• Bitten by the whale watching bug Bitten by the whale watching bug We don’t realise how lucky we are in South Africa, and in particular the Western Cape, to have the mightiest of the marine mammals visit our coastline between every year ...
  • The Whale Trail The Whale Trail The Whale Trail is not a new trail, having been around since about 2002, but it has become extremely popular. It is truly a unique experience, perhaps comparable with ...
  • 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa Combine your trip to South Africa with a relaxing, revitalising visit to a health spa and experience Africa at it's finest. Our favourite 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa are ...
  • Locals share their favourite getaways Locals share their favourite getaways We ask 30 local South Africans to share their favourite holiday destinations and getaways with us. From the more popular destinations like Knysna and the Kruger Park to ...
  • The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip walk shares portions of its hike with the larger Karbonkelberg Traverse, which is roughly seven hours of hard walk from Hout Bay harbour to Llandudno ...
  • 10 Amazing Game Lodges 10 Amazing Game Lodges South Africa is world renowned for her game reserves and wildlife. The lodges which allow us to experience these in luxury are no less awe inspiring. Our favourites are ...
  • 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town As much as your kids will tell you they can’t wait for the school holidays, the words "I’m bored" inevitably cross their lips. Our "101 things to do with kids in Cape Town" will ...
  • "World's most beautiful Cities" "World's most beautiful Cities" Open space makes Cape Town special. Renowned English sea navigator Sir Francis Drake once referred to Cape Town as the fairest cape in the world. The city houses the ...

Find Accommodation in South Africa
Subscribe to our Feed
Posted on: Thursday, 27 March 2014

5 Picture-Perfect Autumn Destinations In South Africa

Send to Kindle

Autumn – the secret season. A time of year that, in South Africa, stretches across March, April and into May, marked by cooler mornings and evenings.

Dried, crisp, brown leaves litter kerbsides, roads and gardens – blown by the wind or the insistent whine of garden leaf blowers. The presence of vivid colour that marks autumn elsewhere in the world – the reds and ochre of deciduous trees – is not as prevalent here; the season’s passing not as marked.

And that is because much of our indigenous flora comes into flower during autumn. Plant bulbs, autumn-flowering ericas, buchus and coleonemas, roses encouraged to flower again, diclyptera eenii spouting purple flowers beside riverbeds and in amongst thorny scrub, cosmos that litters the roadside…

Autumn is the season when one can bathe in the sun. Basking on a bench, late afternoon light glinting off the sea or a nearby river, the rain and cold of winter still to come; these moments are perfect enough to bottle and sell.



The Winelands

Autumn turns the grape vines of Franschhoek, Paarl, Pniel, Stellenbosch, Klapmuts, Wellington and Tulbagh a vivid red, ochre and brown. Catch them at the right time and the winelands, rather than exhibiting overgrown green, leafy boughs hung low with grapes as they are in summer, are a hodgepodge of burnt amber, orange, yellow and brown; the gnarled crevices of the backdrop mountains defined now that the glare of the summer sun has passed.


  • Taste wine on the Franschhoek Wine Route, Paarl Vintners, Stellenbosch Wine routes, Wellington Wine Route
  • Head for the Greater Simonsberg Wine Estates and Tulbagh Wine Estates
  • Visit the Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve
  • Do the Cape Winelands Walk
  • Play on De Zalze and Devonvale golf courses
  • Drive the Du Toitskloof and Helshoogte passes
  • Take in the history of Groot Drakenstein Prison, the last place in which Nelson Mandela was incarcerated
  • Walk the Jonkershoek, Limietberg, Mont Rochelle and Paarl Mountain nature reserves
  • Do the Franschhoek Wine Valley food and Wine Route




The Overberg

The Overberg landscape, its fields refined shades of light sienna – now devoid of wheat – and purple; broken only by the browns and greens of trees and the silver of telephone lines, is sumptuous in autumn. The Overberg’s hills sweep to meet the brilliant blue of the sky, round bales of hay in rows giving a sense of order and restraint to the otherwise moving landscape. The popular towns of Stanford, Greyton, Betty’s Bay, Gansbaai, Hermanus, Pearly Beach, Napier, Swellendam and Vermont (amongst others) are quaint and charming.





The Klein Karoo

This narrow sweep of land, bordered by the Swartberg and the Langeberg mountains, is the southern sibling of the Groot (larger) Karoo. It has earned the byline of ‘the unhurried region’ with good cause. The Klein Karoo is remote, quiet and peaceful. It has many memorable features: gravel roads, weathered barns alongside farm fences, odd pink and purple flowers that add colour to the rich blue of the sky, the grey green tufts of grasses that intermingle with rare plants and succulents found only in this region, the access to wildlife and the Cango Caves.


  • Explore the Swartberg World Heritage Site
  • Visit Karoo towns of: Prince Albert, Matjiesfontein, Ladismith, Barrydale, Calitzdorp, Klaarstroom, De Rust, Oudtshoorn, and Uniondale
  • Drive through the Anysberg, Gamkapoort and Gamkaberg nature reserves
  • Explore the Swartberg, Bosluiskloof, Garcia’s and Cogmanskloof passes
  • Vist the Cango Caves
  • Drive the Gouritz Biodiversity Meander
  • Attend the Klein Karoo National Art Festival (end of March over a week)
  • Taste wine on the Klein Karoo Wine Route




The Waterberg

The Waterberg is a mountainous area that stretches for thousands of kilometres in the Limpopo, a place of valleys and escarpments that does not always make it into South African marketing brochures, overshadowed by such highlights as Cape Town and the Kruger National Park. Its features include deep gorges, kloofs, rock formations, clear mountain streams and dry deciduous forest, or bushveld. And in autumn, whilst the mornings and evenings are chilly, the days are enviable.


  • Touch and feed elephants in Bela Bela
  • Drive the Bokpoort Pass
  • Taste beer at L’abri Fountain Brewery
  • Visit the Palala Rhino Sanctuary
  • Watch potters at work at Pedi Potters
  • Ride on the backs of horses with Savannah Horse Trails
  • Hike the Stamvrug Hiking Trails
  • Drive the Waterberg Meander




The Midlands

This part of the country does ‘rustic’ like no other. It lies between Pietermaritzburg and the mountains of the Drakensberg – almost guaranteed to take your breath away with its sumptuous farmland, charming towns and a renowned arts and crafts route. The Midlands are particularly attractive during autumn, with the sapping heat of summer a thing of the past. Country cottages, farm fare, scenic drives and a myriad reasons to stop and visit on the meander routes mean you will be hardpressed for time no matter how long you stay.


Destination Links

South Africa Accommodation
South Africa Attractions
Things to do in South Africa

Wanda Coustas


Wanda Coustas has written in one form or another for 10 years, seven of them as a copyblogger. She has travelled the Western Cape extensively and the rest of the country in protracted road trips that have given her both joy and an ongoing relish for experiencing what she writes about first-hand. She is a trained opera singer, poet, eurythmy dancer, philosopher, and bee whisperer.

Related Posts: