South Africa is a beautiful country offering diverse attractions to its tourists. The holiday destinations in South Africa are extremely different from one another and offer contrasting landscapes. From golden beaches to deep gorges, from majestic mountains to wild national parks, this place has plenty in store for its visitors. It is really an impossible task to pick up the best vacation spots in South Africa. But we have made your job easier, by shortlisting 7 best holiday places in South Africa which you must definitely visit.
- Cape Town, Western Cape
Known for its cultural diversity and spectacular infrastructure, Cape Town is the most popular city in South Africa and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It offers breathtaking scenery, great dining options, and fun outdoor activities to people of all ages. Enjoy the stunning beaches, hike to the famous Table Mountain, visit the Cape Winelands nearby or just relax at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens within the UNESCO World Heritage, it is completely your choice. A day trip to the Cape Peninsula to visit the iconic Cape of Good Hope is worth it. Cape Town is also famous for Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. This city is definitely one of the best vacation places in South Africa.
- Kruger National Park
Touted to be one of the best places for safaris in the world, it is also the largest reserve in South Africa. If you want to spot the Big 5 (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffaloes), this is the place to go. Packed with rich flora and fauna, this national park is full of amazing creatures and African wildlife. You can choose the exclusive private safari tour or the affordable group tour, depending on your convenience. There are tented camps and lodges where you can plan an overnight stay or a short stay. They also have family packages, honeymoon packages, and unique safari adventures. The timings of the park are from 6 am to 5:30 pm. The park is open throughout the year and each season has its own highpoints.
Also known as Jo’burg, it is the second-largest city on the continent. It is called the ‘City of Gold’ for its rich deposit of the precious metal. It is a bustling city full of fantastic hotels, lovely cafes and vibrant nightlife. For a bit of history lesson, a visit to the Apartheid Museum is highly recommended. This entertainment hub of the country also known for its boutiques, shopping malls, casinos, and monuments too. You can also plan a trip to Pilanesberg National Park.
- Garden Route: The Garden Route is around a 200 km scenic stretch along the country’s southeast coast. The route runs from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape. This popular route passes through verdant greenery, laid-back coastal towns, lakes, lagoons, and cliffs. It is filled with adventures such as whale watching, elephant rides, and bungee jumping. But the highlight of the route is the charming waterfront town Knysna. Well known for the Knysna Heads, two striking cliffs that protect the entrance to the Knysna lagoon.
- Stellenbosch, Western Cape
One of the most picturesque towns in South Africa, it is a paradise for wine lovers. The town is surrounded by valleys full of vineyards and is home to innumerable wineries. Located approximately 30 minutes from Cape Town, this is South Africa’s second-oldest town. Packed with historic Cape Dutch dwellings, lovely B&Bs, charming Victorian-styled guesthouses, and oak trees, this place will certainly take you back in time. It is also a university town with a big student population and has some incredible eateries, clubs, and bars.
Located on the eastern coast, Durban is the second largest city in South Africa. Known for its subtropical climate, golden beaches and Indian culture. The magnificent Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, which is a World Heritage Site, is situated in Durban. Golden Mile, the stunning waterfront promenade lures thousands of tourists every year because of its various water-based activities and attractions. The promenade is full of swanky hotels, posh restaurants, shops, and entertainment complexes. Aquariums, waterparks and craft bazaars and nature reserves, this city has got it all.
Located in Walker Bay, around 120 km southeast of Cape Town is the beautiful seaside town Hermanus. Every year southern whales migrate to this region to mate and breed. Hence, it is popularly known as the whale-watching capital of South Africa. And the best part is that you can see the whales from the shore. You can enjoy the whale’s frolics for free from any of the viewpoints along the Cliff Path or take the whale watching boat tours that are available. The whale watching period is from July to November but there are delightful places to shop end eat throughout the year.
Best Time to Visit South Africa
South Africa is a year-round destination due to its wildlife opportunities and changing climate. The months of May to September are the best if you want to visit the national parks and watch the wild animals as most of them are concentrated around water sources. The months of July to November are the finest for whale watching. Cape Town is best visited during the summer months from November to March as the weather hot, dry and wonderful. But no matter when you choose to travel, South Africa has many memorable attractions and experiences to offer.
Tips for Travelers traveling to South Africa:
The following tips will be useful to you while traveling to South Africa.
- Carry all your important documents such as passport, travel insurance, and medical insurance
- Pre-book your hotel/accommodations
- Carry your international debit and credit cards
- Withdraw some Rand (South African currency) from ATMs
- Apply South Africa visa from Dubai
- Use metered taxis and Uber for the commute as they are very reasonable in South Africa
- Be vigilant about your belongings as there are many cases of petty theft carried out in South Africa
- Normal tipping in restaurants is 10%
- Pack clothing according to the season you are visiting in
- Take proper safety precaution
- Keep a big budget for your safaris
South Africa has so many fabulous destinations that it is really difficult to shortlist just a few places. These are the top 7 places that we could think of. It is a perfect travel destination for families, couples, and friends. Depending on the kind of holiday you want to take, budget and convenience, you can plan a longer trip and visit the other stunning places this destination has to offer.