Explore some of our specialists' favourite places, all of which can be included in a tailor-made itinerary.
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A safari holiday in South Africa has so much to offer: from safari in places like the Kruger (one of the oldest, largest, and most diverse parks in Africa), to whale watching and visiting legendary battlefields like Rorke’s Drift.
Addo Elephant National Park
Addo Elephant Park is is home to the 'Big Seven' - the usual Big Five as well as great white sharks and southern right whales.
Amakhala Game Reserve
Game viewing is excellent in the Amakhala Reserve, and the rangers are very knowledgeable. An added bonus is that the Eastern Cape is malaria-free.
KwaZulu-Natal has seen two of the most famous conflicts in British military history: the Boer and Zulu wars. Here, some of the best guides anywhere in the world will engage, inform and greatly move you.
Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve
The 260 square kilometre Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve snakes north almost 60 kilometres from Graskop, following the escarpment and meeting the Blyde River as it carves its way down to the lowveld.
Calitzdorp is small but the hot sunny weather makes it ideal for the growing grapes. In fact, you will find two of South Africa’s premier port producers here.
The Cango Caves & Swartberg Pass
The Cango Caves and Swartberg Pass are two of South Africa's most scenic attractions. The Cango Caves can be explored with a guide, while the Swartberg Pass can be accessed via a self-drive trip.
The Cape Peninsula
The Cape Peninsula is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, with a huge number of endemic floral species crammed into a small area.
Cape Town offers so much to see: the re-developed Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was jailed, District Six museum and of course the iconic Table Mountain.
The Cederberg Mountains
North of Cape Town, on the southern fringes of Namaqualand, lie the Cederberg Mountains. The area is famed for the rock-art of the Bushmen, or San people.
Coffee Bay is a small settlement with an attractive beach, good fishing and hiking along the cliffs. It's famous for the 'Hole in the Wall'; a formation of rock with a hole in which the sea rushes through.
Constantia is where grapes were first introduced into South Africa. Today, this legacy has left some of the oldest and most beautiful Cape houses and estates.
De Hoop Nature Reserve
As well as the unique fauna there are also several species of antelope and zebras in the reserve, and it is something of a hotspot for bird-watchers.
De Kelders is near Gansbaai on the Cape South Coast, in the Overberg region. De Kelders has magnificent fynbos (wild flowers), perfect white beaches, horse riding, golf courses, wine farms and many other attractions.
The Drakensberg is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa. As well as spectacular scenery the 'Berg' as it's also known, is home to remarkable San rock art as well as plenty of wildlife.
It's likely you will pass through Durban when visiting KwaZulu-Natal. It has some nice beaches and an aquarium with acrobatic dolphin displays.
East London has a very laidback vibe, thanks to the large numbers of surfers and beach-lovers it attracts. It is probably the airport you'll use to start or end your trip along the Wild Coast.
The Eastern Cape Game Areas
Easily attached to a Garden Route itinerary, the Eastern Cape has perhaps done more than any other area to put conservation on the map in South Africa. Here, you'll be able to see the Big Five and it's malaria free.
The Elephant Coast
The Elephant Coast region covers the empty beaches of northern KwaZulu-Natal, and the unique and remarkable coastal forest of this area. There is good wildlife to see such as antelopes and monkeys.
Within easy reach of the Kruger National Park, the Mpumulanga Escarpment is a dramatic mountain chain which forms part of the greater Drakensberg Range.
Surrounded on three sides by towering mountains in a setting reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands, Franschhoek was founded by Huguenot refugees. In fact, Franschhoek translates as 'French corner'.
Greater Makalali Game Reserve
The Greater Makalali Conservancy is located west of the Kruger Park, contains lion, elephant, leopard and rhino, as well as good numbers of general game and the rare Sable antelope.
Hazyview is a small farming town situated near the Kruger National Park. Areas of interest nearby include the Blyde River Canyon and Pilgrim's Rest.
