Winter escapes in South Africa to delight and inspire

Middle aged woman sitting on a ledge looking at the view from the top of the mountain

2.63min read

Published 16 April 2021


Winter is a great time to take the plunge. Winter is generally considered the ‘off season,' which means that you won't have to worry too much about crowds. Plus, if you're usually averse to the summer heat of some of South Africa's most popular destinations, the cooler temperatures will be a welcome relief and, in many cases, will provide the perfect conditions for spending even more time out and about in the great outdoors.

South Africa offers a variety of experiences for winter holidays, as its winter season occurs from June to August. While it's winter in the Southern Hemisphere during these months, the climate in South Africa varies across regions. Here are some ideas for winter holidays in South Africa.

A quiet beach holiday in Margate

They don't call it ‘sunny South Africa' for nothing. A beach holiday is always on the cards regardless of the season. The only difference is that, if you opt to visit a beachside town during wintertime, you're likely have a decent portion of the beach all to yourself. Fantastic news for social distancing! Margate is a beach holiday favourite and offers holidaymakers a diverse selection of beaches, including Ramsgate Blue Flag Main Beach, Margate Beach, and Lucien Beach, to name just a few.

Margate stands as a popular destination for beachgoers and water enthusiasts alike. The town boasts a bustling atmosphere, especially during the summer months, with a myriad of beachside cafes, charming shops, and family-friendly amusements along the lively Margate Main Beach. For those seeking a break from the sun and surf, the town features a range of cultural attractions and entertainment options, making it a well-rounded destination for visitors of all interests. From leisurely strolls along the palm-fringed promenade to thrilling water sports adventures, Margate exudes a coastal charm that leaves a lasting impression on those who seek a vibrant and laid-back seaside escape.

Soak up the warm sunshine and breathe in the salty ocean air followed by a succulent seafood lunch and a cocktail or two at a beachside restaurant. Looking for a place to stay that is both comfortable and convenient? Margate Beach Club is ideal. The resort has recently been refurbished and promises ocean-view rooms of varying sizes and direct beach access for guests.

A wellness retreat in the Drakensberg

A holiday works wonders for rejuvenating both body and mind. And you certainly don't get much more soothing than a retreat nestled in the rolling mountains, far away from the noise of the city. That's why so many travellers select the Drakensberg as their trusted destination for a wellness retreat. Think endless solitude to be alone with your thoughts, spa treatments out on the deck and mountain-fresh air for the soul.

Enjoy the scenic beauty of the Drakensberg Mountains, where you can explore hiking trails, caves, and waterfalls, horse riding, bird watching, mountain biking or visit the Royal Natal National Park and the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The aha Alpine Health Resort is the perfect base for all of this and more. Enjoy perks including a well-equipped fitness centre, an outdoor pool and an equestrian centre where you can be in the calming presence of horses to your heart's content.

A city escape in Cape Town

Check out the boutique stores at the V&A Waterfront or Canal Walk Shopping Centre, revel in the rich cosmopolitan vibe as you sip on a creamy cappuccino, or head off on a whirlwind sightseeing tour when visiting the Mother City in the winter months.

You can't go wrong with a stay at Lagoon Beach Hotel and Spa. Wine and dine at the onsite La Mizu Beach Bar or the Brasserie restaurant, or settle down to a relaxing spa session at the Camelot Spa. The in-house fitness room is stocked full of state-of-the-art equipment and the hotel is home to 3 crystal clear pools should you feel brave enough for a cool winter dip.

  • Explore Cape Town's iconic landmarks, such as Table Mountain, Robben Island, and the V&A Waterfront.

  • Take a scenic drive to the Cape Winelands, where you can enjoy wine tastings and picturesque landscapes.

  • Visit historical towns like Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, known for their charming architecture and gourmet cuisine.

A scenic, foodie-oriented vacation in Franschhoek

Savour a romantic, French-inspired meal for two at one of Franschhoek's 5-star restaurants or spend your afternoons sipping on the Cape Winelands' finest vineyard nectars. No matter what's on the itinerary, when in this quaint village, you're always bound to find an adventure for the tastebuds.

Franschhoek, nestled in the heart of South Africa's Western Cape Winelands, is a charming village renowned for its breathtaking vineyard landscapes and exceptional culinary offerings. Known as the "Food and Wine Capital of the Cape," Franschhoek boasts a delightful fusion of French Huguenot heritage, award-winning wineries, and world-class restaurants, making it a haven for gastronomic enthusiasts and wine connoisseurs.

Why not plan a quiet stay at the LAB Franschhoek where you can lounge around in the hot tub in between your explorations? Guests benefit from high-tech room automation and an incredible in-house cinema where you and the family can cosy up and watch a movie, followed by a steaming cup of hot chocolate in the communal lounge right in front of the crackling fireplace.

