Travellers have been heading to South Africa for centuries for adventures. It’s a diverse land where you can enjoy a variety of experiences in one trip, blending cities and countryside and world-class food and wine with challenging cycle rides and hikes. Stay in decadent safari lodges, or experience the thrill of camping under starlit skies, listening to the sounds of the wild. If 2023 calls for adventure, you don’t have to look further than magnificent South Africa.
1. Exciting and diverse wildlife
If you’re serious about spotting as much wildlife as possible, one game drive simply won’t suffice. Instead, on our Johannesburg to Cape Town trip, you’ll have the opportunity to see the widest range of Africa’s animals on all manner of wildlife adventures. Take a night game drive with a roving spotlight and feel your heart thumping in your chest as you take an exhilarating game walk across a private reserve. You’ll also experience two game drives and a nature walk in the To Hlane Game Reserve in Eswatini. You’ll board a boat to explore St Lucia, where there’s the chance to see hippos and crocodiles, watch whales from the shoreline in Hermanus, and marvel at the penguin colony in Simonstown.
The trip spans 20 incredible days –almost three weeks of sensational wildlife spotting on an adventure that ensures you experience the headlines of South Africa and takes you into the mountain kingdoms of Eswatini and Lesotho.
2. Fine wines and food pairings
If you want to make sampling South Africa’s wine the focus of your trip, it’s best done in style. Our new 2023 South Africa trip is one of our Premium Adventures, a collection of highly rated trips with added ooh-factor such as premium accommodation, included excursions, and award-winning leaders.
Our Cape Town and the Garden Route Premium Adventure takes one of the finest coastal routes in the world between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. You’ll spend two nights at Amakhala Safari Lodge, a sensational place to stay in a valley overlooking a waterhole in the bush. You’ll experience the thrill of four game drives, then return to your private suite with its own plunge pool to look out over the scenery. You’ll also stay in swish accommodation in Simonstown (where you’ll stop to see the penguins), and when you spend time in Cape Town, you’ll stay in the upmarket Camps Bay area, within easy reach of its lovely beach.
A highlight of the nine-night trip is a day of wine tasting with food pairings in beautiful Stellenbosch, known worldwide for its excellent wineries tucked into rolling scenery. The headline wine is Cabernet Sauvignon, and at the exceptional Waterford Estate, you’ll pair their offerings with milk and dark chocolate. You’ll also sample traditional South African BBQ, Boerebraai, with the region’s Chardonnay and Pinotage.
3. Thrilling cycle routes
Keen cyclists already know that biking is one of the best ways to experience a destination because you can cover more ground and venture into lesser-discovered places. It’s no different on our Cycling the Drakensberg & Kruger trip, a 12-day trip that includes eight days of cycling, segmented by a memorable two-day safari in Kruger National Park.
The biking is so superb with its smooth road surfaces and varied, dramatic scenery that it’s undoubtedly the highlight of this trip. You’ll cycle through abandoned gold mines and forests that are home to baboons and listen out for the sound of thundering waterfalls as you ride. The trip reaches an epic conclusion at the Blyde River Canyon, where the panoramic views are nothing short of sensational.
4. Incredible treks
Spend nine days trekking through the South African landscape, covering anything between three and ten miles daily, on our South Africa: Walking & Wildlife trip. It’s a well-planned blend of hiking in the Drakensberg Mountains and across the mountainous terrain of Eswatini. You’ll take a game drive in Kruger National Park, where your mission is to experience the heart-stopping moment of seeing a lion in the wild, or the thrill of seeing elephants, rhinos, leopards, cheetahs, and giraffes roaming freely.
While most of the exploring is on foot, you’ll also step aboard a boat to search for hippos and crocs on a two-hour trip. And before your journey reaches its finale in Johannesburg, you’ll hike to Tugela Falls, the world’s second-tallest waterfall and spend a while admiring the sheer magnificence of the view.
Nothing comes close to the experience of watching whales breach in the wild. And Hermanus, located on the Western Cape, is considered to be the world’s premier site for watching whales between the months of June to December. The most common whale species spotted in the Hermanus area is the Southern Right Whale, but you may also encounter Bryde’s whales and Humpbacks, along with other marine wildlife including seals and dolphins, if you’re lucky.
On day 8 of our Cape Town & the Garden Route trip, you’ll enjoy a free day where you can spot these majestic creatures off the coast of Walker Bay. Listen out for the whale crier, who sounds his kelp horn when he catches sight of a pod of whales in the waters. If you want to get closer to the action, your expert guide can also help you organise an optional boat-based whale-watching trip. If you’d like to learn more about whales and marine life that congregate in Hermanus, check out the Whale House Museum. Should you be planning your trip around the end of September, Hermanus also hosts an annual Hermanus Whale Festival, in celebration of the mating and calving season, which is said to attract over 150,000 people every year.
If this has left you inspired to book a holiday in South Africa next year, browse our collection of incredible adventures here.