South Africa

South Africa is a true crossroads—of nearly everything. History, culture, language, food, and safari styles are all refreshingly blended into a superior experience for visitors. Cosmopolitan cities, a gorgeous coastline, wineries and some of the most spectacular safari destinations on the planet all live in South Africa.  You could say the luxury safari experience was born here, as the accommodations offer such personalized service and amenities like nowhere else.

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South African Safaris

What to Expect

South Africa is home to many of our staff and we know it inside-out. We love the rugged flourishing mountains, powdery sand beaches lapped by two oceans, desert skies peppered with stars and the king of Africa – the lion – proudly gazing over the lowveld.

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Add to the mix the Cape Winelands dotted with high quality eateries and charming towns, and vibrant cities bursting with culture, and you will realize the depth that South Africa offers to travelers. There truly is something for everyone in this entrancing country, whether you are looking for a luxury honeymoon, a family adventure or simply an unforgettable safari. We help you sift through all the possibilities of lodging, activity, and environment that exist within the ‘Rainbow Nation’.

Don't Miss Out

The Essence of South Africa — South Africa is Big 5 territory and the beauty of the country is that you have your choice of prime wildlife viewing locations. Choose from the prolific Greater Kruger region including the Sabi Sand, the coastal reserves in KwaZulu Natal, or the malaria-free Madikwe Reserve. 

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These areas are haven for the endangered rhino and other big game.  The density and diversity of game in these areas will leave you breathless.

Journey through time— All aboard! A rail journey through South Africa allows you to see and feel a different side of travel. As the miles roll by, the scenery becomes more beautiful and time slows down. Furnished in the Edwardian style of the early 1900s, both Rovos Rail and the Blue Train reveal a world when travel was a privilege and the journey just as important as the destination. Relaxing and lovely, choose between journeys of just a few days or a few weeks!

Culture Club—A rich cultural history in South Africa permeates the nation. On safari, you can barely scratch the surface, but we encourage you to try! Over and over again, our travelers rave most about the people they meet on safari, not just the mind-blowing wildlife. What better way to know a place than walk with locals and hear their stories? We connect you with experts in their fields and people passionate about showing off their homeland.  In Johannesburg, Cape Town, and KwaZulu Natal, discover the ties that bind this nation together.

Find the Marine Big 5—The South African coastline is absolutely incredible—including the garden route full of native fynbos and the deep shades of blue in the Indian Ocean. Between Cape Town and Knysna, you may spy whales migrating (July-October) and a host of other marine life as well. Challenge yourself to discover the wonderful dolphins, whales, seals, penguins, and sharks which inhabit the coast.

Hidden gem—In the arid environment of the Southern Kalahari Desert, a conservation initiative blooms. Protecting indigenous species, ancient petroglyphs of the San Bushmen, meerkat and pangolin habitat, and rehabilitating an environment that was once farmland, Tswalu Kalahari delivers an unparalleled experience for visitors. Here you spend time with researchers and learn about their studies. By helicopter, on horseback, on foot or by 4×4 vehicle, discover the wildlife and culture this intense and magical environment. The superior accommodation and service of the property provide exclusivity, privacy, and unfettered access to one of southern Africa’s last true wildernesses.

Need to know

Flights are easily arranged into Johannesburg directly from New York and Atlanta and many airlines connect through European gateways like Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, and Zurich.

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  • Flights via Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha or Addis Ababa are also quite popular. Limited service is offered directly into Cape Town via gateway cities…most flights are routed via Johannesburg.
  • We recommend 10-14 days in South Africa because there is more than enough going on to keep you occupied on its own! It is also easily combined with other countries in East or Southern Africa.
  • South Africa works for any type of traveler! First-time safari goers and safari veterans alike will marvel at the wildlife diversity and choice of activities. Couples can find romance at many magnificent lodges around the country and some of the malaria-free zones will attract families.
  • Visas are not required for most visitors, but inoculations may be recommended. We suggest you see a travel medicine specialist for advice.
  • A mixture of private charters, shared charters, commercial flights and excellent road infrastructure make flying or overland safaris attractive. We prefer the flights!
  • Even with 11 official languages, English is widely spoken throughout the country.
  • South Africa boasts excellent guides who are required to complete extensive qualification programs.
  • South Africa, and Cape Town in particular, is a foodie paradise—with unbelievable culinary experiences throughout the nation.

