FAQ | South Africa Accommodation

Guest checking in at Southern Sun Waterfront.

What kind of accommodation is available in South Africa?

Accommodation in South Africa is graded by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa. The gradings are:

* Clean, comfortable and functional.
** Good quality furnishings, service and guest care.
*** Very good, high standard of furnishings, service and guest care.
**** Superior comfort and, furnishings, service and guest care.
***** Exceptional quality, service, guest care, furnishings and luxurious accommodation on par with international level.


Hotels are scattered throughout the country and range from one star to top class five star luxury establishments. Hotels in the cities are world class and offer luxury accommodation, excellent services and facilities and personal services of the highest standard.

General Hotel Information:

Check-in times: On average check in is at 14h00 and checkout time around 11h00
Concierge desk: Most hotels have a concierge desk that can recommend and arrange tours
Porters: Available at almost every hotel and are most helpful. Tipping is expected
Safety deposit boxes: Most hotels offer either in the rooms or at reception
Laundry: Most hotels offer a laundry service.


Lodges are usually luxury establishments situated within the many game reserve and national parks in South Africa. These lodges are quite expensive and offer luxurious living conditions in the heart of the bush. These are usually excellent bases from which to view game and other wildlife. World class, five star lodges can be found in Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, to name a few.


Bed and Breakfast establishments are a great alternative to hotel accommodation in South Africa. This accommodation is usually in a private family home where the owner/manager lives in the house or on the property. Breakfasts are usually served and public areas are shared by the other guests in the house. Bathrooms are either shared or en suite.

Self Catering:

Self catering accommodation is offered in various forms throughout South Africa. Houses, cottages, chalets, apartments, bungalows, flats, studios, villas, tents or houseboats all offer great self catering accommodation. These accommodations offer facilities and equipment that allows the guests to cater for themselves.

Guest House:

A guest house offers the same high level luxury as a hotel, in a more tranquil, homely and quiet setting. Guest houses can either be a house or manor and is owner managed. A guest house offers areas that area exclusively for the use of guests, e.g. restaurants, spa facilities, gym. The owner/manager either lives off-site, or in a separate area within a property.

Camping and caravanning:

There are numerous caravan parks scattered throughout most towns that are holiday resorts. These caravan parks offer camping sites where you can pitch a tent and have well maintained and clean communal ablution facilities.

What is the best time to arrive at a lodges and hotels?

Many hotels and lodges might differ, but the general check in time is at 14:00pm and check out at 10:00am. Remember that when staying in the Kruger National Parks, the gates close at 17:30pm or 18:00pm so make sure you arrive at your camp before then. There is usually a fee for late arrivals. Some of the Parks will not make any exceptions for you and driving to find alternative accommodation for the night will be hard.

Is South Africa Child and Family Friendly?

South Africa is arguably the most child friendly country in Africa and boasts a multitude of family friendly accommodations and activities, great shopping malls, safe beaches and a high standard of living. Many hotels and lodges offer babysitting services and some even have activities specially catered for younger children.

Hotels usually provide discounts for children under the age of 12 years, with children under the age of 2 years staying for free. Please check your chosen accommodation about age discounts and the like beforehand.

Please remember that many private game reserves, for safety purposes, do not allow children under the age of 12. Children under the age of 6 are also not permitted on game drives, and children under the age of 16 are not permitted on game walks.

Please Note: Parts of northern KwaZulu-Natal, the Kruger Park and surrounding areas and reserves are malaria zones. Please consult your doctor before departing to these regions.

Is South Africa a gay friendly country?


By law, South Africa does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, making it the most progressive gay policy in the world. Many cities are gay-friendly, with Cape Town often referred to as the 'gay capital of Africa' or the 'Pink City'. Cape Town plays host to one of the biggest gay festivals in Africa, the Cape Town Queer Project.

Please keep in mind that the rural and less developed areas of South Africa may be less accepting than the larger cities. These areas tend to be quite conservative, so ask around.

Is South Africa a Special Needs and Wheelchair friendly destination?

Disabilities should not deter anyone from travelling to South Africa. This warm, welcoming and hospitable country has come a long way since Apartheid and welcomes people of all races, cultures, ages and sexual orientations.


South Africa is a great city for seniors to travel in, and not at all difficult. Seniors are often given special rates for admission to attractions and activities, so always carry with you some type of identification e.g. I.D, drivers license, stating your date of birth. Don't, however, expect accommodation discount rates.


With South Africa developing at an impressive rate, it is not as difficult to travel with a disability as it once was. With more options and resources available, South Africa is a great place to venture. Many hotels, including many national parks, have accommodation specially adapted for people with disabilities.

All the major airlines in South Africa offers assistance and various car rental companies offer cars with automatic transmissions and hand controls.

What is a typical day like at a game lodge?

Your day starts with an early morning wake up call, followed by coffee and refreshments. It is now time for your exciting morning game drive in search for the diverse wildlife of South Africa. This game drive lasts about 3-4 hours. When you return to the lodge, a hearty breakfast will be served. Enjoy discussions about your sightings with your guide.

The rest of the morning is spent at leisure, sleeping, exploring or bird watching before a light lunch and refreshments are served. After lunch you prepare for your afternoon/evening game drive, stopping for sundowners as the spectacular African sun sets over the bush.

You arrive back at the lodge in time for a sumptuous dinner around a smouldering fire. The rest of the evening is yours to enjoy, under the vast African sky, listening to the fascinating stories told by your local guides, or enjoying traditional song and dance.

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