South Africa is a destination for adventurers, wine lovers, foodies, and party animals. The country is also home to a multitude of majestic landscapes and fast-developing cities.
From the beautiful Table Mountain in Cape Town to thrilling safaris in Kruger National Park and the exotic beaches of Gqeberha, South Africa allows you to easily explore both its nature and culture.
For an amazing voyage across its many wonders, read on to find out where to stay in South Africa!
The 5 Best Places to Stay in South Africa
Our 5 favorite areas in South Africa include:
- Cape Town: A complete city with great nightlife, food, and lots of natural spots, perfect for first-time visitors to South Africa.
- Pretoria: An administrative capital that also has some hidden gems of its own, a place of culture and beautiful nature, best for people who want to explore the calmer side of South Africa.
- Gqeberha: With its great beaches, Gqeberha is perfect for people who want to spend their time in South Africa on its wonderful coast.
- East London: Another beautiful coastal spot with some of the best beaches in the country, it’s the perfect place for a relaxing holiday.
- Johannesburg: Similar to Cape Town in terms of vibes, it’s great for those seeking a city that perfectly unites its bohemian, cosmopolitan, and laid-back personalities.
Where to Stay in South Africa: Best Areas & Hotels
South Africa is a big country where you can find lots of accommodation options and for very fair prices as well. From guest houses and hotels to luxury resorts and seaside suites, there’s enough for every kind of traveler in this amazing country.
We can say the same thing for the food and cultural spots it has to offer. South Africa is a very diverse country with lots of ethnicities and different cultural traditions, which is widely reflected in its food and its cultural institutions and events.
Coming here will be a true adventure for your senses!
1. Cape Town
Cape Town, often referred to as the “Mother City,” is a captivating destination that deserves its central spot in Southern Africa for the natural beauty of Table Mountain and its gorgeous shoreline, its vibrant and diverse population and culture, and its rich but infamous history.
The city’s crown jewel, Table Mountain, stands as an iconic backdrop to Cape Town’s skyline. You can hike to the summit or take the cable car so you can experience the panoramic views from above.
The rocky cliffs of the Cape Peninsula show off their dramatic seascapes, perfect for those who want a little adventure a stone’s throw away from the bustling metropolis.
For those of you who’d rather lie on the sand, visit the calm beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay, which are ideal spots for sunbathing and swimming.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of exciting activities for nature lovers and adventurers in and around Cape Town. Another great activity is taking a drive along Chapman’s Peak, where you’ll be able to experience unparalleled views of Cape Town’s coastline.
Alternatively, for a calmer experience, you can explore the Cape Winelands, where you get to try South Africa’s finest wines. For wildlife lovers, a visit to Boulders Beach, home to a colony of African penguins, is a must.
The same is true for city life. Cape Town’s history is both interesting and complex, as seen by the city’s various memorials of terrible events in the past.
The famous Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, serves as a painful reminder of the nation’s struggle against apartheid and is open for visits if you want to learn more about this period in South African history.
Another, more positive aspect of Cape Town and South Africa in general is the bustling Bo-Kaap area, which symbolizes the city’s multicultural background with its vividly-colored houses and cobblestone alleys.
Another area worth visiting is the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a very lively harbor area filled with shops, entertainment venues, and restaurants where you can find all kinds of international and local dishes. And if you’re looking for a fun night out, don’t miss out on Long Street, famous for its nightlife.
Cape Town Budget Hotels
- ONOMO Hotel Cape Town is a three-star hotel that has a wonderful location in the center of Cape Town. For a very reasonable price, you have access to clean, contemporary rooms, as well as a fitness facility, a rooftop pool, and a hotel restaurant featuring South African cuisine. The breakfast is particularly delicious.
- The Grey Hotel is a three-star hotel in the hip Victoria & Alfred Waterfront neighborhood, which offers a lot for a great price. It has a restaurant, a rooftop bar, and an outdoor pool. Past visitors loved the amazing balcony views and the helpful and pleasant personnel.
Cape Town Mid-Range Hotels
- HOTEL SKY Cape Town is a four-star hotel with a great central location and lots of amenities, making it great value for money. The staff and the outstanding service at the hotel are great here as well, and so is the cleanliness. The breakfast is simply fantastic. As a guest, you can use the hotel’s two swimming pools and the fitness room.
- Camps Bay Retreat Hotel is a cute four-star hotel located in the foothills of Signal Hill. It’s a great location to unwind — quiet, compact, and green, with two pools and a spa facility to make sure you’re completely unbothered the entire time you’re there. You can also easily go take a dip in the ocean water or lay out on the golden beaches because the hotel is so near to the beach.
