A phenomenal climate, shark-diving, surfing, historic trails and wine tasting, South Africa is the ultimate holiday...
No photograph can capture it; no guidebook can fully portray the diverse landscapes of this inspiring country at the foot of the African continent. Intrepid travellers will just have to discover for themselves the National Parks, the miles of beaches, the mountains that climb high above sea level, and the great wilderness and its variety of animals, from penguins to hippos. Not to mention some of the best wineries in the world.
Cape Town on the south coast is ideal for access not only to the city but to the Cape of Good Hope and Table Mountain, as well as the best of what the south west has to offer. Ferries also depart from the aptly named Nelson Mandela Gateway in Cape Town to Robben Island, where the now-former President was held as a political prisoner for years.
Cape Town is also a great jumping-off point for seaside adventures along the glorious Garden Route, which runs along the coastline of the Western Cape and takes in the city of George, the old-fashioned resort of Mossel Bay, Wilderness National Park, the glorious beaches at Plettenberg Bay and a host of other lovely temptations, such as a number of vineyards. Further along the coast is “The Friendly City” of Port Elizabeth.
Those travelling to Durban can also explore the nearby 'garden' province of KwaZulu Natal and the Drakensburg Mountains, plus the city of Bloemfontein at heart of the nation.
All this, plus the weather is pleasantly warm and sunny all year in South Africa.
Direct flights to South Africa take around 12 hours and arrive in a land of wildlife, wild flowers, wild nightlife, and locals with a wildly wonderful passion for life...
Arrive at Cape Town International Airport (CPT) on the south coast or Tambo International Airport (JNB) - previously known as Johannesburg International Airport - is the northern gateway to Jo'burg and the riches of the inland regions. Here you'll find gold mines, shopping gems in Pretoria, the Sun City Resort, and, much further north, Kruger National Park where the “Big 5” can be spotted.
As well as the beaches of the south east coast, Durban International Airport (DUR) allows holidaymakers to explore the nearby 'garden' province of KwaZulu Natal and the Drakensburg Mountains, plus the city of Bloemfontein at heart of the nation.
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and South African Airways fly non-stop from Heathrow to both Cape Town and Johannesburg. SAA flies into Durban via its Jo'burg hub.
If you are prepared to change, there are many other options for reaching the country by air, including Emirates from six UK departure points via Dubai, as well as KLM, Air France and Lufthansa via their main European gateways, with plenty of local departures from around the UK. You can also find cheap deals with carriers such as Egyptair via Cairo or Kenya Airways via Nairobi, to name but a few.
Flight prices rise during school holidays and advance booking is always recommended. Use the flight price-comparison tool on TravelSupermarket to find the best deals on South Africa flights.
The major airports in South Africa are modern and transport facilities will not disappoint...
Public transport is a hot topic in South Africa and massive investment is taking place to ensure it has one of the best infrastructures possible to keep tourism flourishing.
This means that whichever airport you arrive at, there is a great range of options for your transfer. Taxis remain very popular, but more cost-effective and ecological alternatives are recommended.
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems are currently (2014) being constructed in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Rustenburg and Port Elizabeth, and the government plans to extend it to seven more cities - routes to and from the major airports are a priority, so do check on arrival if a bus may be quicker and cheaper.
What a choice you have for fabulous places to stay if you are fortunate enough to be flying to glorious South Africa...
As a general guide for the British holidaymaker, Cape Town is often considered South Africa's 'Jewel City' with luxuriously large and smart boutique hotels.
Johannesburg remains a great magnet for travellers with its excellent standard of city accommodation. Most major hotel groups now have central premises here.
Durban offers a more traditional charm and the best places to stay here are in Unhloti Beach and Umhlanga.
Check out our great guides on the individual major cities in South Africa for further information. And remember to shop around and combine your accommodation with a flight deal using our comparison tool.