A hair-raising hoorah of peaks, pinnacles, forest and falls, the otherworldly Drakensberg Mountains form a formidable boundary between eastern South Africa and the kingdom of Lesotho. Come here to hike steep river valleys or climb sandstone scarps; to tube and trout-fish along ‘Berg’ rivers or admire ancient Bushman rock art. Particular highlights include gasp-inducing Tugela Falls – the world’s second-tallest waterfall – and the hairpin-happy road up to Sani Pass. Contained inside the 620-mile range is the UNESCO-protected uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, where South Africa’s biggest peaks top 3,000m.


It might rank among South Africa’s dinkiest provinces, but beautiful Mpumalanga features one of the country’s biggest tourism draws: the mammoth Blyde River Canyon. Scything its way through the Drakensberg Escarpment, this is a lush paradise which puts the gorge in gorgeous, with sensational vistas and incredible columns a given. Mountain-biking opportunities are also commonplace, as are wondrous hikes and waterfalls. Elsewhere, Mpumalanga’s remarkably diverse scenery packs in forest, raftable rivers, low-lying grasslands and the country’s premier safari spot in Kruger National Park.


As you drive, bike, hike or rock-climb among strangely-shaped reddish rock formations, Cape Town will seem a distant memory – despite being only three hours away. Hardly developed, the clear-skied Cedarberg Mountains and nature reserve also befit stargazing and photography, while San rock art caves, meerkats, baboons and, if you’re very lucky, leopards reward its most intrepid explorers. The eponymous Clanwilliam Cedar and wildflower-filled fynbos, great in spring, dominate the craggy south and west, with semi-desert wildernesses taking hold further north and east. Accommodation options span campsites, eco-lodges and farmstays.



The Best of South Africa Travel map displays the locations of the destinations and accommodation that we have selected and visited; for each item, hovering over or clicking the marker will display a short summary and photo of that place or hotel, and hotel pricing. Follow the links in the info box to the full page listing which has much more information.

Note that the online map offers both a satellite view (click satellite in the top right) and, for some locations, a street level view (Drag the person in the top left onto the map). These let you explore the country; and when you wish to explore in person, or if you have any questions about the places you see, give our staff a call, or request a quote. Our staff regularly visit the places and accommodation that we feature.

When you book a holiday with us we will provide full driving instructions for reaching your accommodation, where necessary; these can be used by yourself, or you could enjoy the luxury of a driver. Alternatively we will arrange private (car rather than coach) transfers for you; helicopter transfers are also possible for some destinations.


Kwandwe Melton Manor


Whenever I hear any friend contemplating a trip to South Africa, I now rush at them with every reason under the sun why they should let Ash Jarvis and the Best of South Africa Travel take care of their whole trip – because she gets it 100% right. Ash listened to what we wanted for our special 15-year wedding anniversary …

Sarah Rutherford

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