South Africa, known as The Rainbow Nation, is a country of breathtaking natural beauty, incredible geological diversity, and captivating wildlife. It also has an excellent tourist infrastructure which makes it the perfect destination for a luxury holiday. This huge country boasts a plethora of attractions to suit every kind of holidaymaker - from those seeking family fun and lovers of the great outdoors, to beach bunnies, foodies, thrill seekers and lovers of culture. From bustling cities like Cape Town and Durban, to splendid game reserves, mountain retreats and picturesque coastline, it’s the perfect place to explore. Why not try a tour from the breathtaking Victoria Falls to the phenomenal Kruger National Park, or perhaps try a self-drive holiday through the beautiful Cape vineyards – a tailor made tour allows you to put together all the ingredients you want to include.
Things to do
Spot the Big Five
From Shamwari Game Reserve on the Eastern Cape to world-famous Kruger National Park, an unforgettable way to spend your South Africa holiday is on a Safari. There are plenty of luxury lodges to choose from, each offering excellent hospitality, comfortable accommodation and breathtaking views - as well as the possibility of an animal or two waking you up in the morning. Game drives are organised each day at dawn and again in the late afternoon just before dusk, when the animals are more likely to be on the move. Keep your eyes pealed, as during your trip you’re likely to encounter lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo, leopards, hippos, hyenas, giraffes, zebra, kudu, wildebeest and antelope!
Visit South Africa’s World-famous Winelands
South Africa’s winelands stretch from the western to the far Northern Cape and the soil’s rich mineral content means that some of the world’s most highly awarded wines are produced here. You can opt to visit well-known wine estates such as those along the Stellenbosch or Frankschoek route, or seek out the lesser-known gems, which produce smaller quantities of vintage product. The scenery as you drive through the glorious countryside is spectacular, and if you travel in summer or autumn you’ll also find the vineyards looking their most photogenic and picturesque.
Robben Island Prison Museum
Of course, Robben Island is best known for its most famous inmate, Nelson Mandela, and the 3.5 hour tour of the island and its prison is a fascinating yet sobering experience. A thirty-minute ferry ride from Cape Town brings you to the entrance of the former maximum-security prison, where you learn of its history, from leper colony to psychiatric hospital and finally prison for political prisoners. You’ll see the limestone quarry where anti apartheid activists including Mandela were made to spend their days, before moving inside the prison, where you’ll see the tiny cells, including one that once belonged to Nelson Mandela himself.
Where to Stay
Start your holiday in South Africa in one of its thriving cities, from picturesque Cape Town, nestled in the shadow of Table Mountain and with its surrounding winelands, to Johannesburg, a bustling metropolis with its famed cultural and culinary attractions. Drive the picturesque Garden Route, stopping at the various villages and towns en route, to explore South Africa’s natural beauty, beaches and wildlife. Or perhaps head to the Kwazulu province for the perfect combination of beach life and nature. Pick your spot along Durban’s ‘Golden Mile’ to soak up the sun, try a little windsurfing and then settle for the evening in one of the city’s fabulous seafood restaurants. Why not escape the city with a stay in the breathtaking Drakensberg Mountains. Pick a luxury mountain lodge, and spend a few days enjoying walking, horse riding and fishing in picturesque tranquillity. Sun City is a great option for families, where you’ll find 5 star holiday resorts offering something for everyone. Sun City is a resort which boasts everything from water parks to tropical gardens, and also boasts more grown-up fun in the way of championship golf courses and fabulous nightclubs and casinos.
Flight time from the UK (London): 12 hours.
Arrival Airport: Cape Town International Airport.
Entry details (for British passport holders): A visa is required and can be arranged before departure or at the airport on arrival. Fees apply. Passports need to have 6 months validity beyond your period of stay. It is also advised that you have two blank pages in your passport on arrival. Before you depart, check the latest travel advice at www.fco.gov.uk.
Time difference: GMT +2 hours
Language: South Africa has eleven official languages - Afrikaans, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu/ However, English is widely spoken in most areas.
Here to help:
A local Thomas Cook Signature representative will meet you at your arrival airport and escort you to your pre-booked private transfer vehicle. Your travel documentation will contain all contact details should you wish to get in touch with a local representative during your stay.
Best time to go:
: South Africa boasts year-round sunshine and a pleasant temperature that is comfortable for both sightseeing and relaxing by the beach. Its situation in the Southern Hemisphere means that South Africa’s seasons are the opposite of those in Europe. It’s also good to note the summer and winter rainfall areas, as these may have an impact on where you choose to visit at the best time of year. If you are interested in safari, the best time to visit is during the dry season between May and October. The Cape and Garden Route are best experienced during the summer months and in particular in February and March.