Written by Lauren Maker

Southern Africa has proven time and again that it belongs on every traveller’s bucket list!

With exceptional wilderness destinations home to prolific wildlife and birdlife, beautiful beaches, award-winning wineries, vast landscapes filled with jaw-dropping scenery and the simple pleasures of sunshine and a welcoming smile or two – here are our top ten reasons to visit Southern Africa. 

Cape Town 

The Mother city is where your adventure begins. Sheltered by magnificent Table Mountain, Cape Town will spoil you with hiking trails, hot surf spots, art galleries, museums, wine farms, and botanical gardens where you are truly one with nature. You can spend a day in unspoilt Cape Point where you may get the chance to spot Cape mountain zebra and eland, and swim in tidal pools alongside the coastline. Spend time wandering around the historical Bo Kaap, learning about this vibrant town and its history. We say do not rush Cape Town, there is so much to do, learn and conquer! 

Picturesque views of Camps Bay Beach, Cape Town.

Explorer Safari tip: A hike up Lion’s head is almost compulsory – especially in the early morning, with panoramic views of Cape Town. It is the perfect way to start the day! 

The Garden Route 

The Garden Route stretches up South Africa’s Western Cape coastline, meandering through forests, national parks with picturesque beaches, and along tranquil lagoons. There are so many unique accommodations and adventures to be found along this scenic region, such as sampling oysters in Knysna, or wandering the endless beaches of Plettenberg Bay, or canoeing up the Touws River at Wilderness. From bungee jumping off one of the highest bridges in the world, to visiting Birds of Eden (an enormous aviary) and experiencing the many indigenous forest trails of the Tsitsikamma, the Garden Route is perfect for a family holiday and a romantic escape.  

Tsitsikamma National Park on the Garden Route. Photo by Chiara Salvadori

Explorer Safari Tip: Make sure you veer away from the coast for a short diversion to Outdshoorn, where you can visit the famous Cango Caves with its gigantic stalactites and stalagmites. 

Whale Watching 

Hermanus – the pinnacle of land-based whale watching in South Africa – is just an hour and a half away from Cape Town, and during season (between July and November), you may witness the southern right whales arriving to calve, mate and rest. Our flat, calm waters during this period provides the perfect respite for the whales, who come quite close to shore, ensuring you can get up close and personal with these majestic creatures. It is a wonderful memory for your children! There are also a variety of marine tours available. 

Whale watching can be enjoyed from land or boat along the Whale Coast.

Explorer Safari Tip: The best time to view the southern right whale is from June to November however our oceans are always full of activity with orcas and the Brydes whale that is around all year. Our oceans are full of dolphins too, so keep your eyes out for these playful pods.  

Family Friendly Safari  

South Africa particularly is known for its excellent safaris, but there are several destinations that remain malaria-free, offering additional comfort for families travelling with children and teens.

Kids on safari at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape.

The Eastern Cape offers unique landscapes with incredible mountain ranges, rolling plains and densely wooded terrain where you can search for the Big 5 and other game, together with your experienced ranger and guide. The Eastern Cape and Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa’s North West Province offer a variety of accommodation options, from affordable luxury to exclusive-use safari villas. 

An Eastern Cape safari is malaria-free, with all the action! Photo from Kwandwe.

Explorer Safari Tip: Make sure to book a private game drive vehicle if you have younger children; this offers additional flexibility when on a safari. Your ranger will be sure to provide additional focus on kid-friendly activities and educational information too! 

Fine Dining & Award-Winning Wines 

Our fine dining restaurants and chefs are taking on the world. We have a first-star Michelin Chef, Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, who has opened Klein Jan in the Kalahari as well as Chef Kobus van der Merwe, who, with his team, have made the Top 50 Restaurants in the World at WolfGat, a very unpretentious restaurant on the beach up the West Coast in Cape Town. 

Fine dining at La Petit Colombe by Claire Gunn – Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands.

