Reimagining Travel

Established in 2023, Reimagining Travel is redefining the travel experience: by being on a mission to make travel more sustainable, innovative, and inclusive.

Our journey began 15 years ago with a vision of change, and now we’re officially here to rewrite the rules of exploration, for our purpose is clear: lead the travel industry towards sustainability, enhance the travel experience through technology and innovation, and promote responsible, ethical, and inclusive tourism.

Travel that benefits the environment, ecosystems and community.

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South Africa Tours & Safaris

A Dream World in Real Life
south africa tourist destinations, tourist attractions in south africa

South Africa Historical Background and Economic Overview

Shaped by one of the world's most turbulent histories, South Africa is a country like no other. Home to archaeological sites dating back over 3 million years, South Africa's indigenous people were the Khoikhoi and San Bushmen, long since confined to the margins of history. Iron Age African herders and farmers – predecessors of today's Zulu and Xhosa ethnic groups – were the first settlers to arrive, followed by the Europeans, personified by Dutchman Jan van Riebeeck's 1652 landfall. However, it was the subsequent arrival of the British that precipitated 350 years of colonisation and war, as settlers, missionaries and empire builders established white rule. The subsequent liberation struggle has largely defined modern South Africa, which only became a true democracy in 1994.

Such is South Africa’s economic power that it has the same relationship with Africa as the United States has with the world – it’s the continent’s powerhouse and its GDP alone is a full quarter of that of the entire African continent. A mixed economy with access to abundant resources, South Africa has well developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, engineering, power-producing and financial industries. Some of its most important exports are gold, platinum, wine, fruit and coal.

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South Africa People, Culture and Belief

South Africa is often described as the ``Rainbow Nation,`` a term coined by Desmond Tutu to capture its extraordinary ethnic diversity, exemplified by its 11 official languages, with English as the lingua franca. About 80% of its 50 million people identify with black culture, while Indians, mixed-race individuals (often affectionately referred to as ``coloureds``), and English- or Afrikaans-speaking white populations make up the rest. The country is also home to sizable Jewish and Portuguese communities, along with a growing number of African migrants and refugees.

Religion plays a significant role in South African society, with 80% identifying as Christian and a million people attending the nation’s largest Easter celebration annually. Despite its modern facade, traditional beliefs still hold sway, with 60% of the population consulting “sangomas” (witch doctors) and the widespread use of “muti” (traditional medicine).

South Africa’s culture is a dynamic blend of tradition and modernity, evident in its prehistoric rock art, Nobel Prize Laureates, and globally acclaimed statesmen, writers, athletes, and musicians. The country’s cuisine reflects its diverse population, incorporating European, Asian, and African influences, accompanied by award-winning wines.

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South Africa Landscape and Wildlife

Geographically, South Africa is a land of stark contrasts. It spans a wide range of climate zones and features a 2,500km (1,550mi) coastline teeming with marine life. While the interior is characterised by a flat semi-arid region known as the Karoo, South Africa also boasts soaring mountain ranges, sub-tropical beaches, temperate forests, high grasslands, and dense bushveld. The Western Cape showcases striking fynbos vegetation and stunning coastlines, while the north and east host most of the country's large animals.

South Africa’s biodiversity is remarkable, with the Kruger National Park serving as the flagship Big 5 reserve. The country’s coastal waters are home to whales and great white sharks, offering opportunities for up-close encounters. Renowned for its conservation efforts, South Africa plays a critical role in protecting elephant, rhino, turtles, and various predators, and boasts an extensive bird population, making it a prime destination for birdwatching.

Key wildlife highlights in South Africa include Big 5 game viewing in Kruger Park and its private reserves, whale watching on the Whale Coast between July and November, shark-cage diving in Gansbaai near Cape Town, malaria-free Big 5 game viewing in the Eastern Cape and Madikwe Game Reserve, as well as game viewing and birding in KwaZulu-Natal.

