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Holidays in South Africa

Turning a corner in South Africa is like putting your hand in its magic hat and drawing a different landscape each time. Its diversity is astounding; a wealth of wild game reserves dot the country, cosmopolitan cities straddle epic wildernesses and rugged peaks disappear into rolling ocean waves.

When it comes to wildlife experiences, few combine a luxury holiday with the raw wilderness as seamlessly as South Africa. Game reserves like Sabi Sands and Madikwe serve up pristine swathes of riverine bushveld and savannah witnessed from majestic lodges, each faithfully built to blend in with the landscape. Here, the ‘Big Five’ can roam just feet from your bedroom and guide-led safari drives take you deep into the classic African surrounds.

South Africa’s charm extends beyond the savannah, though. The Cape Province is full of treasures, including the flat-topped icon of Table Mountain lording over Cape Town, sprawling Winelands, the whale-rich waters of Hermanus and the leafy Garden Route – arguably one of the planet’s greatest drives. Even the east of the country holds major drawcards in the form of the cosmopolitan cities of Johannesburg and Durban. Wherever you turn, South Africa is full of delightfully unique wonders.

South Africa Higlights

1. Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Sabi Sands is South Africa’s answer to the Masai Mara. It’s the country’s most acclaimed game reserve in Greater Kruger National Park and its legacy of conservation means it boasts the highest density of big game in the country. Its rich wilderness is the best place to spot the elusive leopard, as well as the other four animals (lion, buffalo, rhino and elephant) that make up Africa’s ‘Big Five’. Glamorous safari lodges offer private plunge pools and floor-to-ceiling windows perfect for watching the wildlife in comfort. Here’s there no better way to toast South Africa’s greatest wilderness with a gin and tonic while watching the sun go down. Cheers!

2. Malaria-free safari

Nudging Botswana’s border, the lesser-known Madikwe Game Reserve is a wild mix of savannah grassland and riverine forest only a short hop from Johannesburg. Many come to Africa in search of the ‘Big Five’ but Madikwe can trump that! It’s home to the ‘Super Seven’, which also includes the endangered wild dog and cheetah. Along with the rugged amber-tinted mountains of neighbouring Marakele National Park, these pair of wildernesses are malaria-free – something of a rarity in African reserves. They also share something else in common, with luxury treehouses planted slap-bang in the bush offering unique ways to sleep under the stars.

3. Cape Town

Even though Cape Town is affectionately known as the Mother City, the ‘Big Daddy of Cities’ would be a more appropriate moniker. It’s a melting pot of landscapes, culture and people, all lorded over by the iconic Table Mountain – the city’s literal crowning jewel. Here, you can sip coffee in the city’s buzzing café culture in the morning, hike the wilds of its famous peak at lunch and relax on beaches that rival the French Riviera in the evening. It shares its latitude with the UK so when you wake from your flight, you’ll be jet lag-free!

4. The Winelands

Only a short drive from Cape Town, the Cape’s Winelands twin superb landscapes with the top tipples the region is famous for. Towering peaks hem in the colonial Dutch towns of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, each littered with reams of rolling vineyards. The oldest region, Constantia, is oft-overlooked by visitors making a beeline for the headlining duo, but being the closest wine region to Cape Town, it’s well worth a trip.

5. Foodie heaven

Cape Town’s unique collection of cultures have each added their own flavours into the city’s cuisine, with hip eateries and top restaurants found on every street corner. World-renowned chefs come to add their own stamp on this culinary capital, where you can try everything from braai to bunny chow.

guana island
Guana Island, British Virgin Islands

Guana Island is a rainforested bolthole that offers the ultimate in tropical seclusion. It has seven (yes, seven!) pristine beaches and acres of island wilderness that you can explore and enjoy almost all to yourself, bar a few inquisitive rock iguanas and migratory birds. Bliss!

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Guana Island, British Virgin Islands

Guana Island is a rainforested bolthole that offers the ultimate in tropical seclusion. It has seven (yes, seven!) pristine beaches and acres of island wilderness that you can explore and enjoy almost all to yourself, bar a few inquisitive rock iguanas and migratory birds. Bliss!