7 Day Cape and Beyond Retreat - 7day Private Tour | Hotspots2c
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Cape and Beyond Retreat

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Duration of tour
7 days
Private

Transfer Types

Van / Minivan
Guaranteed to depart
Everyday

Overview

South Africa has a beauty that binds and a week here feels like a month anywhere else. This private tour travel through the Cape and beyond - exploring the city, Cape Peninsula, Stellenbosch Winelands and Whale Coast - allowing you some much needed 'me'-time to relax and just 'be'.

Take in the ultra-scenic sights and sounds while rewarding yourself with a much needed digital detox. If offline is the new luxury, your stay at Mosaic Private Sanctuary allows you ultimate indulgence… Flick your on/off switch and simply bask in the sun while drinking in chilled views on the shores of Hermanus Lagoon. For an extra dose of R'nR ask us to book optional activities like; a romantic picnic on a secluded beach; kayak with migrating whales; cruise through a bird-watching sanctuary; dive the deep with great white sharks or indulge with an African–inspired spa treatment or two, or three.

And, with a private guide at your disposal, you can relax into your seven-day bespoke adventure that's designed to stimulate your senses and serve up nature’s finest for your viewing pleasure. 

Discover what Cape Town has to offer on the first day and then explore even more over the next two days with a local. Discover the history, the passion, the stories, the cuisine and the culture… From South Africa’s oldest gardens; The Company’s Garden - to the old slave lodges; the religious heart of the Rainbow Nation with churches and mosques, to the ceremony of the Noon Gun firing; and the utter splendour of Table Mountain and Kirstenbosch through to the spicy exotica of the Cape Malay quarter, there’s something different to discover at every twist and turn.

Then move over to explore the coastlines of Cape Point. The Cape Peninsula packs quite a punch when it comes to dramatic scenery, but the furry and feathered animal encounters really add the X-factor. From the fur seal colony that cavort in and around Duiker Island to the impromptu African penguin parades on the sands of beautiful Boulders Beach. Pretty little fishing villages like Hout Bay charm with their gaily painted boats and the craggy surrounding cliffs of Cape of Good Hope provide the perfect vantage point for a little sea-gazing over ancient trade routes.

Stellenbosch, in the heart of the Cape Winelands fruit bowl, offers hedonistic pleasures for lovers of fine food and wine. Tasting sessions tease the tastebuds. Rich bold reds and fruity white wines are artfully blended by passionate vintners and, in turn, married perfectly with artisanal cheeses, oils and fresher-than-fresh produce. From winelands through farm lands to craggy coastlines, you’ll end your day watching the sun’s golden orb sink into the vermillion skies over the Hermanus Lagoon.

Arriving at the Mosaic Private Sanctuary for a two-night stay in the Overberg region suddenly slow down the pace even more.

On the way back to Cape Town you'll get a chance to commune with nature in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve and discover the flora of the Cape Floral Kingdom. A short hike through groves of giant trees leads to a hidden waterfall deep within the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens – a must-do on South Africa’s Garden Route. The unflappable penguins of Stony Point provide a little comic relief as the shadows lengthen and afternoon sets in.

And when the sight-seeing is done and the week draws to an end, you’ll make your way along the ultra-scenic Clarence Drive. This trip is an absolute standout on the Atlantic Seaboard drive due, as much, to the 144 twists and bends on the flat mountain pass as to the world-class beaches that border the route. And, at the end of it all, sink into an over-sized bed with a generous glass of red and let reality seep back in on your final night in Africa.

Get ready for pure bliss...

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Start

Cape Town
End

Cape Town
 

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Distance
±
1500
km
Tempo
Medium pace
Ideal For
Family
Couple
Theme
Beach Villa
Beach Bliss
Close to Nature
Explore Like a Local
Love South Africa
Cape Town
Cape of Wine
Private Tours
South Africa

Why You’ll Love It

  • Meet the cute 5,000+ resident penguins at Stony Point Nature Reserve.