South Africa's Capital City

Cape Town, Pretoria, Bloemfontein

South Africa's Population

59 million

South Africa's Currency

South African Rand

South Africa's Language

Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu, Afrikaans, and English

South Africa's Calling Code


South Africa boasts an incredible array of attractions for its visitors. The private reserves around Kruger National Park offer unrivalled Big 5 game viewing, while the scenic beauty of Cape Town and its surrounding wine valleys adds a touch of Mediterranean charm to a South African safari.

From July to November, South Africa’s Whale Coast comes alive as migratory whales journey from the icy Antarctic to mate and give birth in warmer waters. The town of Hermanus is at the heart of this remarkable whale-watching experience and is renowned as the world’s premier land-based whale-watching destination.

For a failproof family vacation and self-drive adventures, the stunning Garden Route is ideal, especially when combined with the malaria-free reserves of the Eastern Cape. You can also mix in KwaZulu-Natal’s big game experiences and pristine beaches before concluding your South African safari with a visit to Sun City, a renowned family holiday resort offering championship golf courses, top-notch hotels, and exciting water theme parks.

South Africa is often referred to as a “world in one country” and stands out as one of Africa’s top holiday destinations.

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Exceptional Big 5 Game Viewing

South Africa is one of the world's premier destinations for witnessing Africa's iconic Big 5 – elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, and buffalo – in their natural habitat. What makes South Africa unique is that you can encounter all five of these magnificent creatures in a single day. The country boasts outstanding conservation areas and national parks, including Kruger National Park and its private reserves like Sabi Sands, Thornybush, Londolozi, Mala Mala, Lion Sands, and Dulini, as well as Madikwe Game Reserve, Phinda Game Reserve, and Pilanesberg National Park, to name a few.

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Effortless Travel

South Africa's tourism infrastructure is exceptional. Daily commercial flights connect major cities, and chartered planes can transport you to the Kruger National Park and safari lodges with private airstrips. OR Tambo International Airport serves as a major travel hub and a gateway to the rest of Africa. The country's well-maintained roads and highways make it an excellent destination for self-drive holidays, allowing you to explore destinations like the Cape Winelands and the Garden Route. Additionally, it's easy to extend your South African safari to neighbouring countries like Botswana, Victoria Falls, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, and Tanzania.

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Culinary Excellence and Impeccable Service

South Africa boasts a plethora of fine dining restaurants offering exquisite culinary experiences. Whether you're in Cape Town, Johannesburg, or the heart of the Kruger, the country is known for its culinary excellence. The picturesque Cape Winelands are famous for their grand estates, charming towns, award-winning restaurants, and internationally acclaimed wines. The Sabi Sands Game Reserve, contiguous with Kruger National Park, is a pioneer in luxury safaris, offering gourmet cuisine and five-star service.

south africa tourist destinations, tourist attractions in south africa

Ideal for Multi-Generational Family Safaris

South Africa is an excellent choice for multi-generational family safaris, catering to both youngsters and older relatives on their first safari adventure. The Kruger area features public reserves and a massive national park with lodges offering children's programs, playgrounds, and age-appropriate activities, allowing kids to have fun while adults embark on comfortable game drives. South Africa also hosts smaller yet equally rewarding reserves and parks in 100% malaria-free regions, including Madikwe Game Reserve, Pilanesberg National Park, and Addo Elephant National Park, home to the Big 7.

Selecting the finest destinations to explore in South Africa can be likened to choosing countries for a world tour. Each region offers a distinct array of experiences, captivating locales, and premier vacation spots. Moreover, the timing of your visit to South Africa is crucial. Whether you are drawn to the natural beauty of Cape Town and its verdant wine valleys or the allure of a Big 5 safari in the untamed Kruger, a journey through South Africa promises to fulfil your travel aspirations.

