South Africa

Hotels & Lodges - South Africa

South Africa welcomes its visitors with an established network of quality accommodation venues. Hotels & lodges are a popular option and will most likely feature in your safari or African tour itinerary. However, tourists visiting South Africa are pleasantly spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting a place to stay. A huge assortment of guest houses, game lodges, safari camps, boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts (B&B’s), youth hostels, self-catering and serviced apartments are ready and waiting.

The type of accommodation tends to vary depending on the area and your activities of interest. For example, safari camps and game lodges will be the main form of accommodation available whilst on safari. Whereas large cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban offer an excellent selection of hotels, guest houses, boutique hotels and serviced apartments. Accommodation options in coastal areas such as the Garden Route tend to be hotels, guest houses and beach lodges. For something a little different there are also specialized accommodation alternatives, such as luxury trains, to add a unique perspective to your South African adventure.

Take a look through our range of accommodation options below, divided into 8 regions of interest rather than by province. Each of the ‘Read more’ links will direct you to African Travel Gateway’s recommendations of accommodation in South Africa which we update regularly.

God's Window

Mpumalanga Highlands & Escarpment

The delightful Highlands and Escarpment regions in the province of Mpumalanga are situated east and northeast of Johannesburg. Rolling highland grasslands and dramatic mountains are intermingled with cascading waterfalls, forests, pristine rivers and breathtaking vistas across the Lowveld. Roughly midway between Johannesburg and the Kruger National Park, the Highlands and Escarpment areas offer plenty of great spots to pause for lunch, overnight or spend a few days. The charming village of Dullstroom is the heart of South Africa’s angling scene and attracts trout fishing enthusiasts from around the world. The Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window and Bourke’s Luck Potholes are must-see’s along the Panorama Route which makes its way through the beautiful Escarpment. The quaint town of Pilgrim’s Rest, swept up in gold rush fever in the late 1800’s, adds a fascinating historical perspective to your journey.

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Addo National Park

Addo & The Eastern Cape

There is plenty to see and do in the Eastern Cape and this great province makes the perfect start or end to a trip along the Garden Route. Traditional home to the Xhosa people, the Eastern Cape has borne many a well known South African politician including the late Nelson Mandela as well as Oliver Tambo, the namesake for Johannesburg’s international airport. The Eastern Cape is serviced by two small but well developed cities. East London, gateway to the Wild Coast and the Sunshine Coast, offers a balmy subtropical climate and warm swimming beaches. Port Elizabeth is well known for its fun water sports on Algoa Bay and is close to malaria free Addo Elephant National Park and the surrounding private game reserves. A number of excellent game lodges have been established in this area over the past 15 years and these reserves are now competitive alternative safari destinations to visitors. Grahamstown has an artistic flair and hosts the popular annual National Arts Festival, a fun-filled 10 day event featuring performances in arts, music, theatre as well as crafts. Further west along the coast, the relaxed seaside town of Jeffrey’s Bay attracts surfers from far and wide to try out one of the best and longest right hand surf breaks in the world.

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The Garden Route

The Garden Route is one of the most naturally beautiful regions in South Africa and should definitely appear high on your South Africa travel wish list! The Garden Route is the coastal and inland region between Mossel Bay and Storms River, although it is commonly considered to be the entire section between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. The Garden Route is characterized by its bountiful natural features – wildflowers, mountains, beaches, indigenous forests, fynbos, cliffs, lakes, rivers and the semi-arid Klein Karoo area. As the name ‘Garden Route’ suggests, the region is indeed a ‘garden’ of plenty to birds, marine life such as dolphins, and wildlife…you may even be fortunate enough to spot a blue duiker, a tiny forest-dwelling antelope no bigger than a hare! The Garden Route is one of the world’s great road trips and is equally as good travelled in either direction, starting in Cape Town or ending in Cape Town. The main coastal stretch will take you through the towns of Storms River, Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, George and Mossel Bay, all with a variety of quality accommodation options including guest houses, boutique hotels, lodges and B&B’s. Along the way there are interesting detours that will allow you to explore some of the inland treasures of the Garden Route. The Klein Karoo, or Little Karoo, area is well worth a visit. Try your luck at riding an ostrich in Oudtshoorn, bolster your wine collection at some of the area’s first class wine farms, or take an underground tour of the exquisite Cango Caves. There are plenty of great sights and activities to keep you on the go so dedicate at least 3-5 days of your itinerary to make the most out of South Africa’s scenic Garden Route.