  • Wind along the wild beauty of the Kogelberg Biosphere with dramatic coastal scenes of Clarence drive.

  • Cruise to a colony of Cape Fur seals as these clumsy creatures laze about.

  • Explore the cultural haven of the bustling Hout Bay harbour. 

  • Prepare for unparalleled views as you drive along Chapman's Peak.

  • See wild Atlantic waves crash at the southwestern most point of Africa.

  • Take pics of the Muizenberg surfer's shores.

  • Come face to face with the mighty great white on an adrenaline-packed shark cage dive.

  • Waddle with adorable African penguins at Boulders Beach.

  • Glide up the aerial cableway to see Cape Town from atop the iconic Table Mountain.

  • Indulge in Bo-Kaap's rainbow colours and Cape Malay flavours.

  • Let a local lead you through Cape Town's inner city for an insider view of the Mother City.

  • Pair wine and olive oil at this prestigious Stellenbosch vineyard.

  • Enjoy a Tuscan atmosphere at Waterford Wine Estate.

  • Experience an authentic African dining indulgence at Moyo.

  • Cruise the azure blue waters of Hermanus' wildlife rich lagoon.

  • Explore the Cape Floral Kingdom at Mosaic's sanctuary.

  • Hike the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens.

  • Add a touch of something different with a 4x4 beach exploration.

  • Indulge in ultra luxe spa treatments at Mosaic's Rain Milkwood Spa.

  • Try out your paddling skills on a sea or lagoon kayaking adventure.

  • Explore Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, one of earth's hidden gems.

  • Foodies eat your heart out in the culinary haven of Cape Town!

Itinerary

This private tour itinerary is flexible and can be tailored to spend more time at the tour's highlights that interest you the most.
Day 1-3
Cape Town
±100km

Start with a morning pick-up from Cape Town International Airport or your accommodation in Cape Town.

From stressful to seamless: Your driver will welcome you and a seamless transfer to your home-away-from-home for the next few days.

Today is yours to explore at leisure. An early arrival into Cape Town gives you the luxury of time. Time to acclimatise, time to explore or time to just relax and just enjoy being in South Africa. Midday arrivals can jump straight into Cape Town’s vibrant foodie scene with plenty of options in Bree and Long Streets in the CBD or at the nearby Victoria and Albert Waterfront. Afternoon arrivals can catch the sunset, if they choose, and night-time arrivals will be treated to a light show as Cape Town twinkles to life. But one thing’s for sure, Cape Town never disappoints. You'll overnight at the same accommodation for the first nights.    

 

Day 2: Bo-Kaap Tour, City Tour, Atlantic Coast Beaches

On this action-packed day out you’ll smell the spices of the East, hear the mosques calling for prayer, let the Cape Malay food seduce your taste buds; discover the secrets behind Bo-Kaap’s brightly coloured houses; and soak up the Euro-chic vibes as you better acquaint yourself with the history and happenings in and around South Africa’s Mother City.

The day starts briskly with a walk around the richly historical Company’s Garden – a heritage site and the country’s oldest public garden. The garden harks back to colonial days when Jan van Riebeeck’s planted and cultivated a small vegetable patch in the mid 1650s to feed the original colonists. These days, memorial statues, patches of green lawn and the sparkling-white colonial architecture dominate the space and the Table Mountain national park, to the rear, provides a pretty decent backdrop. Nearby places of worship include St George's Cathedral (the seat of South Africa's Anglican Church), the Great Synagogue and South Africa’s first church - the Groote Kerk – built by Dutch colonists in 1665. You’ll see the site of the old Slave Lodge/ Iziko Museums, the second oldest building in South Africa. This unassuming museum complex pays tribute to those that were stigmatised through slavery and documents the colony’s role in the Indian Ocean slave trade route.

Onwards, the give-away sandstone-coloured Italian Renaissance-style facade announces your imminent arrival at Cape Town’s City Hall on Grand Parade. This historic venue is the home-base of the world-famous Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and a veritable treasure-trove of marble and mosaic, stained glass and staircases and a classic pipe organ to boot.