The sheer coastline of Walker Bay allows migrating southern right whales to approach within metres of the shore. From June until December, this is the premier land-based whale watching destination in the world.
Hluhluwe is the oldest game reserve in Africa, declared by Zulu kings in 1895, and is an area of rounded hills and valleys known for good game and bird spotting.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Lake St Lucia is a World Heritage site of prime wetland and inland water. Game is plentiful during wet seasons and the coastal forest retains its dense greenery and prolific birdlife even during droughts.
Johannesburg & Pretoria
Johannesburg is a fast-paced city with the legendary Soweto. Pretoria is more genteel, with leafy streets and historic buildings. Both a ideal bases for safaris into the Kruger and other game parks.
The vast red desert of the Kalahari is home to the famous black-maned Kalahari lions. Ensuring the survival of this unique and beautiful ecosystem is The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
Kapama Private Game Reserve
Kapama Private Game Reserve is practically on the doorstep of Hoedspruit Airport, which makes it one of the easiest of the Kruger reserves to access. It is also home to the Big Five.
The Klein Karoo
The Karoo is the vast semi-desert that comprises the bulk of the interior of South Africa and is an inhospitable place. Much of the scenery is interspersed by farmland and mountains.
At the heart of the Garden Route is Knysna, the town most geared towards tourism. It has some nice walking and trekking trails and is famous for its delicious oysters and fresh seafood.
Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is one of the oldest, largest, and most diverse parks in Africa. It is also one of the places where you can see the Big Five (lion, leopard, black rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo).
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Kwandwe is quite large, and is open only to guests of the lodge and the homestead, giving it a visitor density far lower than most other game parks and reserves in the Eastern Cape.
Lake St Lucia
The Greater St Lucia Wetlands is a truly remarkable conservation area, and includes a substantial marine reserve. The park is centred on Lake St Lucia, separated from the ocean by a line of dunes, covered in forest vegetation, that tower to 200 metres in height.
Langebaan found on the West coast of South Africa is one of the best gateways to the West Coast National park. The town is rather built up considering its small size and is great for sun, fun and watersports.
The infrastructure of Lesotho is pretty basic but it is a good place for hiking and pony trails, spectacular waterfalls, jagged mountain scenery and extensive San rock art.
The Madikwe Game Reserve
Madikwe was the site for one of the largest-ever game relocation operations from 1991-97, and 8,000 animals were moved into this malaria free reserve. As well as the Big Five you can see rare wild dogs.
The Midlands is an area of gentle rolling hills stretching northwest from Durban. The area is famous for it's connections to the Anglo-Boer and Anglo-Zulu wars.
In a wine growing area, Montagu is best known for its springs, and was a popular Victorian spa resort: as a result the pleasingly compact town is dotted with red-roofed Victorian houses and pretty white churches.
Namaqualand is an area up the coast from Cape Town, to the Namibian border. Every springtime there is an explosion of wildflowers on the high plateau, which is well worth seeing.
Oudtshoorn & Surrounds
Oudtshoorn is a sleepy town most famous for its ostrich farms. In the Victorian era, these existed as a ready source of ostrich feathers, but today they are mainly farmed for their meat.
The highlights of the Overberg is De Hoop Nature Reserve, which is unknown even to most South Africans, and the photogenic farming region of Swellendam.
Paarl is the spiritual home of the Afrikaans language. It is of course home to beautiful vineyards, as well as a quaint historic town centre.
Paternoster is a small fishing village which enjoys the best of the coast in this area. Activities include sea kayaking trips can be arranged from the reserve and offer the chance to observe the bird and marine life (including whales, in season, dolphins and seals) of the coast.
Phinda Private Game Reserve
Established nearly two decades ago, the 185 square kilometres of Phinda comprises seven separate ecospheres from savannah to the rare sand forest. Game viewing is good here.
