For locals and tourists alike, South Africa is a wonderful place for a holiday any time of the year. From its nature and wildlife, to the beaches, rich culture, and history, South Africa offers diverse attractions, luxury resorts and low-cost accommodations for travellers. The holiday destinations of South Africa greatly differ from each other. For locals looking for a quick, affordable weekend getaway or vacation, there are many destinations to choose from without having to go over budget. We have researched and narrowed down the best and most affordable holiday destinations that you and your family will thoroughly enjoy visiting.
- Cape Peninsula
Stellenbosch is the perfect place to travel to for wine lovers. There are valleys of vineyards surrounding the town, and the neighbouring regions, Franschhoek and Paarl, are also home to hundreds of wineries. Stellenbosch is famous for its Pinotage and Chenin Blanc, but there are so many more ranges of different grapes and wines. Stellenbosch is not only renowned for its wines, but also for its beautiful scenery.
An excellent way to explore it is by hiring a bike and riding along the country roads. Also, Cape Town is only half an hour away, so you can also extend your trip for a night or two to visit the Mother City. You will find many B&Bs and Victoria-style guesthouses, and there are also some great restaurants at the wineries. As Stellenbosch has a big student population, there are also clubs and bars to check out.
2. Cape Peninsula
A nice ride along the cape on a sunny day offers breathtaking views. Right next to The Cape of Good Hope, is Cape Point, the southernmost point of the peninsula. While these will be the highlight of your day trip, there is a lot more to explore, such as the penguins at Boulders Beach. If you drive past Kommetjie, you can stop for a relaxing stroll at Long Beach.
And for those who love hiking, check out the Farmer’s Cliffs Trail, or any other hiking trails available in the Cape Point Nature Reserve. There are trails ranging from 2 hours to 2 days. A must-try is the drive along Chapman’s Peak, which is said to be one of the most beautiful roads in the world. It winds along the coast and is entirely carved out of rocks. It’s best to plan your trip to arrive just after sunrise or just before sunset, as the sun casts wonderful yellow tones on the rocks, making it perfect for photos.
The waterfront town of Knysna is the highlight of the Garden Route and one of the best places to visit in South Africa. Knysna is well known for its Knysna Heads – two huge sea cliffs that protect the entrance to the Knysna Lagoon. You can go on a boat trip to the Knysna Heads and view the waves crash through the gap at the entrance of the lagoon. This town is also surrounded by lush green forests and sandy beaches. Perfect for long days at the beach, boat trips, and hikes through the Featherbed Nature Reserve. When you visit, you must try out the two local delicacies of oysters and beer.
In the centre of Kwa-Zulu Natal, just 40 minutes from Durban, Ballito is graced by golden beaches, lush meadows and rocky mountains. It’s one of the only regions where you can spot shoals of bottle-nosed dolphins as they swim through the shallows of Ballito beach.
Just north of Ballito beach, you can spend a day having a picnic and hiking at the Harold Johnson reserve, or have a bike ride along the sugar cane fields of Holla. And for the kids, you can take them for an adventure in Sugar Rush Park. In the heart of Ballito, many self-catering accommodation options are charmingly decorated and spacious, with sea views and beautiful surroundings. There are cost-effective options too.
Here is another great destination to experience the pristine South African coastline without going out of budget. This lovely fishing village is home to over 200 species of birds, and also offers the perfect opportunity to spot whales and dolphins. Some of the popular visitor activities include sea kayaking and mountain biking. There are numerous lodgings in Paternoster; cosy rooms go for some hundred rands a night while the more luxurious B&Bs start from around R1500 per night.
The world’s largest wine route, Route 62 is precisely where Robertson is located. Visiting Robertson in spring means that you will get the chance to enjoy all of the natural splendours as the roses blossom. Feel the pleasant breeze and enjoy the rich vineyards during this special time of year. Some of the activities in Robertson Valley include horse riding, hiking, and cycling. You’re guaranteed to be guided through the best trails with breathtaking backdrops of vineyards and mountains.
If you visit Robertson, you have to head out for some wine tasting at the world-class wine estates in the region. Many of them are family owned but still offer wine-tasting tours and visits to the wine cellars. You can stay at some of the wine properties that offer affordable accommodation; most have incredible surroundings that will rejuvenate your mind and soul for about R800 per night.
Here you can get a taste of an authentic South African vacation without paying too much. The green stretch of land is pretty much untouched by humans, which is one of the reasons why UNESCO identified the region as one of Africa’s most precious biosphere reserves. Many areas around Waterberg are malaria free. If you happen to visit Bela-Bela, you can relax in a variety of wellness spas and centres. This region is best known for its hot springs, claimed to have restorative and curative properties. Game farms close to all the best villas and guesthouses offer fantastic opportunities to see the big five. You can catch lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo and rhinos at the Mabula, Mabalinwe, and Welgevonden game reserves.
The best places to stay in the Waterberg are self-catering cottages, Summerset Place Country House, Villa Toscane Guesthouse, and the Thulani Game Lodge and Eco Estate. Their rates range between R700 and R1500 for 2 persons per night.
This is the perfect holiday destination for families and couples alike as it offers plenty of activities, scenery, and friendly locals. Dullstroom is most famous for its crystal-clear fishing rivers, which make it a real angler’s paradise. Wining and dining is also popular in Dullstroom, as you can feast on some delicious home-cooked food at Plat de Jour or Mrs Simpsons, then head over to some of the best whiskey bars and breweries in the region.
A wide range of accommodation options caters to everyone’s tastes, with a variety of different atmospheres. For those who love fishing, you may want to spend your vacation at Stonecutters Lodge, with rivers and fishing reserves at your fingers. Planters Lodge and Riverman Cabin booth offer comfortable suitable self-catering accommodations. They lie in the heart of the magnificent forest, colourful meadows, and bushveld. The prices are incredibly affordable at around R300 to R1500 per night.
Situated an hour’s drive from Johannesburg on the banks of the Vaal River, is the small holiday town of Parys. It lies at the centre of a 300-kilometre-wide meteor crater. Known as the Vredefort Dome, it’s the largest recorded meteorite impact to hit the planet in the modern day, and for that reason, UNESCO identified it as one of the World Heritage Sites. Water sports and the abundance of antique shops, art galleries, breweries, distilleries, and restaurants welcomes visitors with all sorts of tastes and interests. If you love to explore, then make sure to head to The Vredefort Meteorite trail, it goes on for about 60 km. Along the way, you can also explore the offbeat areas and take in the various plants, animals, and reptile species.
Parys is located in the Free State and is home to affordable luxury lodgings. For just R600 per night, you can stay at the Tava Lingwe Game Lodge, with its bar, restaurant, and two swimming pools. The White Giraffe, La Splendia Guest Lodge, and Dome Inn also have private pools and stylish chalets and cottages. Generally, the price doesn’t exceed R800 per night.
Situated in Walker Bay, around 120 km southeast of Cape Town, is the wonderful seaside town of Hermanus. Here is where the southern whales migrate every year to mate and breed, which makes it popular for whale watching in South Africa. The best part of all is that you can see the whales from the shore. There are other viewpoints too, along the Cliff Path, or you can view the whales by boat. You’ll want to head to Hermanus anytime between July to November to enjoy whale watching. But there are also delightful areas to shop and eat at if you visit through the rest of the year.
South Africa is an all-year-round holiday destination due to its wildlife opportunities and changing climate. There are so many memorable attractions and experiences to enjoy. These holiday destinations are amongst the most affordable for families who want to travel away from the city. At any of these places, you can spend an unforgettable, inexpensive holiday for you and your family to enjoy every last minute.
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