In sharp contrast, Green Market Square offers an eclectic blend of African-inspired arts and crafts for the souvenir hunters and the city’s flower market lets you carry some of the magic of The Company’s Garden away with you.

Lunch is always a merry affair in the bohemian outlets that border Bree and Long Streets where African fare is served with modern creations in eclectic surrounds. One of the staples of the Cape Malay culture, samosas, are best eaten at the Biesmiellah Cape Malay Restaurant in colourful Bo Kaap, a suburb on the very edge of the CBD. Ramshackle cobble-stone streets lead to brightly painted houses and Muslim mosques and shrines – including the very first officially recognised Mosque in the country. Spices from the east waft through the air as you drop by the Atlas Spice Trading Centre on your wanderings.

As your day draws to an end, you’ll return to Waterfront via the ultra-scenic Atlantic Coastal drive for a look at some of the world’s most scenic beaches, including the ultra-famous stretch of sand at Camp’s Bay – one of the world’s most photographed seashores.  

 

Day 3: Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch

South Africa’s Cape Floral Kingdom is one of the richest plant areas in the world. Astonishingly, it covers less than 1% of the African continent, yet sustains an incredible 20% of its flora. By comparison, its nearest rival - the rainforests of South American rainforest - contains around a third of the number of species found in South Africa, so you’re in for an ecological feast.

Today, you’ll spend your day exploring the Table Mountain National Park and nearby Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens with your Hotspots2C guide. Both form part of the 553,000-hectare Cape Floristic Region World Heritage Site, which boasts more than 9500 species that are found nowhere else on earth.

The fauna is equally as enthralling and this area is home to many rare, endangered frog species, including the ultra-shy Table Mountain Ghost Frog, which is only found on Table Mountain and has one of the most restricted vocal ranges of any amphibian on earth.

Not surprisingly, the Cape Floral Kingdom is of critical interest to scientists who study its plant reproduction, fire adaptation and seed dispersal patterns amongst other things. 

Then onwards to the Cape’s famous tabletop! Table Mountain looms large as Number 28 on a list of the Top 30 most photographed landmarks on the planet… and with good reason. 

Bordered by Devil's Peak to the east and by Lion's Head to the west, the ancient stone forms a dramatic backdrop to the city’s modern skyline. In sun it absolutely shines and when the mist rolls in, this moody mountain charms easily

For most, a trip on the mountain’s famous revolving cableway is the preferred way to see the city. Revolving carriages afford unparalleled panoramic views of the city’s trademark horseshoe-shaped bays, the Atlantic, the CBD and surrounds, the waterfront - with its easily recognisable giant wheel - and the craggy ranges of the mountain itself. 

For others, the subtleties of immersing themselves totally in the unique flora that blooms unchecked on the mountainside beckons, and they opt to summit on foot. Hikes generally take upwards of 90 minutes, depending on the trail chosen, the weather and your level of fitness.

But Mother Nature doesn’t always like to share her mountain monument and a cloud-blanket, known locally as the Table Cloth, sometimes drapes the plateau and visibility plummets. your private day tour is flexible enough to work around the weather… so don’t be surprised if your itinerary is rejigged according to conditions to help you get the best out of your day. 

Acclaimed as one of the great botanical gardens on the planet, Kirstenbosch cascades in a sea of colour along the lower slopes of Table Mountain. Every season has its own charms and, if you’re lucky enough to visit in spring or early summer (August to November) you’ll see a large variety of plants in flower and the fynbos is at its absolute best. 

A bust of Nelson Mandela adorns the pepper-bark tree he planted at the Visitors’ Centre entrance on his 1996 official visit; senses heighten and explode in both the fragrance and edible gardens; trails meander lazily along the mountain slopes; and tropical and rare plants share soil with exotics and the resident butterflies, birds and critters. 