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Johannesburg & Pretoria Areas

At first glance Johannesburg or Pretoria may seem like ‘just another city’ but once you scratch the surface a pleasant surprise awaits - the hidden gems and welcoming ambiance of Gauteng, South Africa’s pulsating heart. Gauteng, the smallest of South Africa’s nine provinces, is the financial hub of South Africa and the economic powerhouse of the Southern African region. Johannesburg and Pretoria are only 60 kilometres (37 miles) apart and a quick trip on the Gautrain will connect you between the two cities and also to OR Tambo International Airport, the Southern African hub for most of the world’s leading airlines. Johannesburg, nicknamed ‘Jo’burg’ and ‘Jozi’, is a city with a true ‘African’ vibe and an infrastructure that makes tourists feel comfortable. Pretoria, the Jacaranda City, is an elegant haze of purple in spring with its streets, parks and gardens full of blossoming Jacaranda trees. A few days can easily be swallowed up with a host of great things to see and do…boutique shopping, craft markets, art galleries, Soweto and the Apartheid Museum, cafés and restaurants, theatre, sports events, nature reserves, adrenalin adventures and some excellent child-friendly activities. A wide variety of accommodation options are available to suit all tastes and budgets.

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Sun City

The Sun City & Madikwe Area

About 1.5 hours drive north west of Johannesburg will take you to Sun City, an award winning luxury resort and casino located in South Africa’s North West Province. Sun City is all about extravagance, opulence, fun and adventure and caters to all ages. The surrounding mountains and African bushveld make a perfect setting for Sun City’s four world-class hotels, water theme parks and two professionally designed 18-hole golf courses, host to the Million Dollar Golf Challenge. When it comes to entertainment Sun City has got it covered, from music concerts, sports events, international exhibitions and beauty pageants to nightclubs, cabaret productions and plenty of organized activities for children and teenagers. Next to Sun City is Pilaneberg Game Reserve, so if your holiday time is limited there is still opportunity for a wildlife safari at this great malaria-free, Big 5 reserve.  A further 1.5 hours north west of Sun City and bordering Botswana is Madikwe Game Reserve, also malaria-free. Madikwe provides plenty of space for the Big 5, most antelope species and other plains game and you may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one of Madikwe’s packs of wild, or ‘painted’, dogs on the hunt. Madikwe offers an excellent range of accommodation including luxury and family friendly safari lodges.

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Cape Town

Cape Town and its Surrounds

Whether you fly or drive into Cape Town it is easy to see why the dazzling capital of the Western Cape is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world! With Table Mountain a prominent landmark from just about every angle, Cape Town is also renowned for its charming historical harbor, its cosmopolitan vibe, its nautical history and the intriguing influence of numerous cultures on its cuisine, architecture and customs. Since its inception in 1652, Cape Town has flourished into a modern world-class city with leafy suburbs, bustling harbours, fishing villages, first rate wine estates, scenic coastal drives, nature reserves and a number of retail districts. Several days can easily be set aside on your itinerary to experience Cape Town and its hinterland. As with most cities, an outstanding array of accommodation is available including inner city guest houses, grand waterfront hotels, and Cape Winelands country houses.

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Kwa Zulu Natal

The Kwa Zulu Natal Area

On the east coast of South Africa lies the province of KwaZulu-Natal, colloquially known as ‘KZN’. KwaZulu-Natal is home to the famous Zulu nation and a number of traditional cultural villages educate visitors about the heritage and history of the people of the ‘Zulu Kingdom’.  Durban, KZN’s largest city, is one of the fastest growing urban areas in the world. Its subtropical climate will no doubt entice you to the warm swimming beaches on Durban’s ‘Golden Mile’ along with its cafes, restaurants and waterfront entertainment areas like uShaka Marine World, popular with ‘kids’ of all ages. The Elephant Coast region north of Durban offers excellent ‘Big 5’ game reserves such as Phinda, Hluhluwe and Umfolozi which provide great safari opportunities. iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Africa’s largest estuarine system and a World Heritage Site, is also worth spending some time exploring.  Its focal point is Lake St Lucia and the St Lucia estuary, a haven to a phenomenal diversity of flora and fauna in particular crocodiles and hippopotami. Less than an hour inland from Durban, KZN’s stately capital Pietermaritzburg is cradled in the heart of the Natal Midlands. ‘Maritzburg’ makes an ideal stepping stone to explore the picture-postcard Midlands Meander tourist routes and the scenic beauty of the Drakensburg mountain range.

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Impala at Kruger Park

Greater Kruger Park Area

The immense Kruger National Park has come a long way since the first three tourist cars visited in 1927! Today, the world-famous Kruger encompasses an area of almost 19,500 square kilometers (7,500 square miles) and is South Africa’s first national game park. The park is the lifeblood for an incredible bio-diversity of plant and animal species, including the ‘Big 5’, and the private reserves adjoining the Kruger on its western boundary are unfenced which enlarges the animals’ range even further. These private reserves, including the Sabi Sands, Timbavati, Manyeleti and the Klaserie, form the Greater Kruger Park area and are widely regarded as South Africa’s leading safari region. Many established private game lodges and safari camps are available to host you on your South African safari adventure.

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