Whilst autumn may have just begun, we’re already beginning to witness colder weather in some parts of South Africa. With that in mind, it’s perhaps time to start thinking about your local winter getaway.
Winter in South Africa brings along a lot of enjoyable activities for a fun-filled trip. Many destinations are still warm enough for outdoor adventures, while cultural events create a festive atmosphere. With comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds in South Africa’s most popular sites, winter is a wonderful time to discover its diverse landscapes and unique history.
The Western Cape
The Western Cape is known for its Mediterranean climate, which means that the province experiences low temperatures, gusty winds, increased rainfall and all-round unpredictable weather. Cape Town is arguably the Western Cape and South Africa's most visited city and with good reason. It is a vibrant city with a mix of diverse cultures, landscapes and cuisines. Made popular for its iconic Table Mountain and pristine, white-sand beaches, Cape Town is one of South Africa’s most picturesque destinations. The colder season means the city is less crowded and as such, can be explored a lot more freely.
Recommended activities in Cape Town:
Art enthusiasts will want to visit Zeitz Mocaa, the largest art museum in Africa, and the largest museum in the world showcasing the art of Africa and its diaspora. Thereafter, you’ll want to pop across the road to Radisson RED V&A Waterfront, where your art journey will continue, and end your day off with a fragrant glass of mulled wine and a wholesome meal.
Cape Town is a nature lover’s paradise. From a light stroll through the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens to surfing the fierce winter waves of Long Beach, Glen Beach and Llandudno and kitesurfing at Bloubergstrand and Muizenberg Beach.
Foodies will want to take the Bo-Kaap Cooking Tour, which takes you on a voyage into the life, food and culture of the Cape Malays in Bo-Kaap, whilst offering you a hands-on, practical lesson on how to cook like a real Cape Malay 'Auntie'!
Wanting to explore beyond the major city? Visit Stellenbosch. A tour to the Stellenbosch should be on your list as its wine region can be one of the cosiest places to visit in South Africa in winter. Go on a wine-tasting expedition in the stunning wine farms and estates that Stellenbosch has to offer. Winter days in the rustic countryside are spent snuggled up by the fireplace and sampling the tastiest wines from local sommeliers - without the tourist crowds.
The windy city, the friendly city, Port Elizabeth, Gqeberha - whatever you know it as, is a beautiful holiday destination away from the usual vacation spots. Discover the ocean on your doorstep while in town, when you book your stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Port Elizabeth. “Situated just 300 metres from beautiful Blue Flag beaches, guests can take a walk along the beach, where you’ll be able to spot a few penguins and if you’re lucky perhaps you’ll even spot a few dolphins. Or you can hop onto an electric scooter to explore Gqeberha’s waterfront. If you’re a more active person, you can enjoy the outdoor gym on Surfers Beach,” Elmarie Fritz, General Manager of Radisson Blu Hotel, Port Elizabeth.
When thinking about KwaZulu-Natal, most people think of Durban. If you’re not a fan of cold temperatures, Durban is the place to be this winter. This is because icy winters are unheard of - instead you will be met with mild temperatures, low humidity, little rainfall and fewer crowds.
If you enjoy all things adventure, then winter in Durban is the perfect time to test your surfing skills at North Beach, Ansteys Beach, or Cave Rock, three of the area’s most thrilling surf destinations.
If you want to witness the wonders of the deep blue, head to the coastal town of St. Lucia for sensational views of the Elephant Coast while on a whale-watching cruise. More exciting perhaps is the annual Sardine Run, where millions of sardines swim to the shores of Durban and fishermen, birds and sharks fight for the ultimate catch.
If fitness is your thing, consider cycling along the beachfront Golden Mile or join the annual Comrades Marathon held in June, the world’s oldest ultramarathon run.
Looking for leisure? Radisson Blu Hotel, Durban Umhlanga is the perfect base from which to explore at your leisure. Take a stroll on Whale Bone Pier, which makes for the perfect photo-op, soak up some sun on Umhlanga Beach, enjoy some art at Makiwa Gallery, feast on fresh seafood at Q’bn’s Eatery or shop till you drop at the world-class Oceans Mall, which features a host of national and international brands and is set to transform your shopping experience.
Just wanting to hibernate? Radisson Blu Hotel, Durban Umhlanga has a variety of on-site activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Its Rad Family kids’ program allows families to enjoy personalised service and amenities. Upon arrival, kids receive a welcome gift (soft ball, snap bracelet or a Lumi plush toy), drink voucher and a welcome pack with specially designed gifts, including a booklet filled with quizzes and activities, as well as a passport where kids can collect stamps from different parts of the hotel, and get creative with a colourful box of stickers and crayons.
South Africa’s largest city has a host of activities to be enjoyed by all members of the family this winter. From historical to cultural events, the city has it all. Rosebank has the highest concentration of major art galleries all centred within walking distance of each other, and plenty of public art to enjoy too. In Rosebank, art is not only found in galleries but is incorporated into the architecture of most luxury hotels. Radisson RED Rosebank, located just 10 kilometres from the hustle and bustle of exciting Johannesburg, is filled with bold designs and locally-inspired African decor.
Carly de Jong, Curator at Radisson RED Rosebank, notes: “Guests can enjoy being in the heart of Joburg’s most walkable art hub with a number of awe-inspiring galleries a mere 10-minute stroll away. Most notable is Keyes Art Mile, an impressive contemporary development on Keyes Avenue that celebrates local art and design as well as fine food. Keyes Art Mile’s main building, The Trumpet, is home to the innovative TMRW Gallery, Joburg’s first gallery dedicated to digital art, and Banele Khoza’s Bkhz gallery, which focuses especially on promoting young and upcoming artists.
The vast atrium at its centre is curated as a pop-up exhibition space and upstairs you’ll find a cluster of slick restaurants and bars, and chic cafés open out onto a street flanked by wild olive trees. There is no shortage of awe-inspiring art, and nothing is perhaps more inspiring than the traditional handmade crafts, sold by local artisans at The Rosebank Arts and Craft Market at Rosebank Mall. Our hotel is also in close proximity to trendy eateries, corporate headquarters and Rosebank’s three shopping centres, allowing our visitors to switch effortlessly between business and pleasure.”
If you want to be on flight mode this winter, consider visiting Radisson Hotel & Convention Centre Johannesburg, O.R. Tambo. “With 283 spacious and luxurious hotel rooms, a world-class Amani Spa & Wellness Centre and Level 7 Restaurant, our hotel is the perfect oasis to retreat to, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The only two things that should be on your itinerary are relaxation and rejuvenation,” shares Stefan Lourens, General Manager for the hotel.
Mpumalanga boasts one of the largest game reserves in Africa - Kruger National Park. Kruger is one of the best destinations in South Africa for wildlife viewing on any day. If you want to increase your chances of spotting all the Big 5 on a Kruger safari, winter is your best bet. The drier winter months means there is less foliage and therefore game-spotting is a lot easier. Located in a tranquil riverine section in the Greater Kruger Conservancy, Kruger Gate Hotel offers a unique stay and a classic Kruger safari experience. Right at Paul Kruger Gate on the banks of the iconic Sabie River, itʼs just a short drive over the Sabie River into Kruger, where guests can self-drive or book additional game drives.
If you’re not keen on game drives and prefer to game-view at your leisure, the hotel’s viewing deck provides uninterrupted views into the Park, so you can sit back, sip on a warm beverage of your choice and look to spot some wildlife. The property boasts a host of on-site activities, suitable for the entire family - from tennis to volleyball and chess to an African-inspired spa facility.