South Africa has steadily grown into an attractive tourist destination for those who want to: 1) get away from some of the crazier vacation spots but still appreciate quality service and lodging and 2) explore some exciting spots in Africa while avoiding long treks and national unrest.
If a South Africa adventure has tickled your fancy in the past, now’s the time to start planning ahead and picking out what you what to see! Here’s a list of six important decisions you ought to make right now.
1. Find out who’s going
An obvious first step, right? But think about this carefully. If you’re taking the kids, you need resorts or lodges where they will be welcome; thus, some of the more rustic locations may be out of the picture.
If someone is coming who might require particular medical care or has a disability, you should start by looking for places that have the necessary facilities and expertise.
If you intend to bring along your pets, make sure all your destinations are pet-friendly.
2. Decide whether you want to go big or small
South Africa has plenty of larger hotels, resorts, and lodges to cater to visitors’ needs, from Cape Grace to Westcliff. If you like being around people and prefer to stay in more urban areas, then it’s a good idea to pick one of these locations as your primary vacation base.
On the other hand, South Africa has a broad selection of bed and breakfast locations and apartments or bungalows that you can rent for a specific amount of time. These will offer you more privacy and independence, if that’s how you prefer your vacation stay.
3. Pick both urban and natural destinations
When people think of South Africa, they tend to think of mostly natural scenery and exploration, with perhaps a few interesting monuments mixed in. But the country actually has its share of lively urban destinations as well.
Cape Town is rich in exciting history, and a recent line of beach towns has sprung up along the coast, as well as lighthouses and luxury lodges. So take a step back and look at everything that South Africa has to offer before you focus on a few favorites.
4. Identify the scenery you want to see
Are you primarily interested in the game reserves? South Africa has some of the most accessible and friendly safari packages on the continent, but you’ll need to plan far ahead to take advantage of them.
On the other hand, if safaris are not your thing, you may want to visit the Garden Route or pick out hiking or biking trails to visit. If you prefer your scenery a little more luxurious, then try the renowned Blue Train or Rovos train lines instead.
5. Consider eco-friendly options
If you desire to leave as small a human footprint on the land as possible, explore the eco-friendly destinations in South Africa. Plenty of green lodges and homes have sprung up to support wildlife rehabilitation, education, and all-natural tourist practices. Use these to your advantage.
6. Find the unexpected options
Do a little bit of exploration and find interesting, out-of-the-way, and unexpected places to visit. The burgeoning South African wine industry features some beautiful wine country, which might make a wine tour an enticing and unusual option.
Look for sporting events, unique restaurants, and other attractions when you plan your trip.