Luxury South Africa Tours & Travel
Luxury South Africa Tours & Travel
Let Us Plan Your Travel to South Africa
Banner Image Credit: Kwandwe Reserve
With an abundance of classic African wildlife like lions, giraffes, elephants, and wildebeest along with awe-inspiring landscapes, South Africa is home to a wide range of spectacular sights while offering a long list of thrilling outdoor adventures.
This large, diverse, and remarkably beautiful country varies from the subtropical coast of northern KwaZulu-Natal to the vast stretch of semi-desert in Karoo at the center, while one of the continent’s premiere safari destinations, Kruger National Park, is sprawled along its northeast border. For culture vultures, it’s hard to beat, with the big cities drawing immigrants from countries across Africa, and when it comes to history, you’ll find plenty of that to explore too.
Tourists can not only embark on an iconic safari to see the Big Five and a long list of other animals, but enjoy some of the world’s best whale- and dolphin-watching opportunities offshore, mingle with African penguins on the sand and in the water, take scenic strolls on golden beaches, explore the underground in magnificent caves, embark on spectacular mountain hikes, paddle in a sea kayak or even ride an ostrich.
For wine enthusiasts, the Cape Winelands is a must-visit, a world-renowned wine region for touring and tasting, especially of the indigenous grape, Pinotage, a red wine grape cultivated in 1925 as a cross between Cinsaut and Pinot noir.
Talk to the Expert
Having lived in Cape Town for over ten years with my husband and two boys, I know all things Southern Africa. I am passionate and enthusiastic, and cannot wait to start curating your African adventure.
Africa Specialist+1 844 879 7838
Cape Town, Cape Winelands, Sabi Sands Game Reserve9 NightsFrom $7,790 PPExplore Cape Town, the Cape Winelands and a four-day safari adventure in Sabi Sands Game Reserve, al...
Cape Town, Franschhoek, Kruger National Park7 NightsFrom $3,553 PPDiscover iconic Cape Town sights, explore and sip in the Cape Winelands, and marvel at Kruger Nation...
Cape Town, Madikwe Game Reserve7 NightsFrom $4,784 PPDiscover iconic Cape Town sights, explore and sip in the Cape Winelands, and marvel at the wildlife ...
Cape Town, Sabi Sands Private Reserve, Victoria Falls9 NightsFrom $7,585 PPExplore the top spots of South Africa and beyond, visiting Cape Town, the wildlife in the Greater Kr...
Cape Town, Drakensberg Mountains, Thanda Private Game Reserve9 NightsFrom $4,784 PPThis enchanting 9-night journey brings you through top South African treasures, from Cape Town and t...
Cape Town, Swellendam, Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay, Amakhala Game Reserve12 NightsFrom $3,417 PPTravel from Cape Town to the mountains and seaside cities, enjoying many outdoor adventures before c...
Cape Town, Rovos Rail Luxury Train, Johannesburg, Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve10 NightsFrom $6,424 PPExplore the best of South Africa from Cape Town to Kruger, including a two-night luxury rail journey...
Cape Town, Rovos Rail, Safari10 NightsFrom $4,524 PPDiscover iconic Cape Town sights, explore and sip in the Cape Winelands, and marvel at the wildlife ...
What to do in South Africa
With so many incredible destinations and activities to experience in South Africa, we have suggested our top 3 highlights. Of course, all of our South Africa itineraries can be customised for you, but here are just some ideas.
Safari in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve
The Sabi Sands is renowned as one of the best safari areas in Africa and for having some of the most luxurious lodges. The reserve shares a 50km unfenced boarder with the Kruger National Park, allowing free movement of animals. There is an exceptionally high concentration of wildlife in this area as well as astonishing biodiversity. This one of the few spots in Africa where leopard sightings are commonplace. Spotting the big 7 (lion, cheetah, leopard, elephant, rhino and wild dog) in just one game drive is not uncommon in this area.
Image credit: Savanna Game Lodge
Drink pinotage in the Winelands
The Cape Winelands is about an hour from Cape Town and includes the areas of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. This area is the main wine growing region in Africa and produces wines that are multi award winning. The most famous of these areas is Franschhoek. The area was settled in 1688 by the French Huguenots fleeing persecution in Europe. The settlers brought with them their vines and wine making skills. This beautiful village has been preserved in its original state and is surrounded by mountains and is home to some of the best world restaurants and wine estates in the world.
Explore Cape Town
Regularly votes the most beautiful city in the world, Cape Town is a must see for many visitors! With the magnificent Table Mountain at its centre, flanked either side by the Indian and Atlantic Ocean, the natural scenery is breath taking. When you add a vibrate culture, wine estates, world class restaurants and history, there is something for everyone. There are so many tours and outdoor activities on offer, everything from cellar tours of a 400 year old wine estate, hiking up Table Mountain and kayaking with penguins. You may decide you would rather just relax on the white sand beaches and enjoy the wine the area is famous for.