A recent addition in the garden; ‘The Boomslang’ (tree snake) loom large over the gardens’ Arboretum. The architecturally-sculptured steel and timber Tree Canopy Walkway snakes its way from the forest floor of the gardens to the treetops and beyond. Expect panoramic views, birdsong - there are more than 125 different species in the parklands - and a sense of peace and tranquillity, particularly if you’re lucky to have the walkway to yourself.

Immerse yourself in the diversity of the indigenous Cape flora at a leisurely pace before returning you to your hotel for the night.

 
Ways 2 Stay

Overnight accommodation included according to your selected stay package. Subject to availability.

Day 4
Cape Peninsula > Stellenbosch
±100km

The Cape Peninsula, on the south-west extremity of the African mainland, combines raw, rugged and rare beauty into one decadent day of scenic touring.

Leave the bustle of Cape Town behind for the decidedly less frenetic pace of Hout Bay. This tiny coastal village, just 20 minutes from the CBD, is known as much for its colourful fishing boats as it is for being the jump-off point to Duiker Island and its colony of African fur seals.

Surrounded by kelp forests and enveloped in the cool Atlantic waters, an estimated 7000 seals call this piece of rocky paradise home. The smallest of the seal species, fur seals are closely related to dogs and sea lions and are able to walk on all fours. They certainly aren’t shy in cavorting, diving and playing up for your cameras either.

Nearby, the smallish town centre and handicraft markets get the ‘seal of approval’ for those that don’t have their sea-legs and are conveniently located at the wharf.

Pretty Hout Bay has barely faded into the distance before you’ll find yourself zig-zagging along one of the most scenic stretches of roadway on the planet – Chapman’s Peak. Craggy steel-grey mountains race to meet the Atlantic and a mind-boggling feat of engineering – a roadway that boasts 114 bends and curves – puts you in the thick of some of South Africa’s most beautiful landscapes en route to Noordhoek. Chappies, as the locals call it, is the perfect prelude to the afternoon’s adventuring at the most south-westerly point of the continent, the Cape of Good Hope. This section of Table Mountain National park is famous for its craggy cliffs, coastal shipwreck hiking trails and prolific birdlife.

Feared by sailors for centuries, the jagged, rust-coloured cliffs around the Cape of Good Hope rise some 200m above sea level and look over the old trading route from Europe to India. They are home to antelope, baboons and ostriches and offer great vantage points for sea-gazing across the southern Atlantic.

The white-washed Cape Point lighthouse dominates the skyline and pops against the blue above. Hike the steepish cliff paths to reach the best vantage point or if you’re feeling lazy, take the Flying Dutchman Funicular up.

As afternoon arrives, you’ll leave the Point and make your way to the shores of False Bay for the famous penguin parade at Boulders Beach. This wildlife hotspot, within the Table Mountain National Park, is home to a large colony of African penguins with a boulder-strewn beach backdrop.

The journey homeward passes through the coastal towns of Fish Hoek and Kalk Bay before arriving at a beachside suburb of Muizenberg, enroute to Stellenbosch. Muizenberg is famous for its beaches and the trademark bright-coloured bathing pavilions that dot its shoreline, so keep your camera at the ready as you stroll down the promenade.

As the sun sets on Stellenbosch, explore the old town, kick back in the historic Oude Werf Inn and soak up the heady wine-country air.

 
 
 
Ways 2 Stay

Overnight accommodation included according to your selected stay package. Subject to availability.

Day 5
Stellenbosch Winelands > Hermanus
±150km

Sublime and tranquil: Tucked away deep in the Overberg lies a patch of paradise called the Hermanus Lagoon. Birds flock to its shores; southern right whales frolic in the nearby open ocean; and plump grapes are magically transformed into first-class wines. It’s the perfect spot to maroon yourself for a day or two.

As you explore Stellenbosch, you’ll find that wine and olive oil are the heroes of the morning and Hidden Valley Wine Estate is arguably the farm with the prettiest view in all of the winelands.

Soak up the atmosphere and educate your palate with a tandem wine and olive oil tasting and, after, take a stroll around the farm’s nature trail.

