A chic modern hub ensconced in glorious natural wonderland, South Africa is a safari Eden of unparalleled luxury, rare opportunity, and infinite diversity. With majestic and abundant wildlife, and lavishly appointed safari lodges, this is a safari holiday destination that should never be underestimated.
It can be easy to forget that beyond South Africa’s ultramodern urban vibe lies a world of safari splendour unmatched for accessibility, variety, and comfort.
As a safari experience, South Africa affords the greatest opportunity to see the “Big 5” of any African country, and the best chance of observing the reclusive leopard anywhere on the planet. As an exotic locale, South Africa enjoys a pleasant year-round climate, and offers a landscape of exceptional geographical and biological diversity, with all the highlights of continental Africa packed into a single country.
After being mesmerized during the day by some of the world’s most captivating wildlife on one of our luxury South Africa safari tours, prepare to be favored in the evening with every indulgence while retiring to some of Africa’s most elegant and accommodating safari lodges.
Beyond magnificent safaris and the scenic cosmopolitan fusion of Cape Town, South Africa offers a wealth of inimitable attractions – the striking surrounds of Cape Peninsula; the historic Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was once incarcerated; the glorious Garden Route; the picturesque Cape wineries offering superb wine and accommodation; and much more to be discovered by the intrepid traveller.
We can only hope you come and discover it for yourself.
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Among the top luxury resorts in Cape Town, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel describes itself as “an oasis of calm within Cape Town’s beating heart”. Perched at the foot of Table Mountain, and invoking the magic of a bygone era through it’s colonial grandeur (with a distinctly modern touch), this airy sanctuary is guaranteed to be an unforgettable stay.
A beautifully located 4-star hotel on the waterfront pierhead of Cape Town. Sophisticated modern luxury full of old world charm, the Victoria and Alfred Hotel offers sweeping views of the harbour and Table Mountain, and is within easy walking distance to many fine retail outlets, designer stores, restaurants, craft markets, boat cruises to Robben Island, and the Waterfront Amphitheatre.
The award-winning 5-star hotel at Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport. Providing convenience, style, and a host of services and facilities such as conferencing, spa, and the Quills restaurant, the hotel is a mere one-minute walk from both international and domestic terminals.
A highly affordable and excellently equipped 3-star hotel, also offering superb convenience due to its immediate proximity to O.R. Tambo International Airport. Services and facilities include spacious air-conditioned rooms, 24-hour reception and check-in, wifi access, boardroom and conference facilities, same day laundry and dry cleaning, in-room safes, and a fitness room with deck and swimming pool.
Boutique 5-star accommodation in the heart of the Franschhoek Valley, just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town. A restored manor house and perfumery dating back to 1890, Franschhoek Country House and Villas is found between enchanting vineyards and majestic mountains, and offers guests a sublime list of services and amenities including the award-winning Monneaux restaurant.
An exclusive 5-star lodge set in the renowned Sabi Sands Reserve. With nine opulent suites, Savanna also offers specially designed game viewing vehicles, and highly trained guides with a vast knowledge of the African bushveld in an area where “Big 5” sightings are certain. With their personalised service, you’ll feel part of the Savanna family from the moment you arrive.
Motswari Private Game Reserve, nestled in 150 square km of safari wonderland located within the Timbavati and Umbabat Private Nature Reserve, is an exclusive lodge never hosting more than thirty guests at any one time. Motswari, meaning “to conserve and protect” in Tswana, offers incredible game viewing opportunities, and places great emphasis on personal attention throughout your stay.
Situated on the shady banks of the Monwana River in Thornybush Reserve, Shumbalala offers a variety of activities from game drives, bush walks, to birding and photography excursions. This unexpected oasis of luxury, privacy and comfort gives you the opportunity to view all of Kruger National Park’s wildlife with none of the crowds.
Set beneath the shade of Ebony and Leadwood trees by the Mabrak River in Sabi Sands, Dulini offers a resplendent main lodge and six intimate thatched suites on the bank of the riverbed. As well as a perfect safari experience, the lodge provides a cantilevered viewing deck, a private restaurant, a wine cellar, and even a well-equipped gym for when the African pot begins to pad the hips.