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Kruger National Park: The Big 5 Sanctuary

South Africa's largest and most renowned national park is a haven for a diverse range of wildlife. As one of Africa's oldest conservation areas, it hosts thriving populations of various species, including cheetahs and wild dogs. However, its most prominent feature is the virtually assured encounters with the superstars of safaris: the Big 5, which include elephants, buffalos, rhinos, lions, and leopards. The Kruger is one of South Africa's premier vacation spots, delivering unparalleled safari experiences.

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Cape Town: Africa's Award-Winning Gem

For some of the best vacation experiences in South Africa, look no further than Cape Town. Consistently rated as one of the world's top destinations for families, couples, and solo travellers, Cape Town is among the most captivating places to visit in South Africa. The ``Mother City`` boasts breathtaking natural beauty, exceptional accommodations, year-round pleasant weather, and some of the world's most pristine beaches. Its culinary delights are as enticing as its iconic landmark, Table Mountain, a UNESCO Natural Wonder of the World. Furthermore, the Whale Coast offers exceptional land-based whale watching during the whale season.

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Cape Winelands: South Africa's Culinary Heartland

The picturesque green valleys of the Cape Winelands, framed by rugged mountains, are a feast for the eyes, just as its cuisine is a delight for the taste buds. Here, you can savour award-winning wines, indulge in farm-to-table gourmet dishes, and explore oak-lined streets dotted with local art galleries. Although just an hour's drive from Cape Town, spending a night or two in this tranquil blend of vineyards and mountains can wash away any urban stress, making it one of the most scenic destinations in South Africa.

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Garden Route: Africa's Most Stunning Coastline

The world-renowned Garden Route, a breathtaking stretch of coastline that extends from just a couple of hours outside Cape Town to the seaside town of Plettenberg Bay, is a perennial favourite for family vacations in South Africa. The best way to explore the Garden Route's sandy beaches, rocky shores, charming towns, and indigenous forests is by renting a car and embarking on a self-drive adventure. Charter flights are also available for those with limited time. Don't miss the enchanting town of Knysna, renowned for its fresh oysters and sunset boat cruises.

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Madikwe Game Reserve: South Africa's Best-Kept Secret

Located about a five-hour drive or a short charter flight from Johannesburg, Madikwe is one of South Africa's lesser-known game reserves. Its Kalahari grasslands and woodlands are surprisingly rich in wildlife, home to the Big 5 and endangered wild dogs. This unique habitat also supports rare desert specialists like the brown hyena and aardwolf. Madikwe offers fantastic family-friendly vacation ideas, outstanding game viewing, and exquisite safari lodges. It's also a great choice for couples seeking a romantic retreat.

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Eastern Cape: A Family Paradise

The Eastern Cape is a top destination for exciting and stress-free Big 5 safaris suitable for the whole family. This region offers a combination of child-friendly lodges in malaria-free reserves, all within a manageable drive of the Garden Route's end or Port Elizabeth International Airport. The Eastern Cape caters to families and also boasts a few secluded, luxurious lodges that make it one of the top places to visit in South Africa for romantic safaris.

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KwaZulu-Natal: Big 5, Beaches, and Historic Battlefields

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is often the preferred vacation choice for South Africans. From the wide beaches of its sunny subtropical coast to historic battlefields among towering mountain peaks and stunning Big 5 game reserves, KZN offers some of the best vacation spots in South Africa, combining both bush and beach experiences.

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Johannesburg: The City of Gold

In the past, travellers to South Africa rushed through Johannesburg, spending just enough time to catch their connecting flights. Nowadays, Johannesburg, or Jozi as it's known to locals, is one of the most vibrant places to visit in South Africa. Boasting a wide array of hotels, a thriving café culture, a burgeoning restaurant scene, and a lively nightlife, Jozi offers a unique urban perspective of South Africa. A visit to the Apartheid Museum provides valuable insights into the country's recent history.

