In seeking out the best holiday resorts in South Africa, a common thread emerges. These destinations cater to the every man … which means swimming pools, activities for the whole family, games rooms, playgrounds, and a restaurant or two on site are the universal features. They’re the kind of holiday resorts that give you that salty, sandy, suntan lotion scented feeling of being on leave.
Like a warm fuzziness, mixed with some nostalgia (some of these resorts have been around since before I was born!), these are the kind of places where the biggest decision of the day is whether to base yourself around the pool, in the dam or at the beach. They’re the kind of places where a fleeting holiday romance is as common as forming lifelong friendships; well-rounded holiday hubs where the focus is on family-friendly entertainment and quality time well-spent. 

Zimbali, North Coast.

You can’t get more exclusive, or beautiful than Zimbali, a magnificent estate on the northern KZN coastline that offers every type of luxury and facility. It ticks all the boxes – it’s close to King Shaka Airport (16km), the lively resort town of Ballito is 5 minutes away, and Durban is less than half an hour, meaning that every stunning KZN attraction is within reach. Aside from a superb stretch of private beach, Zimbali offers numerous facilities, including a renowned golf course, spa, health club and Kids Club. Of course, it’s a five-star hotel, so dining and accommodation is exceptional.

Pumula Beach Hotel, South Coast.

Set in idyllic, subtropical surroundings on the South Coast of Natal (100km from Durban), Pumula Beach Hotel is a favorite with couples and families and is also a popular wedding destination. Relaxing summer holidays don’t get much better than those at Pumula. Accommodation is varied, with a choice of spectacular sea or garden views, the food is superb, and kids are well-catered for, with their own dining room and a variety of fun events to keep them busy. The beach is safe for swimming, and there are myriad activities to choose from, from fishing to dolphin and whale watching, mini golf, outdoor table tennis and beach volleyball. For night-time fun, there’s a TV and games room, tavern and two ladies’ bar

Dolphin Holiday Resort, Ballito.

This fabulous family camping resort is located close to Ballito, just 50km from Durban. The setting is restful, in the midst of a sub-tropical forest next to a beach, where dolphin spotting from the shoreline is not uncommon. This family-run institution is relaxed and welcoming, offering a tranquil respite from Ballito in silly season. Dolphin Holiday Resort is close enough to enjoy the festivities when you’re up to it, and far enough to enable you to get away from it all. Meals are served at the Waterberry Coffee Shop, and there’s also a store and a tea garden. Guests enjoy a variety of activities in the games room, and there’s also a TV and outdoor activities.

Rocky Bay Resorts, South Coast.

With stunning weather for most of the year and a spectacular setting close to the resort town of Scottburgh, this fabulous holiday resort and caravan park is the ideal base for your summer holidays. The area is renowned for its beautiful secluded gold sand beaches, and the surrounding sea and countryside offer a variety of exciting activities from snorkelling and deep-sea fishing to jet skiing, nature trails, mountain biking and golfing. Rocky Bay Resorts boasts lots to keep the kids happy, including freshwater swimming pools and jungle gyms. There is also a restaurant at the resort for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the rustic log cabins make a stay here a real adventure.

Cathedral Peak, Drakensberg.

One of the most spectacular parts of the Drakensberg, Cathedral Peak is a mind-bogglingly beautiful spire. Climbing the peak is a delight, and staying in the vicinity, sheer joy. The scenery here is breathtakingly beautiful, the surroundings picture-perfect, with streams, pools, waterfalls, and overgrown shrubbery creating a natural paradise. Hikers, nature lovers, rock climbers, and mountain bike enthusiasts love it here. There’s a variety of walking trails, making exploring pure bliss. The resort has a country club atmosphere, superb thatched accommodation, and so many facilities you’ll have to return if you want to try them all. Golf, game viewing, or just lazing around are just a few of them.

Champagne Sports Resort, Central Drakensberg.

This mountain resort is so popular that many people have chosen to enjoy time-share facilities here in the lovely three-bedroom chalets. Recently refurbished, the resort now boasts a coffee shop, wellness center, lounge, and extended dining area. Word has it that a stay here isn’t just a mountain resort holiday; it’s an experience. Game viewing, golf at the 18-hole championship golf course, bird watching, trout and bass fishing in five different dams, and a choice of excellent sports facilities ensure the resort lives up to its name and reputation. Its location is not only scenic; it’s also close enough to Johannesburg and Durban to make it easily accessible for quick weekend getaways.

Wild Coast Sun, Port Edward, Eastern Cape

One of Africa’s most magnificent, unspoiled coastlines, the Wild Coast offers an unrivalled holiday experience. And if you stay at the stunning Wild Coast Sun Resort and Casino, you’re sorted. Every type of entertainment is at your fingertips – from a casino to world-class golf, great restaurants, lively bars, and an exciting waterpark called Wild Waves to keep the kids amused, which is full of every type of tube, slide and water ride imaginable. Of course, the rooms here are superb, the views sublime – and then there’s the beach, the sea, and the scenery. Who could possibly want more? If you do win some money at the casino, there are some great shops where you can spend.


Sun City, North West Province

An entertainment mecca in the middle of nowhere? You’d better believe it! Sun City is SA’s long-standing glamour destination, offering every facility you need for an action-packed holiday. Families love it here because there’s so much to do, including a waterpark, wave pool, beach, and more entertainment in one place than you could ever imagine. There are a number of hotels to choose from, catering for all budgets, numerous restaurants, great activities at night as well as during the day, from Vegas-style shows to safaris in the nearby Pilanesberg Nature Reserve. It’s a microcosm of the best that South Africa has to offer, so pack your bags and chase the sun at Sun City

Where are you planning to vacation this winter, What do you think are the best holiday resorts in South Africa? 


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