We often spot some pretty good flight deals to South Africa. To convince you to buy the next one in case you’re still on the fence, here’s a list of 10 reasons to go visit this beautiful country. You’ll be ready when the next deal pops up!
Recently, we saw our best deal for South Africa from a couple of cities (including Montreal and Toronto) for around $550 round-trip.
That was an exceptional price, considering the fact even the best deals we find are normally around $800, and most people pay $1,000 (that’s 100% more expensive than that deal) !
This is yet another example that shows you that being flexible with your dates and destination to wait for a deal can save you a lot of money. Don’t forget to check out our cheap flight deals page regularly to never miss a deal and subscribe to our free newsletter for your specific city!
I could not resist and I booked the deal myself as soon as our algorithm spotted it! I’ve always wanted to go to South Africa and for just $552 roundtrip from Montreal, I knew I would probably never find a better price… so I did not hesitate, even though I already have a lot of trips planned, because this was so incredibly cheap for this destination.
As a reminder: all deals expire quickly so they must be booked quickly. This one, unsurprisingly, did not even last 4 hours.
The better the deal, the faster you have to book… and this one was excellent. In fact, the exact dates I chose were almost twice the price less than 6 hours after I bought them.
There is no shortage of reasons to explore the beautiful country that is South Africa, but here are 10 (plus a bonus one that is really great) to convince you to book the next deal.
1. Cheapest Destination To Fly To In Sub-Saharan Africa
The regular price of a flight from Montreal or Toronto to Johannesburg is about $1,200 but we often have deals. These are usually in the $800s and $900s, but rarely less. And there are also similar deals from other cities all across Canada.
So $552 was by far the cheapest for this destination. Well, it’s already expired, but even with future deals at $800, it’s still about 33% less than the normal price, so you have a good chance of saving some money if you follow Flytrippers!
In addition, for those who are into Travel Hacking, unlike many destinations, there is no sweet spot in the major points programs for South Africa, so cash deals are really interesting.
South Africa is very far away. Even if, contrary to popular belief, the price of plane tickets has nothing to do with distance, as measured in $ per miles traveled, this deal is up there with the all-time bests (with Montreal-Singapore for $499 round-trip).
In addition, for those who like our flag-carrier, the transatlantic flights were on Air Canada surprisingly. It’s pretty rare that there are good deals on Air Canada (they often discount their flights but they sell them to Americans, not to Canadians).
2. Affordable Accommodations
As for the cost of living, it is clearly not as affordable as Southeast Asia or Latin America, but South Africa is still very budget-friendly compared to more developed countries (and of course compared to here).
For example, there are hostels that are rated 9.2/10 for $18 a night in Joburg if you are traveling alone. And hotels are quite affordable too if you take a look with our accommodation search tools.
Even better: you can get many free hotel stays in South Africa easily. There are plenty of Marriott Category 1 hotels: it’s quite simply one of the best sweet spots for Hotel Points.
Just by getting the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card, you would get two 5-night stays completely free (10 nights), in beautiful Marriott hotels. Long live Travel Hacking!
Even better, as Marriott will be implementing off-peak pricing in 2019, if you happen to find a flight deal during the off-peak season (exact dates still unknown) you even get a third 5-night stay for free (15 free nights). That’s just with the Card’s Welcome Bonus alone!
Most of the dates of this deal were in September 2019, a beautiful month that is not too hot nor too cold in South Africa. And by going there in September, you will avoid crowds of tourists.
This is also a destination that experts recommend almost year-round.
Of course, when you think of South Africa, you think of the Kruger National Park and the Big Five (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffaloes).
But this country is very big, as we’ve said. All world maps make the African continent look smaller than it really is, though South Africa is the least affected by this illusion, being at the southern tip.
So it’s still huge and the country has a variety of flora and fauna, including penguins.
Everyone loves penguins. I loved seeing penguins in Peru two summers ago and I hope to see more in South Africa.
5. History and Culture
According to everything I’ve read, the South African culture is one of the best reasons to visit this country (and at a Travel Hacking conference in Toronto last fall, I even met someone who was going back for the ninth time since she loved it so much !!!)
South Africa is full of history… there is definitely a lot to learn there.
For the foodies out there (a group I do not belong to I must say), apparently South Africa is a very interesting destination on the culinary side as well. South African wines are also becoming increasingly popular.