By contrast, nearby Waterford Estate, in the Blaauwklippen Valley, injects a touch of Tuscany into the South African countryside. Here, you’ll sample fine wines paired with chocolate in a bold move designed to elevate your palate. Waterford’s signature reds are overshadowed by their famous JEM tasting - a super secret blend of all the varietals on the property that is reverently served in fine crystal.

As you transition from winelands to the farmland of the fertile Elgin Valley, Peregrine Farm Stall, is one of many that dot the roadside and offers a veritable feast of locally-sourced artisanal goods and wholesome fresh produce. Lunch today is a casual affair and the Elgin Valley is the perfect pit-stop for hungry travellers.

The afternoon will see you arrive in the Overberg, the gateway to the Garden Route’s coastal stretch, and settled into your luxe lagoon-front bungalows. Mosaic Private Sanctuary on the shores of Hermanus Lagoon is your plush home-away-from-home for the next two nights. When the unpacking’s done, slip into a leisurely cruise aboard the Spirit of Agnes for a touch of bird watching as the sun sets or head out with the Mosaic team and learn about the fragile Cape Floral eco-system and what you can do to help.

This evening is a leisurely affair. Drink in a sunset from your private lagoon-facing balcony or indulge in a gourmet meal, great conversation and a local vino at the sanctuary’s charming restaurant.

 
 
 
Ways 2 Stay

Overnight accommodation included according to your selected stay package. Subject to availability.

Day 6
Hermanus
±100km

Offline is the new trend in luxury. And here in the Overberg, you can switch off all electronic devices for pure unadulterated, guilt-free communion with nature.

Today offers you the luxury of time and choice… time to explore; me-time to indulge and immerse yourself in the sheer beauty of your surrounds. After a hearty or healthy breakfast, you’re free to design your day, your way. Mosaic prides itself on the recreational program it offers and allows you to set the pace for your day out in nature.

If the mood takes you, go nose-to-nose with the apex predators of the Atlantic during a spot of optional shark cage diving in nearby Gansbaai – you’ll come away with a new appreciation for great white sharks.

Delight in a spot of whale watching from shore – a must-do during the annual migration – or time out on the water for a more personal experience. Jump aboard an open-air jeep and enjoy a breakfast picnic on a secluded stretch of beach with only seals for company or head out for sunset kayak on a bird-filled lagoon. Pamper yourself with optional self-indulgent, African-inspired spa sessions surrounded by nature. Or, just be.

The choice is yours as you settle in for your second day and starry night in paradise. And best of all you have the luxury of sleeping in tomorrow.

 
 
 
 
 
Ways 2 Stay

Overnight accommodation included according to your selected stay package. Subject to availability.

Day 7
Cape Whale Coast
±200km

Wake to bird song and a spectacular view or, if the mood takes you, slip beneath the covers, rest and relax and linger in bed a little longer. Slow the pace with a late morning departure from Mosaic, with enough time for a final wander along the lagoon’s shoreline and one last leisurely breakfast among the Overberg landscape.

As you leave Hermanus behind, it’s an easy-going, two-hour drive to your next port of call, the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens. You’ll follow the coastline past the tiny coastal towns of Sandbaai, Fisherhaven and Kleinmond and the wildlife-rich Rooisand Nature Reserve en route to Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. And with the luxury of time, you’ll stop for a cup of Rooibos tea and a spot of lunch along the way.

One of your last stops on the Southern Whale Route is a gentle hike to a secluded waterfall deep within the parklands. Your walking trail - named for the beautiful red disa orchids which flower on nearby cliff faces and are the floral emblem of the Cape Province - shadows the Disa River in the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden and meanders its way beneath giant trees to a Z-shaped bridge and the waterfall beyond.

Naturalists will delight in the diversity of plant life with more than 1600 species of plant life and fynbos on display. And eagle-eyed twitchers might spot the timid African black ducks, ancient bee hives, tortoise, snakes on the trail or the odd chacma baboon or two during the 60-minute walk.

