South Africa is an interesting and diverse place for a vacation – travel the world-famous Garden Route to sample South African wines, go to Cape Town, soak up the culture and history in Johannesburg, or organize a safari at one of the country’s game reserves. But if you are planning a trip to South Africa, why not make it coincide with one of these special seasonal events or attractions to really make it a visit to remember?

Seasonal Wildlife Highlights

During May to June you can see a spectacular sight in the ocean, where shoals of millions of sardines head from the cold waters or the Cape up to the warmer KwaZulu-Natal coast en masse – the shoals are up to 15km long and are eagerly followed by masses of wildlife including sharks and dolphins.

If you are interested in seeing whales in their natural habitat, the best time to go to South Africa is between August and November when southern right whales travel to mate and settle in sheltered bays – a great place to watch the migration from the shore is the town of Hermanus which provides one of the world’s best whale watching experiences.

For displays of wildflowers, go to Namaqualand in the Northern Cape from late July to October. Almost 4,000 different species of plants have been identified in this area and the whole landscape is transformed with colour when the flowers burst into bloom.

Arts and Sports

You may have missed the World Cup in South Africa, but you can still catch a famous sporting event every year in June – the Comrades Marathon Is an ultra-marathon between Durban and Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal that tests the will and strength of its participants from all nationalities. The Cape Argus Cycle Tour is an annual event that attracts up to 35,000 cyclists including celebrity riders.

For arts events, come for the National Arts Festival in July. Held in Grahamstown, the festival features music, drama, dance, visual arts, literature and film and has its own fringe event with more things to discover.

When to Visit

South Africa is a good all-year destination but visiting in the winter (the southern hemisphere’s summer) means you enjoy sunny days and warm weather without the humidity that comes with the summer. Safari is often best in the winter because the bush cover is low and there is more chance of spotting wildlife. Whenever you visit, make your hotel preparations in advance with the help of websites like – offers a selection of different accommodation options – from five star hotels to international standard conference and hotel centres, boutique guest houses to budget self-catering accommodation – so you can choose the ideal base for your South African vacation of a lifetime. Many popular options get booked up at busy times of the year so it is a good idea to book as far in advance as you can to avoid disappointment.