As an Africa Specialist, one of the top questions we get asked is “When is the best time to travel to South Africa?” I am here to say there is no right answer to this question. So much depends on the traveler. Budget, timing with holidays, school schedules, etc. can all play a role in the “best time to travel”. So I am not going to tackle this question but rather tell you why you should travel along the southern coast of South Africa this summer.
Reason 1: Hemel en Aarde Valley
Known as the Heaven and Earth Valley in English this hidden gem will not disappoint. The little-known town of Hermanus sits at the foot of this valley and the cliffs of the Indian Ocean offering everything from boutique shopping to wine tours. This area is famed for its world renowned land-based whale watching. Migrating Southern Right Whale and Humpback Whales feed just off the shores of the southern coast of Africa from about July to November. The whales offer travelers the opportunity to sit back with a glass of South African wine and watch these majestic animals dance in the waters below.
Reason 2: The Marine Big 5
Many travelers only know South Africa for its amazing Big 5 safaris. What they may not know is that South Africa also has the Marine Big 5, the Whales, Dolphin, Seals, Penguins, and the Sharks. So yes this is one of the top reasons to head along the southern coast during the summer and fall. The famed shark alley is just one hour from Hermanus near Gansbaai and an easy day tour. Here travelers can join researchers on a boat tour to Dyer Island home of more than 900 penguins and the adjacent Geyser Rock seasonal home to nearly 60,000 Cape Fur Seals. On the way, travelers get an opportunity to look out for the Great White Shark if you are feeling adventurous opt for the cage dive tours.
Reason 3: The Garden Route
Most America’s don’t know what the Garden Route is. No, it is not a route through gardens but rather one of the most diverse wilderness areas comparable only to the Amazon in the shear diversity of plant life. This coastline is covered in “fine” bush or Fynbos (Fain-bos) in Afrikaans, along this route travelers traverse the through ancient forests, secluded boutique towns, and wineries. On your tour be sure to stop in one of the many ancient caves or Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world.
Reason 4: The Big 5
That’s right you can see everything from Whales to Lions along the southern coast of South Africa. Some of the best and most luxurious safari lodges and private game reserves are located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa and together with the tours from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth travelers can see it all.
Looking for more information on discovering the southern coast of South Africa? Check out our southern coast safari tour Garden Route Splendor