Rovos Rail is a fleet of luxury trains which take you back to a bygone era of colonial travel and luxury. Watch the African landscape pass as you relax in your airconditioned suite or have dinner in the beautifully restored Victoria dining car. At the back of the train is an observation car with a open balcony, the perfect place for a pre dinner drink. Each suite is renovated in keeping with the style of the era, they are en suite with a comfortable bed. The train makes regular stops for you hop off and join guided tours of the area.
The Garden Route
The Garden Route is a stretch of coastline following the Indian Ocean along the east coast of South Africa. The official start of the route is the town of Mossel Bay, 400km along the coast from Cape Town. Many people will start from Cape Town and do an extended route. The area is known for the pristine white sand beaches of Plettenberg Bay and The Tsitsikamma National Park with its forests, mountains and rivers. The route ends at Port Elizabeth, this area is full of private game reserves and a wonderful end to the route.
The spectacular Drakensberg Mountains are the highest in Southern Africa and are over 1000km in length. The mountains are full of rivers, rock pools and waterfalls making this area popular for hiking but you can also explore on horse bike or bike. The area has 2,000-year-old San Bushman rock art and you can join guided tours to learn about the history of the San people. The areas surrounding the Drakensberg is home to the Zulu Tribe and there are lodges you can stay in to learn about the battles they fought as well as their culture.
The Best National Parks to visit in South Africa
The country is home to many national parks and game reserves, all offering something unique. Their lodges typically offer game drives that allow you to head out with an expert guide who knows to find the wildlife, even when the animals are well-concealed in undergrowth or grass. Bush walks are possible too, bringing the chance to focus on smaller animals and the little things that are often missed when tracking from a vehicle.
Sabi Sands Private Reserve
The Sabi Sands is renowned as one of the best safari areas in Africa and for having some of the most luxurious lodges. There is an exceptionally high concentration of wildlife in this area as well as astonishing biodiversity. This one of the few spots in Africa where leopard sightings are commonplace. It is a great destination for a first-time safari as you will see so much in a short period of time.
Timbavati Private Reserve
This private reserve is very similar to the Sabi Sands, it shares unfenced borders with the Kruger Park and has excellent game viewing. You are less likely to see a leopard here but probably more likely to see wild dog. The Timbavati is a quieter reserve with less vehicles, this does mean there are fewer guides to share animal sightings. The lodges here are much more affordable than the more famous Sabi Sands lodges.
Klaserie Private Reserve
This is a less well-known reserve than the Timbavti or Sabi Sands, it also shares unfenced borders with the main Kruger Park and has great game viewing. You are not as likely to see the Big 5 in one game drive here, but over the course of a three day stay, your chances are good. We love this area as the value for money is outstanding and it is an affordable way to explore the area.
Image credit: Baobab Ridge
Madikwe Game Reserve
South Africa’s second largest game reserve is a one-hour flight or five-hour drive from Johannesburg. The 75,000 hectare malaria free reserve borders Botswana and is lush due to Marico River and is home to the Big Five (Elephant, Rhino, Lion, Buffalo and Leopard) as well as being known for its Wild Dog and Cheetah sightings. It is a more remote and wild safari than most other reserves in South Africa.
Image credit: Impodimo Lodge
Eastern Cape Private Reserves
These reserves are easily accessible and malaria free. The reserves are a 90 minute drive from Port Elizabeth Airport but many people will do a self drive from Cape Town along the coast to the Eastern Cape Reserves. The area is made up of several private reserves, each reserve has its own lodges. This area is less ‘wild’ and more commercial but still offers a great safari.
Image credit: Kwandwe Reserve
Activities to do in South Africa
Do a Safari
A safari is the most iconic experience in this country as one of the world’s top wildlife watching destinations, a place where you can spot the “Big Five,” African elephant, Cape buffalo, rhino, leopard and lion. While there are many game reserves, Kruger National Park is one of the largest in Africa, the epitome of safari adventures, home to the Big Five and more.
Swim with Great White Sharks
The first country to declare the great white shark a protected species, most adventure travelers don’t consider their time here complete until they’ve seen one of the giant toothy predators. This is arguably the best place to swim with great whites with multiple outfitters offering the opportunity to go down in a cage and see them up close.
Do a road trip along The Garden Route
The most famously scenic stretch of road in South Africa, the Garden Route twists and turns for 186 miles, meandering alongside dramatically steep seaside cliffs and through lush forests. Along the way are numerous attractions and photo-ops, from idyllic beaches and stunning lagoons to the mountains of the Tsitsikamma and Outeniqua ranges, dividing the verdant route from arid Little Karoo.
Hike the Drakensberg Mountains
A hiker’s paradise, the Drakensberg Mountain Range is part of the Great Escarpment, separating the high plateaus of the interior from the lower coastal lands. There are miles and miles of trails, from easy to strenuous climbs, bringing magnificent scenery and wildlife watching opportunities, from Rainbow Gorge, one of the top day hikes to the challenging Chain Ladders trek in Northern Drakensberg.
Wine Tasting in Stellenbosch and Franschoek
The picturesque Cape Winelands, South Africa’s renowned wine region, includes Stellebosch, an hour’s drive from Cape Town. This is the country’s oldest wine route, featuring almost 150 wine farms along with historic Cape Dutch-style houses. Franschoek Is the nation’s gastronomic capital, home to more than 50 outstanding wineries and countless eateries for pairing gourmet fare with wine straight out of the barrel.