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Sun City: Africa's Premier Resort

Located about three hours from Johannesburg, Sun City is often referred to as South Africa's ``Kingdom of Pleasure.`` It ranks among the top vacation spots in South Africa, offering escapism and non-stop entertainment. With championship golf courses, world-class casinos, water theme parks, nightclubs, shops, restaurants, and even its own beach, Sun City provides a myriad of leisure options. It is also situated adjacent to the Pilanesberg National Park, where you can embark on a Big 5 safari.

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Pilanesberg National Park: Sun City's Big 5 Neighbour

Situated within the crater of an ancient volcano and centred around a large lake inhabited by hippos and crocodiles, Pilanesberg National Park is one of the best places to visit in South Africa when you seek a fantastic safari experience without straying far from Johannesburg. Although conveniently close to Sun City, these two distinct destinations offer completely different experiences. While some visitors opt for a day trip from Sun City to enjoy a half-day safari, we recommend spending a night or two in this pristine piece of African wilderness, given the exceptional Big 5 game viewing and the selection of superb safari lodges.

The optimal period to embark on a safari in South Africa is between May and October. These months offer an excellent window for game viewing in regions like Kruger, Madikwe, Pilanesberg, and KwaZulu-Natal. During this dry season, wildlife congregates around water sources, making them easier to spot amidst the sparse vegetation.

South Africa, a vast and diverse country, experiences varying climates across its regions. Typically, summer prevails from December to March, followed by winter from June to August. Cape Town and the Western Cape witness winter rainfall and a predominantly dry, hot summer. In most other parts of the country, including the Kruger Park area, summer sees thunderstorms while winter is dry. Meanwhile, the Garden Route and Eastern Cape can receive rain at any time of the year.

For an idyllic Cape Town beach holiday, the prime months are from November to March when the weather is hot, making it arguably one of the finest places to visit in South Africa. Along the KwaZulu-Natal coast, there is sunshine year-round, featuring a pleasantly mild winter and warm ocean temperatures, making it an attractive destination at any time. If your aim is to witness the majestic whales along South Africa’s Whale Coast, the best time to visit is between June and November, with September typically witnessing the highest numbers of whale sightings.

January is an excellent time to journey to South Africa. It’s perfect for coastal vacations anywhere along the South African shoreline, though the Kwa-Zulu Natal coast can get quite hot and humid. In-game reserves like the Kruger Park, animal sightings can be a bit challenging due to animals scattering from water sources and thick vegetation limiting visibility. Nonetheless, the lush and verdant conditions in the bush during the low season offer fewer crowds, abundant sightings of baby animals, and the best natural lighting of the year for photography.

February is one of the warmest months, particularly in Cape Town. Coastal towns are typically refreshed by cooling sea breezes. It’s an ideal time to visit South Africa to avoid the holiday rush, although it remains a busy month, and accommodations can fill up quickly. For more insights, you can read our tips on travelling to South Africa.

March, marking the end of summer, is still considered a favourable time for beach getaways, with different regions offering diverse climates. In-game reserves like the Kruger Park, wildlife spotting becomes easier as the lush summer vegetation begins to recede.

July is another fantastic month for whale watching. Southern right whales can be spotted along South Africa’s Whale Coast after their long migration from the Arctic, where they come to give birth in the warmer waters. It’s also an ideal time for a Kruger safari, as game viewing is exceptional, daytime temperatures are moderate, and the malaria risk is very low.

August is usually when flowers start to bloom in the Western Cape and Northern Cape regions. Travelling to the West Coast to witness the wildflowers is a popular activity, as the landscape transforms into a vibrant tapestry of colours following the winter rains. Gauteng can be quite cold before spring fully sets in, while the Cape can also have cooler weather. It’s advisable to check the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway’s maintenance schedule in advance to avoid disappointment.

September marks the official end of winter and is the best time to embark on a spring safari in one of South Africa’s many game parks. Reserves like Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, Phinda Game Reserve in Kwa-Zulu Natal, and the Kruger offer some of the finest game viewing opportunities on the continent.

