April 20, 2024

Olympia Travel Tips

Maniac Travel Update

South Africa travel guide: Everything you need to know before you go

South Africa travel guide: Everything you need to know before you go

With its supermodel-like coastlines, amazing activity reserves and prolonged scorching summers that start just as the United kingdom is plunged into darkness, it is no shock South Africa is persistently voted just one of the best locations for British holidaymakers. Come for ridiculously photogenic views, mouth watering (and pretty affordable) wine, long lazy lunches below the oak trees and the probability to location the Large 5 from your bed room window.

Current journey limitations and entry prerequisites

Travellers arriving in South Africa need to current one of the next: proof of vaccination a recovery certificate or a damaging PCR check (taken in 72 hours of departure) or a negative lab-performed Speedy Antigen check (taken inside 24 several hours of departure). Masks are no for a longer period a prerequisite in general public locations.

Greatest time to go

Cape City and the Back garden Route have a Mediterranean weather with incredibly hot, dry summers (December to March) and cool, wet winters (June to September), though the rest of the country is relatively heat 12 months spherical. February to April is unbeatable and built for lazy days on the beach: the Indian Ocean is wallow-all set immediately after a summer time of sun and Cape City is gloriously wind-no cost. Up in the Kruger Park, you are going to hit rutting year – massive cats in specific are thrillingly easy to place when they’re enjoying the mating activity.

Prime regions and towns

Cape Town

Get your bearings by heading up Table Mountain early in the early morning when the ubiquitous summertime wind is the very least most likely to blow you off your ft. If you are emotion sporty, climb Platteklip Gorge, the oldest and speediest route, which will take you straight up in about 3 hrs. Afterwards, bypass the crowded shorelines of Camps Bay for pint-sized Bakhoeven, and half-pint-sized Beta, which boast amazing sights of Lion’s Head.

If you’ve ever gained a postcard from Cape Town, probabilities are it will have been emblazoned with the jewel-colored properties of Bo-Kaap – head there for lunch in 1 of the Cape Malay restaurants. Get up early one particular early morning and wend your way along Chapmans Peak Generate to penguin-packed Boulders Seaside, and never miss a wander down the Treetops Walkway in Kirstenbosch, which – with 10-foot plants achieving above the rails and baboons chattering in the distance – feels closer to the Rwandan rainforests than your common botanical yard.

The winelands

Knock back additional wine, this time in the shade of a historic Cape Dutch Residence. The extremely really, appeal-large town of Franschhoek is established correct in the heart of the winelands, an hour from Cape Town. A single of its most impressive wine farms is Boschendal – continue to be in their enchanting Orchard Cottages and have a boozy picnic in the shady, flower-crammed grounds. Examine the famously pretty, cactus and herb-stuffed gardens at Babylonstoren and lurch from a single wine-drenched meal to the following.

Plettenberg Bay

Cape Town’s seashores are attractive, but dip one toe in the icy drinking water and you may well cry. If you fantasise about floating in the Indian Ocean, then hightail it down the Back garden Route – 5 hours by vehicle, or fly to George in 40 minutes. Established amid lagoons and sea is Plettenberg Bay, in which the h2o is a delightful 24C and times are spent snoozing on buttermilk-yellow sand. Gulp down oysters at a single of the lots of beachfront places to eat and pick out from a assortment of really motels to expend the evening in.

The Kruger Park

The sight and scent of thousands of wild animals is incredible, but expenditures can skyrocket, so combine it up with self-push times and swanky stays. Verify into Reduce Sabie, a comfortable point out-run lodge set on a crocodile-crammed river that charges under £80 a night time, and check out the bushveld with your very own motor vehicle – you’ll be safe if you avoid bull elephants or mothers with their calves. If you are locating the activity considerably elusive on your personal, splash out on a single of the lots of dreamy non-public camps in either Kruger or the neighbouring Sabi Sands – most boast their own concessions as properly as incredibly intimate bedrooms, shady swimming pools and specialist guides to track down the Significant 5.

Very best beneath-the-radar locations

The Hemel en Aarde Valley

In the folds of the blue mountains at the rear of the Cape seafront village of Hermanus, you will obtain the Hemel en Aarde Valley (it fittingly means heaven and earth in Afrikaans). This exceptionally fairly section of the world has also turn out to be a little something of an oenophile’s paradise, with a selection of South Africa’s most acclaimed wine farms now clustered together 1 filth street on the fynbos-enriched soil.

The Wilderness

Drag yourself out of the potent undertow of the Wilderness sea and you will face a hardly ever-ending stretch of treacle-colored seaside to the east and an impenetrable forest to the west. Stay for a evening or two in this Back garden Route village, and if you are tired of battling the tempestuous sea, retreat to the nearby forests, where by there are placid lagoons and even a shady waterfall to swim under. When you are beached out, just take an hour-lengthy push inland to the hushed, amazing magnificence of the Cango Caves and admire the remarkable limestone formations and prehistoric cave paintings, and to Oudtshoorn, which is house to Africa’s major colony of farmed ostrich.

The Swartland

Although Franschhoek could be home to the most wonderful Cape Dutch wine farms, it is in the Swartland and alongside the West Coastline in which groundbreaking wine-makers are making some of the most fascinating new vintages in the nation. If you go to in September, you are in for an further particular address since the entire place is briefly carpeted with tens of millions of ice-cream coloured spring flowers. If you’re on the lookout for someplace to keep, attempt the close by coastal city of Paternoster: a cluster of tiny white houses perched powering a wide deserted seaside.


