South Africa Info

Finding SA's secret beaches with Barefoot Safaris.

 

With a coastline of 3 000km, South Africa has enough beaches to accommodate thousands of sun lovers without ever getting crowded. The beaches near the larger coastal cities get most visitors, of course, and in high summer bathers might have to negotiate a tangle of tanned limbs to get from the sea to their towels.

But there are dozens of other beaches along the country's coastline where you can find space, privacy, soft sand and clear blue waves.  We at Barefoot Safaris can tailor make your beach holiday .

 

Cape West Coast:

 

If you want to avoid Cape Town's main beaches, head up the west coast towards Namibia and you'll find one spectacular seascape after another. The coastline has stunning wind-lashed scenery and may at times look dry and barren. But in spring the region's world-famous wild flowers transform the area into a magic carpet of colour.

The long white beaches and rocky outcrops provide some of the most private beaches, not to mention best surfing waves. Secret places to visit include Eland's Bay, Paternoster, Lambert's Bay and Yzerfontein.

In summer you can enjoy fresh crayfish at reasonable prices in local eateries. As this side of South Africa is on the Atlantic Ocean, the water is a lot colder than in the warm Indian Ocean to the east. But that doesn't stop swimmers from enjoying a bracing dip.

 

Cape Peninsula:

 

While the fashionable Cape Town beaches – particularly Camps Bay, Clifton and Llandudno – are overrun in summer, visitors can still find sandy solitude. Noordhoek's Long Beach is a serene sweep of sand over 2km long, backed by beautiful fynbos- covered mountains.

Sandy Bay, just next to Llandudno, is similarly isolated and lovely, as long as one doesn't mind the nudists for which this beach is notorious.

Blaauwberg offers the best views of Table Mountain and is long enough to avoid people, if that's what you're after. Or travel just a little way to the dune-fringed beauties of Betty's Bay, Kleinmond and Pringle Bay.

 

Cape East Coast:

 

East of Cape Town, the coastline offers one sleepy seaside town after another, each with its own personality and beaches. Here the Indian Ocean laps the continent with its warm coastal currents. The further east you travel from Cape Town, the warmer the sea gets.

Hermanus is a popular weekend and holiday spot, and the beaches can be crowded. But a five-minute drive out of the village takes you to the more peaceful Grotto Beach.

Follow the coastline north and the gems of Gansbaai, Pearly Beach and Arniston beckon. Arniston, a restored fishing village, is particularly beautiful, and out of season is all but isolated.

 

Eastern Cape:

 

Those allergic to crowds will want to avoid the seaside havens of Plettenberg Bay, Knysna and George in high season, but again there are beaches just out of town that offer space and scenery aplenty.

Port Elizabeth and East London have places of historic interest as well as some good swimming spots. East London's Gonubie Beach is one of the country's prettiest, as yet unclaimed by hordes of beachgoers.

Cape St Francis and Seaview Game Park, both near Port Elizabeth, are similarly untrammeled.

 

The Wild Coast:

 

Formerly known as the Transkei, this is a breathtakingly beautiful region. It has many remote, rural locations offering unspoiled velvet-green hills and pristine beaches.

Some parts are harder to access, but places with facilities include Mazeppa Bay, Coffee Bay, Hole-in-the-Wall, Trennerys, Mngazi and Presley Bay.

Locals are friendly and hospitable and these are ideal holiday resorts for those wanting nothing more than a beach, a few good surfing waves and perhaps the odd fishing trip.

 

KwaZulu-Natal:

 

Nestled between the Indian Ocean and the Drakensberg mountains, KwaZulu-Natal is hot, humid and subtropical. These are the best beaches for those who like to float in the sea for hours on end, and the mild temperatures in winter make it an all-year- round holiday destination.

Durban's beaches can leave one jostling for elbow room in season and nearby towns such as South broom and Ballito have recently exploded with holiday homes, but you don’t have to go far to avoid the crowds.

On the north coast, near the Mozambique border, is the ecotourism paradise of Kosi Bay, a pristine estuary surrounded by lush marsh forest, mangrove, ferns and orchids. Take a walk between tanning sessions and you could spot a hippo, a crocodile or a loggerhead turtle.

Nearby St Lucia, a protected nature reserve and one of South Africa's seven World Heritage sites, has beautiful long beaches and lukewarm water.

Other secret spots include Mtunzini, Zinkwazi and Blythedale. The south coast beaches aren't quite as isolated, but small towns such as St Michaels, Hibberdene and Umkomaas are less inhabited, particularly in the mild winters.

 

 

 

Some things to know before visiting South Africa

Want to visit South Africa? Here's information on the basic requirements for entering South Africa, as well as links to full information on visas.

Please take note of the new legislation regarding travelling with children: 185-South_Africa_Immigration_Rule_for_pax_travelling_with_Children.pdf

Note: Requirements for entry into South Africa differ from country to country, and are subject to change. Always make enquiries before travelling to South Africa.

(Click on a heading to view the information)

Visas

Depending on your nationality, and the purpose and duration of your visit, you may not need a visa to visit South Africa. See the Department of Home Affairs' list of countries exempt from South African visas

What are the requirements for entering South Africa

You will need:

  • A valid passport or travel document that will be valid for the length of your intended stay. Your passport should have at least one blank page in it.
  • A valid visa, if required.
  • Sufficient funds.
  • A return or onward ticket.
  • Yellow fever certificates – if your journey starts or passes through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America.

Get your visa before leaving for South Africa

If you are subject to visa requirements, you should apply for your visa at least four weeks before your departure for South Africa. Do not leave until you know your application has been successful. Visas are not issued at South African ports of entry, and airline officials are obliged to insist on visas before allowing passengers to board. If you arrive without a visa, immigration officials will refuse you entry to South Africa and place you on a return flight to your country.

Do I have to submit my visa application in person?

No, you can ask someone else – such as a travel agent, a courier service or another family member – to submit the application on your behalf.

Where can I make enquiries about visas?

  • See the Department of Home Affairs' website at www.dha.gov.za.
  • Check the list of South African offices abroad for information on where to apply in your own country.
  • Home Affairs' contact centre: +27 11 461 9252 (overseas callers), 0800 60 11 90 (within SA), csc@dha.gov.za

Vaccinations

South Africa requires a valid yellow fever certificate from all foreign visitors and citizens over 1 year of age travelling from an infected area or having been in transit through infected areas. For visa requirements, please contact your nearest South African diplomatic mission.

Health & Safety

South Africa is well-known for its medical skill and there are many world-class private hospitals and medical centres around the country, especially in the urban centres. Most of South Africa is malaria-free, but always check with the game reserves you're planning to visit and take precautions if necessary. Make sure you have the latest safety tips from the establishment where you will be staying and take common sense precautions as you would when travelling.

Climate

South Africa has a temperate climate and is known for its long sunny days, hence the title: 'Sunny South Africa'. Most of the provinces have summer rainfall, except for the Western Cape (winter rainfall). Winter is from May to August; Spring from September to October; Summer from November to February and Autumn is from March to April.

Languages

There are 11 officially recognized languages, most of them indigenous to South Africa. English is one of these, and everywhere you go, you can expect to find people who speak and understand it. English is the language of the cities, and at any hotel the service staff will speak English. All the Barefoot guides speak English.

 

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