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Flights to South Africa | Compare Low-Cost Fares at Skyscanner

South Africa! An extraordinarily diverse land with vibrant cities of culture and cuisine, lush savannahs of incredible wildlife, spectacular scenery and absolutely stunning natural terrain. A smorgasbord of exciting activities and memorable experiences awaits the adventuresome traveller.

In the "Mother City" of Cape Town, take a cable car up the Table Mountain, sail to the prison fortress of Robben Island, and enjoy the stunning scenery of the Cape of Good Hope. Stroll the pleasant Company's Gardens, and people-watch on the Clifton Beaches. 

Sample excellent vintages in the Winelands, and seafood in Darling and West Coast. Experience whale-watching in Hermanus, hiking rock formations in Cederberg, and ostrich-riding in Oudtshoorn. Explore the grand forests of Knysna. Walk the trails of Tsitsikamma, view elephants at Addo, and visit the historic settler towns of Graaff-Reinet and Grahamstown, and the Nelson Mandela Museum at Mthatha.

Cosmopolitan Durban is the gateway to the beautiful rivers of iSimangaliso Wetland Park, wildlife spotting at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park and uMkhuze Game Reserve, and the stunning peaks of the Drakensberg Mountains. Watch the sunset at Golden Gate Highlands, visit galleries in artsy Clarens, sniff the rosebushes of Bloemfontein, and explore the vast Vredefort Dome in Parys.

In energetic Johannesburg, experience bohemian Melville, rejuvenated Newtown, and the buzzing nightlife of Soweto. Explore the Apartheid Museum, and the fossils and caves of the Cradle of Humankind. Visit the popular and world famous Kruger National Park for wildlife sightings and bushveld camping, and the Blade River Canyon for unparalleled adventure sports. See baobab trees in Mapungubwe, birds in Soutpansberg, and wildflowers at Namaqua. Go on safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve, and then relax at the glitzy casinos of Sun City.

Internal flights connect major cities, but they don’t come cheap. A more economical option of getting around would be to drive; roads are excellent, and rental and petrol prices are reasonable. However accident rates are high, so be careful, or hire a local driver if you don’t have much experience. For long road trips, a campervan combines both transport and accommodation.

Bus networks are extensive and reliable, and the most common mode of transport. Trains are comfortable, with regular services connecting major cities. Popular with tourists are the scenic rail journeys; the most famous one is the Blue Train, a luxury ride between Pretoria and Cape Town.

Within cities, the main options are bus, taxi, and minibus taxi. Only Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town have a city metro.

  • Do listen to your guide when on safari. For safety's sake, follow strict hunting rules: don't imitate animal sounds, throw objects, or exit the car without permission.
  • Do tip 10-20% at a restaurant, but check that the tip hasn't already been included in the bill. Always tip your driver.
  • Don't comment on politics and race, unless asked for an opinion.
  • Don't go walking alone in isolated areas. Also, take standard precautions against robbery, like keeping your valuables out of sight.

While on safari, look out for the "Big Five". These are Africa's greatest wild animals - the lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. Originally used by hunters, this term refers to the difficulty of capturing these large, ferocious animals. Many travellers regard a safari as incomplete without having spotted, and maybe photographed, at least one or two of the Big Five.

South African cuisine includes typical food like bobotie (a spiced Cape Malay dish of rice and lamb), koeksisters (syrup-coated donuts), mealie pap (corn porridge) and biltong (beef jerky). Meat is a big deal, and almost every house has a braai (a fireplace), on which South Africans grill beef, chicken, lamb, ostrich and even game meats like kudu and springbok.

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