With plenty of reasons to be excited about this winter’s cricket, you may have started to consider joining us out in South Africa for England’s tour. The test series' second fixture commences in Cape Town on January 3rd, with Joe Root’s men then heading east to Port Elizabeth; the time in between the two fixtures represents a real opportunity to discover the real South Africa, away from cricket grounds and bars.

Of course, you could also spend a week or so sampling different bars and watching some local cricket. We certainly wouldn’t judge.

1) Before you leave

Although the road from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth is an intriguing one, don’t up sticks before you’ve had a chance to properly explore South Africa’s capital. Table Mountain, Boulders Beach, and the Cape of Good Hope are among the most scenic settings on the international tour circuit, so be sure to make the most of the city before you head off.

2) The road ahead

It may not be an option for some, and it may not appeal to others, but if you generally find enjoyment in road trips then this one is most certainly for you. Port Elizabeth is 750km from Cape Town, and the majority of that drive takes you along the N2. It also takes you along the country’s south coast and, with a bit of clever re-routing, can take you via some stunning scenery. Hermanus, L’Agulhas, and Witsand are all worth visiting, but we would recommend that you go in with an open mind and see where the road takes you.

3) Whale watching

The south coast is lined with excellent spots for anyone hoping to glimpse an underwater giant, with the aforementioned Hermanus being especially renowned in that respect. Early January is generally regarded as the end of the whale-watching season, so you’ve still got a good chance of catching them if you pick the right spot. With whale cruises a plenty on offer, we would recommend contacting a company before you leave England and weighing up your options. They’re the experts, and will be able to tell you how good your chances are!

4) Baviaanskloof nature reserve

If you’re hoping to see the real South Africa and to get closer to the heart of this beautiful country, consider visiting one of the many nature reserves. We’ve selected Baviaanskloof due to its proximity to Port Elizabeth, but the south of the country is full of them. You’ll be able to see a different side to South Africa, one that’s completely detached from the inescapable buzz of everyday life. The Formosa, Aynsberg, and Groot Swartberg national parks are all located between the two cities; it’s up to you to choose the one that suits you.

5) Before the second test

Just as we’d encourage you to explore the magnificent Cape Town following the Boxing Day test, we would also advise that you arrive a little early in Port Elizabeth. From Kragga Kamma Game Park to a series of local breweries, there’s something for everyone in this eastern cape city. Our main piece of advice? Book early!

South Africa is an incredible destination for any visitor, regardless of the sort of break you’re looking for. Head over to the Barmy Travel website to find out more about booking and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.

We are proud to be working with the Tourism Board for South Africa to ensure our trip to the beautiful country is safe, embraces the local culture and has a positive effect on local business and conservation. Visit www.southafrica.net for more information.