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Spotlight on...South Africa!

South Africa is one of Africa’s most sought-after destinations and one of the most diverse countries on the planet. From the wilderness to the bustling city, from the sprawling countryside to the coast’s powdery beaches, South Africa is a destination ideal for the discerning traveler in search of relaxation, adventure, or exploration. Diverse geography and cultures aren’t the only elements drawing visitors to this spectacular country. Did you know that South Africa is also known for its boutique hotels, luxurious lodges and charming camps, as well as its bustling arts and culture scene?

You already know that it’s a prime destination for that safari you’re dying to take, but do you know that you can also

  • watch for whales at False Bay as you enjoy local, freshly caught seafood, or rejuvenating spa treatment at one of Cape Town’s many distinguished spas;

  • explore the Cape’s art, cultural and culinary standouts, or discover the Xhosa people’s unique customs on a local township visit;

  • go horseback riding through fragrant orchards and sprawling vineyards in the Cape Winelands; or

  • meet face to face with one of the world’s most terrifying natural predators, the great white shark, from the safety of a cage? I think you knew that one.

South Africa is an incredibly diverse country – safari, coastline, city life – there’s really something for everyone here. For your first visit, choose the dry season (I'll tell you when that is: read on!) as this is the best time for a safari. Plan for at the VERY least ten days on the ground. After you land in Johannesburg, I recommend a few days of exploring the city while you recover from jet lag; then you’ll be ready for a week of game drives, photography lessons, and voluntourism opportunities. Afterwards, rest up with a few days in Cape Town, making the mix of city, culture, and safari a perfect vacation.

A safari is different every time, so we’ll start planning your second trip for a year or two later. Why? Your safari experience is really based on how the animals are acting in that moment. Your first trip might be based from Londolozi Private Game Reserve, one of the original safari camps in South Africa; and your second from Kruger National Park with a few days’ wrap-up on the beach when you jet off to Mozambique for some secluded relaxation.

English is widely spoken in South Africa, and the tourism industry has a solid infrastructure. South Africa’s wine industry has emerged as a world leader of ethical and environmentally focused trading practices and nearly every wine bottle that is exported proudly sports the Integrity & Sustainability certification. The Cape Winelands are as beautiful and productive as California’s Napa Valley, but with the added novelty of monkeys.

With so much to do and varying climates, South Africa is definitely a year-round destination. But there are ideal times to visit, depending on what you want to see and do. For safaris in South Africa, wildlife viewing is at its peak in the drier months of May to October. For a beach holiday, the weather is ideal during the summer months of November to March, and for those hoping to spot whales, you’re most likely to see them June through November, with a peak in September.

There is so much to do and see, and much to plan for. South Africa begs to be on your Wanderlist. 'What's that?' you say. It's Virtuoso's "I'm dreaming of travel" tool: a web-based way to inspire your travel dreams. I wrote about it here, and you can start yours here or here. As always it's not too early to start planning.

'til next week.


Did you miss any of my articles? They are all here.

Contact: GLOBAL EXOTIC ADVENTURES - Juliet Weller, Founder

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