Cape Town Luxury Hotels
- Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront is a five-star hotel from the renowned Radisson hotel group. It offers the most breathtaking sea views in all of Cape Town. You’ve got a winner when you combine that with the incredibly comfortable rooms, their sumptuous breakfast, and their first-rate spa and workout center.
- Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town is a beautiful five-star luxury hotel close to the Company Gardens. If you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet and are prepared to pay more money for it, then this is the hotel for you. Tea lovers will be delighted by the charming hotel custom of afternoon tea tradition. As a guest, you also have access to the spa services, tennis courts, and swimming pools.
Pretoria, also known as Tshwane, is South Africa’s administrative capital. Even though it may seem like a monotonous city, Pretoria has a lot to offer in terms of culture, historical landmarks, and natural beauty.
One famous historical landmark is the Union Buildings, an iconic emblem of the country’s move towards democracy. Created by the famous architect Sir Herbert Baker, these magnificent buildings are worth visiting because they’re considered an architectural masterpiece.
They hold the offices of South Africa’s President and provide breathtaking views of the city.
Similarly to Cape Town, Pretoria is also a culturally diverse city. You can explore this diversity in neighborhoods like Church Square, where you’ll find a mix of architectural styles, and Hatfield, a lively district with a youthful vibe.
Pretoria is famed for its lovely jacaranda trees, which blossom in spring with stunning purple blooms, earning it the nickname “Jacaranda City.”
Pretoria also has lovely parks and gardens, such as the Pretoria Botanical Gardens and the National Zoological Gardens, where you can get to know the unique flora and fauna of the country.
Lastly, the city has a mild climate, enabling lots of outdoor activities like hiking, picnicking, and exploring nature. If you want to spend time with animals while you’re in the city, then spend a day at Pretoria Zoo, which is considered one of the largest zoos in South Africa.
Pretoria Budget Hotels
- RH Hotel Pretoria is a nice three-star hotel located near the city center, above the Sunnypark Shopping Centre. It has an outdoor pool that you can use, as well as sunbeds. The rooms are bright and cozy, with all the amenities you need for an enjoyable stay, including a private bathroom.
- The Park Lodge Hotel is a three-star hotel located in the heart of Pretoria’s city center. Besides its great location, this hotel has a rather homey atmosphere and super-friendly staff. The rooms are also decent — you’ll have a work desk, a private bathroom, air conditioning, and free Wi-Fi.
Pretoria Mid-Range Hotels
- The Regency Apartment Hotel Menlyn is a great four-star hotel near Pretoria Country Club, outside the city center. It offers very spacious apartment rooms, with their own private bathrooms and kitchens, with big beds and big bathrooms. There’s an outdoor pool and a nice restaurant where you can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Pretoria Menlyn is a four-star hotel in a peaceful location outside Pretotria’s busy city center. It’s a good hotel with an outdoor pool, a nice lounge space around the pool and the hotel’s yard, a restaurant, and a bar. The rooms are tidy and cozy, with private bathrooms, air conditioning, and free Wi-Fi.
Pretoria Luxury Hotels
- Menlyn Boutique Hotel is an upscale five-star boutique hotel outside Pretoria’s city center, which is a fifteen-minute drive away. It has amenities like an outside pool and a spa center, as well as different types of rooms, from 20 to 750 square meters. The rooms are equipped with luxury beds, air conditioning, great Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, tea and coffee makers, and a lot more.
- The Rasmus is a five-star luxury hotel on the outskirts of Pretoria, near Groenkloof Nature Reserve and Waterkloof Golf Club. It offers big rooms with en suite bathrooms, balconies, flat-screen TVs, and minibars. The hotel has room service and a superb breakfast included in the room price.
Gqeberha, formerly known as Port Elizabeth, is a coastal city located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. It is one of the largest cities in the province, and it’s known for its beautiful beaches and cultural diversity.
The city’s name was officially changed to Gqeberha in 2021 as part of South Africa’s effort to reclaim indigenous names. It has a rich history, with influences from the indigenous Khoikhoi and San people, as well as colonial settlers.
The Donkin Reserve and lighthouse, overlooking the city, are iconic landmarks reflecting its colonial past.
Gqeberha is famous for its stunning beaches, including Hobie Beach, King’s Beach, and Humewood Beach. These sandy shores are ideal for swimming, water sports, and relaxed, scenic strolls along the Indian Ocean coastline.
In addition to its beaches, Gqeberha offers attractions like the Addo Elephant National Park, located just outside the city, where you can see elephants, lions, and other wildlife part of the Big Five and beyond.
Take a safari tour to see elephants, lions, rhinos, and more in their natural habitat. The city is culturally diverse, with a mix of ethnicities and languages. This diversity is reflected in its cuisine, festivals, and vibrant arts scene.