Camp Jabulani in Kapama Reserve offers more than just safari. As well as elegant lodgings, delectable Relais & Châteaux cuisine, and superb opportunities to view the “Big 5”, Camp Jabulani allows you to get up close and personal with some of the most soulful animals in all of Africa. Due to their unique relationship with a herd of orphaned Zimbabwean elephants, Camp Jabulani can claim “the most incredible elephant experience imaginable”.
Few reserves in all of Africa come close to what Sabi Sands has to offer. With multiple high-end lodges in a region brimming with wildlife, visitors are spoiled for choice, for luxury, and for opportunities of viewing the “Big 5” on almost any budget. Without doubt, Sabi Sands is truly the ultimate South African luxury safari experience.
With twelve lodges in 18,000 hectares of land, Timbavati Game Reserve was formed in 1956 with the intent to conserve a pristine wilderness area. The barely touched and unspoiled bushveld in this South African region is genuine wild land, and offers some of the most authentic and inspiring safari experiences available.
Cape Town is a joyous blend of diverse culture, impeccable cuisine, engrossing creativity, and stunning landscapes, a singularly beautiful city topped by the glorious Table Mountain National Park. Named a World Design Capital in 2014, there are few cities in the world that can compare with the rich melting pot that is the Rainbow Nation’s western metropolis.
The vineyards of South Africa’s western cape are as replete with scenic beauty as they are with world-class vintages. Enjoy lounging in sumptuous estate accommodation while sampling the cuisine of an award-winning restaurant in picturesque locales such as Paarl, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Wellington, Tulbagh, and more.
Bask in the incredible vistas of the Garden Route, an approximately 200 kilometre section of coastal beauty found along the journey from Cape Town to Plettenberg Bay. Hidden beaches, placid lakes and lagoons, mountain ranges, bucolic townships, and sweeping ocean panoramas all have place alongside a swathe of outdoor entertainments fit for any tour group.
No visit to South Africa would be truly complete without taking part in one of our luxury safari tours. In addition to immersing yourself in the presence of Africa’s enthralling wildlife, guests will enjoy creature comforts comparable to those found in some of the world’s most indulgent resorts. Become one with nature and live your dream of walking among the big cats, the elephants, the rhinos, the buffalo, and more.
If getting off the beaten track is your passion, South Africa offers numerous planned hikes and wilderness tours in stunning locations such as Table Mountain, the Drakensberg Escarpment or the rugged Cederberg. Enjoy trekking with like-minded individuals on your passage through sublime wilderness, and observe the local wildlife on some of the region’s most spectacular walking trails.
There is no shortage of routes to the top of Table Mountain, the flat-topped crowning glory of Cape Town. The more adventurous visitor can choose from no end of hiking or climbing trails to the summit, while the more casual traveller may opt for a five-minute ride in the mountain’s permanent cable car, but both will be rewarded with breathtaking views in all directions.
Enjoy full-day tours of this exquisite natural landscape, accompanied by expert local guides. Take the coastal roads to Hout Bay, explore Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, enjoy idyllic coastal towns such as Muizenberg and Fish Hoek, and take in the incomparable view at Cape Point where two oceans collide, all with transport directly to and from your Cape Town hotel.
It is unlikely you will find a more eclectic mix of gastronomic delights anywhere in the world, with Cape Town restaurants being inspired by a swirling of cultural influences sometimes so diverse it can be hard to pinpoint their origins. Enjoy the traditional foods of the African continent, stellar international cuisine of all types, and numerous dishes native to South Africa itself.
South Africa’s climate allows for comfortable visits any time of the year.
Winter (June – September) is cooler and drier than other months, ideal for hiking and outdoor pursuits, and the best time for wildlife watching. Spring is the best time to see vast expanses of Northern Cape carpeted with wildflowers. The high summer months offer some outstanding festivals, including Cape Town New Year Karnaval, and Swaziland’s Incwala ceremony.
However, the most important consideration is the school holiday schedule. During the holidays, waves of vacation-hungry South Africans stream out of the cities, with visitors from Europe and North America adding to the pressure on local accommodation bookings and prices (which can more than double). Essential tip: Book in advance.
South Africa enjoys an overall comfortable climate that varies by region, from Mediterranean in the southwest, to temperate in the inner plateau, to subtropical in the northeast. As the country is south of the equator, its seasons are the reverse of those in the northern hemisphere.
The Western Cape enjoys largely Mediterranean weather, with generally dry summers (October–March) and temperatures averaging around 25–30°C. Most of its annual rainfall occurs during the winter months (June–September).
