Activities / Travelling Tips

Spring fever! 6 top things to do around the country

Updated Monday, 3 June 2024

Spring has sprung. Or at least it will have by the time you read this. At the moment in Cape Town it’s still rather difficult to imagine a day when my feet will experience flip flops again!

Spring will make its presence felt with a burst of energy, and a return of vitality as we distract ourselves from the fireplace with the prospect of bright blue skies, mountains and sea.

And what better country in which to experience spring fever…

6 top things to do around South Africa

The flowers, Northern Cape

The annual emergence of thousands of daisies and bulbs in the Namaqualand, and all the way down the West Coast as far as Cape Town, is an event worth travelling for. Between July and September a barren landscape completely changes into a flurry of colour – something like opening a very bright umbrella on a dull day; the metamorphosis is one of life’s miracles. (See Namaqualand Flower Route)

Cape West Coast Spring
Photograph: Spring on the Cape West Coast, Western Cape

The whales, Western Cape

The annual migration of the whales to our shores where they mate and give birth to their calves draws thousands of visitors to our seaside towns, particularly Hermanus, the sheltered bays and coves between Cape Hangklip and Witsand, and the whale nursery of the Overberg. The spring months of August and September are the highlight of this visit, necessitating an annual pilgrimage for those who want to greet them. (View Cape Whale Coast Accommodation)

National parks (before the December onslaught)

Acquire a Wild Card and head off to those parts of the country that become inundated and impossibly hot come the December holidays – Addo Elephant Park in the Eastern Cape, the Camdeboo National Park close to Graaff Reinet, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, really warm in the summer months, Kruger National Park, Mapungubwe in the Limpopo, Tankwa Karoo and the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld National Park.

Whale Watching in South Africa
Photograph: Hermanus, Whale Watching in South Africa

Long hikes

Spring and autumn are two of the best seasons for hiking, marred neither by rain or too zealous a sun; this is the time of year for multi-day hikes (though pack all weather gear for freak rain showers or cold winds) like the Otter Tail, Amathole Trail, Hoerikwaggo Trail, Giant’s Cup and the Whale Trail. (See lots more at South Africa’s Hiking Trails)

Tidal pools

Getting out and onto the beaches when it is not always quite seasonal for swimming makes exploring tidal pools for star fish, molluscs, sea anemones, crabs, algae, seaweed and sea sponges an attractive option for reconnecting with nature.

St James and Graaf’s Pool in Cape Town, Tsitsikamma tidal pools on the Garden Route, Willows Grove, Three Pools, and Cintsa West tidal pool in the Eastern Cape, Salt Rock and Umhlanga light house tidal pools north of Durban, Charles Pool at Thompson’s Bay, Banana Beach, St Michael’s-on-Sea on the south coast of KZN, and the many tidal pools of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

(See Beaches and Pools when searching Things to Do)

Leopard in the Kruger National Park
Photograph: Leopard in the Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga

Road trips

Nothing more heady than greeting the onslaught of warmer weather from the car’s interior. Best roads to travel in South Africa include: R27 up the West Coast from Cape Town to Lambert’s Bay, the Karoo along the R62 between Montagu and Oudtshoorn, the Limpopo from Crook’s Corner to Pont Drift via the Mapungubwe National Park, the lesser-known (admittedly potholed) R26 between Rouxville and Villiers, and the Boston Bulwer Beat in the foothills of the Drakensberg.



Namaqualand Flowers
Photograph: Namaqualand Flowers in the Northern Cape

Spring festivals

There are a myriad spring festivals throughout the country:
The Hogsback Spring Festival
The Magoebaskloof Spring Festival
The Botriviera Spring Festival
The Spring Beer Festival in Vanderbijlpark
The Cellar Rats Spring Wine Festival in the Magaliesberg
The Tulbagh Spring Arts Festival
The Johannesburg Arts Alive Festival
The Fouriesburg Spring Fair

and many more Events & Festivals