Cape Town fly-drives from
South Africa holidays
African adventures await
Combine the wonders of nature with urban chic
See why Archbishop Desmond Tutu dubbed South Africa ‘the rainbow nation’ with a landscape as diverse as its culture and peoples. Sleep under a blanket of stars in the desert or hike your way up a snow-capped mountain. The hills of the Wild Coast make a pleasing contrast to the bustle of cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town, while wildlife opportunities range from ticking off the Big Five in remote game reserves to watching waddling penguins up-close.
Cape Town, with its beaches and Table Mountain, will enthral you before you taste your way through the photogenic Cape Winelands. Kruger National Park is one of the world’s great wildernesses, while the Drakensberg offers up awe-inspiring peaks and Zulu villages. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is one of the best places to spot big cats, while the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park contains five distinct ecosystems providing a habitat for hundreds of hippos and Nile crocodiles.
The Blyde River Canyon is the world’s third largest and ranks as one of the country’s must-see sights, while the knotted and twisted rocky terrain of the Mapungubwe National Park also cries out to be explored. The Addo Elephant National Park is home to more than 600 African elephants and you can witness a spectacular sunset in the walkable Golden Gate National Highlands Park.
The incredibly scenic Garden Route is manna for outdoor adventure seekers with ample hiking, surfing and canoeing. For creature comforts in the bush swing by the exclusive yet all-inclusive Madikwe Game Reserve or visit the lush Venda region with a seasoned guide to immerse yourself in mystical indigenous culture. Book your flights to South Africa today and let your adventure begin.
Cape Town: a weekend guide
The Mother City always features on ‘top ten’ lists – and for good reason. Curious foodies get a world-class menu, sun slaves can’t resist the Atlantic seaboard and nature lovers get a visual feast. Since Cape Town is on a similar time zone to London, you can dive straight in without jet lag. Here’s how to spend 48 hours in the city.
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Visit the northern Limpopo province for game-spotting expeditions and the Western Cape to sample South Africa's premium wines. Travel the coast between Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth, following the scenic Garden Route. See Zulu rituals in KwaZulu-Natal to the east and the Cradle of Humankind in Gauteng. For fantastic beach resorts head to the deserted Wild Coast or the family-friendly Holiday Coast.
What are the best things to do in South Africa?
- Robben Island was for many years used as a penal colony for political prisoners, including most famously Nelson Mandela, who was incarcerated there for 18 years. Tours are led by ex-inmates with first-hand experience of prison life. See, among other things, the limestone quarry where Mandela did hard labour and the makeshift ‘university cave’ where inmates taught others to read and write.
- Franschhoek is a wealthy town just outside Cape Town. The establishment of many top restaurants and wineries has given the town a reputation for being ‘the food and wine capital of South Africa’. You can visit the winelands on a special Wine Tram — there are many excellent art galleries and prime shopping options too.
- Voted one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2011, Cape Town’s Table Mountain enthrals visitors. It’s home to more than 1,470 floral species, along with rock hyrax, porcupines, mongooses, snakes, tortoises and the rare Table Mountain Ghost Frog. Hike your way up to the summit, explore the lower slopes on the Pipe Track on the Camps Bay side or take the cable car up to the two-mile plateau at the top.
- Technically still a working harbour, Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is nowadays more of a prime shopping and leisure destination with five shopping districts covering a whopping 123 hectares. After some serious retail therapy hunting for cool design finds in the Watershed Market, grab a sundowner at the Grand Africa Cafe & Beach, get a bite at the V&A Food Market and immerse yourself in culture at the Iziko Maritime Centre.
- When in Cape Town be sure to make time for a wine tasting or two. The surrounding winelands are home to a dizzying 2,000 wineries. Some of the best include Groot Constantia, the country’s oldest, Vergelegen Wine Estate, which hosts a charming ‘white tablecloth’ picnic experience, and De Grendel Wine Estate, which offers fantastic views of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and the Atlantic Ocean from its tasting veranda.
- Clifton’s four beaches, each separated by giant granite boulders, are impossibly beautiful and wind-free. The first beach is the least crowded and is populated mostly by locals, surfers and volleyball players. The second attracts a younger crowd, while the third is reserved for those seeking privacy and quiet. The fourth beach is more family friendly with excellent amenities. Each one benefits from stretches of pure white granitic sand.
- Sea Point is one of Cape Town’s most accessible suburbs on the Atlantic Seaboard. It’s famed for its attractive six-mile-long Promenade, swimming at Saunder’s Rock Tidal Pool, the quiet labyrinth in Green Point Urban Park developed for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, several yoga studios and its inviting clutch of second-hand book and thrift shops.
Where are the best holiday destinations to visit in South Africa?
Cape Town is a diverse, cosmopolitan and vibrant place. The Mother City is home to stunning white-sand beaches with a mountainous backdrop, a thrilling food and coffee scene, prime shopping and immersive museums, alongside top attractions such as Robben Island and the V&A Waterfront.
Johannesburg is a city amid constant renewal and revitalisation. Soak up the hipster vibes of Maboneng, check into the Cradle of Humankind and explore the nearby Bothongo Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve. Visit Nelson Mandela Square and the Apartheid Museum, then head out of town to spy the Big Five at the Dinokeng Game Reserve.
Pretoria is South Africa’s administrative capital, replete with some handsome architecture, trim suburbs and significant historic sights. It’s known as the Jacaranda City thanks to the purple blooms that come to life in its many gardens and parks come springtime. Stroll through the tranquil Pretoria National Botanic Garden and take in the Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park.
Durban is renowned for its beach resorts, revamped waterfront and sizable Indian population. Learn to surf on the Golden Mile or meet the bottlenose residents of the Dolphin Coast. Head inland towards the impressive peaks of the Drakensberg mountains, home to some of the country’s most spectacular scenery, the world’s second-highest waterfall and 22,000 pieces of ancient rock art.
Port Elizabeth is known as the Friendly City and is home to historic areas opening up as exciting new hubs. Explore the beachfront areas of Summerstrand and Humewood and go scuba diving at Hobie Beach. Seek out birdlife and the lighthouse at Cape Recife Nature Reserve and then sample the unique sidewalk cafe culture around Stanley Street. See why PE is known as ‘the bottlenose dolphin capital of the world’ on a cruise spying dolphins, whales, sharks and penguins in their natural habitat.
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