As the sun rides high in the sky, the African penguin parade at Betty’s Bay – the next stop on your journey - adds a comical touch to an otherwise leisurely day. Set on the historical site of a former whaling station, these days Stony Point is more about the penguins than the big boys of the deep. This thriving breeding colony of birds – the largest in Africa – is one of only three land-based colonies in the south.

Boardwalks provide easy viewing once inside as the breeding pairs and their offspring swagger about their daily business completely unaware they’re the star attraction. Sharing centre stage are several species of gull and cormorant and the adorable dassies, or rock hyraxes as they are also known, that also frequent the area.

With fresh air in your lungs and a spring in your step, it’s time to turn tail for the bright lights of Cape Town as you drive along Clarence Drive – another of South Africa’s great ocean drives. Equal in beauty to Chapman’s Peak, a trip along this flat mountain pass, between the seaside towns of Betty’s Bay and Rooi Els, is a study in navigating seventy-seven incredibly scenic bends, large wide curves and a couple of nail-bitingly sharp corners. Lucky your driver is doing the hard work and the 60km/hr speed limit means you won’t miss a thing. Plus, there are plenty of spots to pull over to soak in the views and snap a few pics for posterity.

From Gordon’s Bay and nearby The Strand – both hot spots for locals in the warmer months – it’s a leisurely cruise down the motorway past the township of Khayelitsha to the outskirts of Cape Town. You’ll arrive refreshed, relaxed and with plenty of South African tales to tell the folks back home.

 
 
 
 

End with an evening drop-off at your Cape Town accommodation.

 
 

Included

Private Tour

This trip will run exclusively for you.

Local Guide

Led by a local English-speaking professional tour guide.

Transport

Private transfers to included tour highlights. 

Pickup + Drop-Off

There is no central meeting point for this tour. A transfer service will collect you from your Cape Town accommodation.

Accommodation

6 nights accommodation according to your Ways 2 Stay package.

Breakfast

6 x breakfast included.

Included Activities
  • Browse Hout Bay Harbour
  • Duiker Island Cruise
  • Curve Along Chapman's Peak Drive
  • Cape of Good Hope Explore
  • Make Flipper Friends at Boulders Beach
  • Coastal Joyride Along Muizenberg
  • Hidden Valley Wine + Olive Oil Tasting
  • Waterford Wine Tasting
  • Mosaic Nature Walk
  • Hermanus Lagoon Boat Cruise
  • Mosaic 4x4 Beach Drive
  • Whale Coast Canoeing
  • Harold Porter Botanical Gardens Walk to Waterfall
  • Meet the Betty's Bay Penguins
  • Wind Along Coastal Clarence Drive
  • Wander through Colourful Bo-Kaap
  • City & Company Garden Walk
  • Kirstenbosch Boomslang Canopy Walk

Excluded

Optionals

Optional activities can be paid and booked during your journey.

  • Mosaic Various Spa Treatments
  • Shark Cage Diving
  • Table Mountain Cable Car 
  • Moyo African Dining Experience 
  • Transport Upgrade from ±R1200 per day (A surcharge to travel in a luxury SUV vehicle for the included transfer sections of the tour. Max 3 people allowed per car.)

Flights

Local and international flights are excluded.

Travel Insurance

You are responsible for your own travel insurance.

Lunch, Dinner + Drinks

You can purchase other meals + drinks on tour.

FAQ

Need more information?
Contact me if you have any questions.
Benita Stroebel
Tailor-Made Tours

Since the beginning, working as a guesthouse manager 13-years ago, I have been involved in creating personalised experiences for people in the travel industry. It has grown into my work passion and I love being able to create tailor-made experiences for people that they will remember for the rest of their lives. In between doing that, I create my own memories and experiences by spending time with my family (usually on the beach), attending festivals and capturing it all with my camera.

ask me

Terms & Conditions

Click terms for more details.

Payment Policy: 100% deposit to confirm

Full amount required to reserve or confirm a booking.

