The Best Places To Visit In Southern Africa During Winter

Winter is one of the best times to visit Southern Africa due to cheaper prices, fewer crowds, and sunnier weather. And given the massive size of this side of the continent, there are plenty of great places to go on vacation. From safaris in Kruger Park to scenic beaches in Kwazulu-Natal, here are our top picks for the best places to visit in Southern Africa during winter.

kwazulu-natal north coast

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KZN’s North Coast

The beaches of the northern part of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal coast stay nice and toasty during the winter and make the perfect getaway from colder confines. At least this is the case on shore, if not in the actual ocean (even the relatively warm waters of the Indian Ocean get a bit nippy). But it’s still a destination par excellence, as most of the rest of South Africa is suffering cold fronts and chilly temperatures throughout winter. Some of the best places to go include Umhlanga Rocks, which has stunning scenery and several luxury resorts where guests can bask all week in the sun. Nature enthusiasts will want to head just a bit farther north to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park or Sodwana Bay, where they’ll find untouched wetlands, plenty of scenic trails, and excellent scuba diving. Those looking for animals will also want to visit, as herds of elephants roam on the aptly named Elephant Coast. Kosi Bay is a great destination to check out, and is full of scenic lodges nestled under the forest canopy.

Rolas Island

Rolas island (Courtesy of Guludo Beach Lodge)

Mozambique

This coastal country is one of the top places where South Africans flee during the winter, and is increasingly popular with tourists from around the world. Whether it’s the Quirimbas Archipelago, Bazaruto, Beira, or anywhere else on the 2,500-mile coastline, this country is hard to top for beating the winter blues — and since it’s still somewhat “undiscovered” you won’t have to fight crowds. The beaches are stunning, the water is warm, and there are plenty of activities to partake in: swimming with horses, sailing, snorkeling and scuba diving. Of course, you could just spend the entire time lounging with a tropical drink in hand, too. Those looking for a more cultural vacation will enjoy stopping in vibrant Maputo before heading out to the beaches in order to explore the shops and eclectic seafood restaurants.

Lion on the road in Kruger

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Kruger Park

While it doesn’t have a coastline, travelers looking for a winter safari can’t do any better than South Africa’s Kruger Park. The park has simply too many accolades to list, but a few include the ‘Big Five,’ 500 species of birds,  dozens of rest camps and safari lodges, and 2,000,000 hectares to roam. Accommodation runs the gamut from grand luxury lodges and rustic rest camps. Those looking to save some money can opt for a self-drive safari and stay in one of the budget hotels outside the park, or a basic campsite within it. The cool-ish winter weather is also ideal for daytime game drives, as you won’t get beat down by the blazing summer sun. It’s not necessarily the best time to see animals, but given the vastness of the park and cheaper rates at the lodges this time of year, it’s still well worth going.


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