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Top Trip Memories

  • Spotting the Big Five – lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and Cape buffalo -- while on safari tour in Kruger National Park.
  • Riding a horse through Kwa Madwala, a private game reserve near Kruger, while gawking at zebra, giraffes, and other big game.
  • Taking in the panorama from the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, preceded by a thrilling cable car ride up.
  • Touring the prison and jail cells where the late president Nelson Mandela was held on Robben Island near Cape Town during the apartheid era.
  • Discovering a surprising piece of the country’s racial past at the District 6 Museum in Cape Town, which documents the history of an area that was fully integrated until going “white only” in the 1950s.
  • Journeying to the Boulders Penguin Colony outside Cape Town for an up-close view of African penguins molting on the beach.
  • Getting a real taste of local life touring one of the townships in the Cape Flats area of Cape Town.
  • Marveling at mountains, forests and waterfalls along the Panorama Route, one of South Africa’s most famous scenic drives.
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Tour Tips

  • South Africa is a big country, rich in attractions and activities. Allow at least a week and preferably two for your first tour – which will only whet your appetite for more.
  • South Africa train travel tours can be a highlight in itself. Tour companies can organize excursions on a restored steam train, Rovos Rail, travelling between Pretoria and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, as well as between Pretoria and Cape Town. Or ride the luxurious Blue Train, which rides the rails between Pretoria and Cape Town, and Pretoria and Durban.
  • Consider tours that include the world-famous annual run (from May-July) of millions of sardines along the east coast of the country in the KwaZulu-Natal region. The sardines cause a feeding frenzy that attracts thousands of sharks, dolphins, whales, birds and other ocean predators.
  • While most of South Africa is malaria-free, it is present year-round in Kruger National Park and the low-lying areas of northern KwaZulu-Natal. Travel operators can arrange safaris in many malaria-free game reserves, such as Madikwe or Pilanesberg in North West province, the Waterberg in Limpopo, or private reserves in the Eastern, Western and Northern Cape.
  • Looking for an unusual “lodging” adventure? If you’re customizing your trip, ask your travel provider to arrange an overnight stay in a cave in the Drakensberg mountains. Marble Baths Cave, Sherman’s Cave, Spare Rib Cave, Nutcracker Cave and Sleeping Beauty Cave are just some of the caves that allow such stays.
  • South Africa is known for its flora as well as its fauna – the country’s Cape Floral Region contains a fifth of the flora on the African continent. If you like viewing plant life, look for tours that include visits to gardens, forests and nature preserves.
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South Africa Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.7 out of 5

99%

recommend

591 Reviews

  • Excellent 433
  • Great 145
  • Average 10
  • Disappointing 2
  • Terrible 1

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.7
  • Guide
    4.7
  • Activities
    4.7
  • Lodging
    4.7
  • Transportation
    4.7
  • Meals
    4.7

Tour Reviews

Trails of the Garden Route, South Africa

South Africa: Trails of the Garden Route

5.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
First trip south of the equator and such a varied and intense experience of South Africa. What a wonderful country with friendly people, beautiful landscapes and magnificent animals.
Each stage was inspirational but to summarise - the beach trek of the Alexandria trail, seeing the elephants in Addo Park, climbing Twelve O'clock Peak, climbing Table Mountain, seeing whales, reaching the Cape of Good Hope (and probably lots of others).

Excellent. Very outgoing, friendly, helpful, informative and knowledgeable. Joe did so much to make our trip a wonderful experience seeking out wonderful treks, pointing out animals and plants of interest, making sure we were well fed and generally looked after.

Go!

Wonder if the cost could have been reduced slightly and we were amazed at the quality of most of the accommodation - or maybe that's just South Africa standards!
Being the first of this particular trip, perhaps a few adjustments to itinerary/timings - as discussed with Joe our guide - but overall everything went very well and we have no complaints at all.

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Cycling the Cape and Winelands

Cycling the Cape & Winelands

5.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
Great trip, great guides, great food...and stunning scenery..
Riding the coastal road through false bay, just stunning!

Bevin consistently went above and beyond to make the holiday a success. A big thanks to Trish and Ende too.

ATMs were plentiful, no need to take cash with you, generally things were of excellent value.

The only way this holiday could be improved is to work in some swim/beach stops on route.

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It's only when you look back.....

Cycling the Cape & Winelands

5.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
Its only when you look back that you realize that, the scenery really was that stunning, the mountains really had that grandeur, the group really was that friendly. I loved every day of the tour, from the beautiful little towns of Stellenbosch and Franceshoek, to the beautiful Cape Agulhas, to the breathtaking Chapmans Peak Drive. Wine tasting, experiencing local foods and all of it with the stunning backdrop of mountains and the beautiful fields of vines. Our guides, Roger and Siintje worked relentlessly to ensure our enjoyment and wellbeing.
Reaching the high point of Chapmans Peak Drive and seeing the road stretch seemingly endlessly before me.

Fabulous. Helpful, friendly knowledgable, nothing was too much trouble.

Pack chamois cream! some long rides in the saddle.

The guests houses used at the beginning and end of the trip - the 'sweetest chain' are truly delightful places to stay.
Also, the Botanical Gardens in Cape Town are well worth a visit. easily a whole day could be spent exploring the gardens.

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Drakensberg & Kruger

Cycling the Drakensberg & Kruger

3.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
This trip has all the attributes for an excellent trip. Smashing scenery. Wildlife. Good accommodation. However all the great ingredients can still be baked into a moderate cake.
Swimming in the pools at Ehlanzeni.