Cancellation / Refund Policy: Free cancellation - 7 day full refund
  • If you cancel 7 days or more before the scheduled departure, there is no cancellation fee.
  • If you cancel between 3 and 6 days before the scheduled departure, there is a 50% cancellation fee.
  • If you cancel within 2 days of the scheduled departure, there is a 100% cancellation fee.
Child Policy: Child Friendly

Children are welcome on private tours. Some activities will have age limits and alcohol may only be served to adults over 18 years of age. 

Standard terms apply

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Know Before You Go

 what to expect

 

South Africa

  

11 official Languages Spoken

Afrikaans – English – isiNdebele – Sepedi.– Sesotho – Siswati – Xitsonga – Setswana – Tshivenda – isiXhosa

How to say hello?

Molo – Xhosa

Sawubona - Zulu

Hallo - Afrikaans

Dumela - SeSotho

 

Electricity – Volt & plug

The South African electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ. Most plugs are 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong, with round pins.

Measurements 

Metric System

 

WiFi/Internet Access on tour 

WiFi can be found at most accommodations, restaurants and airports, however, the download speed is often slow and many connections limit your data usage. In short, you’ll be able to stay connected with home, but don't expect to watch HD movies in your spare time.

 

When to go

South Africa is blessed with a mostly mild climate, but different areas will yield different temperatures throughout the year. Summer in South Africa is usually peak season, lasting between November – February, however Easter time (March) is often still considered peak season too. Temperatures range from 25ºC in coastal areas to high 30ºs in inland areas. Cape Town has ideal weather during this time and Durban sports warm beaches and humid air, Johannesburg experiences hot clear days and often an afternoon thunderstorm.

Shoulder season is April and May, as well as September and October. Surprisingly, the weather in Durban is often at its best during this time, and other areas simmer down from their scorching highs. Prices are lower and crowds are smaller. September and October see eruptions of flowers and blooms all around the country.

Winter is beautiful in most parts of the country. Cape Town experiences winter rain and is often a little cold and miserable, but still crisp and beautiful. Because of the warm Indian Ocean, Durban has spectacular weather in winter, often hovering around 20-25ºC with clear blue skies. Inland areas get quite chilly and the odd snowfall is not uncommon (it only lasts for a day though!). Prices are at an all time low and it is an ideal time for game viewing, as the animals are more active in the cooler weather. 

Best time to go

Jun-Jul = Safari 

Jan-Feb = Beach 

 

Public Holidays

With the possible exception of Christmas Day and New Year's Day, most tourist services and attractions are open on South African public holidays. In addition most city shopping centres, restaurants and entertainment venues remain open.

1 Jan   New Year's Day
21 Mar   Human Rights Day
30 Mar   Good Friday
2 Apr   Family Day
27 Apr   Freedom Day
1 May   Workers' Day
16 Jun   Youth Day
9 Aug   National Women's Day
24 Sep   Heritage Day
16 Dec   Day of Reconciliation
17 Dec   Day of Reconciliation Holiday
25 Dec   Christmas Day
26 Dec   Day of Goodwill

 

Visa & Travel docs

Travellers from most Commonwealth countries (excluding New Zealand), most Western European nations, Japan and the USA receive a free, 90-day visitor's permit on arrival. These travellers do not need a visa to enter South Africa. A valid passport is essential with at least two empty pages. You generally will need to show return or onward travel arrangements. Children aged under 18 must show an unabridged birth certificate (showing both parents details).

Some countries do, however, need a visa. Visas are not issued upon entry, they must be attained beforehand. It is advised that you clarify this before you leave, the Department of Home Affairs office has a comprehensive list of countries that do not require visas. http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/immigration-services/exempt-countries

 

What to pack

We're generally laid back in South Africa, so no need to haul out your best silks and diamonds when you head to our shores. Here's some clothing advice when in South Africa:

