south africa: travel resources—where, what, why, how


When putting together my travel plans for South Africa I was unable to find any package that truly covered what I was looking for. They either catered for the passive traveller or did the usual Cape Town/ Kruger combination and nothing else. A bit of a waste, I felt, since there was much more to South Africa. So I ended up travelling solo and independently through the country, doing all the things I really wanted to do, and pleasantly finding it one of the safest and friendliest countries for a woman to travel alone through.

I did some homework and luckily also found great guides whilst travelling. I’ve put together a list of the travel services I used. All of these are still valid as of now. I checked.

Port Elizabeth
Hotel: City Lodge, Summerstrand
(Typical City Lodge hotel, but great location on the beachfront.)

City tours and airport transfers:
Sisa Manxiwa (e-mail:, cell: +27 (0) 76 426 0145 / (0) 79 160 0563.)
(A mine of information and a thorough gentleman, he came highly recommended by every hotel and tourism office in the city!)

My related blog post:
south africa 1: port elizabeth, victorian england in africa

Garden Route
Package tour (Garden Route Splendour 4 days 3 nights):
Thompsons Africa (Thompsons are one of the biggest tour operators in South Africa. Absolute professionals. One can’t go wrong with them.)
Township tour in Knysna:
Emzini Tours (One of the most emotionally poignant and beautiful township experiences I had in the country.)

My related blog post:
south africa 2: the 4-day scenic garden route

Cape Town and around
Hotel: Holiday Inn Express, St. George’s Mall
(Swank hotel with slick minimalist décor in the heart of Cape Town. Ask for a room on the 15th floor for great views.)

Day tours:
Peninsula, Winelands, Walk to Freedom (Langa Township and Robben Island), City Day Tours: Thompsons Africa, contact tel: +27 (0) 31 275 3500.
When exploring on my own I walked through the city (it is very safe) and took the City sightseeing buses to get around. At R220 for a day pass, the buses are a treat.

My related blog posts:
south africa 3: cape peninsula, the company of nature and wine
south africa 4: kaap staad aka cape town, the most beautiful city in the world

Durban and KwaZulu-Natal
Day tours:
Battlefields and City Day Tours: Thompsons Africa
Kamberg, Shakaland, Sani Pass, Hluhluwe/ St. Lucia/ Emdoneni and Indian Cultural Experience personalized tours, Airport transfers: 1st Zulu Safaris
(There really is no other way to explore KwaZulu-Natal; for real adventure 1st Zulu Safaris win hands down. Ask for Sotiris, cell: +27 (0) 82 776 6771.)

My related blog posts:
south africa 5: kwazulu-natal history—from rorke’s drift to kamberg to shakaland
south africa 6: kwazulu-natal adventure—from sani pass to its game reserves
south africa 7: durban—sun, sea, sand and the indian connection

Johannesburg and Pretoria
Hotel: Mercure Johannesburg, Randburg
(Awesome staff, the hotel is located right next to Brightwater Commons/ Randburg Waterfront.)

Day tours:
Pretoria, Soweto, Cradle of Humankind Day Tours: Ulysses Tours and Safaris
(Very knowledgeable guides and warm personalized service.)

Airport transfers:
Please do NOT take a taxi from O.R. Tambo airport. They cost a fortune. Ask your hotel to do a pick up or a company like Ulysses to do the transfers. There is also the gau train which gets you to Sandton in 12 minutes. The service includes an additional network of buses to various neighbourhoods.

My related blog post:
south africa 8: gauteng, johannesburg, the place of gold

Kruger National Park
Lodge: Umbhaba Lodge
(Stunningly beautiful place. My room had a balcony, sitting room, bedroom, two bathrooms and a gorgeous four-poster bed. Add to this wildebeest in the grounds and pretty awesome meals.)

Post-Kruger accommodation in Johannesburg: Outlook Lodge
(It is near O.R. Tambo airport and they make the yummiest omelettes.)

You could do the Kruger bookings directly or ask an agent. I used since I also wanted to do the Panorama route. They booked it for me through Spurwing Tourism Services.

My related blog posts:
south africa 9: the ‘panorama’ journey

south africa 10: kruger and the big 5

Local flights
Open a couple of windows in your browser with the following addresses to get the best deals.

Happy travelling. ❤

13 thoughts on “south africa: travel resources—where, what, why, how

    • Thank you for stopping by trinitraveler! Glad you found the resources useful. 🙂 I am a sucker for solo independent travel. It teaches us things about life and ourselves, like nothing else does.



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