I spent three weeks working in South Africa, which was an amazing opportunity. I got to explore the amazing cities of Durban and Cape Town and experience some world-class wineries and safaris. Here’s a summary of my time there.
Durban: Beachfront Neighbourhoods, Sunshine, And Brilliant Local Food
Durban was my first stop, and I spent a week there… it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. The 6km stretch of golden coastline fronting Durban comes with Miami-like skyscrapers and a beachfront promenade, but the feel is still South African.
You’re right on the Indian Ocean here. Durban itself is pretty spread out, but there’s lots happening in places like the harbour, there are great breakfast beach cafes, and an amazing food scene. Little India in Musgrave is now world-famous, and you can get yellow potato curries for under £2. Mostly, this coastal city comes with a relaxed beach feel. Florida Road is the main strip with lovely, white-painted colonial architecture and plenty going on. You’ll see locals meeting here in the day, endless bars and restaurants, and a good buzz once the sun goes down. There’s also the Durban Botanic Gardens, Suncoast Casino complex, uShaka Marine World.
We stayed at the Southern Sun Elangeni. It’s a glitzy high-rise that’s right on the beach. It offers amazing sea views from the poolside terrace and from all of its rooms, so I’d definitely recommend it. The weather was also gorgeous, so we got to sample local outdoor braii barbecues.
Cape Town: My Absolute Favourite, And Here’s Why
Cape Town won me over for its setting alone. It’s beachfront, artsy, interesting, and set in the humbling shadow of Table Mountain. I flew direct from Durban and stayed about a week.
What to do in Cape Town is really about what takes your fancy. Anyone wanting something bohemian they can head to the out artisan cafes in Bo-Kaap. Anyone with a street food appetite can eat their way through Neighbourhood Market. The rest of the city has craft beer breweries, offbeat boutiques, fascinating museums, and you’re within an hour’s drive for wineries.
For Cape Town, I’d definitely recommend the V&A Waterfront. The city meets the sea here, and it’s a prime dining spot. Restaurants like Wang Thai and the Green Dolphin offer everything from Asian bites to fresh-grilled seafood, so you can eat your heart out. Alongside the V&A’s great shops, there’s also an amazing aquarium, diamond museum, clock tower, and a ferris wheel.
I went up Table Mountain (you can get a cable car). Panoramic views here span the whole city, and they’re breath-taking. I also stopped by Camps Bay which has a stunning palm tree lined white beach and I’d highly recommend exploring the Cape Peninsula and visiting the penguin colonies.
I was really pleased with my hotel choice for Cape Town. The Southern Sun Waterfront is between the city and the V&A, so you get the best of both worlds. It’s also got a great outdoor pool with lawns and fantastic on-site food and drink.
Port Elizabeth: Smaller, By The Beach, Plus A Trip To Elephant Park Safari
After a major city like Cape Town, there’s a smaller feel to Port Elizabeth. It’s less built-up. You’re right on the Eastern Cape’s Algoa Bay here, and there’s a nice boardwalk which feels really laid-back. I didn’t get a chance to visit the beachfront Craft Market, but it’s brilliant for picking up wood-carved animals, seashell necklaces, and various souvenirs.
I did make the most of being in Port Elizabeth with a day safari trip to Elephant Park. This is actually a brilliant way to get a safari experience without booking a full game holiday. Also, it allows kids (a lot of reserves have strict age limits). Elephant Park can be done as a day drive, but you can also stay in a safari lodge. If you’re an animal lover and don’t have time for Elephant Park, absolutely go to St Croix Marine Reserve.
Port Elizabeth wasn’t quite as impressive as the previous stops, but the Blue Flag beaches here are gorgeous. The weather was also fantastic, and the biltong and barbecue dishes are just incredible. We stayed at the Garden Court Kings Beach. It’s got a great commercial centre across the road and you’re a stone’s throw from the beach. I was here for 4 nights, which I’d say is a good amount of time to experience the town.
Johannesburg: Hipster Neighbourhoods, Street Art, And Cracking Food
Johannesburg is nicknamed Africa’s “Big Apple”. I’ll admit, not every part of this city is scenic. Stay in the right places though, and you can really enjoy the offbeat feel. Sandton is probably the fanciest area. It’s got the Montecasino, Nelson Mandela Square, and a great boulevard with theatres, shopping, and organic markets. Soweto is more cultural with local restaurants and a feel for the country’s Apartheid past (but I’d recommend visiting it rather than staying in it). Downtown Melville also has independent boutiques, leafy streets, and the 27 Boxes shops and restaurants complex.
