South Africa Cheat Sheet | STA Travel Blog

From the wildlife of Shamwari, to the beautiful views of the Winelands, South Africa has scenery to please everyone. If you prefer city hopping and discovering culture and art, Johannesburg and Cape Town will fill your urban desires. Interested? Here’s a few useful tips to help plan your adventure.

When to visit

May to September (South Africa’s Winter) 

You’ll be able to spot wildlife easier on safaris because there’s less rainfall, so animals can be found gathering around waterholes and rivers. You’ll find the parks will be less crowded due to it being South Africa’s low season. There’s also less mosquitos too! However, it will be cold at night and in the mornings.

October to April (South Africa’s Summer)

The temperature gets VERY hot! So if you’re not a fan of the sun, visit during the winter instead. Wildlife viewing can be more difficult due to the bushes being thicker. It will rain but mostly during the afternoons in short bursts of showers.

Packing tips

  • Pack warm winter clothing during June – August for the morning safari drives as it will be chilly
  • Pack light clothing during October – April as it will be extremely hot!
  • Long sleeved tops for the evenings
  • Swimming suit
  • Make sure to pack a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Insect repellent

Budgeting tips

USD conversion rate: 14 South African Rands = $1 USD

Accommodation in Cities

The cheapest places to sleep in South Africa are backpacker lodges (AKA hostels), which can cost you roughly around $10 per person in a dormitory. Most will provide private rooms but you will be paying a little extra at around $15. If you’re after some luxury, a mid-range hotel will charge you from $60 a room at the very cheapest.


You’ll be able to find yourself a decent meal in every city for under R100. If you want to wine and dine then you can spend $8 and splurge on some of South Africa’s finest foods such as Cape Malay curry, chakalaka & pap and malva pudding.

Top tip: Fans of Nandos will be in for a treat. The first restaurant was in South Africa! So it’s no surprised that you’ll expect to find peri-peri chicken on the menus all over the country.


South Africa is one of the world’s top ten winemaking countries! A bottle of wine will cost you under $3 a bottle and a beer will set you back $1.

Top tip: Beer is the national drink! If it’s your drink of choice too, then definitely pay a visit to one of South Africa’s microbreweries.


Getting around

The best way to get around South Africa is to take a bus. Greyhound, Intercape and Translux all have great reputations. Travelling with these companies is good value for money and very comfortable with air conditioning and toilets on board. Fares depend on distance travelled and the time of the year. To give you a rough estimate of costings; an hour drive from Cape Town to Paarl would cost around $15.


Let’s get the obvious out of the way, Safaris are what South Africa is famous for! The most iconic safari destination is Kruger National Park where you’ll find Africa’s Big 5 wandering freely in the wilderness. What’s the big five you ask? That’s lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard and rhino. Rawrrrr!

For a civilized day out of wine tasting, make sure to visit the Cape’s wine region to explore the beautiful vineyards. We’ll drink to that!

Australia has The Great Ocean Road, and South Africa has the Garden Route. Drive along the 300km of road to enjoy views of breath-taking coastline and discover hidden beaches. You might even come across a colony of seals!

From safari to surf and adrenaline-filled thrills to scenic routes… take a walk on the wild side. Book your trip to South Africa today HERE

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