He was not a good ambassador for South Africa. He knew little about the areas he was cycling in and he had little recent experience of the route. I don't mean that he got lost, but his expectations of the terrain was inaccurate and he had no knowledge of the sites nearby. He did not give adequate respect to our driver / cook and on a number of occasions took over the duties of his colleague with no adequate reason to do so. That said he was friendly to the guests and tried hard to make everyone feel included and to respond to their requests.

There are a lot of long minibus transfers on this tour, and watch out for the actual length of the trip - you might find yourself home 2 days earlier than you expected to be.

I would not recommend this trip to other members of my cycling group.

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Cape Town to Johannesburg

Johannesburg to Cape Town - Reverse

5.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
Quite possibly the best holiday of my life (and I've had a few).
There were many. The majesty of the Drakensberg mountains, seeing a leopard drink from a river, the beautiful and so very different landscapes, and learning about the animals from the extremely knowledgeable guides.

The tour leader Petro was amazing, and she was supported by two others, David and Andrew. All three were friendly, approachable, open and fun, as well as knowledgeable, enthusiastic and clearly proud of their country. This was possibly the most important thing for me as a lone traveller, as I could rely on them for company, though I didn't need to as we had a close, cohesive group anyway. I was on a trip last year where I didn't have the same feeling about the guide, and while it hasn't tainted my experience the trip, it made me reluctant to ask questions or have fun. This was the complete opposite where in fact the guides were one of the best things about the trip.

Go. Doing the trip in this direction rather than the Jo'Burg to Cape Town direction is probably a bit more exciting. As the trip progresses, the ante is upped and the end of the trip is much busier than the start. If you want to relax, I'd consider doing it from Jo'Burg to Cape Town as it is more chilled at that end. I'm glad I did it the way I did though, as for me, the best was saved for last, i.e. game drives.
Read the trip notes, and in addition with a couple of days without electricity, I was glad to have packed my portable batter charger for my phone/camera, etc.

If you're interested in seeing a massively diverse area, full of beautiful flora and fauna, and don't mind a sore bum from a few long bus days, go. I have so may fantastic memories to take away with me, of the people, the history, the guides and I have made firm friends who I hope to see again.

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Top Tour Operators and Travel Companies


South Africa Trips & Tour Advice

Spanning nine provinces and eight UNESCO heritage sites, South Africa is a haven for adventure seekers, history buffs, naturalists, wine connoisseurs, and hikers, among many others.

The smallest province, Gauteng, is the most densely populated and hosts a powerhouse of attractions, including Johannesburg (the largest city) and the township of Soweto, site of the anti-apartheid 1976 uprisings. Johannesburg, which was built on the discovery of gold in 1886, hosts the Apartheid Museum, which documents South Africa’s freedom struggle. Just outside the city, the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site contains some of the most important paleo-anthropological discoveries in the world, with 14 excavated fossil sites and 200 unexplored caves.

The "Mother City"

Cape Town, in the Western Cape province and dubbed South Africa’s “Mother City,” is sandwiched between towering Table Mountain and bustling Table Bay harbor. Part of the extensive Table Mountain National Park mountain chain, Table Mountain can be accessed on foot or via the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway – a must on any itinerary. Another “don’t miss” stop in Cape Town, Robben Island, is where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in incarceration.

Cape Town is also known for its beaches, nightlife, art galleries and a wealth of vineyards. Many travel providers include the trip to Cape Winelands on their tours, with wine tastings and gourmet meals on the docket. Cape Town also marks the starting point for tours to the penguin colony at Boulders Beach. Some 3,000 African penguins call the beach home, and you can get close-up views of their daily activities. In spring, southern right whales visit the coastline.

The Western Cape

Many tours take in the Western Cape’s natural attractions, including Cape Point, home to scenic bays, beaches, rolling hills and valleys. Cape Point falls within the Cape Floral region, which harbors nearly 20 percent of Africa’s flora. Along the province's eastern coastline lies the picturesque Garden Route, which stretches from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. The perfect end to a Garden Route tour is a visit to the Addo Elephant National Park near Port Elizabeth.

South Africa’s main beach scene runs north and south of Durban on the east coast. To the west sprawls the Cultural and Natural World Heritage Site uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, home to Drakensberg, South Africa's largest mountain range and more than 600 rock-art sites, with paintings by the San people who once roamed here. The province is the heart of the Zulu Kingdom.

Kruger for Wildlife

For wildlife spotting, including the Big Five, Kruger National Park (Africa’s oldest) is the place. Tours typically include morning and evening game drives and bush walks -- and often add on scenic drives along the waterfall-and-mountain-laden Panorama Route as well as deep Blyde River Canyon, one of the largest canyons on earth.

With so much to consider, Stride can help take the stress out of proceeding on your South Africa journey. Simply compare what our travel providers have to offer, make your choices, and you’ll soon be on your way to the splendid southern tip of Africa.

Related Guides

Continent:

Africa

Local Attractions:

Kruger National Park; Table Mountain, Amphitheatre, Cape Winelands, Durban beaches, Blyde River Canyon and Many More

Top Activities:     

Wildlife viewing, Exploring Culture & Safari

Similar Destinations:       

TanzaniaKenyaBotswanaNamibiaZimbabweZambia & Uganda

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