6. Best Infrastructures in Africa
After 40+ countries, I must admit that personally, I am now looking more and more for a real change of scenery, and the least “touristy” continent is most likely Africa, at least according to most people.
I had an entirely new experience last summer during my deliberate 23-hour stopover in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which was my first and only time in sub-Saharan Africa. A very interesting experience (to be detailed in a future blog).
In short, Africa is clearly quite a different place to visit, but South Africa is certainly one of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with the best infrastructure, which makes it clearly an excellent choice as a first trip on African soil.
The flight deals we find generally land in Johannesburg (JNB), the country’s metropolis. It’s probably worth spending at least a day or two there, as there’s something to be said about visiting a country’s largest city!
Personally, my preference is to visit the “destination” city at the very end of my trip, to build in a bit of a buffer before flying home. Just to be sure not to miss the return flight and then having to buy an international flight at the last minute (for example, JNB-YUL flights for today are $1,700 one-way).
8. Cape Town
At the other side of the country, there is an awesome city that is a must-see. Most people even prefer Cape Town over Joburg.
In my case, Cape Town has always been a dream destination since my teenage years, even more than any other cities in the world (I don’t even remember why though).
At the tip of the continent and at the crossroads of two oceans, it just looks beautiful!
For those who, like me, love the ocean, Durban and the country’s entire east coast will be a nice place to discover. For only $16, you can travel by bus from Johannesburg to Durban and discover a city with a different vibe!
There is also Port Elizabeth a little further away, for those who want to see as many places as possible.
10. Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini and Mozambique
One point for the more adventurous. If you ‘re on a mission to visit every country in the world like I am, a deal to South Africa will even allow you to easily visit 4 other countries nearby!
The first 3 do not even require an extra visa for Canadians (like South Africa), only Mozambique requires one. Fun fact: Mozambique is the only country in the world to have an AK-47 on its flag (but not the only one to have a gun, because Haiti and Guatemala have some too… just not AK-47s).
These 4 countries are relatively close to Joburg. I did not look at the logistical details yet, but it will certainly come in a future blog post because for sure I will be doing the research for myself (I want to visit these 4 additional countries during my trip). In fact, having recently discovered a nice sweet spot in the Avios Points program, I’ll probably even visit Victoria Falls (on the Zambia/Zimbabwe border). To be continued.
Another fun fact: for those who don’t recognize the Eswatini name, know that the Czech Republic and the FYROM are not the only countries that recently changed names! The country formerly known as Swaziland has indeed been renamed Eswatini just recently.
It was done to dissociate the country from its colonial history, but also, according to the President, so that people stop mixing Swazi-land and Switzer-land. It’s true that these two countries are really easy to mix up, being soooooo similar right!
Bonus. Layover in Rome
Flytrippers likes to give you more for your money, so our list articles always have a bonus item.
Honestly, one of the things that fascinates me the most since we’ve launched Flytrippers is how much people do not like long layovers. I will seriously never understand.
I am not talking about 3-4 hour layovers because sure, those are pretty boring (although if you have access to airport lounges for free, it’s a lot better believe me). I’m talking about the long stopovers that allow you to go out of the airport and discover a new city, all for the same price! So here’s my friendly reminder that airports are not prisons and you can just go out (and we encourage you to do so).
So the bonus reason that we wanted to share about this specific (now expired) deal to South Africa was that the flight came with an awesome 13-hour stopover in Rome on the way back. From 9:00 in the morning to 10:00 at night, it literally could not even be more perfect than that.
Come on: there are worse things in life than spending a day exploring Rome, right? Sometimes when reading the comments (which admittedly is generally a bad idea on the Internet), it really seems like it’s a real torture to get a chance to visit an extra city for free!
If you like to travel, you should like discovering new places (only because that’s kind of the textbook definition of travel). So you should embrace (and even seek) long layovers to get to experience a new place!
Sometimes it seems like people like to travel, but within very rigid self-imposed guidelines. Like “I don’t enjoy travel when it’s a stopover, I will enjoy travel once I land to my arbitrary “destination” and not before”.
I think it’s just because people are not used to traveling this way and it’s kind of a new habit to develop, so please I urge you to embrace it.
The journey IS the destination, try to remember that.
But hey, if not, your loss. I personally cannot wait to discover Rome for the first time and take a stroll in front of the Coliseum … even if it’s only for a few hours! And I encourage you to do it too !!!
Stay tuned for a future deal to go to South Africa! It looks like a really cool country.
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