The Karoo is a scorching, arid, and hauntingly wonderful portion of South Africa that feels a earth absent from the close by coastline. Outdoors of midsummer, when temperatures can be debilitating, it’s perfectly worthy of a take a look at – keep in the heart of Matjiesfontein at the Lord Milner Lodge, a prettily embellished, ordinarily South African spot with a deep, interesting pool set under shady pepper trees and two excellent dining places that specialise in Karoo lamb. Matjiesfontein was a renowned halt position for travellers on the Cape-to-Cairo highway and an vital stronghold in the Boer War, so check underfoot for previous bullets and foods cans from the 1899 war.

Best factors to do

A driving tour of the Backyard garden Route

Push the Back garden Route and lurch from a prolonged, boozy lunch on an award-profitable wine farm to a swim in 1 of black lagoons that drift slowly into the Indian Ocean. Spend your early morning seeing elephants scratch their backs on the hot gum trees and your afternoon lying on the beach front with your toes in the drinking water. It is these wild contrasts that make the Backyard Route this sort of a sumptuous position to visit — so choose 10 idyllic days to slowly and gradually take a look at the 400 miles amongst Hermanus and Port Elizabeth.

A strolling safari in the Kruger Park

The largest big difference between a going for walks and game-travel safari is that the Big Five are no extended in the spotlight. If you occur across them, it is heart-stopping – but a wander is about suffering from the bush at a considerably a lot more intimate pace. When you are on foot, you put down the mental checklist of Lion King figures and concentrate on 100-year-aged tortoises, waddling floor hornbill and chattering vervet monkeys. You also get big Bear Grylls details, and likely on a going for walks safari suggests you have a talking place at dinner get-togethers for a long time to come.

Take a look at the art galleries of Johannesburg

The main hub of the nation can be a tough area to pay a visit to as it is nor especially rather, extra dangerous than other elements of the place, and there are couple of inexperienced spaces or public regions to wander around in. Really don’t essentially make a specific journey but, if you’re remaining right away, be positive to take a look at the Apartheid Museum, the Everard Go through gallery and Arts on Major.

Try to eat some bunny chow in Durban

Bunny chow is a unusual-sounding identify for a bizarre-hunting concoction: a loaf of white bread hollowed out and filled with curry, chutney and bay leaves. But this quirky dish is also Durban’s most popular export and no trip to the town would be comprehensive without the need of at the very least one bunny chow evening meal. Capsicum Restaurant in the Britannia Lodge is a colonial-design gem in the old city and is well known for serving the best chow in Durban—choose concerning beef or chicken and wash it down with sweet neighborhood tea.

Obtaining about

Covid wiped out quite a few of South Africa’s reduced-cost airlines – the most affordable and the best is now FlySafair, otherwise Airlink also does a few routes. The country is bigger than you consider it is and driving from Johannesburg down to Cape City will just take about 14 several hours, of which only about six are gorgeous – so it’s least difficult to fly concerning individuals towns. For the Backyard Route, employ a automobile and generate, and if you are likely to Kruger you can possibly fly to Nelspruit (an costly route) or travel from Johannesburg. The teach technique is sadly unwieldy and not normally protected.

How to get there

If you are likely on safari in northern South Africa, then fly into Johannesburg. It is cheaper than Cape Town, and whilst inner flights to Nelspruit (the gateway to the bush) are highly-priced, you can push there from OR Tambo in 5 hours. Lower-price airways this kind of as FlySafair offer you affordable inside flights down to Cape City, George and PE, and South African Airways, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic all fly specifically to Joburg from London. If you’re only heading to the Cape, then the aspiration option is to fly immediate on British Airways from LHR – but it can be eye-wateringly highly-priced and thankfully there are a range of extra inexpensive indirect carriers like Emirates. The moment you are there, you will need to have to lease a motor vehicle until you want to depend on Uber as public transport is lousy.

Income-saving tip

The trade fee suggests that outside the house of motels, working day-to-working day daily life in South Africa is likely to really feel quite inexpensive – and even the good Cape Town places to eat are not likely to at any time price far more than £35 a head. The only expense is lodging – although rates in the Cape fall outside of the summertime time, and good discounts can be located in smaller bed and breakfasts fairly than huge accommodations.


What’s the weather conditions like?

South Africa is built up of a number of climates: the east coast is tropical with heat winters and muggy summers, the Kruger Park has sunny winter days, ice cold winter nights and pretty incredibly hot summers, when Cape City and the Yard Route have a basic Mediterranean weather.

What time zone is it in?

South African summer season time (our winter season) is GMT+2 though South African winter season is GMT+1 and runs from March to the close of October.

What forex do I need to have?


What language is spoken?

English may possibly be one of 11 nationwide languages but thankfully for visitors it is by considerably the most greatly spoken and used all through the place.

Is it safe and sound?

Central Cape Town is generally safe to stroll close to in by working day, even though be sensible: no highly-priced jewellery or designer handbags, make sure you. At night, it’s dodgier – get an Uber, or if you’re driving, park as close as you can to the cafe. Driving down the Garden Route is correctly harmless in the working day, and the same largely applies to driving from Johannesburg to the Kruger Park if you only quit at petrol stations. You do require to be extra very careful in Johannesburg – if you are driving on your own, make absolutely sure you’ve prepared your route, only use registered taxis or Uber, and try to wander outside the house as minor as achievable.