South Africa has always been an intriguing destination, a wild mix of nature, busy cities and stunning coastline, but since the World Cup was held here in 2010 it has become more popular, with more Brits taking a holiday to South Africa than ever before. There is such a diverse and interesting range of things to do here that you could visit South Africa on holiday many times and never see the same side of the country.
There is also plenty of history on show, from the beginnings of our ancestors in the Cradle of Mankind to more recent events that have made tourism of places affected by apartheid popular whilst you're on holiday in South Africa, as well as everything from the Gold Rush to the Dutch colonial rule too.
From the relaxing Port Elizabeth to the locals' favourite of Durban and big-hitters in the tourism stakes of Cape Town and Johannesburg, as well as the many game reserves, your first job when planning a holiday in South Africa will be to decide where you will start and what you will do. And that's where we're here to help.
If you can't even decide when to go, consider going for one of the annual festivals like Mandela Day in July and your 2013 or 2014 South Africa holiday will definitely be a memorable one.
Thanks to an incredible range of attractions, holidays to South Africa can be about so many different things. You can choose from relaxing on idyllic beaches, going on safari, heading off on a wine tour or visiting a vibrant city, South Africa holidays have got it all!
One of the most sought-after trips is a holiday to Cape Town , although it's a close call between Cape Town and going on safari! If you've been there, done that and are looking for a fresh perspective on South Africa and new holiday ideas, how about Durban's golden mile or super-trendy Camps Bay in Cape Town. For family friendly resorts you could also try Margate and Scottsburgh on the south coast. Try our South Africa guide for more.
When it comes to spotting some of the big game - lions, leopards, cheetahs, hippos, elephants, giraffe and more, there are plenty of choices. Here are your best bets:
Kruger National Park is THE place for safari trips - but this popularity means that prices can get pretty steep!
Hluhluwe-iMfolozi combines big game spotting with some of the most stunning and unspoilt beaches you could hope to see.
Private Reserves can be a great way to see more and do less, but don't expect it to be easy on your wallet! Why not start your trip with a few nights as a special treat?
Direct flights to South Africa take around 12 hours to arrive from the UK, depending on where you're travelling from. The cheapest way to arrive on your holiday to South Africa is into Johannesburg. Make sure you take an indirect flight if you're keeping an eye on your budget. These are typically around two thirds of the price of a direct flight, and can take anywhere from four hours more upwards. So shop around to get a good deal and make sure you keep an eye on stopover times.
There are flights available to other destinations too, such as Cape Town and Durban, and the same considerations apply. It can also be worth looking at internal flights as a way to save money on your South Africa holiday, thanks to the vast price hikes compared with flying to the capital. Good news though, you needn't worry about jet lag even though flying times are quite long!
Once you touch down in South Africa your holiday can start. When it comes to sorting onwards transfers, you'll find that most safari holidays in South Africa will include your transfers, but city holidays in South Africa may not. In that case, you could arrange car hire to get yourself around.
Located in the Southern Hemisphere at the most southerly point of Africa, the weather in South Africa is temperate throughout the year, so there is no bad time to visit. December, January and February is the summer so the weather is hottest, whilst June, July and August are the cooler winter months. Temperatures vary by area and landscape too though, so remember to swot up on the conditions. There's nothing worse than arriving on holiday to find you're completely unprepared!
If you're planning to go over for a safari holidays in South Africa then you will have to watch the seasons as summer sees the temperatures in the game reserves really soar. But this is a great time for a beach holiday, if you're not looking to have a holiday to South Africa on the cheap! Watch out because many of the beach resorts are where the locals choose to have their holidays, and it's not unheard of to see price rises of up to 100%! For the best value and best weather look just outside the South African school holidays.
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