Nestled at the base of the continent, South Africa is one of the most geographically diverse countries in Africa. The landscape is a melting pot of high and flat plateaus, rolling savannahs, rugged mountains and a coastline that crumbles into the surrounding oceans. Each region boasts individual delights to discover, with a range of cultures and languages complimenting the eclectic landscapes. Read on to uncover the wonders of the geography of South Africa.


Savannahs are the vast sunbaked areas that may first spring to mind when you imagine the geography of South Africa. Home to few trees and bushes but an impressive array of wildlife, savannahs dominate South Africa’s high central plateau, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape (that’s over a third of the country). If you’re lucky, you’ll spot the Big Five (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos) here too. These magnificent creatures sashay through the waving blonde grass and are the safari superstars of the savannah.

The Great Escarpment and Mountains

The dramatic Great Escarpment slices through South Africa’s landscape and separates the central plateau from the coastal region. The 11,400ft-tall Drakensberg Mountain range is the boldest part of this natural feature – 700 miles of jagged peaks detailed with ancient cave art and vast game reserves. Stand at the base of these mountains and you’ll quickly realise how they earned the nickname ‘Barrier of Spears’ (from the Zulu people) and ‘Dragon Mountains’ (from the Afrikaans pioneers). If the serrated skyline doesn’t set your knees wobbling, we can arrange for you to set out on easy-going walks or wild hikes through this rugged region of South Africa.


South Africa’s 17,000-mile-long coastline is a mix of silky sand beaches and craggy coves that look out to the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest. The Dolphin Coast, Golden Mile and South Coast in KwaZulu-Natal are eternal subtropical paradises, with azure blue waters that are ideal for deep-sea fishing and snorkelling. Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast is, as the name suggests, remote and almost untouched. This is the ultimate off-the-beaten-track destination with killer views to boot.


Cities lie at the edges of the natural geography of South Africa. These urban jungles lure travellers in with their lively culture and promise of good food, wine and entertainment. Cape Town, the most visited city in South Africa, sits in the southwest of the country, at the gateway to the Cape Peninsula. The surrounding cityscape is blessed with views of Table Mountain, countless beaches and wonderous wineries; the perfect blend of wild nature and trendy civilisation. Travel northeast from Cape Town along the coast and you’ll reach Durban, one of the country's most diverse cities. Huge Kwa-Zulu and Indian communities live here, spoilt with an impressive waterfront view. Further north, set inland from the coast, is Johannesburg – South Africa’s largest city. Expect a bounty of music venues, rooftop bars and shopping districts, all within a stone's throw away from stunning spots like Nirox Sculpture Park and Sterkfontein Caves

Contact one of our South Africa specialists