When to go

South Africa enjoys a high percentage of clear, sunny days. South Africa’s climate is generally mild throughout the entire year, though regionally this can differ depending on altitude and proximity to the ocean.

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Summers in South Africa typically occur between October and April, and are green, dramatic, and lush. 

Winter generally occurs between May through September and means drier conditions and cool temperatures. Cape Town and Johannesburg can get down to freezing during the winter months.

June – October: This is the long dry season and best viewing conditions with short grass. Wildlife congregate around water sources. Guests can expect cold mornings and cool evenings. This is peak travel season for visitors. You may want a beanie, warm jacket, and gloves from June through August! In Cape Town, it tends to be wet between June-September while the rest of the country is dry.

November: Springtime! This short season brings wildflower blooms and there is a chance of thunder showers heralding the green season.

December – March:  This is typically the rainy or ‘green’ season, when landscapes are lush with long grass and skies dramatic with billowing clouds. Wildlife is a bit more dispersed but still plentiful. Expect showers in the morning with clearing in the afternoon before clouds roll in again for heavier rains in the evening. Road conditions in the bush can be muddy. In Cape Town, weather is drier than the rest of the country.

April – May: This is the autumn and warm, pleasant temperatures prevail. Occasional showers can still happen.

Accommodation

No matter your price-point or style, South Africa can promise a solid option for you. We cannot stress the joy of having so many good options to choose from in terms of accommodation. 

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South Africa is uniquely situated in having an extensive network of private villas for those seeking the truly exclusive throughout their journey. Boutique hotels abound and large chain properties offer excellent value for money. And there is everything in between… A-listers and everyday people can find their fit in South Africa. Let us help you find yours!  Every property booked on a Rothschild Safari is vetted by staff and offer the highest standards in each category.

What our travelers say

Amy Lundberg

Wow, wow, wow!! We are back in LA now, recovering from jet lag and still in shock and awe regarding our experience. From the moment we landed in South Africa to the moment we touched down in LA, our experience was seamless and amazing. 

Betsy Robertson

We were thrilled with the trip. It was as good as or better than described at every turn. The prep, attention to detail, willingness to make changes and ensure we were ready and prepared was outstanding. Our Travel Designer was awesome! 

Dawn Jacobs

Choosing a safari expert is never easy given the choice and lists upon lists of "top suppliers"....but we made the BEST choice for us....why....because above all, Rothschild listened ....really listened to what we wanted to experience.

George Kowalski

It was a well organized trip. It was easy to get around since we were guided through all of our itinerary. Everyone was pleasant and very helpful. This is an excellent way to travel. Rothschild Safari did very well and brought a fantastic African experience to us.

Jackie Smith

My trip was beyond AMAZING! I truly enjoyed every moment. The itinerary allowed me to experience a variety of different activities all of which I enjoyed! When I originally thought of going to Africa I was just thinking of safaris. This trip opened my eyes (and my family/friend's) to so much more Africa has to offer.

Jamie Scarlett

Trip was PERFECT!! Every single detail was planned out and the accommodations and people were wonderful. This trip exceeded all of our wildest expectations. Every place we stayed was just lovely and each each camp had a different vibe, which was really neat. Everyone we worked with was outstanding. 

Joe Moravec

On behalf of the Moravec’s and the Stone’s……thank you for arranging a trip of a lifetime. Every detail was accounted for and all the recommendations were perfect. It honestly could not have gone any better.

Kim Mather

Meggan Woody and Kim Killick were extraordinary at crafting THE PERFECT safari for our family of 8. They both listened (actually 'read' my email) to EXACTLY what we wanted, within the budget that we needed, and miraculously pulled off miracles in obtaining the properties that we wanted! 

Lisa Anderson

Every aspect of my trip went according to plan and the plan Rothschild's help me to orchestrate was magnificent! I loved every lodge that I was blessed to be in! They were all very different yet all high end and very accommodating.

Mary & Rob Johannigman (and family)

It was the most exciting, scenic, inspiring trip we've ever taken. To say it was a trip of a lifetime doesn't begin to capture our experience. Pam Langhoff and the Rothschild team did an outstanding job of helping us plan this trip.