October is a vibrant month when the landscape is lush and primed for the summer months. Temperatures start to rise throughout the country, and the northern regions anticipate afternoon and evening summer rains. This is an excellent time for a South African coastal excursion, combined with an inland game drive before the peak tourist season kicks in.

In November, rains commence in northern KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, while visitors to the Western Cape can still enjoy the last month of whale season before these majestic creatures begin their long journey back to the Arctic. It’s an opportune time to explore inland areas like the Karoo or the Free State.

December is a bustling month across South Africa, particularly along the coast. During the festive season, it’s wise to make advance reservations for restaurants and excursions to ensure a seamless experience.

South Africa Travel Advice

Reimagining Travel ensures that your rejuvenation is taken care of and your travel needs accommodated, at all times to give you a desired vacation.

Currency: South African Rand (advisable to carry US dollars (printed after 2006) and not those that are operating on 2003)

Transaction: The majority of travellers typically opt to withdraw money from ATMs (automated teller machines), which are readily available in South Africa’s urban areas. This method not only provides greater convenience but also generally offers a more favourable exchange rate.

Advice: We discourage carrying substantial amounts of cash and, instead, suggest using your credit card for significant expenses. South Africa widely accepts major credit cards such as American Express, Mastercard, Visa, and Diners Club International at various shops, restaurants, and hotels. However, it’s important to note that they may not always be accepted at petrol (gas) stations.

If you’ve made purchases in South Africa and plan to take them out of the country, you have the opportunity to reclaim the Value-Added Tax (VAT), which stands at 15%. To qualify for this VAT refund, ensure that the total value of your purchases exceeds R250. Be diligent in keeping your tax invoices and, upon your departure, you can claim your refund at the airport.

Recommended: Tipping is a customary practice in South Africa, although the decision to tip is entirely at your discretion. In many hotels and lodges, a common method is the ‘envelope system,’ which involves your tip being shared among the staff members. If you’re navigating urban areas, you may come across a “car guard” wearing a yellow bib. They help keep an eye on your parked vehicle while it’s on the street and typically receive a small tip in return upon your return.

Others: In urban restaurants and bars, it is common to offer a 10% – 15% tip when a service charge is not included.

Average Summer Temperature: 17°C
Average Winter Temperature: 25°C
Rainy Season: Around Johannesburg, Kruger and KwaZulu-Natal (‘short rains’ in summers) and mostly in Cape Town and the Western Cape (‘long rains’ in winter)

Regular/Everyday: Your choice of packing for your South Africa vacation will depend on where and when you plan to visit. South Africa generally experiences a temperate climate, making lightweight clothing suitable for summer. It’s advisable to pack a jacket and closed shoes just in case. Cape Town, in particular, is renowned for its ever-changing “four-seasons-in-a-day” weather, while Johannesburg and the Kruger Park encounter heavy summer rains.
For a South African beach holiday, remember to pack an ample supply of sunscreen, swimwear, and casual daytime clothing. If your plans involve spending time in Cape Town or Johannesburg, consider adding a few dressier items for evening outings. South Africans typically favour a casual dress code, but if you’re staying at exclusive hotels or embarking on a luxury train journey, a few more formal pieces may be necessary.

Specific: If your South Africa visit falls in the winter months, ensure you pack some warmer layers, a coat, and a pair of boots. Surprisingly chilly conditions can be experienced, especially between June and August. Opt for lightweight, practical clothing in neutral shades and have a warm fleece or jacket on hand for early morning and evening game drives.

Lastly, regardless of your South Africa destination, remember to include a pair of comfortable walking shoes in your packing list. From urban streets to mountain trails, there’s a wealth of exploration best enjoyed on foot!

Did you know that you can book your flights through Reimagining Travel? For further information and answers to frequently asked questions, please contact one of our Travel Experts.

