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South Africa Day Trips

South Africa is one of Africa’s most popular holiday destinations. The country’s wildlife, history, vibrant cities and varied landscapes make this nation fascinating to explore. You need at least a couple of weeks to see a fraction of what the country has to offer. Sometimes, however, there is the need for a day trip. You might be a business traveler looking for the best way to spend a free day. Or maybe you’re planning a self-drive holiday and you want to book a 1-day safari in Kruger National Park or a township tour. Even if you like to travel independently, there are situations where it makes sense to let the professionals take over. The good news is there are plenty of day trips available to just about every attraction in the country.

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1-20 of 25 one day tours and day trips to South Africa

6 Questions About South Africa Day Tours


6 Questions About South Africa Day Tours

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

Are there day trips available to any South African parks or reserves?

“Although an overnight stay is recommended, there are day trips available to many South African parks and reserves. You can book a full- or half-day trip to Kruger NP in an open-sided safari vehicle when staying in Hazyview or surrounds. Even if you have your own transport, a guided trip is highly recommended. Your knowledgeable guide will know the best routes and will be able to point out lots of things you might miss when self-driving. The open vehicle is a bonus too. You’ll feel closer to nature and the added height makes for better viewing. You’ll need to drive further for a day safari from Johannesburg; Pilanesberg and Dinokeng Game Reserves are popular options. You can even spend a day on safari when in Cape Town; Aquila GR is only a two-hour drive away. There are more options on the Garden Route. Addo Elephant National Park, the third-largest national park in the country, is only about 60km/37mi from Port Elizabeth. The KwaZulu-Natal game reserves can be visited on day trips too. You can book a day trip to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve from Durban or the popular coastal holiday town of St Lucia.”


What can I expect from a 1-day South Africa safari?

“On a typical 1-day safari, you’ll be picked up at your accommodation at dawn to get to the park not much after sunrise when animals are most active. You might have a transfer to the park first from where you may start the safari in an open-sided vehicle. You’ll spend the morning looking for animals. Early morning, before it gets too hot, is a good time to spot predators on the prowl. When animals retreat to the shade, it’s time to stop for lunch. You might be at a lodge, rest camp or picnic spot, but chances are you’ll be overlooking a waterhole. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to see some thirsty animals drinking before heading off on the afternoon game drive. You’ll be looking for more animals before you get dropped off back at your hotel in time for dinner.”


Is it safe to book a day tour in South Africa?

“As long as you book with a reputable tour operator, day trips in South Africa are very safe. Crime inside the parks is almost unheard of, but you should take normal safety precautions in urban areas. Cities can be hot spots for crime throughout the world, and Johannesburg in particular has a bad reputation. When you’re not familiar with a city, you might put yourself at risk because you don’t know which areas to avoid and what might bring trouble. Therefore, it is recommended to book a tour if you have a day spare and you would like to explore. You will be collected and dropped off at your hotel or the airport, and your safety will be taken care of throughout the day. The guide’s presence alone will make you a very unlikely target.”

More about South Africa Safety & Security 3

Is it possible to see the Big Five on a 1-day South Africa safari?

“South Africa has many great Big Five parks and reserves that can be visited on a 1-day safari. Of course seeing all of the Big Five is never guaranteed. Kruger and Addo Elephant NPs are popular Big Five destinations, but you’re unlikely to see all of them in just one day. That shouldn’t be an issue though. You’ll see plenty of wildlife, and not knowing what you’ll see is part of the attraction. Animals move around in large areas, big parts of these not even accessible to visitors. Some small private game reserves, such as Aquila GR near Cape Town, offer something close to a guaranteed Big Five experience. While these safari parks offer great entertainment for the whole family, they don’t have the authenticity or wilderness appeal of a large ecosystem such as Kruger NP and the KwaZulu-Natal game reserves.”


What day tours are available in Cape Town?