One example of a festival that you shouldn’t miss if you’re in Gqeberha is the IsiXhosa Music Festival, which showcases the rich culture and traditions of the Xhosa people, native to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and Lesotho.
It’s a great place to learn about the unique intricacies of African culture, something that you’re not easily going to find anywhere else on the planet.
Gqeberha Budget Hotels
- Town Lodge Port Elizabeth is a two-star beachfront hotel on Humewood Beach. It’s a very cute hotel, with simple but cozy rooms with air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and private bathrooms. The hotel also has an outdoor pool and a restaurant where you can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- SUN1 Port Elizabeth is a two-star hotel in a great location near Humewood Beach. It’s a small but very convenient hotel because of its great service and location, and even better price. It has rooms with private bathrooms, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, TV, and nice views of the surrounding mountains.
Gqeberha Mid-Range Hotels
- The Kelway Hotel is a three-star hotel near Denville’s beach, a great surfing spot. It’s a charming hotel with a lovely rooftop terrace where you can enjoy South Africa’s many sunny days. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool and a nice restaurant called Kelway’s Farranger, decorated with hand-crafted tables that serve fusion cuisine and overlooks Algoa Bay. If you’re lucky enough, you may even spot dolphins or whales on the sun deck!
- The Beach Hotel is a wonderful four-star hotel located between Humewood Beach and Kings Beach. Its white-adorned exteriors, along with its pool and beautiful garden, give the place an extra-classy look, making the stay here even more relaxing and enjoyable. The rooms are cozy and clean, with a rustic touch to make them feel even more homely. A great breakfast is included in the room price.
Gqeberha Luxury Hotels
- Nova Boutique Hotel is a five-star luxury hotel near Port Elizabeth International Airport. It’s a beautiful hotel with lots of luxury amenities like a spa and massage center, as well as an outdoor pool. The hotel’s rooms are super stylish and extra spacious, with huge windows, high ceilings, and en suite bathrooms. Guests also loved the friendly staff and great service.
- Mantis No5 Boutique Art Hotel is another beautiful five-star hotel with an amazing location near Kings Beach. The hotel has lots of amenities, like an outdoor pool and a spa center. But we’re absolutely sure you’ll be thrilled by the Mountbatten Cinema, a cinema room modeled after Prince Charles’ cinema in his Clarence House residence in London.
4. East London
East London is a pleasant and laid-back city on South Africa’s southeastern coast. It’s home to some of the best beaches in the country, like Nahoon Beach, which is a famous beach perfect for sunbathing and surfing.
But East London isn’t only about relaxation. It’s a world-famous surfing destination, regularly attracting surfers from all around the world. Besides Nahoon Beach, there are several other surf spots for pros, amateurs, and those just starting out.
What’s more, there are plenty of local surf schools that offer lessons for beginners, so if you have a desire to surf, East London is the place to try yourself out!
Besides the wonderful beach life it offers, this city has a rich and vibrant culture. Visitors can explore this in places like the East London Museum, which houses a fascinating collection of local artifacts, including the world’s oldest known human footprint.
The nearby Gately House Museum is a great place to visit if you want to find out about the city’s colonial history.
If you’re looking for outdoor activities that don’t include the beach, then visit the East London Coast Nature Reserve. Here, you can go hiking, and wherever you turn, you’ll be greeted by stunning coastal views.
You can also go birdwatching or have a picnic. Nearby is the Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve, where you can see African wildlife, including elephants, rhinos, and big cats.
East London Budget Hotels
- 14 on Marine is a two-star hotel with a wonderful beachfront location near Beacon Bay East Beach. It offers simple but cozy rooms with private bathrooms, balconies, and sea views. There’s also free parking at the hotel’s grounds.
- The Thatch is a two-star hotel near Bonza Bay Beach, outside East London’s city center. The hotel offers nice rooms with private bathrooms. You can choose between balconies or patios and garden views. The English/Irish breakfast is consistently splendid — for a small additional charge.
East London Mid-Range Hotels
- Premier Hotel Regent is a three-star location on Esplanade Street, overlooking the city quay. It’s a great hotel, with beautiful interiors, that offers rooms with views of the sea. It offers cozy rooms with a large work desk, perfect for business travelers or those who want to combine business with pleasure. We also recommend you try the hotel’s Grill Room restaurant.
- Hotel Olivewood is a three-star hotel located outside East London, a thirty-minute drive away from the city. It’s an amazing hotel, offering large, spacious rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows offering great views of the surrounding landscape. It’s perfect for golf enthusiasts because part of the hotel estate also has a golf club, but we also recommend it for people who want to relax outside the city walls.
