Planning a South African holiday? We asked six South African travel experts to provide us with their most useful travel tips for those visiting Mzansi for the very first time.

If you would like the freedom to do what you want, when you want to, you might want to consider car hire South Africa for your transportation needs.

‘Make time to meet the locals’

Birgit Ottermann

Travel and lifestyle blogger
Twitter: @Tigrib29
Instagram: @iambirgit

Make time to meet the locals. South Africa’s best tourist attraction is its people. You will not find a more friendly and diverse bunch of people in one place.

Make a point of interacting with the locals to get a true sense of the rich culture, history and heartbeat of a community.

Most locals would be more than happy to share with you their town’s best-kept secrets (off the beaten track), which tourist traps to give a miss, where to find the best meals, and whether there are any dodgy areas you should avoid.

Engaging with the locals leads to an unforgettable travel experience.

‘Hashtag the town on social media’

Tami Magnin

South African travel blogger
Twitter: @TazzDiscovers
Instagram: @TazzDiscovers

Our advice for travellers visiting South Africa is to chat to locals. You might find that the waitron at the local coffee shop has great suggestions for what you can do in their town.

Another idea would be to hashtag the town on social media e.g. #Knysna and ask a question about the best place to eat, watch the sunset or go with kids. You may be surprised at the answers you get.

If you choose to stay at small, family run accommodation venues, you have access to the best knowledge around. These people love the town they call home, and can offer great advice about where to go and what to see.

‘Respect the culture and traditions’

Fazielah Williams

Content Marketer, Table Mountain Aerial Cableway
Twitter: @FazielahW
Instagram: @fazielahwilliams

South Africa is a spectacular long-haul destination to visit and your experience can be made all the more magical by remembering a few things:

Pre-book your tickets for major attractions as far in advance as possible: there is nothing worse than spending hours in a queue so check out sites like Webtickets, Computicket, Quicket or the attraction’s specific site.

Get a mix of adventure, culture and vistas: there are so many incredible experiences to be had, places to see and events to attend in South Africa so ensure that your trip has a bit of everything.

Must-see attractions include the Table Mountain Cableway in Cape Town; the Cradle of Mankind in Gauteng and the UShaka Marine World in Durban. Savour the taste of the Constantia Winelands, go white river rafting on the Orange River and take a game drive in the Kruger Park. Get a taste for theatre and music from Darling to Port Elizabeth – just get out there and explore!

Dress weather appropriately and always have something warm along, just in case of bad weather. Make sure your cell phone and camera are fully charged and if you are hiking or doing an adventure sport, that you do so with a trained guide.

Respect the culture and traditions. South Africa is a melting pot of cultures and traditions so please be mindful and respectful at all times.With 11 official languages and multitudes of diverse people, you will experience the world within our country.

Live like a local. Talk to your guide, chat up your barista and hang out with the locals at their favourite restaurants, bars and events and experience our gorgeous country through the eyes of a resident.There’s nothing quite like it!

‘Do research and take advice’

Patrycja Oosthuizen

South African travel blogger
Twitter: @travelopulent
Instagram: @travelopulent

South Africa is an amazing country and should be on any bucket list. If you are a first time visitor, it’s important to do research and take advice from someone who actually been visiting South Africa or staying here and knows what we’re all about.

Start in Cape Town and stay here for a minimum of four nights if you want to see the highlights. Be prepared for very hot weather and cooler nights. Summer seasons are very busy and travelling off season it’s a great idea too – South Africa is beautiful in Autumn.

Safari is a MUST and if not Kruger we have an amazing safari reserves down Garden Route and Eastern Cape. Do walking tours as there is so much to discover when you on foot. Try our Street Foods – you will love it. Be ready for an adventure.

Make the most of the amazing restaurants on offer

Henrik Jeppesen

South African travel blogger
Twitter: @henriktravel
Instagram: @henriktravel

There are so many tips for this amazing country. One would be to try the restaurants on Eat Out’s Top 20 Best Restaurants as you will have to pay many times more in Europe for such experiences.

‘Give yourself ample time to explore’

Jonker Fourie

Tourism marketer and travel blogger
Twitter: @FireflyAfrica
Instagram: @fireflyafrica

South Africa is a country of wonderful sights, activities and special surprises. Often people plan their holiday in such detail that they miss out on the unexpected gems they discover along the way because they don’t have time.  My biggest tip would be to do your homework before your trip and know what you want to see and do, but also give yourself ample time to explore and discover the lesser known stuff.

If you plan on starting your journey from another location, you might want to have a look at car rental South Africa for the best options to get you to these amazing locations.