The whole ‘country of contrasts’ thing has become a bit of a cliche.
But what else do you call a place where (in a three week period) you could happily slalom between penguins waddling on the Cape and lions stalking the bushveld, cinematic coastal switchbacks and burnt Kalahari sand, the oldest wine industry outside Europe and cutting edge fusion cuisine? ‘Contrast’, doesn’t really do South Africa justice. The beauty of a South Africa tour (besides the peace of mind that comes with an expert local guide) is being able to fit so much Africa into so little time. From the Stellenbosch winelands to Kruger, Blyde River and beyond, this is a place where you can take your safari with a side of espresso
Top South Africa travel deals
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Our South Africa trips
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South Africa tour reviews
Our South Africa trips score an average of 4.56 out of 5 based on 152 reviews in the last year.
Kruger & Coast, February 2017
This trip is a great trip if you like being in nature, camping and love animals. You will see elephants, giraffes, baboons, hippos, rhinos, lions, buffaloes, impalas, kudus, ... and if you are lucky even zebras and leopards. You will also have the opportunity to lay on the beach and go snorkeling.
Review submitted 16 Feb 2017
Kruger, Coast & Cape, January 2017
Great experience, highly recommended. Very competent leader and driver. Stunning scenery and unforgettable experiences. A must do for the bucket list!
Review submitted 09 Feb 2017
Articles on South Africa
South Africa travel highlights
Catch some sun on the golden beaches of Durban
Feel the buzz of urban Africa in Johannesburg
Be captivated by the beautiful landscapes of Cape Town
Transport in South Africa
Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.
Depending on which trip you're on while in South Africa, you may find yourself travelling by:
Accommodation in South Africa
Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.
When travelling with us in South Africa you may find yourself staying in a:
South Africa holiday information
At a glance
Best time to visit South Africa
Culture and customs
Eating and drinking
Geography and environment
History and government
Top 10 Places of South Africa
Festivals and Events
Health and Safety
South Africa travel FAQs
Australia: No visa required
Belgium: No visa required
Canada: No visa required
Germany: No visa required
Ireland: No visa required
Netherlands: No visa required
New Zealand: No visa required
Switzerland: No visa required
United Kingdom: No visa required
USA: No visa required
Citizens of the above countries do not need visas to visit South Africa as a tourist for up to three months. Citizens of all other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required.
Entry Requirements – Passports:
Please note that non-machine readable passports are no longer accepted by South African immigration. All visitors to South Africa must have a machine readable travel document (e-passport). Failure to present an e-passport will result in denied entry. Passengers with a valid visa issued in a non-machine readable passport will be handled on a case by case basis, but a fine will still be applicable.
Entry Requirements - Yellow Fever Certificate:
A valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required for all passengers over one year of age who arrive or are transiting through South Africa, from a country or region listed by the World Health Organization as infected by yellow fever. Travellers unable to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate issued at least 10 days before arrival in South Africa will be refused entry. There is no option for travellers without a vaccination certificate to be vaccinated on arrival. Please note this also includes transiting through an infected country or region.
Entry Requirements - Travelling with Children:
Parents need to produce an original unabridged birth certificate if they are travelling with children. This regulation has been put in place to protect children from being abducted, kidnapped and child trafficking. The Department of Home Affairs has urged all parents to apply for unabridged certificates for their children. Additionally, further documentation including permission to travel, may be required if only one parent is travelling. These are requirements of the immigration regulation 6 (12)(a) for parents travelling with children. More information can be found here: http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/civic-services/traveling-with-children
We recommend travellers check all entry and visa requirements before travel as they can change.
It's considered polite to tip service workers in South Africa, as most receive a small wage. As a general rule, add 10-15% to bills at cafes, bars and restaurants (if it hasn’t already been added). Tour guides, drivers, valets and porters also should be tipped (5-10 ZAR should be sufficient).
Travellers will be able to access the internet quite easily in the internet cafes of South Africa’s large cities but limited to no access should be expected in rural areas.
Mobile phone coverage is very good in South Africa’s large cities and towns, but less so in rural and mountainous areas. Ensure you have global roaming activated before leaving home if you wish to use your mobile phone. However a cheaper option may be to buy a sim card at the airport and purchase a plan with both calls and data.
South Africa is modern country with mostly flushable toilets. However, areas like national parks and villages may have squat toilets.
Can of soft drink = 6 ZAR
Coffee in a cafe = 12 ZAR
Beer in a bar = 15 ZAR
Simple takeaway meal = 30 ZAR
Bottle of wine = 30 ZAR
Three-course restaurant meal = 300 ZAR
Tap water can be drunk in South Africa’s cities, however drinking tap water in rural areas isn't recommended. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found, some hotels we stay in may have drinking water available. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.
Credit cards are usually accepted by large hotels, modern shops and western-style restaurants but not by smaller vendors. Ensure you have adequate cash to cover purchases not able to be made on credit.
There are many ATMs in the big cities and regional towns of South Africa. Rural areas, national parks and small villages will have limited to no ATMs, so be sure to carry other payment options before travelling out of the big cities.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
- 1 Jan New Year's Day
- 2 Jan Public Holiday
- 21 Mar Human Rights Day
- 14 Apr Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)
- 17 Apr Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
- 27 Apr Freedom Day
- 1 May Workers' Day
- 16 Jun Youth Day
- 9 Aug National Women's Day
- 24 Sep Heritage Day
- 25 Sep Public Holiday
- 16 Dec Day of Reconciliation
- 25 Dec Christmas Day
- 26 Dec Day of Goodwill
Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in South Africa go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/south-africa/public-holidays
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for South Africa
- Be considerate of South Africa’s customs, traditions, religions and culture.
- For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.
- Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
- When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
- Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
- Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
- Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
- When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.
- Avoid purchasing ivory and products harvested from endangered animals.
- Be sensitive towards South Africa’s fragile political and social history when talking with locals.
The Intrepid Foundation
The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities - in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.
In South Africa, The Intrepid Foundation proudly supports:
Thusanani Children’s Foundation
This organisation assists to brighten the lives and futures of some of South Africa’s most vulnerable children by providing occupational therapy and treatment to babies and children at risk of development delay. It also provides valuable training to caregivers so that they are empowered to positively influence the lives of the children they care for.
Image supplied by Thusanani Children's Foundation.
To learn more or donate, go to: www.theintrepidfoundation.org