South Africa is overflowing with unforgettable bucket list experiences, from the stunning landscapes and wildlife, to the rich history and culture, food and wine, and friendly locals. We’ll show you what life is really like here with Trafalgar’s new South Africa local tours, taking you from luxury wilderness camps and remote mountain villages, to historic gold rush era towns. From meeting farm owners to traditional Basotho villagers, here are 7 incredible things to do in South Africa on a staycation with Trafalgar. Now’s the time to discover the real South Africa!
Spend the night at Mdluli Safari Lodge
We’ll take you straight to the heart of the natural beauty of Kruger National Park with one of our magical ‘Stays with Stories’ at Mdluli Safari Lodge. With luxury elevated tents complete with ensuite bathrooms, private patios and stunning views of the bushveld, you’ll quickly fall in love with this tranquil place.
It’s easy to feel completely connected to nature through your whole stay, whether you’re relaxing around the bonfire or soaking in the infinity swimming pool. You can even watch elephants or buffalo wandering by to the river right next to the lodge’s fence line.
Best of all, the lodge is a sustainable tourism initiative, built with a commitment to conservation and the local Mdluli Community. Each custom tent was built using natural materials with the authentic touch of Siswati tradition. Nearly 200 workers were employed from the community to develop the lodge. Today, almost 90% of the lodge’s team comes from the community and the lodge continues to create sustainable job opportunities.
You’ll get to be a part of this incredible story on your visit to Mdluli, meeting the friendly staff and learning about their lives here. Whether you want to go on a thrilling Big Five open vehicle game drive and guided walk or relax in the luxury of the lodge, this will be a stay you’ll never forget.
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Meet farm owners Bartel and Karin du Toit
We’ll take you on an unforgettable South African ‘Stays with Stories’ experience, spending the night in a stunning Victorian guest house, set on a sustainable working ostrich, alfalfa and cattle farm in the town of Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape.
You’ll get to meet the owners, Bartel and Karin du Toit, who run the farm and La Plume Guest House, a charming Victorian homestead built in 1902. You’ll also get to take a tour of the farm and take in the gorgeous views of the Swartberg Mountains and Olifants River Valley.
In the evening, we’ll sit down to a special dinner with Bartel and Karin. You’ll have the chance to chat with them and learn more about daily life on the farm, all while soaking up the old-world charm of the guest house.
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Discover the ancient traditions of the Basotho people
First, strap yourself in for a thrilling 4×4 drive up the legendary Sani Pass, a stunning mountain pass between South Africa and Lesotho. Your Local Specialist will navigate all the hair-raising twists and turns as you ascend to the breathtaking height of 2,876 metres above sea level.
You’ll even get to cross the country border into Lesotho and enjoy lunch at Africa’s highest pub. Next up, is a very special insight into the culture of the region.
We’ll take you to a remote Basotho village set within the lush Lesotho highlands. Here, you’ll meet a local villager and enter one of their traditional homes to learn more about their daily life. This amazing experience will take you to the heart of the Basotho culture, and it’s sure to be a day you’ll cherish forever.
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Uncover the secrets of Pilgrim’s Rest
If you want to discover the gold rush history of South Africa, there’s no better place to visit than Pilgrim’s Rest, set on the scenic Panorama Route in the Mpumalanga province.
This little village is so historically significant, the whole town was declared a provincial heritage site in 1986. Today, it’s an amazing open-air museum and a living memory of South Africa’s gold rush days in the late 1800s.
Most of the town’s original architecture remains untouched since the gold mining days. It’s a fascinating experience to wander the charming streets lined with historic shops, restaurants, hotels and museums. You can almost imagine you’ve stepped back in time to the heady excitement of South Africa’s gold rush era.
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Visit the iconic Montagu Country Hotel on Route 62
As the country’s only Art Deco hotel, you can’t miss visiting the Montagu Country Hotel. It’s one of the most stylish South Africa attractions and you’ll love the gorgeous decor, lush gardens and warm hospitality. The hotel also has a fascinating history and we’ll introduce you to the current owner, PJ Basson, to learn all about it.
As you sit down to an afternoon tea of coffee and cake, PJ will tell you the story of the original owner and legendary hotelier, the late Gert Lubbe. You’ll discover how his passionate vision put Route 62 on the map as a popular tourist route. You’ll even get to see the wonders of the route for yourself when we take you on an incredible drive…
Set around two hour’s drive from Cape Town, halfway between the Garden Route and the Cape Winelands, Route 62 is a beautifully scenic journey. You won’t want to blink as we pass through the charming fruit and wine towns of the Breede River Valley. You might even like to sample some homemade local treats like chutneys and pies at the famous Affie Plaas Farmstall. Don’t forget to try melktert, the delicious South African custard tart!
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Meet the Buckland family of Sabie Valley Coffee
Want to get to know the locals of South Africa? Join us on a journey to White River, a little farming town in Mpumalanga. Here you’ll meet the Buckland family who owns and manages Sabie Valley Coffee. This unique roastery has been the pride and joy of the Buckland family for over three decades. It all started in 1980 when they planted 10 hectares of coffee orchards on the misty slopes of the spectacular Sabie Valley.
After building the roaster and processing machines in 1984, the family perfected their unique technique of coffee roasting. You’ll get to learn all about it on a tour of the farm and roastery – tasting included! Coffee connoisseurs will love sampling everything from their rich bushveld blend, to their medium and strong, dark roasts.
You’ll also get to sit down with the Buckland family for a light lunch in their espresso bar and café. We’ll have a chat with them, all while surrounded by the warm aromas of coffee beans. Be sure to get a bag of their famous beans before you go, for a delicious memento of South Africa!
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Learn about the Zulu history of Mtonjaneni Lodge
You’ll get a fascinating insight into South Africa’s Zulu history when we take you to Mtonjaneni Lodge. It’s set right next to the historic Mtonjaneni Spring site, where the famous Zulu King Dingaan sent 2,000 Zulu maidens to collect clean water every day.
We’ll meet the owners of the lodge, Nico and Rina Harris, and enjoy lunch with them while learning about the history of the natural Mtonjaneni Spring.
You’ll also learn about the history of this lush property, established by Nico and Rina in 1997. And be sure to spend some time admiring the spectacular views over the eMakhosini Valley.
You can experience all of the above as part of Trafalgar’s range of Near Not Far domestic tours. Our Near Not Far South Africa domestic tours are exclusively available to those living in South Africa.