South Africa’s staggering scenery and spectacular wildlife are the wow factors in a country of huge diversity, in history, culture, climate, and landscapes, from cosmopolitan cities to villages and vineyards, battlefield towns and Dragon Mountains.
Untamed wilderness, unrivalled game reserves, inimitable cities, and awe-inspiring scenery combine to reveal the character of this amazing country. From winelands to battlefields, from the cliffs of Cape Point to the Cango Caves, from beginning to end, a tour of South Africa is an unforgettable experience.
The magnets for many visitors are safaris in the country’s revered national parks. Kruger is the star of the show; with the Sable River running through it, and habitats from wide, wilderness plains to mountains, bush and tropical forest, the huge park is home to hundreds of species of birds and mammals, including all of Africa’s Big Five: lion and leopard, rhino, buffalo, and elephant.
‘Supporting acts’ include Kapama Game Reserve, a relatively small enclave of pristine bush, but a Big Five park; and the Wild Dog & Cheetah Project, creating carnivore corridors to connect different ecosystems.
Scenic spectaculars include the Panorama Route, focused on the Blyde River Canyon, its sheer cliffs plunging 800m to the riverbed; and the Garden Route, running through the Western Cape from Mossel Bay to Knysna and beyond, for coastal forests and whale-watching bays.
The Atlantic Seaboard weaves between the mountains and the ocean, from Hout Bay harbour to the continent’s southwestern tip, ‘the place where two oceans meet’; while dramatic Drakensberg scenery surrounds Dundee, the gateway to skirmish sites and Rorke’s Drift battlefield.
Small towns highlight the country’s contrasting cultural heritage; Mkuze, in Kwa-Zulu Natal, celebrating the traditions of indigenous Zulu people; the Winelands hub of Franschhoek (‘French corner’) taking its name, and its winemaking wisdom, from the 17th-century Huguenot settlers.
Major cities are equally revealing. Pretoria, the administrative capital, is perhaps the most conservative, its elegant houses set in manicured gardens, its broad streets lined with thousands of jacaranda trees.
Johannesburg is South Africa’s biggest city and most diverse, with affluent suburbs, very poor townships, and a cultural scene ranging from arty Braamfontein to Soweto’s simple Mandela House Museum.
Cape Town is the most cosmopolitan, with its vibrant V&A Waterfront laced with eateries, cobbled streets in colourful Bo-Kaap, a cable car to Table Mountain top, and boats leaving the harbour for Robben Island.
Some of our tours in South Africa are combined with other countries: the tiny Kingdom of Eswatini, with mountains, rain forests and river canyons; Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, set by the Indian Ocean; Namibia’s eerie Sossusvlei salt-pan landscape; or Zimbabwe’s game reserves and fantastic Victoria Falls.
South Africa’s climate varies with the seasons and regions, from sub-tropical in the northeast to Mediterranean in the southwest, arid in the semi-desert of the northwest, humid on the western coast, and cooler and wetter in the inland Drakensberg region.
In general, with summer temperatures around 36° from December to February, the autumn (March to May), and springtime (September-November) enjoy the most temperate climate, and the country’s cool winter months are June to August.
Our journeys in South Africa are timed for the seasons which best suit the various tours, to give you the most enjoyable experience of the various destinations.
This very diverse country encompasses wildlife and winelands, mountain routes and ocean shores, cityscapes and splendidly scenic landscapes, heritage towns and a steam train museum; in short, a treasure trove of interests and experiences to entertain historians, naturalists, the curious and the adventurous traveller.
Choose the focus and tempo that meets your ideal, and you can be sure that, on Jules Verne’s small-group tours, you will be touring with like-minded travellers.
With 45 years’ experience and a passion for creating extraordinary adventures, Jules Verne visits iconic landmarks and lesser-known sites, with expert tour guides who share their local knowledge, and safari driver/guides, well versed in the habits and habitats of the country’s amazing animals. Memorable interludes on our journeys in South Africa include a cruise of Cape Town Harbour, Lake Jozini, or Kntsna lagoon; a Karoo lunch in rural Prince Albert, a ‘braai’ barbecue at the MOTH (Memorable Order of Tin Hats) battlefields museum, and wine tasting in the vineyards of Franschhoek.
All our guided tours to South Africa are ABTA and ATOL protected, and we offer a 100% price guarantee, so you can book with complete confidence.
A Rail Journey to Victoria Falls
A great rail journey through southern Africa, this tour carries you in luxury aboard the Rovos Rail, and includes sumptuously scenic excursions, and safaris in renowned national parks, on its route from Pretoria to Zimbabwe’s iconic Victoria Falls Hotel
Highlights of South Africa
From cosmopolitan Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard to the vineyard slopes of the Winelands, from the streets of Soweto to safaris in Kruger National Park, and the spectacular scenery of the Panorama Route, this is South Africa at its varied, vivid best
Grand Tour of South Africa
From cities to townships and tribal communities, from Garden Route scenery to Winelands estates and historic battlefields, and from wildlife game drives to lake and harbour cruises, this multi-faceted tour reveals South Africa’s landscapes, culture, and heritage
Cape Winelands & The Garden Route
From cosmopolitan Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope, from the splendid Swartberg mountains to the gorgeous Garden Route, and from winsome towns to white sands and winelands, this is a leisurely tour of South Africa’s culture, colour, and nature