There’s a reason why South Africa stands firmly at the top of countless bucket lists. Nowhere else will you see a continent’s worth of diversity packed into one country. While some dream of the seductive viniculture of its gorgeous vine-clad Winelands, others long for a Big 5 safari in the Kruger’s iconic game-rich savannahs. Add on a couple of days in Cape Town, a cosmopolitan hive of buzzing artist studios and world-class restaurants, all under the staggering plateau of Table Mountain. Then there’s the hypnotising landscape where you could stand for hours stupefied by the jagged peaks of the sweeping Drakensberg Mountains and the spectacular Swartberg range, best explored on a road trip that slices through vividly coloured quartzite and steep geological formations.
In a land of sheer variety, surprising encounters pop up around every bend as frequently as the whales in the Eastern Cape. See them on a trip around the Garden Route, South Africa’s famed stretch of irresistible coastline encompassing high-rearing mountains and forests peppered with gold-sand beaches and pretty seaside towns. Nearby lie unbelievable game reserves perfect for families who can take advantage of the malaria-free aspect. Further north, history is rife in the KwaZulu-Natal province, home to the battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift where fans of the movie Zulu can relive the heroism of those significant military events.
In a country that’s as colourful as its national flag, planning a trip is easier than you think with the help of our destination insiders. Just ask and they will assist you with your every whim when it comes to satisfying your South African wanderlust. And the best thing? The favourable exchange rate between the pound and the rand so that you can explore the country’s sweeping diversity in surprisingly more affordable ways.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Andy, who's travelled extensively in South Africa. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - ex banker who can show you the hottest foodie spots in Cape Town, the award-winning young sommelier who can introduce you to Stellenbosch's finest wines and the walking safari ranger who can guide you to the best game.
Freephone an expert 01306230466
Time difference: GMT +2
Flight time: London + 11-12 hours
Currency: South African Rand (ZAR)
Language: 11 official languages including English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa
Telephone code: +27
Tipping: Tipping is customary in South Africa, but not compulsory. If you have received good service, and if it has not already been included in the bill, then 10-15 per cent is usual in restaurants. Ten to fifteen rand per bag is recommended for porters. Most safari lodges provide tipping guidelines in the room. Safari rangers and trackers are normally tipped directly and a general staff tip box is often available to be shared with the rest of the lodge staff.
Etiquette: South Africa is a very welcoming country, and you will often be greeted by a beaming smile and refreshments. When eating, it is often considered bad manners to leave food on the plate. If you are visiting rural villages, respect should always be shown to elders and always ask permission before taking photographs. When travelling on the Blue Train or Rovos Rail, evening dinner is an elegant event and guests should dress for the occasion with gentlemen expected to wear jackets.
Religions: Under the South African constitution, everyone is free to worship any faith. Following the arrival of the Dutch and British settlers, over 80% of South Africans are Christian with many following the Zion Christianity faith. Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism make up the remainder. Traditional African religions are also celebrated with the Zulu culture visiting sangomas for their spiritual healing.