South Africa Destination Guide

By Jade Hindley

South Africa is stunningly diverse. Not only in its culture but its scenery, cuisine, wildlife and so much more. Go wildlife watching on a safari in one of the vast deserts and national parks for a once in a lifetime encounter. Get an adrenaline rush whilst rock climbing, bungee jumping or abseiling in the breathtakingly dramatic landscape. Sip amazing local wines and eat top class dishes in the gorgeous Cape Winelands. Educate yourself on the country’s turbulent past in one of the multitude of museums to get an insight into how far the country has come. There is so much to learn from this dazzling place.

Blyde River Canyon in Mpumulanga

Weather

Summer in South Africa is over our Winter, which makes it an ideal destination to escape the cold and rain. However this does this mean that prices are at their highest and accommodation along the coast and in national parks book up far in advance so you’ll need to get in early for these! Autumn to winter is the ideal time to visit if you intend on wildlife-watching, while late August and September are perfect for experiencing the stunning wildflower season and whale watching.

 

Spring – September to October (Average 13 - 17˚C)

Summer – November to March (Average 18 - 28˚C)

Autumn – April to May (Average 12 - 20˚C)

Winter – June to August (Average 9 - 14˚C)

Namaqualand

Budgeting

The currency is South African Rand. You can arrange a currency exchange before you travel, or exchange money once you have arrived.

We have included below some average costs to help you budget for your trip.

 

Accommodation

1 Night in a Budget Double Room: £10 - £30

1 Night in a Double Room: £40 - £250

1 Night in a Luxury Room - £250+

Food

Budget Meal: £1 - £5

Restaurant Meal: £5 - £15

Luxury Restaurant Meal: £20+

Extras

Johannesburg – Cape Town tourist train: £40

Wildlife drive : £30+

Pretoria – Cape Town Blue Train: £1000+

Museum: Often free but sometimes a few £s

Tipping

It is good etiquette when in South Africa as wages are quite low. 10 - 15% if your happy with your service in a restaurant is appreciated, and hotel staff or tour guides will happily accept a small tip.

Durban

Food

The vast variety of flavours in South Africa is abundant, with influences from Dutch, Malay, and Indian cuisine in particular. You can get a sense of the country’s diverse culture just from the food you will experience during your trip. Another point to note is that you can get a lot more for your money, so eating out will be a delicious and affordable event. Current trends are showing chefs go back to basics with home grown produce and traditional flavours that South Africa is famous for, whilst incorporating modern twists to dishes.

 

Winelands – Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch are the three main towns that make up the stunning district with gorgeous mountain ranges. Filled with some of the best restaurants in the country, this is a must-explore if in the area. Book ahead as most restaurant will be full on the day. Farmers markets are also very trendy in South Africa at the moment, with a range to choose from such as Blaauwklippen Market or Root 44 Market.

Seafood – South Africa is often undervalued as a destination for a seafood fan. Popular dishes in Cape Town, the West Coast, the Garden Route and Durban are snoekbraai which is grilled snoek, spicy fish stews, oysters, mussels and crayfish.

Braai – Pronounced bry is Afrikaans for barbecue. This is usually a big social event found all over South Africa, and further afield in Africa, with meat such as lamb chops, kebabs or sosaties. Porridge or krummelpap and vegetables are traditionally eaten with the barbecued food

Stellenbosch

Phrases

There are 11 different official languages of South Africa. English is the most commonly spoken  language in terms of public life but not in numbers. It’s recommended to stick to English with strangers but try some of these useful phrases out on your trip.

 

Aita

(ai-tah)

Hello (a greeting)

 

Akubekuhle

(aako-beck-hoole)

Cheers to a drink / Thank you

 

Yebo

(Yeah-baw)

Yes (in Zulu)

 

Howzit

(how-zit)

How are you? (informal)

Table Mountain

Interesting Facts

1. South Africa has three capital cities. The Executive Capital is Pretoria, the Judicial Capital is Bloemfontein, and the Legislative Capital is Cape Town.

2. The highest bridge in the world for commercial bungee jumping is Bloukrans Bridge, near Nature’s Valley in Western Cape, South Africa.

3. Cape Town’s Table Mountain is considered to be one of the oldest mountains on the planet.

4. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, two well-known Nobel Prize winners, both lived on Vilakazi Street in Soweto.

Kruger National Park

Call 0161 440 6730 to book your next adventure to South Africa!