions
South Africa has a long and complex history. There are lots of ways of engaging with the past as a tourist. A top attraction is a visit to Robben Island in Cape Town. This is the prison where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were incarcerated during the Apartheid years. Also in KwaZulu-Natal you will have the chance to see historic battlefields where the bloody skirmishes between the British and Zulu warriors took place in the 19th century.
While visiting Johannesburg make sure to pop in at the Apartheid Museum where you can spend several hours learning about the country’s years of racial segregation. Also see Constitution Hill which is the site of Apartheid-era prisons where Nelson Mandela and Gandhi were jailed.
7. Beautiful Beaches
With nearly 3000 kilometres of coastline spanning the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Indian Ocean to the east, South Africa is one of the world’s best beach destinations. While offering hundreds of picture-perfect stretches of sandy beaches as well as globally renowned surf spots. Even incredible snorkelling and diving opportunities with everything from sharks and whales to dolphins and turtles.
8. Great Weather
Subtropical South Africa is blessed with a warm, temperate climate. Famous for its abundant sunshine and making it perfect for travelers who want to see and experience outdoor activities. South Africa is a year-round destination with some parts of the country remaining warm and sunny throughout the winter months.
South Africa remains a budget-friendly holiday choice for travelers from Asia, Europe and North America. With excellent accommodation and activity options along with top-notch restaurants at affordable prices.
10. Amazing Food and Wine
South Africa is heaven for gourmet travelers. The cuisine is a mixture of different cultures and influences from all over the globe. Utilizing fantastic fresh produce ranging from venison and seafood to fresh fruit and vegetables. There are award-winning restaurants all over the country that serve innovative dishes. Don’t forget about the farm stalls along the roads where you can stock up on local produce and homemade snacks as well as wines from world-renowned vineyards.
Traditional and Fusion Food
South Africa’s cuisine is as diverse as its population. While travelling around the country you’ll get to taste everything from spicy Indian curries and fragrant Cape Malay stews to meaty African stews and dishes with Dutch and English flare. While there’s delicious seafood from South Africa’s two coastlines, meat is a national staple. You’ll often find venison on the menu such as kudu, warthog or springbok.
Most South Africans regardless of their heritage, love a braai (barbecue). When South African’s braai you will have meat or fish and vegetables. These are then cooked over a wood or charcoal fire. Potjiekos is also popular and this is meat or seafood stews cooked in a potjie pot. The three-legged cast iron pot hovers over an open fire. Pap or maize porridge is the most common side to braaied meat or potjie stews as is fresh vegetables such as spinach and butternut.
Some dishes to look out for include bobotie which is a dish of spiced mince with a savoury custard topping. This dish has its origins in 17th century Indonesia and was brought to South Africa by the Dutch East India Company.
Another favourite is chakalaka which is a dish from the townships. It is a simple but tasty tomato-based vegetable relish made with curry powder, onion, garlic and baked beans. Often served with barbecued meat and stews and the classic boerwors roll or boerie roll. The boerie roll is a thick spiced sausage cooked on the braai and served like a hot dog in a white bread roll, often with fried onions and ketchup.
Superb wine and craft beer
South Africa is one of the most renowned wine producing countries in the world and most of its wines come from the vineyards of the Western Cape. You’ll be able to taste great South African wines all over the country at affordable prices. However if you spend time in Cape Town, make sure to visit some of the wineries which are a short drive from the city to sample the local wines. South Africa’s craft beer scene has really taken off and now the country has countless micro breweries producing award-winning beers. So if wine is not your thing there is plenty to choose from.
Facts on South Africa
South Africa has a population of 44 million people with 11 official languages with English spoken widely. South Africa has 3 capital’s namely Cape Town, Pretoria and Bloemfontein. The average temperature ranges from 20-30 degrees celcius all year round. It is abundant with attractions.
Full name: The Republic of South Africa
Capital city: Pretoria (official); Bloemfontein (judicial); Cape Town (legislative)
Area:1,233,404 sq km; 476,217 sq miles
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +2 ()
Languages: Zulu (official); Xhosa (official); Afrikaans (official); English (official); Tswana (official); Sotho (official), Southern (official); Swati (official); South Ndebele (official)
Religion: Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and traditional religions
Electricity: 220/230V; 50HzHz
Electric Plug Details: South African/Indian-style plug: 2 circular metal pins above a large circular grounding pin