East London Luxury Hotels
- Premier Hotel East London ICC is a four-star luxury hotel with a wonderful beachfront location. It’s also conveniently located close to the airport, only a fifteen-minute drive. It’s a big hotel with a big outdoor swimming pool, great service, and good breakfast. The rooms are stylish and modern, with private bathrooms, balconies or patios, free Wi-Fi, TV, and more.
- Quarry Lake Inn is a four-star hotel with a very good central location in East London. The greatest thing about it is that even though it’s in the middle of the city, it’s very secluded and quiet, perfect for relaxation while also being super close to all the important sights in the city. It has an outdoor pool, a superb breakfast included in the room price, and a great staff.
Johannesburg, often referred to as Jo’burg or Jozi, is South Africa’s largest city. Known as the “City of Gold,” Johannesburg is a lively metropolis that offers lots of places where you can have fun, learn about local culture, and eat great food.
Johannesburg is a city with a rich but also notorious cultural heritage. One of its main attractions is The Apartheid Museum. It’s a place where you can learn a lot about South Africa’s history of racial segregation and the struggle for freedom and equality.
Another famous place connected to this part of Johannesburg’s history worth visiting is Constitution Hill. What once used to be a notorious prison is now a symbol of democracy and home to the Constitutional Court.
The city also has a number of museums and galleries, like the Johannesburg Art Gallery, which is a treasure trove when it comes to African and European art.
If you’re looking for a fun night out after a museum or gallery visit, then you’ve come to the right city.
Johannesburg comes alive at night, as it has a really lively nightlife scene. Maboneng Precinct is known for its artsy atmosphere and vibrant nightlife, and there are lots of bars, clubs, and live music venues where you can party until the early hours of the morning.
While Johannesburg is a big city, a metropolis that’s not really synonymous with wildlife, you can still enjoy such experiences even here.
You can visit The Lion & Safari Park, just outside the city, and get close to lions and other wild animals. You can also take day trips to explore the nearby Magaliesberg Mountains and the Pilanesberg National Park.
Johannesburg Budget Hotels
- Gardenia Boutique Hotel is a three-star hotel just outside Johannesburg’s city center. It’s a very nice hotel with spacious rooms, large balconies, and private bathrooms. The hotel has a large garden where guests can relax and an outdoor pool you can use when the weather is nice.
- Benvenuto Hotel & Conference Centre is a charming three-star hotel near the Randpark Golf Club. A short drive from the center of Johannesburg, the hotel offers lots of amenities for a comfy stay, like a landscaped garden where you can relax after a day of sightseeing, as well as free parking. Rooms are spacious and bright, with a distinctive homey feeling. All of them feature private bathrooms.
Johannesburg Mid-Range Hotels
- Home Suite Hotels Rosebank is a four-star hotel in Rosebank. It’s a great mid-range hotel with an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant, and a bar. It offers spacious private suites with en suite bathrooms, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, safes, and lots more. Breakfast can be part of the room price, or it can be paid for extra, depending on the kind of room you book.
- Garden Court Sandton City is a three-star hotel in the suburbs of Johannesburg. It’s a lovely hotel with a pool, a nice yard and area for relaxation, as well as two restaurants and a bar. The great news is that breakfast is included in the room price, and the variety and freshness of it was a favorite of many who’ve stayed there.
Johannesburg Luxury Hotels
- The Houghton Hotel, Spa, Wellness & Golf is a luxury, five-star hotel located in the upscale neighborhood of Houghton Estate. Golf enthusiasts will be glad to know that there’s a golf course on the premises. It’s also convenient for those of you who like spa treatments during your hotel stay or want to use any of the other hotel amenities like one of three pools, one of three amazing restaurants, and a well-stocked hotel bar.
- Palazzo Montecasino Hotel is a five-star hotel located in the peaceful Fourways area of Johannesburg. It’s a beautiful hotel with a Tuscan-style garden and a large outdoor pool. The hotel also has a very famous casino for guests and people outside the hotel, as well as a theater and a shopping and restaurant area. It’s a magnificent place; “a small city within a city” type of thing that’s very unique.
So, Where Should You Stay in South Africa?
|🎉 Best for Nightlife||Cape Town|
|✅ Best to See Everything||Pretoria|
|⛱️ Best for Beaches||Gqeberha|
|🧘🏻 Most Relaxing Area||East London|
|🦋 Best for Bohemian Experience||Johannesburg|
As you were able to see, South Africa has a lot to offer in terms of geography, cultural diversity, food, nature, and overall fun activities. It’s a fascinating place that never fails to amaze.
If you’re up for bustling cities, great food that fuses African, Asian, and Mediterranean cuisine, amazing wines coming from sun-drenched grapes, even more amazing nature with all kinds of animals, and cultural diversity that’s hard to see anywhere else, then you absolutely must visit South Africa.
Trust us, you won’t regret it!