Best South Africa Safaris & Tours
South Africa offers scenic landscapes, a range of attractions and memorable experiences, including some of the finest game-viewing in Africa; oceanside mountains and wineries; idyllic forests; beaches and more.
A World in One Country
South Africa is home to an abundance of world-famous game parks including, the Kruger National Park, Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve and the Timbavati Private Game Reserve. Head east to safari in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park in KwaZulu-Natal, or to the Eastern Cape for the Addo National Park for excellent elephant viewing. The culturally significant Mapungubwe National Park is close to the border with Botswana in the north of South Africa.
South Africa’s scenic splendour is vast and ranges from the breathtaking Panorama Route and the majestic mountain ranges of the Drakensberg to the spectacular forests and beaches of the Garden Route, which leads to the Western Cape.
Cape Town, or the Mother City as she’s fondly called, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Climb Table Mountain, walk the Cape Peninsula and tour the Cape Winelands, where some of the world’s best wines can be tasted along with 5-star local and international cuisine.
The West Coast offers seemingly endless beaches and a magnificent carpet of wildflowers in the spring. The small town of Paternoster is home to Wolfgat, awarded best restaurant in the world for 2019 (World Restaurant Awards).
South Africa’s combination of leisure and adventure activities is what makes it a dynamic and vibrant country. From the heart of the bushveld to the bustle of world-class cities, this is Africa at its best.
Your Year-Round Sunshine Destination
South Africa’s climate is a major draw card for the numerous tourists who visit each year. Annual rainfall is relatively low when compared with the northern hemisphere and the country is characterised by sunny skies for most of the year.
The geography of the country’s landscape varies considerably and as a result the climate can vary from one extreme to the other, depending whether you are in the semi-arid Karoo, balmy, sub-tropical Durban or the mild-Mediterranean Cape Town. Temperatures are influenced by variations in elevation, terrain, and ocean currents , but in general you can expect warm, sunny days and cool nights.
Inland destinations can get quite hot in summer and decidedly cool in winter with frost and in some places. Snow occurs infrequently except in high-lying areas.
The coastal regions are usually warmer, especially the KwaZulu-Natal coastline which can get hot and humid in summer, while its warm sunny winters make it a popular holiday destination at the time when Cape Town is usually cold and raining.
Rainfall occurs in summer for most of the country, except for Cape Town which experiences winter rains.
Effortless Travel to South Africa
All visitors to South Africa must possess a passport that is valid for at least six months after their departure from the country. Have at least two, but preferably three or four, consecutive/side-by-side pages available for visas and border stamps.
Vaccinations are only required for yellow fever 10 days prior to entry and only for travelers moving through or from yellow fever areas.
If you are traveling to a malaria-area in summer, please consult with your physician and take the necessary precautions. Your travel clinic can advise you on any other vaccinations you may need.
Travelling with children (minors younger than 18):
New requirements, introduced by the South African Department of Home Affairs from 15 November 2019, specify that unabridged birth certificates and consent letters are no longer required in order to obtain a visa or obtain entry into South Africa for international minors travelling to South Africa with their parents.
For a full list of updated requirements, please visit the Department of Home Affairs’ web portal.
Visa-free entry into South Africa
More countries have been added to the list of visa-free nations when visiting South Africa, and the visa requirements for key countries India and China have been simplified.
Currently, there are 75 countries that have been granted visa-free status, with 16 of those being in Africa. Members which have recently been included are Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Sao Tome and Principe.
Additionally, there is a new e-visa system which is set to be launched in November 2019, following a pilot scheme. The aim of this is to provide a quick and user-friendly experience and to attract people who can help build the economy.
The maximum South African currency allowance on entry and exit is ZAR25 000. Unlimited foreign currency is allowed providing it is declared on arrival.
You can bring a range of goods into South Africa without paying customs duty or value added tax (VAT), including cigarettes, perfume, wine and spirits. The exact amounts can be confirmed on request.
Medicines: You are allowed to bring a month’s supply of pharmaceutical drugs or medicines for your personal use. Any other pharmaceutical drugs or medicines must be accompanied by a letter or certified prescription from a registered physician and must be declared.
Personal effects, sport and recreational equipment: You can bring in personal effects, sport and recreational equipment, either as accompanied or unaccompanied baggage, for your own use during your visit.
Handmade articles for commercial purposes: Travelers from Southern African Customs Union (SACU) or Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states are allowed to bring into South Africa handmade articles of leather, wood, plastic, or glass if the goods do not exceed 25 kilograms in total, without the paying duties and taxes.
Additional goods: In addition to the personal effects and consumables duty-free allowances, you are allowed to bring in new or used goods in accompanied baggage to the value of R5 000, or R25 000 if arriving from Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia or Swaziland.
Understanding South Africa’s Culture
South Africa is one of the most multicultural countries in the world. The urban areas are home to many ethnic groups who live in the cities for work. In addition to a number of African ethnicities, the country is also home to Caucasians of European decent, Indians, Indo-Malays, Chinese and many more.
Due to its diversity, it is difficult to generalise on South African etiquettes and culture.
In general South Africans are warm and accommodating. Although there are 11 official languages, English is the language of business and is widely spoken and understood.
South Africa’s culture is not homogenous, rather it’s a collection of different cultures which vary in predominance according to region. You will find indigenous Africans (including Zulu, Xhosa, Bapedi, Ndebele, Basotho, Venda, Tsonga, Swazi and Batswana), English speakers of European decent, Afrikaners (of Dutch, German and French decent), Coloureds (of mixed African, Asian and European descent) and many more.
As a result South African cuisine is a fusion of African, European, Indian, and Malay influences. One thing that brings everyone together is a braai (barbecue) which is a close to an art form for many. A braai is a communal event where any number of people get together to talk and drink while the meat (usually lamb, beef or chicken) is sizzling on the fire.
South Africa’s constitution encourages a liberal society. Gay marriage was legalised in 2006 and everyone’s rights are protected under law.
Most South Africans enjoy socialising and love seeing foreigners enjoying themselves. Affection is fairly common and an exuberant handshake, hug or slap on the back is normal.
Fast Facts (& Figures)
- South Africa’s population is 58.13-million spread across nine provinces and 1.21-million squared kilometres.
- The main ethnic groups are African (80.7%), Colored (8.8%), White (8.1%) and Asian (2.5%).
- The main cities are Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.
- South Africa has three capital cities: Pretoria is the Executive Capital, Cape Town the Legislative Capital and Bloemfontein the Judicial Capital.
- South Africa’s drinking water is rated third best in the world for being “safe and ready to drink”.
- Vilakazi Street in Soweto was home to two Nobel Peace Prize winners – Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
- South Africa’s Rovos Rail is considered the most luxurious train in the world.
- The country is home to the world’s largest bird and land mammal, the ostrich and elephant as well as its tallest, the giraffe.
- At 850km, Route 62 is the longest wine route in the world and stretches from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.
SAB Miller, a South African brewery, is the largest beer brewer in the world and supplies 50% of China’s beer.
Top South Africa Safaris & Tours 2019
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