The eastern Natal Coast can be extremely humid in February, reaching temperatures of around 30°C.
On the Highveld (including Johannesburg), most rain is in summer, and tends to fall in thundershowers. Summer days are pleasantly warm, up to around 25°C, while winter days are dry and also relatively warm, averaging around 15°C. Winter nights are cold and crisp, reaching lows of 0°C or occasionally lower.
Overall, for best weather, we recommend visiting from March to October, inclusive.
South Africa’s currency is the Rand (ZAR), which is divided into 100 cents.
As a modern nation, there are numerous commercial banks available, and most are easily accessible. Bank hours are typically 09:00–15:30 Monday to Friday, and 09:00 – 11:00 Saturdays.
Major hotels have foreign currency facilities. Most shops, lodges and travel agencies will accept traveller’s cheques and credit cards. However, some of the smaller or more remote camps may not accept credit cards.
Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diners Club credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.
For travel to South Africa over the warmer months (October to April) lightweight clothing is essential, with a light sweater or jacket sometimes suitable for the evenings. As rain can be frequent in many areas, we also recommend packing an umbrella or lightweight raincoat. In winter, temperatures can drop to zero, so heavier clothing may be advisable.
Smart casual clothing is suitable for most hotels and restaurants. At lodges and safari camps, dress is entirely casual. However, neutral colours are best for game viewing.
We recommend always taking suitable precautions against the sun (even in winter), such as a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.
No vaccinations are currently required for entry into South Africa when arriving directly from North America or Europe. However, we recommend that tetanus boosters for children and adults are kept up to date, with courses or boosters usually advised for diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis A and typhoid.
A yellow fever certificate is required if the visitor is over one year old, and arriving in South Africa from an infected area or a country where yellow fever is endemic (such as Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, or Zaire). In the case of yellow fever, the vaccine must be administered at least ten days before arrival.
As malaria epidemics occur in certain areas of South Africa during the warmer months of October to May, malaria prophylaxis is strongly recommended. Precautions are advisable mainly in low altitude areas of northern and eastern Mpumalanga (including Kruger National Park and other game parks in the region), Northern Province, and northeastern Kwa-Zulu Natal as far south as the Tugela River.
As with all travel to remote places, we recommend bringing a small supply of any medicines you may need.
English is the lingua franca of South Africa, and the language most commonly used in media and government. English is also widely spoken and understood throughout the country.
However, English is only one of eleven official South African languages. The others include Afrikaans (a language originally derived from Dutch), and nine languages of the African continent, the most widely spoken of which (according to the 2011 Census) are Zulu, Xhosa, and Sepedi.
Read more about the languages of South Africa.
All charter transfers on our South Africa luxury safari tours are in light aircraft that carry between five and seven passengers. Please note that these planes are limited with regards to the weight that they can carry. It is therefore vital that all passengers adhere to the luggage restriction of fifteen (15) kilograms per person in a soft bag.
This excludes a reasonable amount of camera equipment and carry-on luggage (up to 5 kilograms – 20 kilograms in total). In addition, please let us know if you are over 188 cm (6’2”) tall or weigh over 100kg (220lbs), so that we can plan our trip appropriately.
Tickets are generally not issued for charter flights; you will however receive a voucher for your trip.
Please be advised that the Kruger National Park, Natal Parks and other game reserves close their gates at approximately 18:00 all year round.
To be on the safe side, we recommend that you arrive at your destination well before dark.
Passport requirements: Each visitor to South Africa must be in possession of a valid, signed passport that is valid for at least six months beyond his/her scheduled departure date.
PLEASE ENSURE YOU HAVE AT LEAST FOUR BLANK PAGES IN YOUR PASSPORT FOR STAMPS/VISAS ETC. IF NOT, YOU MAY BE REFUSED ENTRY INTO SOUTH AFRICA. FOR SECURITY PURPOSES, WE SUGGEST THAT YOU CARRY A PHOTOCOPY OF THE RELEVANT PAGES OF YOUR PASSPORT AND ANY OTHER IMPORTANT TRAVEL DOCUMENTS WITH YOU. IN ADDITION, WE ALSO RECOMMEND THAT YOU LEAVE COPIES OF YOUR DOCUMENTS WITH SOMEONE AT HOME.
VISA EXCEPTIONS: Citizens of the following countries do NOT require visas:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA.