Where to stay in South Africa

Wondering Where to stay in South Africa? We got the scoop.

Photo by CC user Capsol on Wikimedia Commons

Heading to South Africa on holiday in 2017? If you are looking for wonderful places to stay at prices that can’t be beaten, you are in luck, as this nation provides some of the best value among developed countries in the world.

Where should you stay if you are going to Cape Town, Johannesburg, or Durban? Below, we talk about our favorite neighborhoods to stay in each of these cities.

1) Camps Bay, Cape Town

Out of all the urban destinations in South Africa, Cape Town is easily the one with the most stunning backdrop. Apart from the downtown core, we like Camps Bay when it comes to finding a beautiful holiday home in Cape Town.

This suburb is home to some of the best beaches in the area, and while the water is usually a bit too chilly for swimming, it is a great place to watch surfers to do their thing, or join them if you are looking to pick up a new hobby.

When you aren’t spending your time down by the water, try out some of its restaurants, many of which rank among the best in Cape Town.

2) Melville, Johannesburg

While some treat Johannesburg as a transit point on their way to other parts of South Africa, there are some neighborhoods worth checking out during your stay here.

The one that we would recommend the most is Melville, which is one of only a handful of suburbs in the Jo’burg area to have a charming streetscape filled with bars, cafes, and exclusive boutiques.

With the University of Johannesburg and the University of the Witwatersrand located in the area, it infuses this part of the city with an energy that is lacking elsewhere.

With a wide selection of guesthouses and B&B’s, you won’t have a problem with finding an atmospheric place to stay that fits your budget.

3) CBD/North or South Durban, Durban

Want your South African experience to be filled with beaches and bright sunshine? While the water off Cape Town is a bit too cold due to the influence of Antarctic currents, it is a completely different story in Durban.

Sitting on the Indian Ocean, the waters are kept warm by its subtropical climate, and by currents that originate from the balmy north of Africa.

With water temperatures never getting colder than 20 degrees Celsius in July, and peaking at around 26 to 27 degrees in January.

When it comes to great places to stay, the central business district has flashier condo-style accommodation, while those looking for something more chilled out with find plenty of selection in the seaside suburbs north or south of the core.

Don’t miss these attractions on your holiday in Florence

Going on holiday in Florence? Don't miss the Duomo.

Photo by CC user Bonus Onus on English Wikipedia

Of all the destinations in Italy, Florence is one of the most alluring, as it is a cultural hotspot in the heart of poetically beautiful Tuscany.

From timeless cathedrals to some of Italy’s best restaurants and cafes, you’ll have a packed itinerary from the time you get here to the time you leave.

If you are worried about tiring yourself out in the process of getting to the attractions you want to see, don’t worry, as affordable car rentals in Florence are now a reality thanks to the internet.

With your own set of wheels, getting to places spread around town will be much easier. Just be sure to take your time, as the locals tend to drive aggressively compared to the average motorist in Britain or North America.

With that problem out of the way, here are some attractions that you definitely should not miss during a visit to Florence.

1) Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore

Also known as the Duomo, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is one of the most important parts of Florence’s historic core.

Its stunning Gothic design helped it earn Florence’s Old Town a well-deserved UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.

In particular, it possesses the largest brick dome ever constructed, and it was the largest church dome in the world prior to modern times.

Highlights include its impossibly intricate facade on its exterior, and a fresco on the dome’s interior depicting the events of The Last Judgement.

2) Galleria dell’Accademia

Better known as the art gallery that is home to Michelangelo’s David, there is more to see here than just the most famous sculpture in the world.

Don’t be ignorant of this fact that most are here to see the statue though, as the lines stretch for almost an hour even in the off-season.

When you aren’t gazing upon the perfection of David, admire a collection of Renaissance paintings from the likes of Paolo Uccello, Sandro Botticelli and Andrea del Sarto – chances are, you’ll be one of only a handful enjoying the works of these unheralded masters.

3) Boboli Gardens

Want to get away from the hectic, crowded museums, churches and art galleries in Florence’s centre? Head over to the Boboli Gardens, which is composed of a mixture of delightful greenery and high art that will make it hard to leave its grounds when the time comes.

It is sprinkled with a variety of statues carved between the 15 to 17th centuries, but if you are pressed for time, be sure to make a beeline for the Neptune Fountain.

4) Top restaurants in Florence

Tuscany is well-known worldwide for its food, so be sure to check out some of its top restaurants during your stay in Florence.

If money is no object, make a reservation at I’Tuscani 2, as their take on steak has drawn nothing but rave reviews on rating sites.

If you are on a more constrained budget, then having lunch at Panini Toscani should be a goal of yours. Its popularity and the slow food techniques that they employ means that you will be waiting for longer than you might expect, but their grilled sandwiches will leave your mouth in a state of bliss for hours afterward.

Re-connect with nature on holiday in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley

Connect with nature on holiday in the Dean and Wye Valley

Photo by CC user Ralph Rawlinson on geograph.org.uk

If day-to-day life in London has run you down, then escaping to nature is the perfect way to recharge your batteries.

While there are several places that you can easily escape to from the city, the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean is a hidden gem that you simply can’t ignore.

You can choose your own pace on a cottage holiday here – pursuing sports such as hiking and paddling are popular among active travelers, or you take it easy as you read a book in some the most scenic surrounds in the United Kingdom – it’s all in your hands.

Below, we’ll share some of the unique things to do while in the Forest of Dean area.

1) Check out the International Centre for Birds of Prey

Get in touch with the area’s wild side by visiting the International Centre for Birds of Prey. Home to dozens of species of hawks, owls, and eagles, this falconry centre turned zoological park aims to rehabilitate conserve and educate the public on these lovely feathered hunters.

With demonstrations and knowledgeable handlers, it is a great place to bring your family on a beautiful day.

2) Hike through the Royal Forest of Dean

As one of the few remaining naturally forested places in Great Britain, it would be a shame if you did not find the time to go for a hike through the Royal Forest of Dean.

The special place owes its existence to the fact that it was a royal hunting ground as far back as the 11th century.

While the edges of it have been nibbled away by loggers over the ensuing centuries, it has gained official protection under the law in modern times, ensuring that future generations will be able to enjoy this peaceful nature reserve.

Keep your eyes open for wild boar as you hike, as this species now roams free from the fear of being hunted by royals on horseback.

3) Enter the Clearwell Caves

This region has more than its rivers, lakes, and forests going for it – there are also a number of caverns that are of interest to the casual visitor.

The best known of these are the Clearwell Caves, which have been mined since Roman times for their iron ore.

While the brilliantly lit interior passages will be of interest to anyone who enters, you may also be interested in learning that it is still actively mined for its ochre in the present day, and that it also has served as the backdrop for several Doctor Who episodes in the past.