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South Africa Travel Guide

Looking for an in-depth South Africa travel guide?

South Africa is one of the most popular countries in Africa for tourism. Visitors can experience city life in Cape Town and Johannesburg, or get up close and personal with wildlife in safari destinations like Kruger National Park.

Despite South Africa’s painful past and certain areas of the country that have a reputation for crime, visitors to South Africa will find that this country has so much to offer for the adventurous traveler.

Keep reading for helpful resources for your South Africa trip from Jessie on a Journey as well as our sister site, Epicure & Culture.

Note: This guide to South Africa travel contains affiliate links to trusted partners!

South Africa Map

Use this South Africa travel map to begin planning your trip!

South Africa map

Click here for an interactive version of the above map.

Best Places To Visit In South Africa

These South Africa travel guides share information that will help you plan the perfect trip.

South Africa Safari Tour

These guides are perfect for people going on a South African safari.

South Africa Vacation Inspiration

Use these guides to inspire your South Africa itinerary.

Top South Africa Tours

Check out these fun tours in South Africa from my affiliate partner, Viator:

  • Full-Day South African Wine Tour from Cape Town
  • Kruger National Park Full Day Game Drive from Ehlanzeni
  • Cape Point and Boulder’s Beach Penguins Tour from Cape Town

South Africa Travel Insurance

It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling solo or with a group on a South Africa tour.

When visiting South Africa — or anywhere else in the world — make sure to get travel insurance.

In my opinion, the best travel medical insurance for travelers is SafetyWing as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage — including coverage if you’re traveling for months as well as limited coverage in your home country).

Additionally, SafetyWing is budget-friendly and offers $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.

With coverage, you’ll have peace of mind as you embark on your South Africa itinerary.

Click my referral link here to price out travel insurance for your trip in just a few clicks.

South Africa Hotels

Click here to browse hotels in South Africa!

Prefer self-contained stays? 

Click here to check out unique local rentals!

You can also use this map to search for local stays:

Renting A Car In South Africa

Need a rental car for your South Africa trip?

Use Discover Cars to quickly compare your car rental options.

Their comparison tool does the homework for you, so there’s no need to have up 10+ tabs trying to figure out which company is the most affordable. Actually, you can save up to 70% using their tool!

South Africa Travel Guide FAQ

Below, find answers to frequently asked questions about traveling South Africa.

Q: Is it safe to travel in South Africa?

South Africa is often perceived as a dangerous destination, but it’s possible to have a safe visit to South Africa by exercising caution.

Cities are more dangerous than other parts of the country — such as the wine regions or safari destinations.

In South Africa’s cities, armed robbery and other crimes are not uncommon. It’s advised to exercise increased caution in cities and to avoid going out at night if possible.

Q: Is driving in South Africa safe for tourists?

Driving in South Africa can be safe for tourists as long as precautions are taken.

Never leave valuables inside your vehicle, and avoid driving at night. Drivers in South Africa drive on the left side of the road — as in, the “wrong” side of the road for Americans.

When self-driving through game reserves, remain in your vehicle and stay alert for wildlife.

Q: Is it expensive to visit South Africa?

South Africa is known for being an expensive destination, but it is possible to visit on a budget.

A backpacker can expect to spend $50 a day, while a mid-range traveler who wants to experience more activities like safaris should budget closer to $150 a day in South Africa.

Q: When is the best time to visit South Africa?

The best time to visit South Africa is in the winter months from May to September. This is the best season for safaris and the weather is cooler and drier.

Q: What countries need a visa to visit South Africa?

Citizens from many countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia do not need a visa to visit South Africa.

It’s recommended to view your country’s South Africa International Travel Information page for the most up-to-date information on entry and exit requirements — including visa information — for foreign citizens. You can also contact the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa.

Q: What is the best national park to visit in South Africa?

The most popular option is Kruger National Park, though the parks surrounding it — like the Manyeleti Private Game Reserve — also get a ton of wildlife.

What would you add to this South Africa travel guide?