South Africa is a large country located on the bottom tip of the African continent which offers a wide variety of sites and activities for tourists. Tourism has always been a major industry in the country and as a result has a thriving hostel scene. There are several large cities in the country such as Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, and Bloemfontein to name but a few. All of these cities have numerous hostels which offer both private and dorm style accommodation at a reasonable price. In fact, the cost of living in general is much lower in South Africa than North American and most European countries. Therefore, eating and drinking out in “fancy” restaurants is very much affordable.
Safari tours are probably the most popular and iconic activities among tourists in South Africa. The country has a large number of national parks to chose from. The largest and most popular of these is Kruger National Park, located in the north east of the country. All of the “Big Five” animals can be seen here roaming around in their natural habitat as well as hundreds of other species of animal unique to Sub Saharan Africa. Tour companies offer daily sightseeing trips with various packages available. There are several hostels and backpacker lodges available in the towns around Kruger Park which offer both private and dorm style accommodation at very reasonable rates.
Cape Town is another common place to visit in South Africa. Located in the South Western corner of South Africa where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet, this picturesque city is lined with white sandy beaches and is overlooked by the famous Table mountain. The plateau of this beautiful mountain can be reached by cable car and offers stunning views of the entire region. The Western Cape region is particularly famous for its wines and there are several companies which offer wine tasting tours to some of the many vineyards in the area. There are several hostels located in Cape Town which offer comfortable and modern accommodation at reasonable prices.
South Africa has two main seasons - summer (October to March) and winter (April to September). Nevertheless the weather is normally warm all year around. Consequently, outdoor sports and activities are popular among tourists in South Africa. Water sports such as windsurfing, surfing, scuba diving and jet skiing are available along coastal cities and towns such as Cape Town and Durban. For the more adventurous backpackers there is also skydiving, bungee jumping, white water rafting, and rock climbing available in various locations across the country.
While South Africa is an amazing holiday destination which offers fantastic opportunities for backpackers and tourists it must be noted that it also has a very high crime rate. The gap between rich and poor is very obvious in the country and as result there are areas of cities which are not safe for tourists. People travelling to the country are recommended to stay in the tourist areas and arrange guided tours as much as possible.
Hi, I'm Shannon Neuber,
the Hostelz.com local expert for South Africa hostels. Welcome.
I visited Durban and Commercial Road is dangerous. I got robbed there. I will never ever visit Durban again. The police are useless.
Hi, I live in Empangeni, always have. It's quite a dangerous place, especially the rail area. Just be cautious and never walk alone or at night and you'll be fine! The temperature here is higher than that of any other nearby towns, so come prepared with sunscreen. The heat goes up to 45C with humidity to kill!
Johannesburg is a great city -- don't believe all the horror stories you hear! If you follow local advice you will enjoy this city and have a safe and wonderful trip.
Pretoria is beautiful.
I think Muizenberg is a great town with lots to do. All my family liked it and not too far away is Cape Town with even more to do.
Stellenbosch is a very nice city - everyone should visit it.
Hogsback is magical.
We were in St. Lucia early January 2004 for a week. The best place we have ever been. Our two boys loved the place, so much to do, so much to see, so little time. We will be back.
Umkomaas is a beautiful town famous for the "Aliwal Shoal" dive site which is one of the top ten sites in the world.