The Pilanesberg National Park
Pilanesberg is one of the prettiest parks in South Africa. As well as seeing all the normal big game, you have a good chance of seeing the incredibly rare wild dog. The park is malaria-free.
Plettenberg Bay, towards the eastern end of the Garden Route, is a playground for South Africa’s wealthy holidaymakers. There are many activities available as well as lots of great restaurants.
Port Elizabeth is a busy, industrial city that marks the eastern end of the Garden Route. It can be used as a base for playing golf at one of the nearby courses, an overnight stop or as a hub.
Port St Johns
Port St Johns is very backpacker and surfer orientated, and Second Beach is the best of the beaches near the town. It is an interesting place to visit if you are staying at the nearby Umngazi River Bungalows.
Pumba Private Game Reserve
The 6,500 hectare Pumba Private Game Reserve is malaria-free and offers the chance to experience the Big Five, including white lion (a first for the area), in their natural environment.
Sabi Sands Wildtuin
Sabi Sand Wildtuin shares an unfenced border with the Kruger, and has the very rare distinction of two perennial rivers in a relatively small area. Here you can see the Big Five.
Sanbona Game Reserve
Sanbona is a vast wildlife reserve that can be found beneath Warmwaterberg Mountain, in the Little Karoo. The Big Five are all present but not as concentrated as some other reserves, like the Kruger.
Shamwari Private Game Reserve
Perhaps the best known of the Eastern Cape private game reserves, Shamwari is home to the Big Five, as well as cheetah and some recently released wild dog.
The South Coast
From Durban, south to the border with the Eastern Cape, are miles of beaches. One remarkable spectacle here is the annual sardine migration, around June-July.
Southern & Central Sectors Kruger National Park
Spioenkop takes its name from the Dutch name Spion Kop, meaning Spy or Lookout Hill. it was the site for the second Anglo-Boer war (1899-1902), where Winston Churchill fought alongside the British Army, as well as a young Mohandas Gandhi (the future Mahatma Gandhi).
Stellenbosch is at the heart of the Winelands. It has many historic mansions and stately homes but it still has a vibrant feel thanks to the student population attending its famous university.
Swaziland is a compact encapsulation of Africa’s attractions. Parks like Mlilwane and Mkhaya showcase both big and small game, while small villages offer arts and curio stalls selling some fantastic products.
Swellendam lies in the Overberg region halfway between Cape Town and the Garden Route; it's an ideal and charming stop-over.
Thanda Private Game Reserve
Thanda Private Game Reserve is a privately owned reserve situated in northern of KwaZulu-Natal. As well as an abundance of large game, it's also a good place to see traditional Zulu culture.
Thornybush Game Reserve is primarily open savannah and is home to the Big Five. The private lodges on the reserve offer a great range of accommodation and there is something here for every taste.
Timbavati Game Reserve
The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve is an association of some 50 private farm owners who have given their land over to conservation. Here you can see the Big Five.
The Tsitsikamma Forest, near Plettenberg Bay, is an area of great natural beauty and has a range of activities to suit all tastes. It also has elephant, monkey and bird sanctuaries you can visit.
Umhlanga is just 20 minutes drive north of Durban, and is the coastal playground of the jetset, boasting a wondrous promenade, pavement cafes and an addictively cool, laid back feel.
The vast Waterberg area consists of mountains and high plateaus; it is certainly well off-the-beaten track. There is a good diversity of game and the area is malaria-free.
The Whale Coast
The coastline of Walker Bay allows migrating southern right whales to approach within metres of the shore. Here, and Hermanus, are the best places in the world to see whales from the shore.
The town of Wilderness is quite built-up but offers a wide array of accommodation, shops and places to eat. Birdlife is particularly prolific here as well and includes the distinctive African black oyster catcher.
First opened up by European settlers in 1679 and now within easy driving distance of Cape Town, the valleys of Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek have become known as 'The Winelands'.