A glamping getaway in Hazyview

Most South Africans feel as though they've ‘roughed it' enough throughout the winter weather and duration of lockdown. If you're keen to get closer to nature without having to give up your creature comforts, glamping is the answer. Trade in your budget-friendly sleeping bag for a plush queen-sized bed and percale linen, and a quick, cleansing dip in the river for a welcoming outdoor bathtub with a view.

Hazyview, nestled in the scenic Mpumalanga province of South Africa, is an idyllic getaway that effortlessly blends natural beauty with adventure. This charming town serves as the gateway to the world-renowned Kruger National Park, making it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Imagine waking up to the melodious calls of birds and the rustling of leaves in the lush Sabie River Valley. Visitors can embark on thrilling safari experiences, game viewing, encountering the Big Five and a myriad of other species. Beyond the wildlife, Hazyview offers a range of outdoor activities, from hot air balloon rides that provide breathtaking panoramic views of the landscape to exploring the picturesque Panorama Route with its cascading waterfalls and dramatic canyons. The town itself exudes a warm hospitality, with local markets and cultural experiences inviting travelers to immerse themselves in the vibrant spirit of the region. Whether seeking adventure or relaxation, a getaway in Hazyview promises a perfect blend of nature's wonders and memorable experiences.

While South Africa is chockfull of opportunities for both camping, hiking and glamping, if you're really after something lavish, choosing Summerfields Rose Retreat & Spa as your base is always recommended.

The 5-star luxury retreat and park boasts 11 secluded tented suites, as well as a forest suite and a luxury suited tent. Take some time out for yourself at the Rose Spa right next to the tranquil river or sit down to a generous family breakfast at the award-winning onsite restaurant, the River Café.

Related content: Six luxurious glamping getaways in South Africa

Absolute serenity in the Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park, a crown jewel in South Africa's wildlife conservation efforts, is a sprawling natural sanctuary that epitomizes the essence of the African safari experience. Encompassing nearly two million hectares of untamed wilderness, the park stands as one of the largest game reserves on the continent, providing a haven for a staggering diversity of wildlife, including the iconic Big Five – lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, and rhinoceros. Visitors to Kruger National Park are treated to an awe-inspiring spectacle of nature, with vast savannahs, dense woodlands, and meandering rivers serving as the backdrop for unforgettable encounters with Africa's most majestic creatures. The park's commitment to conservation, coupled with its extensive network of well-maintained roads and guided safari experiences, ensures that every traveler can immerse themselves in the raw beauty and extraordinary biodiversity that defines this iconic destination.

Charming Clarens

Nestled in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains in the Free State province of South Africa, Clarens is a charming village celebrated for its artistic flair, welcoming atmosphere, and stunning natural surroundings. Known as the "Jewel of the Eastern Free State," Clarens boasts a picturesque setting with sandstone cliffs, rolling hills, and the nearby Rooiberge Mountains.

The town's vibrant art scene is evident in its numerous galleries, showcasing the works of local artists, while the bustling town square is dotted with quaint shops, cafes, and craft markets. Whether exploring the scenic Golden Gate Highlands National Park nearby or simply strolling through the streets lined with historic sandstone buildings, visitors to Clarens are treated to a delightful blend of artistic inspiration and natural beauty.

Dazzling Dullstroom

Dullstroom, situated in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa, is a tranquil highland town that beckons visitors with its serene charm and natural beauty. Nestled amidst rolling hills and crisp mountain air, Dullstroom is renowned for its freshwater fishing opportunities, particularly trout fishing in the numerous dams and lakes that adorn the landscape.

Beyond its angling appeal, the town features a delightful blend of country-style architecture, quaint boutiques, and cozy eateries, creating a welcoming atmosphere for those seeking a peaceful escape. With its idyllic surroundings and a range of outdoor activities, Dullstroom stands as a haven for nature enthusiasts and those looking to unwind in a picturesque countryside setting.

Remember to check the specific weather conditions and pack accordingly, as temperatures can vary significantly between regions. Additionally, South Africa's winter months are considered the low tourist season, offering the advantage of fewer crowds and potentially more affordable accommodations.

Whether its a game drive, wine tasting or adventuring through the mountains, South Africa's winter escapes offer loads to do and ample opportunities to make memories with the whole family, your partners or friends.

Don't hesitate to make the most of the many benefits of a winter holiday in 2021. Contact a Flight Centre travel expert for up-to-the-minute advice, unmissable travel deals and total peace of mind when making any booking. Winter Getaways in South Africa are an absolute treat!

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