Experience sublime fine dining in Cape Town and the Cape Winelands, where you can enjoy exquisite cuisine complemented by award-winning wines, including method cap classique, and South African home-brewed beers and handcrafted gin.  

Explorer Safari Tip : When you book your vacation with us, make sure you allocate a few evenings for fine dining. Speak to your travel expert, trust us, we know exactly what you will enjoy!  

Explore Victoria Falls 

Just a simple flight from Cape Town, Johannesburg or Kruger will get you to Victoria Falls, the world’s largest falling sheet of water, known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya – “The Smoke That Thunders.” Victoria Falls has an abundance of adrenaline activities on offer, such as bungee jumping, white-water rafting and ziplining. However, more relaxed pursuits can be enjoyed, such as sunset cruises and game drives in some of the nearby parks.  

Victoria Falls at sunset.

Explorer Safari Tip: Victoria Falls is at full flood between March and April and is spectacular from the air. If you are keen to hit the rapids on a white-water rafting trip, instead go in low season (September through December). 

Discover Botswana 

With just one short flight you can arrive in Kasane or Maun Airport for a thrilling Botswana safari, known as the safari gem of Africa. Botswana is well known for its unique landscapes and thrilling game viewing; the Okavango Delta in the north-west fills the Kalahari basin with exceptional land and water-based wildlife experiences, Chobe National Park is known for its large elephant herds and Big 5 sightings, and in the south, the Makgadikgadi salt pans offer a special look into how animals and birds have adapted to the changing landscape.  

An elephant strolls past Belmond Eagle Island Lodge in the Okavango Delta.

A Botswana safari is our recommended destination to visit for the true wildlife enthusiast. We can easily add this to your itinerary.  

A leopard captured beautifully, at Belmond Khwai River Lodge – Moremi Game Reserve.

Explorer Safari Tip: Animals will converge at water sources during the dry season to slake their thirst. As a result, Botswana’s top game viewing in the Okavango Delta and in the reserves of Chobe and Moremi is at its peak between May and October. 

Conquer the Kruger 

The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s most iconic wildlife destination, famously known to be home to the Big 5 (lion, buffalo, leopard, elephant, and rhino), which are regularly sighted! Kruger also has several private concessions within the park, and private reserves adjacent, all of which offer the luxury safari lodge and tented camp experience – whatever you’re after, whether adventure, relaxation, photography, or a family safari, you will find it here in Kruger.  

A cheetah scopes out the landscape for prey.

Explorer Safari Tip : We have complied a list of what to pack for your South African safari, have a browse of our top recommended items so you come prepared! 

It is Affordable 

Southern Africa is affordable to travellers coming from abroad. If you compare prices to Europe for a similar-length holiday, there is simply no comparison. With luxury lodges and hotels, plus unique destinations that offer a special experience at a truly reasonable cost, you’ll be spoilt for choice. In particular, the US dollar performs very favourably in South Africa, Namibia, and other Southern Africa destinations, ensuring an inexpensive, but world-class vacation.  

A giraffe silhouetted against the sky – Kwandwe in the Eastern Cape.

Explorer Safari tip: ask your experienced Travel Planner for the latest safari deals available; we have many specials on, such as pay for 3 nights and stay for 4, or additional value-ads.

History and Adventure 

Southern Africa is rich in culture and historical significance; from ancient mountain ranges filled with San Bushman art and engravings, to iconic sites of the Freedom Struggle in South Africa. Discover the authentic lives and histories of the local people through specialized tours and spend time enjoying cultural delicacies and cuisine.  

Horseback riding at Tswalu in the Kalahari.
The famous Nelson Mandela Capture Site in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

If adventure is for you, then there is so much on offer here! Horse riding in the Kalahari, micro-lighting over Victoria Falls, hiking up Sossusvlei at dawn, hot-air ballooning over the Pilanesberg… the choice is yours. 

Are you ready to start planning your Southern Africa safari? Contact one of our Africa Safari Experts to help tailor-make an itinerary based on your travel wishes. It’s our passion, it’s what we love to do.  

Let us show you Africa.  

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