  • For the summers, bring clothes that are cool and comfortable, along with an umbrella or rain jacket, as this is when most of the country gets rain. A light jacket or wrap is a good precaution. Don't forget a swimming costume.
  • The winters are generally mild, comparing favourably with European summers. But we do get some days when temperatures plummet, especially in high-lying areas such as the Drakensberg (some nights go below 0ºC), so be prepared with jerseys and jackets. If you are going to the Cape, rain gear will be needed in this season (your average here will be between 10-20ºC).
  • Always bring a hat - the sun can be strong even in the winter months. Make sunglasses, a hat and sunblock a firm part of your skin care kit.
  • Walking shoes are a good idea all year-round, with warm socks in the winter.
  • For game viewing, a couple of neutral-toned items will be useful, but there's no need to go overboard and kit yourself out like David Livingstone, out to explore Africa for the first time.
  • For the evening, if you are dining at an upmarket restaurant or seeing a show, go the smart-casual route. If you are simply going out to get a bite to eat, a general “no shirt, no shoes - no service” rule applies, so as long as you are fully clad, your attire should not be an issue.
  • When travelling with Hotspots2c we encourage reasonably sized bags for multi-day tours and we are able to accommodate bags that are on average under 20kgs. For one and two day tours, a light backpack is encouraged. 

  

Health & Safety

There are no compulsory vaccinations required to enter South Africa with exception of a yellow fever vaccination if you have been in a yellow fever area within the last 12 months.

The only major health risk you might face in South Africa is malaria, which is confined to small areas in the north-eastern parts of the country. Small pockets of the northern parts of the Kruger National Park fall under this area but the risk here is considered extremely low and it is not always necessary to take anti-malaria tablets. Remember as a precautionary measure to check with your accommodation what is recommended.

South Africa may have high crime statistics, but if you conduct yourself wisely, most tourists enjoy the country without any incident at all. Ensure that you lock away your passports and travel documents in a safe, which is usually provided by your accommodation. Don't flash around valuables and keep an eye on your belongings at all time. Majority of South Africa’s crime is opportunistic petty crime, so if you are vigilant about your belongings you should not have any problem.

 

Getting Around 

South Africa has 3 world-class airports that receive international flights every day; Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Most international airlines will have flights into one or all of these airports daily.

There are numerous budget carriers that offer domestic flights between the major cities for very reasonable rates; this is the fastest and safest way to span large distances, especially between Johannesburg and Cape Town, which is a 2-hour flight.

From the airports there are numerous shuttles and taxis that you can pick up upon arrival, there are also many different car hire options at each airport and in all major cities. Uber is another reliable and affordable option.

 

Money 

Our currency in South Africa is the South African Rand. You can easily convert your currency to rand at a bank or Forex Bureau, the airports and larger towns often have many different Forex options. You can also withdraw from an ATM, banks are available throughout South Africa. Be sure to check what international bank charges you will incur for withdrawals before you arrive. Major credit cards are usually accepted in hotels or restaurants, however, there may be a surcharge. It is advisable to have small amounts of cash for curios and tipping. 

Tipping

  • Restaurants and Bars - Tipping in restaurants is the norm and is customarily kept at 10% of the total shown on the bill. Many restaurants will add a 10% service charge to a bill if the number of guests exceeds six or ten.
  • Petrol Stations and Car Parking - Petrol station attendants may be tipped a few Rands if they wash the windscreen, and offer to check oil and water and the tyres. Car-guards or parking-attendants are usually given R2 - R5. Car parks and areas around many popular tourist spots are populated by locals in day-glo yellow vests who offer to direct you to a space or to "look after your car for you." They are not threatening and you do not have to pay them, but giving them a few Rands may stop them from turning to petty crime. Cape Town has recently instituted a more formal parking attendant system in the downtown area, where uniformed attendants with handheld machines take payment for parking.
  • Tour Guides and Drivers – Tipping on tour is neither expected nor compulsory, However, should you wish to tip, the recommended tip is usually R10 per person on a day tour and R15 per person per day on multi-day tours. For private tours, R50 per person per half-day tour and R80 per person per day for a full-day tour is the norm.
  • Hotels - At hotels you may choose to leave money for housekeeping, this is often between R10-R50 per person per day but is in no way compulsory. It can also be done at the end of your stay
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