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Tour the spectacular scenery of the winelands
The Rainbow Nation invites you to discover a world in one country…

The big five in the Kruger National Park, the dizzying heights of the Drakensberg Mountains, the glorious attractions of the Garden Route and fabulous Cape Town – South Africa has more than its lion share of attractions.

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Blue Marlin QQQQ

Stay and Relax

Relax at this friendly hotel beside an inviting Indian Ocean beach

Lakeside Lodge QQQQ

Stay and Explore

Set in the dramatic Entabeni wildlife reserve in South Africa, Lakeside Lodge is a relaxing retreat offering the chance to see the 'big five' on safari.

Stylishly decorated throughout, this country house-style hotel is situated in nine hectares of landscaped gardens in Somerset West at the heart of the enchanting Helderberg region, a gateway to the lush winelands beyond.

Leeuwenbosch QQQQ

Stay and Explore

Owned by the Fowlds family since 1873, Leeuwenbosch offers its guests a homely and comfortable stay in a traditional Eastern Cape family setting. You're also perfectly placed to see the wildlife of the Amakhala Game Reserve, including over 50 species of mammal and more than 240 species of bird.

Nestled between the mighty Drakensberg Mountains on the Karongwe Private Game Reserve, this comfortable lodge offers unrivalled game viewing opportunities and a relaxing atmosphere.

Where Oceans Meet

Escorted Tour Pace 1

Explore the very best of the Western Cape, discovering golden beaches, wild and rugged coastlines, and staying at historic seaside towns.

Visit the Zulu battlefields, the Drakensberg escarpment and Sani Pass, but also some of the lesser known landscapes of South Africa… including Pondoland, Mbotyi and Mpongo.

Contrast exciting Cape Town on the Atlantic coast, with a week on the island of Mauritius, relaxing at the Tamassa Hotel beside the Indian Ocean...

A World In One Country

Escorted Tour Pace 2

South Africa is often described as a 'world in one country'. Discover why as you visit Kruger National Park, the Garden Route, magnificent Cape Coast and more...

Combine seven nights at the beautiful lodge of Leeuwenbosch - where you'll have many opportunites for game drives - with a week at the Winchester Mansions (4Q) in Cape Town.

Discover well-known and private gardens in South Africa, including the UNESCO-protected Cape Floral Region, world-renowned Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, and many more.

Where Oceans Meet

Escorted Tour Pace 1

Explore the very best of the Western Cape, discovering golden beaches, wild and rugged coastlines, and staying at historic seaside towns.

South Africa is often described as a 'world in one country'. Discover why as you visit Kruger National Park, the Garden Route, magnificent Cape Coast and more...

In the Footsteps of Livingstone

Active Explorer Footprint 1

Combine a visit to spectacular Victoria Falls with stays in Zambia and Botswana. Highlights include a flight over the Zambezi River and three game drives.

Botswana and the Jewel of the Kalahari

Active Explorer Footprint 1

Travel in a small group as you journey to the heart of the world's largest inland delta, the Jewel of the Kalahari, home to a diverse range of wildlife which you can discover on daily game drives.

Set overlooking the life-sustaining waters of the Crocodile River, this intimate lodge gives you the unique opportunity to observe Africa’s indigenous wildlife and exotic birdlife at close quarters.

The Pride of Africa

Escorted Tour Pace 2

See Africa's indigenous wildlife on safari, ride aboard Rovos Rail’s luxurious train, admire spectacular Victoria Falls and explore the Zulu Battlefields.

Board Fred. Olsen's Boudicca and circumnavigate the African continent – only made possible by the Suez Canal – visiting 16 countries and four fascinating island nations.

Language

English -

South Africa is known for its diverse cultural identity which has resulted in no fewer than 11 official languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.

You shouldn’t have to worry about anything getting lost in translation though as you’ll almost always find someone who speaks English in the popular tourist areas.