Go Whale Watching in Hermanus
South Africa may be best known for its Big Five, but it’s also one of the world’s best places to see whales. You might spot them almost anywhere along the coast, but the town of Hermanus on the Cape West Coast is known as the world’s whale watching capital. Southern right whales can be viewed from the spectacular clifftops around Walker Bay.
Visit Robben Island
Witness some of South Africa’s checkered past by visiting Robben Island, the country’s most well-known historic site and the former location of a remote prison that held Nelson Mandela for 18 years, although it was used by everyone from the 17th-century Dutch to the South African government in the 21st century. Today the historic landmark offers tours led by former political prisoners.
Sample Local South African Food
The many diverse cultures of South Africa have resulted in a wide range of mouthwatering cuisine that often incorporates outside influences from Southeast Asia to Europe. You’ll get a real flavor for the country by sampling everything from fresh seafood in upscale ocean view restaurants to street foods in Johannesburg like bunny chow, barbecue and roti with local craft brews.
Climb Table Mountain
Climbing Table Mountain, Cape Town’s most recognizable landmark is a must-do. Ideal for active travelers who can be rewarded with a bird’s-eye view, there are dozens of routes up, each of which provides something unique. From the top you’ll be able to gaze out over the city, V&A Waterfront, Table Bay, Robben Island, the Cape Flats and the Cape Peninsula.
Do a Soweto Tour
Tour Soweto to explore a living township that formed nearly a century ago, the largest of its kind in Johannesburg, home to more than a million people. Learn about its history that began when the government forcibly separated whites from blacks in the early 20th-century. Visit historic sites, the Nelson Mandela Museum and view Mandela’s and Bishop Desmond Tutu’s former homes.
Your Private South Africa Trip
South Africa is one of those countries that gets under your skin, the beauty, the people, and the wildlife will make a lasting impact on anyone who visits. South Africa was my home for 10 years, and I love the diversity of the country. You could spend a weekend in the winelands or on safari or hiking up mountains, the options are endless.
The people of South Africa are warm and friendly and there is always music and dancing. The safari guides are some of the best in Africa, they have a passion for what they do and are highly trained. The lodges are committed to protecting the wildlife to conserve it for future generations. There are numerous conservation programs guests can get involved in when they visit.
Most visitors come to South Africa to go on safari, be warned, it is a very addictive past time! The range of habitat and wildlife is astounding with over 20 National Game Reserves and numerous private game reserves. Each reserve has a slightly different eco system and therefore the wildlife varies between reserves. One area will have meerkats another will have wild dog, the game viewing varies hugely.
The currency in South Africa is the Rand and it is quite weak against the major currencies. Your money goes a very long way in South Africa. People are always amazed that they can eat and drink in award winning restaurants at a fraction of the usual cost.
From Europe, South Africa is easily accessible with direct flights and minimal time change. You sleep overnight on the plane and wake up in virtually the same time zone, ready to start your trip! From the US, there are direct flight to South Africa from Washington and New York.
Image credit (above left): Jamala Madikwe
Elaine our Africa Safari Specialist
What are the best destinations combine with a South African safari?
Most people would combine one of the following areas with their safari:
1. Cape Town offers a great contrast to a safari, a modern city with a great food and wine scene to experience. There is also history, wildlife and beaches.
2. The Garden Route is a beautiful area of coastline with long beaches, forests and rivers to explore.
3. Many people will fly to Mozambique or Mauritius after their safari to enjoy to warm Indian Ocean and white sand beaches.
How much is a safari in South Africa?
You can spend as much as you want in South Africa! There is no shortage of choice, with lodges in every price bracket. Safari lodges start from £200 per person. For people on a budget, you can do a great self drive trip, staying in guest houses with a few nights at the end in a mid rage safari lodge for £1000 per person. You can then go to other extreme and stay in a luxury five star game lodge in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve for £8000 per person.
Is South Africa a good destination for families?
South Africa is one of the few countries in Africa that has malaria free safaris, this is so important, especially for small children. These malaria free reserves have lodges that are specially designed for families. They have special kids clubs, kids game drives and are fully fenced to keep the wildlife out of camp. Aside from safari, South Africa has great beaches, forest to explore and rivers to kayak. There is an endless list of outdoor activities for a family to enjoy.
Is South Africa safe?
This is a common question for travellers. I lived there for 10 years and it’s just about taking sensible precautions. Keep your personal belonging safe and be discreet with expensive items. At night, its fine to walk around the Waterfront area of Cape Town as it is a busy restaurant and shopping area, but Ubers are common throughout South Africa and easy to order. Your hotel will also help you to arrange transport. They are also so many guided days tours available; the tour leader will be local and know how to ensure your safety. It’s also a great way to see the real South Africa. On safari in South Africa, you will be completely safe but there procedures to follow to ensure your safety. Your guide will run through all of these when you arrive on safari.
- GMT+2 | ET+7
- South African Rand
- Families, Honeymoon, Safari, Adventure
- Year round destination
- Cape Town, Winelands, Kruger National Park
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