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View of the City Cape Town in the Early Morning

Compare the best South Africa holidays

Holidays in South Africa, one of the most exciting destinations on the planet, can never be long enough to truly get to grips with the diverse beauty of this magical land.

Why go?

From mountains and beaches to skyscrapers and wineries, not to mention safaris, South Africa mesmerises and charms at every turn...

South Africa holidays begin after direct flights of around 12 hours from the UK. Where you decide to land depends on your holiday preferences. Jostling for attention are Cape Town and Table Mountain, Johannesburg and Kruger National Park, Pretoria, Sun City and Durban, as well as the Garden Route, Plettenberg Bay, Port Elizabeth and the Drakensburg Mountains.

Cape Town, for example, combines big city highlights with the chance to scramble up Table Mountain or visit Robben Island, the prison island where Nelson Mandela was held for years. The Cape of Good Hope is not far away, while the south coast is home to amazing destinations such as George and Mossel Bay.

The cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria, meanwhile, are in the north east of the country and can easily combined with the inland holiday resort of Sun City and an unforgettable wildlife safari.

Durban sits on the east coast of this great nation. It is an exciting destination in itself, with a fantastic selection of beaches and enchanting city highlights. Many holidaymakers arrive here to venture further into South Africa, with trips to the Drakensburg Mountains and safaris in KwaZulu-Natal's parks.

When to go?

For such a vast nation, South Africa enjoys moderate weather and very few regional differences ...

The southern-hemisphere summer months of December to February see daytime temperatures reaching 30C, with spring and autumn averages hovering around 20C. Winters, however, can be cool, particularly in inland regions where the mercury can drop considerably overnight.

What's on?

There's an appetising menu of annual events in South Africa...

Cape Times V&A Waterfront Wine Affair; May: The excellent wines produced near Cape Town are showcased during this event, with many restaurants offering wine-paired dinners for a delicious taste of South Africa.

Joy of Jazz Festival in Johannesburg; August: Hear the smooth sounds of jazz from some of the world's finest musicians.
Cape Town International Comedy Festival; September: A week of belly laughs is guaranteed at this comedy fest, which attracts international comedians and local talent.

Springbreak; September: South African students flock to Sun City to party during spring break. So join in the fun, or avoid this time if the idea of partying teens doesn't appeal.

National Braai Day; September 24: Braai, or barbecue, is a social occasion in South Africa. There will be plenty of parties wherever you are.

What to do?

This diverse and beautiful country has a little something up its sleeve for every kind of visitor...

Kids and teens: Kruger National Park is one of the top spots for a South African safari. It's easy to organise overnight trips from hotels in Pretoria or Johannesburg.

Romance: The Cape Winelands offer many stunning landscapes in which to relax with a glass of something delicious.

Active types: Table Mountain looms over Cape Town and challenges all those with a taste for adventure.

Free and cheap: The Muthi Market in Durban, also known as the “witches market”, offers a fascinating look at how ancient and modern lotions and potions are made from the fruits of South Africa. You can pick up gifts such as incense and “magic” trinkets.

Grown-up families: Las-Vegas style Sun City is a great spot for older children and their families, with plenty of ways to fill your time.

Babies and toddlers: Boulders Beach, not far from Cape Town, will have little ones captivated with the sight of the playful penguins who inhabit the sands.

Shopping: Johannesburg is the place to be for the finest shopping opportunities in South Africa. Ultra-modern malls stock high-end goods, while bustling markets offer a more authentic African experience.