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South Africa

South Africa is an utterly compelling country. The ‘rainbow nation’ is not just a melting pot of races and cultures, it’s a constantly changing landscape of rugged mountains and arid plains, verdant forest and windswept beaches, pounding surf and rolling savannah.

It’s a destination where every day brings another unforgettable moment, from the thrill of a big cat sighting to the jaw-dropping views from Table Mountain. Most first time visitors are lured here by the incredible wildlife, and a South African safari is a true bucket list experience. There’s no need to rough it here, with an outstanding array of luxurious lodges that provide a perfect base from which to explore game-rich reserves like Sabi Sand and Kruger National Park. Naturally you’ll want to tick off the ‘Big Five’ - lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino - but expert local trackers will also get you up close to zebras, hippos, giraffes and much more during your daily game drives. And the spectacular wildlife is not limited to dry land; the waters off South Africa’s dramatic coastline are home to seals, whales, penguins and even the great white shark.

 

Getting There

Flying time from the UK is approximately 11 hours to Johannesburg and 11 hours 30 minutes to Cape Town. All flights are non-stop. British Airways Up to 10 departures a week from London to Cape Town. Twice daily departures from Heathrow to Johannesburg. Virgin Atlantic Daily departures from Heathrow to Johannesburg. South African Airways Departures from Heathrow to Johannesburg twice daily.

Note: All our inclusive holiday prices are based on British Airways World Traveller flights.

Language

There are eleven official languages of South Africa: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.

Time Difference

1 hour ahead of GMT

Currency

South African rand

Useful Information

A full British passport is required and it should be valid for 30 days after the return date of your holiday. Visas are not required for British citizens.

Your passport should have at least 2 blank pages when you present it at immigration to enter or leave South Africa.

See the island

Cape Town

Make sure you spend some time in Cape Town, one of the world’s most alluring cities, with its spectacular setting near the point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. Take the cable car to the summit of Table Mountain, go bar hopping along buzzing Long Street and learn about Nelson Mandela’s struggle for freedom on Robben Island.

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The Winelands

From Cape Town it’s only a short drive to the winelands of the Western Cape and the foodie nirvana of Franschhoek, while to the east is the Garden Route, one of the most beautiful coastal drives in the world. South Africa’s rich cultural mix is reflected in its cuisine, drawing on culinary influences from Africa, India, Europe and the Far East.

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Cuisine

Make sure you try Bobotie, a spicy Cape Malay speciality and the nearest thing South Africa has to a national dish. If you’re on safari then you’ll almost certainly be treated to a barbecue in the bush, with the chance to try more exotic meats such as ostrich and zebra, while Cape Town has a gourmet restaurant scene to rival any world city.

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Try The Wines

South Africa also produces some truly excellent wines, a tradition that dates back to the arrival of French settlers in the 17th Century. Top destinations for wine tastings include Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl, all within easy reach of Cape Town.

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The Big Five

Many people assume that the ‘Big Five’ are the largest animals in the African bush, but in fact the term was originally used by game hunters to refer to the five most dangerous animals to hunt on foot - the lion, the elephant, the leopard, the rhinoceros and the Cape buffalo. Sightings are never guaranteed, but it’s not unheard of to see all five in the same day at certain game reserves.

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Drive The Garden Route

Stretching some 200 miles between Mossel Bay and the Storms River, the Garden Route winds its way through an area of astonishing natural beauty. We recommend hiring a car and setting your own pace, taking time to explore the remarkably varied landscape of rocky coves, wild beaches and dramatic mountains.

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Township Tour and Robben Island

Learn more about South African life under apartheid at Cape Town’s moving District Six Museum, and visit the townships where the legacy of segregation lingers on. Then take the ferry across to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 of his 27 years in prison.

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Bequia Beach Hotel

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"With such a beautiful, secluded beach to enjoy, this is the perfect spot to kick back and relax with a cocktail whilst enjoying the views of Mustique in the distance."

"Bequia Beach Hotel is owned and operated by a Swedish family and their attention to detail is evident throughout the hotel. We love the cool, colonial décor which is super-stylish and full of character."

"Dining out on Bequia is a very special experience - the hotel’s owner, Bengt, will be happy to recommend some of the excellent restaurants where you can sample delicious Caribbean cuisine and get to know the friendly Bequia locals."

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