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Top South African Spots to Visit During Summer

South Africa is the perfect summer destination for locals and foreigners alike. Beautiful weather, great wine, delicious food, friendly people and the pick of any scenery you like. Whether you want mountains, sea, forests, valleys, vast open spaces or big cities, we’ve got it all. With domestic flights linking you to almost everywhere, you can be enjoying some fine dining with a city view one night, and a picnic on top of the Drakensberg the next. What’s not to love? So, where are the best South African spots to visit this summer? Here’s a few ideas to get you started…
  1. Cape Town
Of course, we couldn’t leave Cape Town off the list. The mother city is always the place to be over summer, where it buzzes with activity. It enjoys regional flights from pretty much everywhere in the country, so it’s not off limits for anyone! Why is it so popular? Well, it’s hard to beat a city surrounded by mountains and sea. Plus, they have an abundance of great little restaurants and coffee shops (Truth coffee was voted the best in the world!), a selection of bars to suit everyone from backpackers to the most discerning first-class travellers, and they’re in close proximity to the winelands and other beautifully scenic areas of the Western Cape. Hermanus, Stilbaai, Tulbagh, Paternoster…the list really just goes on and on.
  1. Kruger, or one of its competitors
You’re spoilt for choice if you plan on catching sight of the Big Five over December in South Africa. You can head down to the Kruger region, but it is malarial and can be very hot. We don’t mind, but if you prefer to go somewhere closer to Joburg, there are plenty of options in the North West province. There are also options to suit most budgets, from luxury camps such as Sabi Sabi, Hamiltons to mid-range camps like Madikwe,  and more budget friendly options like Mabula, Pilanesberg and even some game reserves around the Hoedspruit area. Regardless, it’s hard to beat spending a few days in the bush seeing lions and elephants up close during the day, and star gazing around a boma at night.
  1. The Drakensberg
Because most people flock to Durban and Cape Town over December, the summer holidays can be a great time to visit the Drakensberg. You might not get the snow-capped mountains and beautiful icicles over lakes, but you do get clear views of the magnificent Drakensberg mountains. The hiking is some of the most picturesque in the country (move over, Lions Head), and there are ample opportunities for horse riding too. Or you can spend a few days eating, drinking and just sitting around admiring the view. Opt for anything from fully inclusive four star lodges to self-catering chalets depending on the type of experience you want. While you’re there, be sure to visit the birds of prey centre near Winterton.
  1. The Garden Route
It’s hard to go wrong if you visit the garden route over summer. Cheap flights, scenic drives, warm sea and loads of activities for adults and kids alike are just some of the things you can look forward to along the expansive garden route. Knysna, Wilderness and Sedgefield are all wonderful options with beaches aplenty. You can learn to surf during the day, then spend the afternoon feasting on food while the waves break alongside the restaurant. You can even visit one of the many wineries starting to gather praise in the area. Or you can take a trip a bit further afield to kayak and lilo down the Storms River Mouth or do a zipline canopy tour of the Tsitsikamma forest. Whether you’re visiting the garden route for beaches, watersports, scenery or relaxation, you won’t be disappointed.

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Image courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK.COM