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Best cruises to South Africa for 2023 & 2024

Destination Reviews

Offering superb winter sun, extraordinary scenery, amazing wildlife, a fascinating mix of culture, and producing some of the best wines in the world, it's easy to understand why South Africa has long been a popular destination for travellers from the UK, made all the more convenient by the direct flights and negligible time difference. These are the best cruises to South Africa to book now for 2023 and 2024.

There is an excellent choice of cruises to Southern Africa, usually leaving from Cape Town, with the chance to discover the South African cities of Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban, all gateways for national parks to spot wildlife including elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion and leopard, and learn about the intriguing local culture. Here are some of our favourites.


Best for variety: Silversea

With a fleet of 13 superb ships it's no surprise that Silversea have a fantastic range of cruises that can be combined with a Garden Route tour, a trip on the Blue Train or Rovos Rail, a safari in Kruger National Park, or a visit to Victoria Falls and the Okavango Delta. Short cruise options, such as the 6 night Cape Town to Durban sailing departing 21 January 2024 can easily form part of a longer itinerary or simply be bookended by a few nights to discover Cape Town and safari from Durban, the capital of the KwaZulu-Natal province.


Longer itineraries include two 15 night Cape Town round-trips departing 25 December 2023 and 23 January. For a more unusual option, the 23 March 2024 expedition sailing from Walvis Bay (reached via a private charter flight from Cape Town) to Port Elizabeth calls at the rarely visited Port Nolloth, on South Africa's remote Diamond Coast; Langebaan, the ornithological capital of South Africa; and Hermanus, one of the best places for whale watching in the world.


Best for overnight calls: Regent Seven Seas

Regent are familiar visitors to South Africa and their all-encompassing all-inclusive has proven to be particularly popular here particularly when their pre- or post-cruise land programmes are also included for free. This is exactly the case for the 6 December 2024 sailing which benefits from a choice of free 3-night pre- or post-cruise programmes. In addition to this time in Cape Town you'll enjoy overnight calls in Durban and Richards Bay (gateway to Zululand), as well as Walvis Bay providing maximum time for exploration.


Best newcomer: Explora Journeys

Combining the economic might of the shipping giant MSC with the advantage of being privately owned, Explora Journeys will bring alive the Aponte family's vision of luxury, without being answerable to shareholders solely concerned with profit. As such, expect a refinement of the luxury cruise experience aiming to attract a new generation of discerning luxury travellers.

Itineraries, such as the two week 15 February 2025 Durban to Cape Town sailing, deliver plenty of overnights in port, in this instance Durban, Richards Bay, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, combined with restful days at sea. Available excursions will include unique money-can't-buy (although purchasable) experiences and although details have only been released for their upcoming sailings there are certainly some choices which might raise an eyebrow or two (cliff diving anyone?).


Best value: Oceania

Oceania excel by offering appealing itineraries, superb dining, and an almost all-inclusive fare for extraordinary value. With their OLife Choice programme offering either some included shore excursions, a beverage package covering acholic drinks, or shipboard credit, you can tailor your package to suit your own needs. It also makes an attractive proposition for those tempted by the value of their upper suites.


This is certainly the case on Nautica's 9 May 2024 South African Spotlight sailing, as the Penthouse Suites on this little 656-guest R-class vessel are already sold out. Thankfully space remains at the Concierge level as well as the balcony and ocean view staterooms, with fares starting at a fraction over £5,000 per person for the 12-night fly-cruise package.

Meet the author

Alex is Director of Sales & Marketing at Mundy Cruising

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