Escorted tours to South Africa
Language: Afrikaans and English
Currency: South African rand
Time Zone: SAST/GMT+1
Tipping: If you are part of a large group, like in the UK, a service charge may be added to your bill. If not it is polite to leave 10-15%
South Africa - an introduction
Taking a holiday in South Africa has to be one of those things to tick off your travelling Bucket List. There's no doubt that South Africa holidays will add up to be the trip of a lifetime and here are just a few reasons why you should be inspired to visit the tip of the world's most epic of continents.
South Africa is a photographer's idea of paradise with varied terrains from the deserted Kalahari to iconic Table Mountain and Cape Point. The stunning wildlife is another draw for tourists who particularly like to enjoy safari adventures through the Kruger National Park or Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park where you can try to spot one (or all) of the Big Five!
Cape Town offers a very different kind of 'wild life' with its pulsating clubs on Long Street full of people wanting to have a good time. Aside from the clubs you will find inventive craftwork for sale, quirky boutiques, amazing art galleries and a multitude of restaurants and bars where you can sample traditional dishes such as Bunny Chow (curry stuffed into a hollowed-out loaf of bread), Chakalaka (spicy vegetable relish) and Frikkadelle (meatballs). You can always get to know the locals by visiting a township during your South African holiday and sample the infamous homebrew in a Shebeen (unlicensed bar).
Hike among the mighty peaks and gorges of Drakensberg and visit Graaff-Reinet, one of the most charming towns in Karoo. See South Africa's past come to life visiting Zululand or marvel at the explosion of wildflower in Namaqualand. Experience India with a visit to Durban, the country's third largest city and where there is the highest concentration of people of Indian descent calling South Africa their home. This is reflected in the buildings and facilities provided here. The Durban beaches are a favourite among tourists in addition to the suburbs full of shopping malls, bars and stunning eateries. Venture further to explore colourful Xhosa villages along the Wild Coast, fine dine in The Winelands and conclude your tour of South Africa with an unforgettable journey along The Garden Route.
Touring holidays to South Africa typically include return flights, a full touring itinerary including internal travel and accommodation in good standard hotels, meals and a variety of included or optional excursions to help you get the very best of the country.
Things to do
Believe it or not but South Africa is vast in terms of what is available to see and do whilst staying here. Some things to think about may include:
This is where you are most likely to see the Big Five roaming in their natural habitat. Winter is the best time to visit as the animals are more likely to roam further than lazing about the water holes. Keep those binoculars and cameras to hand as you are likely to see lions, elephants, rhino, giraffes, leopards and buffalo. Do note though that the reserves are in a low risk malarial area so do come prepared.
If you're looking for stunning scenery then you shouldn't miss the opportunity to explore The Winelands whilst on holiday in South Africa. Not only will you get to visit some of the best Wine Farms in South Africa but you'll explore the towns of Paarl, Franschoek and Stellenbosch. You may also have the possibility of sampling some of the local wines with a tasting session or two!
Kruger National Park
You cannot visit South Africa without spending time in the Kruger National Park where you can join a safari to see the abundance of wildlife and plants that call this vast expanse of land home. On the way to the National Park you will experience the Panorama Route that takes in sights such as Blyde Canyon and the waterfalls of Bourke's Luck Potholes. Wake up before sunrise and join a morning game drive or maybe enjoy a thrilling ride by hot-air balloon – remember to keep your eyes peeled as you never know what animals you will see!
Extend your holiday by incorporating a visit to the spectacular Victoria Falls that were discovered by Doctor Livingstone. These Falls are twice the height of Niagara and over 150 million gallons of water are pushed to the base every minute. You can combine your visit here by cruising the Zambezi River and spending time in a traditional Mukani Village.
Tips & Advice
The beauty of travelling as part of an escorted tour is that you'll be in the safest hands when it comes to holidaying in foreign lands. To help you have an enjoyable holiday in South Africa, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
It is wise to check with your GP before travelling to South Africa to check whether you need to have any vaccinations or preventative medical treatment whilst away.
It's also important to check you have adequate travel insurance before leaving the UK in addition to funds which can be accessed should you need to pay for treatment. Most tours offer the chance to purchase one-trip travel insurance at the time of booking.
There are high levels of HIV, so visitors should exercise normal levels of precaution to avoid exposure.
If you need to call for an ambulance whilst in South Africa simply dial 10177. You should contact your travel insurance provider immediately if you are transferred somewhere for treatment.
Crime can be a problem in South Africa, however the police try to protect tourists and tourist areas as much as possible. You'll be in the best hands with a tour guide but it is advised that you stay with guide at all times.
When travelling in or out of the country via the airport you should always keep your valuable items in your hand luggage.
Always keep large amounts of money, jewellery, phones and cameras out of sight and be extra vigilant when using ATMs.
Local Laws and Customs
As with all countries, smuggling and drug-taking is an offence and will carry severe consequences.
To enter into South Africa your passport must be valid for at least 30 days from the date you are due to exit the country. Be sure to have two pages of your passport blank for your passport to be stamped on arrival.
When visiting South Africa for up to 90 days you do not need to apply for a visa.
If you are entering South Africa from a country associated with yellow fever you need to have a certificate issued at least 10 days before otherwise you won't be allowed entry into the country.
Any other nationality looking to visit South Africa must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
To find out more about South Africa before you travel visit the official tourist board website at southafrica.net