‘Sunny South Africa’ is predominantly thought of as a summertime destination, but the truth is that this stunning country has just as many treasures in store for its travellers during the slightly cooler autumn months.

Here’s what to look forward to when paying a visit between the months of March and May.

1.     Wine tasting in Constantia

The Constantia Valley Wine Route is famous for its diverse selection of wine farms, its breath-taking views, and its mouth-watering cuisine. Be sure to find a lovely little hideaway in the heart of the region, like Last Word Constantia, before going in search of taste bud-tantalising exploits. Think an evening out enjoying a rich red Bordeaux paired with a steaming plate of food created with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. It’s the perfect way for foodies to celebrate the season.

 

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2.     Playing golf in Stellenbosch

Appreciate the colourful, crunchy falling leaves, the crisp bite in the air, and South Africa’s year-round sunshine with a friendly game of golf at an upmarket golf club in Stellenbosch. Afterwards, you can toast to an excellent round on the course by ordering a round at the bar!

3.     Admiring fynbos in the Overberg

You’ll find fynbos – a type of evergreen shrubland – in various areas across the country. Specifically, the Overberg is well-known for having the highest diversity of fragrant buchus fynbos in South Africa. This variant of fynbos is not only gorgeous but is easily distinguished by its powerful aroma. Different species have different smells, ranging from light citrus fragrances to potent liquorice perfumes.

4.     Whale watching in Hermanus

The whale watching season kicks off as soon as the weather starts to cool down. Autumn is a great time to visit this quaint fishing village with this agenda in mind as it’s much less crowded than during the spring and summer months. Brace yourself for an experience of epic proportions – there’s a reason why it’s considered one of the best whale watching spots in the world.

 

5.     Beer tasting in Bela-Bela

Top off a rejuvenating soak in the hot springs with a beer tasting adventure in Bela-Bela. There are a number of microbreweries in the area, such as L’Abri Fountain Brewery, specialising in delicious autumn-themed craft beer at this time of year. From milk stout infused with peanut butter to pumpkin spiced lager, you’re definitely in for a treat.

6.     Hikes through Marutswa Forest in KZN

This stunning forest remains lush and green all year round and is simply bursting with rare finds. Here, you’ll be able to scope out towering yellowwood trees and the beautiful Cape parrot that loves to feast on the trees’ abundant fruit. Keep your eyes peeled for lookout points and comfortable picnic decks where you can soak up some Vitamin D and tuck into a healthy meal following your explorations.

 

7.     Drinking creamy hot chocolate at cafés in Cape Town

Cape Town is home to some of the finest restaurants and cafés in the country, and if you’re looking to sip on and savour SA’s autumn beverage of choice – hot chocolate – you simply cannot go wrong. Grab a creamy hot chocolate at establishments like My Sugar, The Creamery, or Giovanni’s Deli World to warm up and satisfy your sweet tooth in a snap.

8.     Bird watching at the Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve in the Breede River Valley

Dotted with sweet-thorn trees and dwarf trees, and boasting sprawling patches of succulents, the Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve is every botany and birding enthusiast’s paradise. Watch out for the Karoo Chat, Grey Tit, Cape Bulbul, and the Blacksmith Lapwing, in particular. The reserve is also home to a variety of carnivorous bird species, such as the Jackal Buzzard and the Rock Kestrel.

 

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9.     Picnics in Magaliesburg

The intoxicating mountain air of the Magaliesburg will refresh you instantly no matter what time of the year that you decide to pay a visit. There are a variety of luxurious lodges in the region that offer memorable picnic experiences with pristine views and ready-to-eat baskets overflowing with sweet and savoury indulgences.

10.  Game drives in the Kruger National Park

Visit the Kruger National Park during mid- to late-autumn and the risk of malaria will have plummeted. You’ll also maximise your chances of seeing more animals as this is when the rainy season has come to an end and the bushveld is starting to thin out. Many of the animals congregate around rivers and waterholes in search of a drink as water becomes exceedingly scarce.

11.  Camping in the Drakensberg

If you’re not averse to roughing it in an attempt to get closer to nature, the Drakensberg is the place to be. There are even a few campsites that now promise luxe ‘glamping’ experiences for those unwilling to give up their creature comforts! Autumn is a fantastic time for camping in the area as it’s still warm enough to enjoy the countless gems of the great outdoors, but just chilly enough to warrant cuddling up with your family inside a cosy tent after watching the sunset together.  

Come rain or shine, warm weather or frosty temperatures – there’s always a reason to love South Africa.

 

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