Is South Africa a suitable destination for backpackers?
South Africa is also called “the world in 1 country”. There is not a single country in the world with so much diversity. A trip through South Africa is therefore a special experience.
You will find mountains, nature reserves, wildlife reserves, vineyards, beaches, rugged coasts, waterfalls, breathtaking views and rolling hills in South Africa. You can enjoy culture, wildlife, adventure sports, but also spend many hours shopping in the many large shopping malls. There are also 11 official languages spoken and there are people from even more cultural backgrounds, this is why South Africa is also called the rainbow nation.
It is certainly possible to explore South Africa as a backpacker. A frequently used way of traveling for backpackers is the Baz Bus, but also a rental car is often used by backpackers. You can spend the night in backpackers’ accommodations. Traveling around with a rental car has many advantages because the accommodations are sometimes far from the bus stops. It also gives you more freedom to stop en route and view sights. There are also (luxury) coach companies such as e.g. Greyhound or Intercape. These are often used to cover longer distances.
There is a booklet available at the tourist offices with exclusively backpacker accommodations.
Long Street is the place to be for backpackers in Cape Town. During the day you can stroll along the many boutiques, souvenir shops and restaurants and in the evening you can go out. There are several backpacker accommodations in Long Street.
Best time to travel
The busiest season is the South African summer (December to April). People from all over the world visit South Africa during this period. But there is also plenty to experience outside of these months. For game viewing in the north (Kruger Park) it is best to travel in the South African winter between May and October. You can only visit the Kruger Park with a rental car or as part of an (multi day) excursion.
There are many stories about crime in South Africa. It is certainly true that it’s best not go into certain neighbourhoods after sunset. E.g. do not go into a township on your own, but do this organized. Always use common sense! As is the case in many major city in the world, large cities may sometimes feel unsafe.