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South Africa Destination Guide

Exclusively Elegant Travel Since 1988

For more information, please call our Travel Consultants on:01244 897 111

Your guide from the Luxury Travel Experts


Welcome to the Elegant Resorts Destination Guide for South Africa, created to help make your choice of luxury holiday as easy as possible. Here, you will find more detailed factual information about the destination you have selected.

If you require further information, not featured on this page, please call one of our Travel Consultants.

Overview+

Capital Pretoria (executive), Bloemfontein (judicial) and Cape Town (legislative).
Language English, Afrikaans
Time Difference 2 hours
Currency South African Rand
Voltage 230V

Picture desert skies filled with stars, rolling vineyards, jagged sandstone peaks, and powder-soft beaches pounded by waves; South Africa is an incredible canvas of captivating landscapes, a simply perfect destination to embrace the outdoor lifestyle. Also boasting amazing wildlife, a selection of sophisticated and modern cities, eclectic cuisine, compelling cultures, and intriguing history, South Africa’s list of attractions is long and varied, promising wide-ranging appeal and a truly unique experience for visitors of all ages and interests.

Below, read through a selection of South Africa’s highlights, pointing you in the direction of our dedicated regional guides. See which areas really take your fancy, then speak to our expert travel consultants, who will happily design a bespoke itinerary of this extraordinary ‘Rainbow Nation’ just for you.

Highlights+
Cape Town

The first port of call for most visitors, cosmopolitan Cape Town, is the birthplace of modern South Africa and is blessed with a sensational geographical location – dramatic Table Mountain stands on one side, whilst the indigo Atlantic Ocean shimmers on the other. Standout features include top-class hotels, restaurants, bars, museums and other various entertainment, as well as iconic attractions – such as Robben Island and the V&A Waterfront. Meanwhile, along the Cape Peninsula on Cape Town’s Southern Atlantic Seaboard, there is a selection of sandy beaches and boulder-scattered coves, running right the way down to striking Cape Point - a fantastic day trip from the bustling city.

Food and Wine

Less than an hour’s drive inland from Cape Town city centre, the broad, fertile valleys of the Cape Winelands unfold, famous for producing some of the world’s finest wines. Highlights include the attractive Dutch settlement of Stellenbosch, surrounded by world-class vineyards, as well as Franschhoek – a gourmet capital and foodie heaven, housing world-renowned restaurants, speciality delicatessens and more award-winning wineries.

Johannesburg

Undergoing rapid changes and development, Jo’Burg (as the city is affectionately known) is becoming increasingly smart and trendy, attracting more and more visitors each year. There are countless things to see and do here: explore Mandela’s home in Soweto, or discover a line-up of fascinating museums highlighting South Africa’s turbulent past – Constitution Hill, Apartheid Museum and Liliesleaf Farm are just a few great examples.

Kalahari

The ‘green’ area of the southern Kalahari Desert is a true paradise of untouched wilderness, rich in fascinating wildlife. Visit in spring to spot curious meerkats, in summer for migrant birds, in autumn for the antelope rut, or in winter to spot pint-size creatures beneath sensational stars. Special interest safaris are also on offer - including guided walking, horseback and night-time adventures.

Travel Gems+

Travel Planning
Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about. 

Afternoon Tea
Enjoy the legendary Afternoon Tea at Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in Cape Town, which has become a tradition and offers the opportunity to relax in sophisticated surroundings indoors or outside, whilst savouring finger sandwiches, sweet treats - including a South African milk tart - and the hotel's signature blend of tea.

Whisky
If you're a whisky connoisseur, Cape Grace has the largest collection of whisky available in the southern hemisphere at its bar.

Wine Route
Look out for the official wine route logo for cellar tours and lunches in shaded gardens or restaurants, where you can sample the wine of your choice.

Rovos Rail
Travel in style from Cape Town to Pretoria (or vice versa) on the world-famous Rovos Rail train; view the magnificent scenery from the opulent carriages that rekindle the golden age of travel.

Climate+

With seasons reversed, this is an ideal destination to visit during our winter months - summer in South Africa - with temperatures at their highest between December and February. However, you may visit at any time of the year and enjoy a pleasant climate with plenty of sunshine, although do be prepared for frequent rain showers from June to August. The ideal time for a safari is during the South African winter when from May to August the grass is short and the game is easily spotted. In the summer, the rain encourages lush vegetation, making the animals more difficult to see. Cape Town enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cold, wet winters. November, December, January, February and March enjoy the lowest average monthly rainfall. The long sunny days and late sunsets make these the best months of the year to take a ride on the cable-car and spend time exploring Table Mountain.

Temperature Guide

These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for South Africa.

  Temp °C Rain mm
January2532
February2531
March2443
April2282
May19136
June17189
July17164
August17163
September1896
October2061
November2240
December2443

Getting There+

Flight Information
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic direct from London Heathrow to Cape Town and Johannesburg. South African Airways from London Heathrow to Johannesburg.
Via Dubai with Emirates from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow.
Onward connecting flights with South African Airways and Comair to Durban and Port Elizabeth. South African Express and Comair to George. South African Express to Richards Bay. Airlink to Kruger Mpumalanga.

Flight Time
From London Heathrow to Cape Town: 11 hours, 25 minutes.
London Heathrow to Johannesburg: 10 hours, 50 minutes.
Onward connecting flights from Johannesburg to Durban: 1 hour, 10 minutes.
From Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth: 1 hour, 40 minutes.
From Johannesburg to George: 1 hour, 50 minutes.
From Johannesburg to Richards Bay: 1 hour, 15 minutes.
From Johannesburg to Kruger Mpumalanga: 50 minutes.

Travel Documentation+

Travelling With Children or Without an Adult

Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.

Visa and Advance Passenger Information

All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.

New rules apply with regards to children travelling to South Africa. Parents travelling with children under the age of 18 will be asked to show the child’s full unabridged birth certificate. The full unabridged birth certificate should list the child's details and both parents details. The abridged (short) birth certificate which only lists the child's particulars won't be accepted. The South African Department of Home Affairs are not accepting uncertified copies of birth certificates, passports or copies of parents/guardians identification.

Where one parent is accompanying, in addition to the unabridged birth certificate there will be a need for parental or legal consent for the child to travel for example an affidavit from the other parent,(a letter from the parent witnessed and stamped by a solicitor), court order, or if applicable a death certificate . A copy of the parent's passport is also required signed and stamped by a solicitor.

Where a person is travelling with a child who is not their biological child, they must provide the unabridged birth certificate for the child, affidavit from the child's parents or legal guardian giving consent and copies of the identity documents or passport of the parents or legal guardian.

For further information or any other requirements please check the government website. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/south-africa/entry-requirements  

Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.

For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk

Health+

Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/

In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.

Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice. Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net, www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.

Precautions against malaria are necessary in the Kruger National Park and other selected areas. A yellow fever vaccination certificate will be required for travel (in any direction) between South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide. You should take health advice about your specific need

Talk to our Asia, Australasia and Africa Experts

Our dedicated Asia, Australasia and Africa Experts are ready to help you design your luxury holiday to South Africa. Furthermore, we have 14 Travel Consultants who have personally visited South Africa and can offer you their first-hand knowledge and experience.

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