Tipping

In South Africa, tipping is a way of life, and tips are often expected for services that you might take for granted at home. The size of the tip should depend on the quality of service provided.

As a guide, if service or gratuity has not already been added to a restaurant bill, a 10% tip is the standard. The same percentage is also suitable for bartenders and taxi drivers.

Population and size

South Africa has a population of approximately 50 million people with the vast majority living in the smallest of its nine provinces, Gauteng.

To give you an idea of its sheer scale, South Africa is five times bigger than the United Kingdom with an area of 1,221,000 square kilometres.

Currency

Rand -

South African currency is the rand which is divided into 100 cents. The cost of living is relatively much lower than the UK which means your spending money will go that much further.

Culture

The Rainbow Nation encompasses a broad spectrum of cultures, from different tribal groups to the descendants of the colonising Boers and British, who together form a unified South Africa.

Most towns and cities in this country are well developed but many of the suburbs highlight the divide between rich and poor, and in rural areas such as KwaZulu Natal’s Zululand you're more likely to see clusters of rondavels –traditional South African huts –where people still live and work the land.

This is very much a country of contrasts and you'll no doubt be tempted to take lots of pictures, but please remember to ask permission first before taking photographs of people.

Head and shoulders above everyone else on the list of famous South Africans is, of course, Nelson Mandela. Others include golfer Ernie Els, actress Charlize Theron and Carry On star Sid James, who was born in Johannesburg.

Phrases

Don’t be too confused if a local says they’ll do something “just now” – they don’t actually mean right away but in the not-too-distant future. Instead, if they plan to do something soon, they’ll say “Now now”!

Timezone

South Africa is only two hours ahead of GMT so you’re unlikely to be affected by jet lag.

Electricity

Mains voltage is 220-230 volts AC (50 cycles) and most main sockets are of the 15-amp type, with three large round pins, as formerly used in the UK (although we wouldn’t recommend testing old appliances).

South Africa’s electricity grid hasn’t caught up with its increasing development yet so don’t be too surprised by sporadic power cuts.

Climate

South Africa’s varied landscapes and climates mean that suitable attire varies wildly from place to place. Celsius temperatures can soar into the thirties and above during summer but plummet in winter, especially on the Northern Cape when they have fallen below freezing.

Just remember that the seasons are back to front in the southern hemisphere when packing!

As a rule of thumb, take something warm for early morning game drives, mountain outings and winter evenings beneath the stars as it can get quite chilly. If in doubt, remember that dressing in layers never goes out of style!

Try to blend in on game drives too – bright or high-contrast colours like black and white are a no-no – while lightweight, full-length trousers are essential if you want to avoid such irritations as brambles and ticks when exploring the great outdoors.

If you plan to travel during the rainy season, then as the name suggests, pack some wet-weather clothing e.g. a hooded jacket and waterproof, non-slip shoes. Forget safari suits since the dress code for evenings is casual, unless you fancy stepping out at an exclusive restaurant that is.

Health

‘Cook it, peel it or leave it,’ is the best advice when travelling abroad, especially if you have a sensitive constitution. However, tap water is potable in South Africa so you don’t have to worry about brushing your teeth with boiled water!

Insect repellent and full-length clothing are a good defence against mosquitoes and other flying insects, which are common in warmer climes.

As health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre – see www.nathnac.org, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad at www.fco.gov.uk/travel.

Passports and visas

A visit to South Africa will reward you with a stamp in your passport when you enter and leave so you’ll need at least two completely empty pages.

If you plan to cross the border during your holiday, for example to Botswana or Zambia, you’ll need to have a few more pages spare.

British Citizens won’t need a visa for stays under 90 days.

Smoking

You’ll find that smoking is now banned in most public places while in hotels it’s often confined to a small glass-enclosed bar area or outside terrace.

Flight time

From London to Pretoria – from 11 hours 20 minutes

From London to Cape Town – from 12 hours 10 minutes


Places in South Africa