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It is hard to think of a country on Earth more diverse than South Africa. Capping off the enormous, epic continent that shares its name, the contrasts are as different as delta and desert. The arid Kalahari is as barren as they come, while the verdant region of KwaZulu Natal could be New Zealand or even Wales, it's so lushly green. It's all so recognisable, too. What could be more iconic, more African, than the flat topped knoll that crowns the Mother City of Cape Town, Table Mountain? With its far reaching views across to Robben Island, once the gaol of Nelson Mandela for 18 years before the fall of apartheid, there's no more a significant sight for this vibrant, tumultuous nation. And the wildlife is as diverse as the history and landscape. Hippo and penguin, elephant and eland, they all make up an exciting abundance of animals that roam largely wild and unfettered through the many reserves and national parks that crisscross the country. It's an embarrassment of wildlife riches. Whether it's a safari in the Kruger or a swift city break to Cape Town, the people will welcome you with open arms, usually with a national delicacy to assist with the greeting. The freshest seafood can be found along the Garden Route, with Knysna oysters and snoek fish a local delicacy. Traditional braai, or barbecue, can be unearthed all over, but is best accompanied by one of the astounding wines -the oldest in the 'new world'.
Great guides elevate safaris to a higher level - it's their knowledge, experience and desire to learn from every fresh adventure in the wilderness. Just ask our guests who were on a family safari near Kruger Park when their guide spotted a sun-bleached giraffe skeleton. Cue a memorable couple of hours assembling the giant jigsaw. We fear natural history lessons back at school may struggle to compete.
Sounds spontaneous and fascinating? Try this. Other guests emailed us about watching in awe as a pack of wild dog hunted down their prey at Lion Sands private reserve. But it was a mere aperitif. The radio suddenly crackled: conservationists had just darted a huge white rhino not far away. The guests spent several hours with the sleeping, two-tonne giant; a unique opportunity to touch its soft skin and hooves while its horn was redacted - to save it from poachers.
The brilliant guides behind these experiences are part of our superbly connected South African team that has been offering luxury safaris for over four decades. Along with seamless connections to surrounding countries and 24-hour emergency contact, we can arrange exclusive insider access to a selection of sought after restaurants in Cape Town.
Book a South Africa safari with Abercrombie & Kent and you'll witness the prolific wildlife and the adjacent private reserves such as Sabi Sands and Manyeleti, along with the famous Umfolozi and Hluhluwe game parks. Alternatively for a malaria-free encounter with raw nature, there's the Eastern Cape - haunt of the Big Five - and Waterberg, a hotspot for family safaris.
But your A&K classic South Africa holiday is about more than wildlife. Far more. There is spectacular cosmopolitan Cape Town with its beaches, stunning peninsula and nearby winelands, where fine vino is served with mountain views and historic Cape Dutch architecture. Head east along the picture perfect Garden Route to reach some of the world's best surfing beaches, or keep going to KwaZulu Natal for Anglo-Zulu battlefields, and superb hiking and fishing in the Drakensberg Mountains. It's diverse, beautiful, and with A&K, it's all possible.
Best time to be there
October to May is the best time to visit the Cape. Game viewing is better during the drier months of April to September. The wildflower season is generally from mid August to mid September. The whale watching season runs from June to November.
11 hours 30 minutes/10 hours 30 minutes non-stop
GMT +2 hours
Not required for UK passport holders
Yellow fever certificate if arriving or in transit for more than 12 hours from an endemic area.
Our experts can tailor-make the perfect holiday to suit your individual requirements, however, if you need inspiration or a starting point, below are some of our suggested trips and experiences:
Nights: 12 | from £6,450pp
Experience the diversity of South Africa in high style, in less than two weeks. Combine lively and lovely Cape Town with an exclusive Kalahari wilderness... Find out more
Holiday type: Tailor-made
Family Holidays | Safari & Wildlife
Call 01242 547 702 Enquire
Nights: 9 | from £7,515pp
Discover the magical Okavango Delta combined with the mighty Victoria Falls, making this trip an unforgettable experience Find out more
Holiday type: Group departure
Call 01242 547 702 Enquire
Below are some of our suggested places to stay:
- Cape Town Holidays & City Breaks
- The Garden Route Holidays
- Kruger Safari & Mpumalanga Safari
- Western Cape Holiday & Northern Cape Holiday
- South Africa Winelands
- Eastern Cape Safari
- KwaZulu Natal Holidays
- Madikwe Safari & Waterberg Safari
- Johannesburg Holidays, South Africa
- South Africa Train Travel
- Hermanus Whale Watching
- Pilanesberg National Park