A good selection of lodges and accommodation options are available, to suit all budgets and requirements.
In terms of activities, walking safaris offer an excellent opportunity for game viewing in the Makuleke Contract Park, northern Kruger, followed by a few days of beach fun in northern Mozambique. The beaches of Ponta d’Ouro, Inhambane, Vilanculos and all the way up to Pemba are excellent options. Kruger to Mozambique is a popular self-drive option and fly-in beach safaris are also a draw card.
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park in northern KwaZulu Natal (not too far from the Mozambique border) was listed as South Africa’s first World Heritage Site, and is renowned for exquisite wildlife and birdlife. Lake St Lucia is known for its abundant crocodile and hippo populations, and fishing and boating are popular activities. Notable beaches include Cape Vidal and Kosi Bay. Cape Vidal is famous for the nesting of Loggerhead and Leatherback sea turtles from November to February. There is also excellent scuba diving at Sodwana Bay.
An hour or two from iSimangaliso (toward Durban) the bucket-and-spade towns of Salt Rock, Ballito and Umhlanga are all known for their great family beaches and a range of accommodation (including reasonably priced self-catering accommodation).
The Eastern Cape is known as a popular beach and bush destination and is often marketed as a Big 7 destination (the Big 5 plus the Humpback whale and Great White shark). There are a number of wildlife reserves in the province include the upmarket Shamwari Game Reserve, renowned for its conservation initiatives, and Kwandwe. The Addo Elephant National Park is popular with international and local travellers alike, and can be followed up with a visit to the award-winning beaches of Port Elizabeth.
Around East London there are some good beaches, and further afield you can find relatively unspoilt beaches in Cintsa and Morgan Bay (very popular with families) and of course the beautiful beaches of the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast.
Beautiful beaches on the Garden Route include those in Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, Sedgefield and Wilderness. Naturally, seasonality is important to take into consideration, and it’s probably not a good idea to book a ‘beach-based’ itinerary along the Garden Route during the South African winter!
In Mpumalanga, the luxury lodges in the Sabi Sand Reserve offer five-star options for tour operators organising itineraries for high-end clients. Federal Air flies direct from O R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg to many of the five-star luxury lodges in Mpumalanga (and Limpopo). Combinations that work for luxury itineraries include Sabi Sand Reserve and luxury Mozambique (for example: Ananantara Bazaruto Island Resort); The Sabi Sand Reserve and luxury Cape Town, and Victoria Falls; and the Sabi Sand Reserve and Cape Town.