Grafitti street art also makes Johannesburg quite unique. It isn’t necessarily glamorous, but the urban murals and side-alley coffee shops are definitely an experience. I also liked that you’re well-placed for a drive to Pretoria. The Butcher Shop restaurant also gets a special mention from me- if you’re in JoBurg, go for a grill here.
We stayed at the Garden Court Sandton City. It’s over the road from Nelson Mandela Square and slap-bang in the best part of JoBurg there is- Sandton. It’s also got a nice outdoor pool with sunbeds and parasols. Price-wise, it’s also totally reasonable for what’s on offer.
In Summary: South Africa Is A Must
Whether you’re into beaches, barbecues, safaris, or the kind of wine list where everything is a great pick, this country’s got your name on it. We can also tailor an itinerary to your exact needs, so whether it’s just a bit of city and beach you’re after, or whether you have a specific interest such as the vineyards, wildlife or the activity sports, we can make a holiday yours. If you want some inspiration though it’s worth taking a look at our most popular itineraries on our page. Otherwise just give us a call, and we’ll be more than happy to help.
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Fabulous service. I rang to ask about our short break to Istanbul and it was booked for us within the hour. You can’t get better service than that. Thank you Dave FeltonPosted 9 hours ago
Kelly arranged my recently booked multi centre holiday, having used eShores on a couple of occasions previous the usual high standards remain! They get an understanding of you requirements, pull together a proposed itinerary, and then happily amend/ provide alternative costings for different hotels/ flights as required once you get in to the detail of what you want (easier to do with their proposed itinerary!). Great service, and at a good cost!Posted 17 hours ago
Just returned from a trip to Singapore and Bali arranged by Andy had a brilliant time, couldn’t fault the service I had he arranged everything from flights accommodation and transfers. I would highly recommend eShores and would definitely use them again. ThankYou AndyPosted 1 day ago
Kelly from eshores listened and understood what we wanted from our holiday of which she was fantastic,very patient and set the whole holiday up. Very professional. Thank you.. Ste LeatherPosted 3 days ago
Used eShores to book a multi destination holiday for 4 days in Miami then 10 days Jamaica. Really pleased with the hotels chosen especially Shelbourne in Miami and the service received especially follow up call to check everything was ok. Whole trip when smoothlyPosted 6 days ago
We are looking forward to our 3 centre holiday in November to the USA, everything has been set up for us Chris was excellent in giving us all the details. We changed a few things after the first quote like you do but sorted it straight away. Excellent service, reasonable price and quick response just looking forward to the tripPosted 1 week ago
ANDREWand Caroline McKie
We recently travelled to Bali much delayed by covid restrictions but found eshores very good with excellent communication keeping us up to date with advice on travell restrictions as circumstances changed. Our holiday when we were able to travel was fantastic exceeding our expectations ,and we feel certain that we will be using eShores for our next trip .Posted 1 week ago
We have just returned from a fantastic holiday at the Habtoor Grand Resort in Dubai - all organised by Kadie. The location of this hotel is at the end of the beach, near to the Sky Diving school, and the new Marina. It's also close to The Walk which has many shops and restaurants. Staff and service at the hotel were 5* and we would reccommend the upgrade to Club Rooms. We have travelled several times with eShores to different regions all of which were organised by Kadie. From our initial enquiry we are always given options on where to stay, activities and excursions and any potential offers that are available. The service provided by Kadie and eShores is exemplary and we have never had an issue using them. Looking forward to our next adventure to Australia - organised by Kadie of course.Posted 1 week ago
I can’t rate eShores enough and Andy in particular. Not only did he find us the best package for the best value but he was also very supportive and reassuring when I needed to contact him before and even during the trip with a couple of questions. Everything was organised like clockwork and took all the stress out. Next time I won’t bother shopping around and will go directly to eShores.Posted 1 week ago
Matthew has looked after our holidays for several years and is very efficient and friendly. I always feel we have got the best deal and have never had any cause for complaint with E ShoresPosted 1 week ago