South Africa unwrapped


An insider’s overview from the experts at Steppes Travel.

Why visit?
Few places offer as much diversity as South Africa. Reborn as ‘the Rainbow Nation’, this enthralling country offers culture, wildlife, landscapes and history – all as varied as the country itself. Vibrant Cape Town and the magnificent Kruger National Park attract most attention, but South Africa is dotted with private reserves, boutique properties and activities for all ages.


Cape Town and Winelands

  • Diverse and steeped in history, Cape Town is known for beautiful views, golden beaches and endless vineyards.
  • Cable car up Table Mountain for a spectacular view over the city.
  • Take a boat to Robben Island, the former prison where Nelson Mandela was once incarcerated.
  • Make the most of the various sights, beaches, museums and world-class restaurants on offer.
  • Visits to the Diamond Museum, District Six Museum and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are a must.
  • Go wine-tasting in the most scenic winelands in the world.

Kruger NP & Sabi Sands

  • One of the great, iconic wildlife ecosystems of the world, comprising the Kruger National Park and adjacent private game reserves; part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
  • Unparalleled diversity of flora and fauna, including the Big Five.
  • Visit by driving through the picturesque Panoramic Route.

Madikwe and The Waterberg

  • The Waterberg is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, protected because of its abundant wildlife, rugged beauty and San bushmen rock art sites. Great for horse riding and family holidays.
  • The malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve is home to the Big Five, wild dog and numerous other animals, in one of the best-run parks in the country.

Western and Northern Cape

  • Diverse landscapes, from the beautiful coastline and the rugged Cederberg Mountains to the dramatic semi-desert Karoo.
  • This is somewhere to get away from tourists: experience the mountains, long stretches of beach and famous springtime flowers of Namaqualand.
  • Linger in Paternoster, a beautiful, isolated fishing village with fantastic restaurants and lovely places to stay.

Garden Route

  • Spanning from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, the Garden Route is a scenic stretch of the country so-called because of its abundant vegetation.
  • Self-drive along the scenic coastline with its breath-taking scenery.
  • Hike in Tsitsikamma National Park and sail through the heads in Knysna.
  • Experience some of the best land-based whale watching in the world at Hermanus.


  • Diverse scenery, from extensive Indian Ocean beaches to dramatic Drakensberg Mountains, ideal for hiking.
  • Learn about the infamous Anglo-Boer and Zulu wars in the Battlefields.
  • Enjoy Big Five game viewing in some of the country’s best game reserves.

 Eastern Cape

  • Big Five, malaria-free safaris not far from the Garden Route.
  • The perfect place for a family safari, with exceptional guest lodge options.
  • See the Big 7 at Addo National Park, which joins the sea.

Top tip
“The Sabi Sands, for me, provide one of the greatest all-round safari experiences on the continent. And with the rand having fallen in recent years, a trip to the Sabi Sands is currently incredibly good value”
Bridget Cohen, Steppes Travel South Africa Expert

Voice of experience
“To understand the ecology of a place, you must first understand the rocks.” My guide, Christiaan, stops and gets out of the vehicle. The smell of rooibos leaves, dampened by the recent rain, dances through the air as he strides a few metres to our right.

“Look, here.” He says, pointing to the still damp ground. “Do you see this change in the soil?”

Peering down, I squint at the earth – unusual on a safari. But this is not quite like any other safari. Christiaan is not carrying a gun, and no elephant droppings or lion pawprints mark the ground. I am in the Bushmans Kloof Reserve, in the Cederberg Mountains, just inland from South Africa’s Atlantic Coast. Here, wilderness, rock art and rare endemic species provide the thrills, rather than the big game of elsewhere.

Read more about Rob Gardiner’s trip to Cedarberg at

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To learn more about travelling to South Africa, and to discuss a personalised itinerary, visit, email (email address) or call +44 (0)3332 223177.

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