“Cape Town is one of South Africa’s biggest tourist attractions, so there is a huge array of fantastic day trips to choose from. You could literally fill a whole holiday in this vibey city that’s surrounded by natural beauty. A city tour takes in Cape Town’s historical landmarks and museums. A highlight is setting foot in the pentagonal-shaped Castle of Good Hope, the oldest existing colonial building in South Africa. Other highlights include the aerial cableway to the top of Table Mountain for a bird’s-eye view of the city and a short hike on the rocky plateau. You don’t have to venture far out of the city to find pristine wilderness. A day trip to the Cape Peninsula brings you to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve with its rugged cliffs and idyllic bays. Don’t miss out on a visit en route to Boulders Beach with its colony of African penguins. Another popular day trip is a Cape Winelands tour. A drive through the region’s scenic vineyard-covered mountains is a lovely way to spend the day. You might stop for a delicious lunch at one of the wine estates and you’ll have plenty of opportunities for wine tasting and shopping too. You can also book a day trip to nearby Aquila Game Reserve where you may get to see all of the Big Five and much more.”


What day tours are available in Johannesburg

“Although Johannesburg might seem a bit intimidating and lacking in character at first, there is plenty to keep you busy here, including day tours. Don’t hole up in your hotel if you have a day to spare in this African city. Take in the views from the Top of Africa (223m/732ft), the tallest building in Africa. Learn about South Africa’s turbulent past in the Apartheid Museum, and get a glimpse of township life today in Soweto. Other nearby attractions include Sterkfontein Caves, famous for important fossils dating back more than 3 million years, and Cullinan Diamond Mine. If you want to go on a short safari from Johannesburg, an overnight stay is recommended. However, if time is restricted, you can visit Pilanesberg GR for the day. Be aware though, that it will be a long day out in the car.”


South Africa Reviews

4.5/5 744 Reviews
Lizzie Williams  –  
South Africa ZA

Lizzie is a reputed guidebook writer and author of the Footprint guides to South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

South Africa is rightly celebrated for its magnificent natural beauty and excellent choice of parks

South Africa has a wonderful range of landscapes, a near-perfect climate, and the choice of destinations, activities and itineraries is virtually inexhaustible. Aside from its beautiful coastline and cosmopolitan cities – both of which I...

Full Review

Mike Unwin  –  
United Kingdom UK

Mike is an award winning wildlife writer, editor of Travel Zambia magazine and author of the Bradt Guide to Southern African Wildlife.

A world in one country

South Africa’s astounding array of landscapes – from semi-desert to savanna and snow-capped mountain to coral reef – means it offers a greater variety of wildlife experience than any other African country. There are surely few other...

Full Review

Margaret  –  
Australia AU
Reviewed: Nov 8, 2022
Contrasting scenery, wild animals and great food

We arrived in Johannesburg and went on a 1 day safari the next day. We were picked up promptly at our hotel, but then spent a long time driving around the suburbs of JB, picking other group members. ( around 3hrs) The safari was in ope n...

Full Review

Manu  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Nov 4, 2022
Wonderful nature, amazing culture and people, an absolute must to visit place!

3 days safari in the Krueger is an absolute te must to get in tune with the beautiful nature this country has to offer. A wonderful unforgettable experience to see all the aninals in the wild, never get tired of it!.. But 3 days are enough....

Full Review

John Cordrey  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Nov 1, 2022
The best place I have ever been!!! Heaven

We used Safari bookings (chap named Sam took us). It was epic. THE best safari/ tour we have ever done. We were on honeymoon here (the perfect destination, has everything!) and the full day tour was incredible, the guide was so...

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Billie  –  
Switzerland CH
Reviewed: Oct 30, 2022
The country has an immense variety of fauna and flora, people were very welcoming.

We had a great time in South Africa, as we were lucky enough to spend 3 weeks there. The variety is great, we saw many « safari » animals, as well as whales and penguins, but also could spend time in nice town areas having good drinks...

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