South Africa Travel Essentials

All you need to know to get started planning the perfect trip
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Elephant at sunset in Kruger National Park
Best Time of Year to Visit Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park is a year-round destination, but understanding how the dry and wet seasons affect game-viewing is key. Depending on how you weigh your priorities, the following information will help you decide which season is right for you.

Cape Wine Lands in Autumn
Best Time of Year to Visit South Africa

South Africa is a year-round destination thanks to its varied landscapes—it's always sunny somewhere. No matter what season you visit, you'll find something to do: Kruger safaris in winter, Hermanus whale watching in spring, Cape Town beaches in the summer, and Franschoek wine in the fall. Visit during spring or autumn when the weather is predictable and mild, wildlife is active, and there are fewer crowds. Read on for advice on South Africa's weather, unmissable events, and travel tips.

Cape Town and Table Mountain from the air
Best Time of Year to Visit Cape Town

Planning your trip to Cape Town requires flipping your mental calendar, as the southern hemisphere’s seasons are a reverse of the northern hemisphere. South Africa’s hot, dry, and popular summer (December-February) corresponds to North America’s winter, and vice versa. However, you should also factor in when best to avoid the crowds and find the most reasonable rates. Depending on how you weigh these factors, the following information will help you decide which season is right for you.

Dare to cross the Storms River Suspension Bridge in Tsitsikamma National Park, Garden Route, South Africa
Best Time of Year to Drive the Garden Route

Driving South Africa's famed Garden Route is suitable in any season; though there is always a chance of rain, it's never enough to discourage a road trip or adventure outdoors. Let your interests determine when you hit the road. If you want to see whales, come in the winter, spring for the wildflowers, summer for the beaches, and fall for hiking. Awaiting exploration at any time, the Garden Route offers something for everyone.

Giraffe in the bush
Best Time of Year for a Safari in South Africa

With its expansive size, varied topography, and coastlines bordering the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, South Africa conjures diverse weather patterns. While summer sun shines on the cloudless Cape Provinces, rain deluges the safari parks of KwaZulu Natal and Greater Kruger. Consequently, with game reserves scattered throughout the country, choosing where and when to visit can leave you scratching your head. The following information will help you weigh your priorities and determine which season and destination is right for you in this country of many climates.

Cape Peninsula, South Africa
Best Time of Year for a Self-Drive Trip in South Africa

An excellent way to cover a lot of ground and see South Africa's top highlights is to hire a car and go on a road trip. The best time to hop in a vehicle is during the shoulder season (spring and fall) when the prices are low and fewer travelers are on the road. Yet each season offers fine weather and excellent opportunities for wildlife spotting and outdoor excursions—it all depends on where in the country you plan to be. Read on to find out what season suits you best.

A stunning sunset on the Western Cape
Map of Guide to South Africa's Top Regions: Where to Go for Safari, Culture, Hiking & More
Guide to South Africa's Top Regions: Where to Go for Safari, Culture, Hiking & More

South Africa's scenery is as diverse as its culture, providing an ideal setting for an activity-packed trip. Below we've outlined the Rainbow Nation's nine provinces (and what they're best for)—plus two landlocked kingdoms—so you can choose your adventure, whether it's big game safaris, Apartheid history, hiking and biking trails, Indigenous villages, or world-class vineyards. Read on to learn more.

Wildlife spotting in South Africa
How kimkim Trips Work in South Africa

South Africa offers a perfect mix of culture, nature, and adventure. Discover the "Rainbow Nation" through its famed wildlife on a world-class safari and in the neighborhoods of metropolitan Cape Town. Stay in remote lodges, taste local vintages in the rolling Winelands, and enjoy museums and fine dining in Johannesburg. Keep reading to learn more about planning your perfect trip to South Africa with kimkim's local specialists.