At times exhilarating, at times utterly peaceful, South Africa’s wonderfully diverse regions offer world-leading safaris with world-class wines; bucolic Dutch towns with marvellous handicrafts; and vibrant cities, with stunning Cape Town an emblem of everything exciting and dynamic about this captivating country.
A vast and mesmerisingly beautiful medley of landscapes, South Africa sees the thrill of bushveld safaris and the adventure of hikes in the Cape Fold contrast with luxury rail journeys through spellbinding terrain, and the serene exploration of sleepy cliffside towns on the gloriously green Garden Route. Atop Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain, spectacular views over Africa’s metropolitan jewel reveal a city burgeoning with attractions. Stoic Lion’s Head rock nods towards the elegant V&A Waterfront, which sizzles day and night with gourmet street food; cheerfully colourful houses beam from Bo-Kaap, while palm trees shade grand Georgian mansions; and beyond, Robben Island stands as a reminder of Nelson Mandela’s 18-year imprisonment, and all that’s changed in South Africa since then. Wrenching yourself away from romantic Cape panoramas, short and scenic drives deliver you to unpopulated golden beaches nestled beneath magnificent mountains, or to quaint Cape Dutch towns where the oldest vineyards outside of Europe produce South Africa’s food-friendly wines.
Striking inland, unearth South Africa’s wild heart: savour voyages through the rugged Drakensberg Mountains, pitted with glassy lakes, or fire up the barbecue on the banks of the Limpopo river, grazing springbok and buffalo silhouetted against orange skies while drifting crocodiles add to the tranquility. Kruger, Sabi Sabi, and Madikwe provide fertile territory for unforgettable safaris amid the continent’s most bewitching landscapes, while private game reserves boast stately lodges, isolated and idyllic, offering game-viewing from the comfort of private plunge pools. Venture up the precipitous switchback roads of the Sani Pass for Zulu battlefields in KwaZulu-Natal, discover prehistoric human fossils at the Cradle of Humankind, or ancient San rock art hidden in caverns, before luxuriating on sub-tropical beaches with whales, dolphins and seals frolicking in the warmth of the Indian Ocean. With everything from sunrise ballooning to fish harpooning available as an itinerary add-on, tailor-make your South African adventure with us to ensure an unforgettable holiday in this rainbow nation of broad horizons and even wider smiles.
With its beguiling seaside location, sophisticated restaurants, and afro-chic bars serving up wine grown under the shadow of majestic Table Mountain, Cape Town can truly claim to be one of the world’s most spellbinding cities. Watch African penguins waddle upon Boulders Beach, drift through the bustling V&A Waterfront, picnic by the botanical gardens, or unwind with spectacular sundowners at Cape Point.
By 4WD, boat or even helicopter, safaris across South Africa’s diverse ecosystems, preserved in national parks and nature reserves, promise exceptional game viewing, with Africa’s ‘Big Five’ roaming through raging rivers, across red dunes, and between vibrant waterholes. Sumptuously isolated lodges provide twice-daily safari drives, though there’s nothing quite like a balloon ride to appreciate the sheer scale of game herds, or a walking safari to meet inquisitive meerkats or track elusive rhinos and lion.
Spreading inland behind Table Mountain, the bright green stripes of 17th-century vineyards adorn hillsides peppered with white-walled estates that offer wine-tasting visits and luxurious accommodation. Stroll Paarl’s wine route, through streets lined with old oaks and grand houses of the prosperous Cape Dutch, tour along verdant hillsides by horseback, or dine on oysters washed down with sauvignon blanc at Stellenbosch against a backdrop of soaring Jonkershoek mountain peaks.
Slinking along the south coast from Cape Town through to Port Elizabeth, stunningly scenic roads meander between the rolling Tsitsikamma Mountains and a coastline decorated with hidden beaches. Pausing at blissfully lazy towns, or cruising over mountain passes gleaming here and there with tranquil lakes, watch emerald orchards blend into thick Cape Fynbos and shimmering wetlands, or look out over the Indian Ocean to spot dolphins, seals and whales in the deep blue.
To fully appreciate South Africa’s collage of landscapes, there can be no method more befitting than on the luxurious five-star ‘hotel-on-wheels’ offered by Blue Train or Rovos Rail. Phenomenally beautiful routes snake as far as Tanzania and Namibia, transporting guests into a bygone era of romantic expeditions, with personal butlers serving award-winning wines, gourmet food enjoyed in wood-panelled dining carriages, and daily excursions into ever-changing terrain.
Cape, Winelands & Kruger Safari
12 days from £6,035 pp incl. flights
The perfect first-time visit to South Africa: explore the vibrant city of Cape Town, wander amid world-class vineyards and spot the Big Five at Sabi Sand Game Reserve – home to the highest leopard population in the entire country.
Highlights of Southern Africa
14 days from £6,200 pp incl. flights
Take in highlights of Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa as you cruise under the world’s largest waterfall, enjoy two national-park safaris, and plunge through Southern Africa on a luxury rail journey before ending in Cape Town.
Garden Route & Eastern Cape Safari
14 days from £4,080 pp incl. flights
Start with Cape Town’s mountain-framed beaches before turning to Franschhoek’s award-winning vineyards and the rugged good looks of the Garden Route. End with a Big Five safari at a luxury reserve.