Accommodation in South Africa
When you visit South Africa, you are the master of your own destiny. From shore to shore, the country offers a vast diversity of seaside, mountain, country, wildlife, adventure and cultural attractions and activities. What’s more, every tourist hotspot offers a selection of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference.
The country offers accommodation across the entire spectrum of comforts from supremely luxurious to totally self-sufficient, fully inclusive to PBYO-everything. South Africa has several organizations that oversee accommodation in the country, namely:
- National Accommodation Association of South Africa (NAA-SA)
- Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA)
- South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA )
When you stay in accommodation accredited and rated by these official bodies, you know in advance what to expect. However, there are many fine establishments across the accommodation categories that are not affiliated with anyone at all.
Wherever you go in South Africa, you’ll find variations of the following accommodation options:
Like hotels all over the world, South African hotels are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the most basic. You’ll find many familiar brands operationing all over the country, both in the major centers and in safari locations, along with lesser-known local brands offering similarly reliable experiences.
Hotels usually offer full-board and may include additional services like in-room dining, tours, WiFi, butler-service, parking and more in their fees. Typically, the more you pay for your lodging, the more bells and whistles you can expect.
Bed and Breakfast
Every city and town offers a range of bed and breakfast options which suit those who want the freedom to explore without restrictive mealtimes. Typically privately-owned, these establishments often provide a highly personalized service, exclusive privacy and flexibility.
Breakfast usually consists of a continental or cooked breakfast buffet, a combination of both, set menus or a la carte options. Most bed and breakfast outlets offer double as well as family suites and are always located within striking distance of major attractions.
Airbnb is fully operational in South Africa too.
When you choose self-catering accommodation in South Africa, you can expect a full or partial kitchen equipped with basic necessities such as appliances, crockery and cutlery. Very often, communal or private outdoor entertainment areas are included in the deal.
If there is a restaurant on site, you can often add breakfast to your board when staying in self-catering accommodation.
Self-catering accommodation in South Africa comes in a range of shapes and sizes, like:
- Houses and villas
- High-rise apartments
- Semi-detached apartments
- Huts and cabins
- Safari tents
Many self-catering accommodation outlets offer extras on-site such as swimming pools, spas, children’s play areas, activity programs and a shuttle service. Some of the luxury houses and villas may even offer a butler and on-site chef service.
Timeshare options are still very popular in South Africa and can be booked using one of the exchange systems or through a private rental.
Like anywhere in the world, backpackers are the ideal option for budget or solo travelers to South Africa. Here, the emphasis is on making the most of your stay, although many of these establishments are rather quaint and offer swimming pools and communal eating areas which are great for mingling with like-minded holidaymakers.
South Africa has a rich agricultural tradition and you’ll find the option to stay on wine farms, game farms and mixed farms during your visit. Accommodation generally consists of converted farm buildings and guests are assured of the opportunity to experience fine hospitality, farm-to-table dining, flexible schedules, and unique outdoor experiences.
Most lodges in South Africa are located in private game reserves and provide the option to stay in luxury safari tents, hotel rooms or thatched chalets. Due to the remote location of these places, accommodation is mainly fully inclusive and will include a curated itinerary for each day with the option to add on extra activities if preferred.
Wellness centers, swimming pools and plush lounge areas are often part and parcel of the lodge offering. Activities may include hiking, game drives, hot air ballooning, historical and cultural tours, and game walks.
Accommodation in South Africa’s National Park
Run by SANParks, accommodation options in South Africa’s protected areas are varied and adapted to suit your surroundings. The larger game reserves have several major rest camps located on major thoroughfares as well as a few smaller ones a little off the beaten track. You can also book some camps for your exclusive use or opt for one of the luxury safari lodges secreted along private roads in the parks.
Accommodation in the National Parks of South Africa, includes self-catering tents, chalets, huts, rondavels, private houses, camping and wilderness hides. The main camps often have swimming pools, restaurants, curio shops and organized activities such as game drives on offer.
Overall, South Africa’s national parks offer a good standard of service and accommodation at comparatively affordable rates.
Camping in South Africa
For a truly immersive experience, while traveling in South Africa, camping is the way to go. You’ll find caravan parks and campsites in most of the national parks and top tourist areas.
These vary from grassed sites with electricity to those where you need to bring everything along with you, including water. Usually, campsites are offered as one accommodation offering at a resort or camp, but there are places that are dedicated solely to camping and caravanning.
Plan your stay
If you’d like to get to know South Africa better, get in touch to discuss your needs and we’ll be happy to advise you further on where to stay in South Africa.
Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.