An energetic traveler's dream, South Africa is an adventurous, scenic, and exciting place for a holiday. It's not the type of country that makes you want to kick your feet up and relax. There's way too much to do!
The number of South African tours that command the traveler's attention and energy are nearly endless — and we mean this in a good way! Many of them require dedicating a few days to complete, which means getting out, getting active, and exploring every corner of the country. Safaris and wine may be the first two things to come to mind when you picture your South African holiday, however the country has much more to offer than just wild animals and countryside vineyards.
Read on to discover our top picks for the 6 best South Africa tours!
Starting and ending in Johannesburg, this 4-day South African tour is a top experience. As one of the largest nature reserves in the country, Kruger National Park boasts the best chances to see the Big Five game animals. Additionally, the park houses an impressive 165 mammal species and over 500 bird species.
Days are spent hiking, wildlife spotting, and game riding with experienced and enthusiast guides. Nights are spent around the campfire, getting to know your companions while swapping stories about the day's epic adventures.
It's not all about the animals here. Kruger also has 255 cultural heritage and archeological sites. There are three that are open to the public: Albasini Ruins — the remains of a 19th century Portuguese trading post, Masorini — an old iron mine from the 1800s, and Thulamela — the ancient site of an Iron-Age Kingdom, inhabited between the 13th and 17th centuries.
The tour is run by Acacia is Africa.
This is a 3-day hike, not a "walk in the park", but it's totally worth setting aside a few days to complete. The Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail hits all the highlights of the Tsitsikamma National Park including views of the mountain range of the same name, treks through the indigenous forests, and plenty of swimming in pristine lagoons and secluded coves. The hike includes a broad range of everything South Africa can offer — dense forests, streams, waterfalls, fynbos-covered coastal plains, beaches, panoramic views, lagoons and natural pools.
Accommodation is rugged but comfy in hiker's hut strategically placed in stunning settings, like near Nature Valleys Beach or nestled in the Tsitsikamma Mountains, overlooking a waterfall. A guide is included in this South Africa tour, blazing the trails and preparing meals along the way!
The tour is run by GoVertical Mountaineering Adventures.
The number one South African road trip award must go to the splendidly scenic Garden Route.
Picking up near Mossel Bay, nearly 400 kilometers east of Cape Town, this 300 kilometer stretch of road is famous for its coastal cliffs overlooking the ocean.
Mossel Bay, for sprawling sandy beaches, a champion golf course, and delicious mussels, oysters, Tuna and Marlin.
Oudtshoorn, for an ostrich farm safari! Visit the Cango Caves, the world's most impressive dripstone caverns, located in the limestone cliffs parallel to the Swartberg Mountains.
Knysna, for a lagoon tour to see the iconic sandstone "Heads", the Featherbed Nature Reserve, and the Garden of Eden.
Karoo, for a village tour in the semiarid desert region.
Bloukrans Bridge (home of the highest commercially operated bungee jump in the world) on your way to Tsitsikamma National Park — a hiking and watersport haven.
Explore Cape Town before cruising along to scenic Atlantic Seaboard, stopping at Camps Bay, Hout Bay, and some authentic little fishing villages in between. A visit to Boulders Beach, home to a large colony of African penguins, is included. Next is the Cape Peninsula National Park, home to protected animals, stunning green valleys, diverse flora and fauna, 250 bird species and over 1,000 plant species.
The final destination is Cape Point, the infamous place where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean meet at the most southwestern piece of South Africa land. Known for tumultuous weather and strong currents, as many as 26 shipwrecks lay off the stormy point. The towering, jagged cliffs overlook the wild waters of the notorious Cape of Good Hope where two powerful currents — Benguela and Agulhas — collide. The Cape Point lighthouse is an incredible viewpoint. Stand at the edge of the world and experience infinite ocean views shooting off in every direction.
South Africa’s Western Cape region is known for its wine. Stellenbosch or Franschhoek are famous, but the Elgin Valley should not be overlooked. This region offers a unique South African wine as the grapes here are cultivated at a higher altitude in a cooler climate.
The Elgin Wine Region spans 800 hectares and sits 350 meters above sea level, claiming the title of South Africa’s coolest wine region. The cooler climate slows the ripening process of the grapes, creating an elegant wine not produced in the previously-mentioned lowlands. The specialties here are Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Split into 16 different vineyards — all of which are in close proximity to one another — wine tasting around this region is easy and convenient! A trip to the Elgin Valley includes a touring a wine cellar, meeting the wine makers, and learning a little more about cool climate wine production from the on-site viticulturalists.
For those who want to embark on a 15-day excursion and see three of South Africa's greatest highlights, this ultimate tour is the best choice.
Guests are assigned a personal guide and a private driver for comfortable transportation through some of South Africa's most stunning areas. Five-star accommodation, domestic flights, and most meals are included. Everything is taken care of, all you have to do in show up and prepare to be amazed.
The tour starts in Cape Town with city highlights like Table Mountain and Robben Island. Then it's onto the Garden Route's sprawling coastal roads, stunning landscapes, and charming little towns with true South African culture.
Next is Kruger National Park for the chance to see the Big 5 and experience bush life in with a luxurious twist. Two activities are provided for every night stayed in the luxury accommodation, ensuring you are both entertained and comfortable.
South Africa is a big country offering visitors an overwhelming amount of activities and experiences. Book multiple South Africa tours to ensure you won’t miss out on any of the country’s highlights!