International Airports
Tambo International Airport: As the largest travel hub in Africa and the primary airport serving Johannesburg, this airport acts as a gateway to South and Southern African destinations, East Africa, and the Indian Ocean islands.
Cape Town International Airport: Whether flying directly to Cape Town or via Johannesburg, this airport is your entry point to South Africa’s Western Cape destinations, including the Whale Coast, Cape Winelands, and Garden Route.
King Shaka International Airport: For those visiting KwaZulu-Natal’s game reserves, battlefields, and the Indian Ocean coast, you’ll land here, either via Johannesburg or Cape Town. Additionally, there are direct flights to this airport via Dubai, making it convenient for a KZN safari and beach holiday.
Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport: This airport links the Kruger National Park and its private reserves with major cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. You can also take a flight to Vilanculos for an uncomplicated Kruger and Mozambique itinerary.

Domestic Airports
Hoedspruit Airport:
Fly into Kruger’s second airport from Johannesburg or Cape Town for easy access to the park’s private reserves.
Skukuza Airport: Serving as the only commercial airport within the Kruger National Park, it offers daily flights connecting Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Port Elizabeth Airport: This airport serves as the gateway to the Big 5 reserves of the Eastern Cape. It’s also a perfect finishing point for travellers embarking on a self-drive road trip from Cape Town to the Eastern Cape via the Garden Route.
George Airport: For a direct route into the heart of the Garden Route, take a flight to George via Johannesburg or Cape Town.

Getting around South Africa is straightforward. Daily commercial flights link all major cities, and private and chartered aircraft extensively cover South African skies. Many of the lodges we recommend even have their private airstrips.

Road transfers are efficiently conducted in modern and comfortable vehicles. Thanks to the country’s well-developed infrastructure, South Africa is an ideal destination for car rentals. Perfect destinations for a self-drive holiday include Cape Town, the Cape Winelands, the Garden Route, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Eastern Cape. When visiting the Kruger National Park, many travellers choose to drive there via the scenic Panorama Route. However, once at their safari accommodation, they often join other guests on guided game drives.

All travellers to South Africa must possess a passport that remains valid for at least six months beyond their departure date. Additionally, your passport should have a minimum of one completely blank page, excluding the final page.

For visitors from the USA, most Commonwealth nations (including the UK and Australia), many Western European countries, and Japan, no visa is required. Instead, upon arrival, you’ll receive a free entry permit that is valid for up to 90 days. However, if you hold a nationality not mentioned above, you’ll need to secure a visa from a South African embassy or consulate prior to your travel.

It’s important to note that when travelling with children under the age of 18, each child must possess their individual passport. Furthermore, travellers requiring a visa for entry into South Africa, and who are accompanied by children, must provide each child’s passport along with an unabridged birth certificate when applying for visas and when entering the country. In cases of children travelling with guardians, relevant documents such as letters of permission from parents or custody court orders should be presented as evidence of the guardian’s right to travel with the children. Failure to provide these documents could result in entry or exit restrictions in South Africa.

Additional Tips
Garden Route holiday and Cape Wineland tours can be enjoyed all year round. However, the same can’t be said for the former one’s beach exploration, which only happens from November to March. The best time to enjoy a South African safari is from May to October, and whale watching can be done from July to November.

The High or Peak season of a South African holiday, that begins from June until August, can be very crowded with high rates and the need to book well in advance. However, the cool and dry weather along with animal spotting (not the baby animals) and great photographic escape compensates for the same.

On the other hand, the Low or Green season from November to April, makes for beautiful lush and green landscapes with the best light of the year for photography. Although, it is usually very hot and occasionally wet weather, during this time, but the low rates, less crowd and no advance booking compensates for the same.

Customize your South Africa trip

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What's your preferred travel style in South Africa?

When do you want to travel to South Africa?

Desired Trip Length to South Africa

No. of days: 7

Who will be traveling to South Africa?

Adults above 12
Children age 2-12
Infants under 2

What is your preferred accommodation type in South Africa?

Please keep in mind that this category is usually defined by local standards.
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