Coffee Bay, South Africa (Shutterstock)
Sponsored Words : Team Wanderlust | 14 November 2019

South Africa made easy - just follow these 6 steps

Squeeze maximum adventure into your South Africa trip with this advice from Flight Centre’s experts…

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South Africa packs in a lot – from vibrant cities and vast vineyards, to huge national parks where lions and leopards roam. Cape Town and the Winelands reveal the Rainbow Nation at its most vibrant, while a few days on safari puts you up-close with incredible wildlife.

But where to go first? How do you get the most out from your trip? Here, we have six Flight Centre experts who can help; revealing their top tips for a thrilling South Africa adventure...

Cape Town

1. Wally Alvarez on Kirstenbosch

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (Shutterstock)

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (Shutterstock)

Countries visited: 33

Favourite place in South Africa: Kruger National Park

Top tip: Kirstenbosch, in Cape Town, is one of the world’s prettiest botanical gardens. It is great year-round, but the best time to visit is between September and November: the plants are flowering and the weather is pleasantly cool. Of course, you can’t leave Cape Town without visiting Table Mountain: take the cableway to the top, or tackle one of the hiking trails – such as the Skeleton Gorge route, which starts in the botanical garden itself. To beat the crowds, go early: you can hike up and catch the cable way down, or vice versa.

2. Toni Vallenduuk on Robben Island

Panorama of Table Mountain, photographed from Robben Island (Dreamstime)

Panorama of Table Mountain, photographed from Robben Island (Dreamstime)

Countries visited: 46

Favourite place in South Africa: Cape Town

Top tip: To truly understand the history of South Africa, a visit to Robben Island is essential. Here you will see where Nelson Mandela lived for 18 of his 27 years of imprisonment. It is also where he began writing his memoir, and you will hear the story behind where he hid it and his relationship with some of the guards at the prison. The boat ride across also gives you wonderful views of Cape Town and Table Mountain – and if you’re really lucky, you may even see southern right whales.

On Safari

3. Tom Grapes on Pilanesberg National Park

Lioness (Dreamstime)

Lioness (Dreamstime)

Countries visited: 41

Favourite place in South Africa: Kruger National Park

Top tip: Close to Johannesburg and child friendly, Pilanesberg National Park is one of my top safari picks. It is set between the dry desert of the Kalahari and the wet Lowveld region, giving it a unique ecosystem that allows animals of all shapes and sizes to thrive – including rhinos, elephants, leopards and lions. On safari, guides are priceless: in Pilanesberg, my guide caught the smell of lions in the air and stopped the vehicle, only for a pride of big cats to emerge from a seemingly lifeless bush. They sauntered past, just a whisker away; it was breathtaking.

4. Luci Cunningham on when to go

Countries visited: 35

Favourite place in South Africa: Mossel Bay

Top tip: As well as daytime safaris, almost all safari lodges offer game drives at dawn and after dark – and you’ll see different animals every time. The big cats tend to linger in a shady spot during the day, making them hard to spot, so getting up early can increase your chance of seeing them. Mornings and evenings can be cold, so bring plenty of layers and good waterproofs. Sunglasses and binoculars are essential too.

The Winelands

5. Emma Wilkinson on Stellenbosch

Wine tasting in Stellenbosch (Dreamstime)

Wine tasting in Stellenbosch (Dreamstime)

Countries visited: 35

Favourite place in South Africa: Cape Town

Top tip: Stellenbosch is all about great wine and incredible food – it’s hard to go wrong here! I love visiting Simonsig Wine Estate: you can tour the cellars and winery, and enjoy some fabulous tastings. Our guide also taught us how to swipe the top off a bottle of bubbly with a sword – always handy when you don’t have a corkscrew around! All vineyards can ship wine to your home address, so you don’t have to worry about squeezing it into your suitcase.

6. Hein Van-Zyl on Paarl

Vineyard in Paarl (Dreamstime)

Vineyard in Paarl (Dreamstime)

Countries visited: 27

Favourite place in South Africa: Paarl

Top tip: Don’t miss Paarl, the largest town in the Winelands. It has many wineries and vineyards to choose from. I recommend Spice Route: as well as tasting wonderful wines here, you can try local craft beers, chocolate, spirits, ice cream and more. After, eat on La Grapperia Bistro’s terrace for amazing views. There are also boutiques selling hand-made ceramics, textiles and crafts.

Plan your dream holiday

Flight Centre’s Ultimate South Africa trip is an epic 10-day adventure in Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Pilanesberg National Park. It includes return flights with Virgin Atlantic and an action-packed itinerary, with guided game drives and two nights in a luxurious safari lodge. From £1,799 per person, including flights.

All of these tips come from Flight Centre’s expert staff, who are based everywhere from head office to high-street stores all over the world. Armed with their insider knowledge, they can tailor male your perfect South Africa holiday – from the city sights to a safari you’ll never forget

Tailor make your perfect holiday by speaking with a Flight Centre Travel Expert in-store, calling 0808 239 3772 or visiting flightcentre.co.uk

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