4 places where you can enjoy autumn in Mzansi

Clarens is a sight to behold during the autumn. Picture: Instagram.

Clarens is a sight to behold during the autumn. Picture: Instagram.

Published Apr 3, 2024


Autumn has officially arrived in South Africa, bringing with it shorter days and cooler conditions.

This serene season, from March to May, is already painting the nation in vivid hues of red, orange and yellow.

And as the crisp and dried leaves litter the ground, the cool breeze fills the air with Earth’s rich aroma.

But the drop in temperatures doesn’t have to mean that you should go into hibernation as you await for spring’s arrival. South Africa is full of unique and eventful destinations which are ideal to visit this season.

Whether you are in need of a city escape or you are just looking for a cool retreat, here are some idyllic locations to visit in different parts of the nation this autumn:


This small town, situated in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains in the Free State, is widely considered a nature lover’s paradise.

And as the summer heat subsides, this season is the perfect time to visit Clarens, which experiences mild and pleasant weather in autumn.

There are a range of different things to enjoy in this picturesque town, which is also a sight to behold during this time of the year.

Clarens comes alive through a kaleidoscope of gold, berry-red and brown coloured leaves which sprinkle the area.

As you take in its natural beauty, enjoy Clarens’s rich history and culture which comes alive at the many flea markets, food stalls, concerts and shows.

But if you enjoy the great outdoors, autumn is a great time to explore the town’s many hiking trails. There are also ample opportunities for adventure seekers to revel in abseiling or white river rafting on the Ash River.

Make time during your visit to Clarens this autumn to take in the tranquillity of country life while breathing fresh air and enjoying unspoiled views of the endless mountains in the distance.

The Mont d'Or Hotel Clarens. Picture: Instagram.

Where to stay: Mont d'Or Hotel Clarens

This French-style establishment offers picturesque mountain views and is situated near the renowned Clarens Golf Estate and the Golden Gate Highlands National Park.

It features a spa as well as a selection of local specialities and international dishes which are prepared in the hotel’s on-site restaurant.

For more information, visit: https://www.montdor.co.za/

There is much to enjoy in the Cape Winelands during the autumn. Picture: Instagram.

The Cape Winelands

This renowned region just outside of Cape Town also offers a quiet escape and during autumn, visitors get to witness the vineyards complete their grape harvest.

This fascinating process transforms the surrounding landscape into a delightful display of golden hues.

You can take in this scenic sight while enjoying a sip of the many world-class wines that this area is renowned for, all while enjoying the gentle autumn sunshine.

The Cape Winelands includes the charming towns of Stellenbosch, Worcester, Franschhoek, Paarl as well as the more quaint places in between such as Pniel, Robertson and Ceres.

These regions are also acclaimed for their culinary offerings which affords foodies the chance to dig into a vast array of cuisines.

There are also many picnic spots to enjoy your wine, food and take in the area’s natural beauty.

Apart from its gastronomical offerings, the Winelands are also considered country living at its finest.

Here, you can enjoy adventure activities like horse riding, hiking and mountain biking.

All these activities will be more pleasant as autumn weather conditions offer a reprieve from the scorching summer heat and winter’s coldness.

A stunning view at The Belmont guest house. Picture: The Belmont.

Where to stay: The Belmont

Situated in Franschhoek, this luxurious and charming guest house is the perfect place to unwind and relax in the Cape Winelands.

The Belmont is known for its breathtaking vineyards, charming shops, and world-class culinary offerings.

Its also features serene gardens, elegant interiors an outdoor swimming pool and modern amenities.

For more information, visit: https://thebelmontfh.com/

Scores of people flock to the Drakensberg each year to do a hike. Picture: Instagram.


Many travellers believe that autumn is the best time to visit the Drakensberg.

With its chilled mornings and cosy evenings, activities in this part of KwaZulu-Natal usually increase during this season due to the arrival of cooler weather.

This makes exploring the many hiking trails available in the area a much more enjoyable experience as your walks also won't be interrupted by summer storms.

As autumn highlights the start of the peak hiking season in the Drakensberg, there is also a chance to spot the abundance of wildlife on the many courses.

You can also go mountain biking, abseiling, horseback riding or some birdwatching.

The region also offers wine tasting as well as the chance to absorb the spectacular views on the golf course.

One of the rooms at The Cavern Drackensberg Resort & Spa. Picture: The Cavern Drackensberg Resort & Spa.

Where to stay: The Cavern Drakensberg Resort & Spa

Set in the heart of the Northern Drakensberg, this historic property offers modern amenities in its natural surroundings.

The daily room rate is inclusive of three meals and two guided morning hikes.

There is also a playground, pony rides and scheduled group activities for children to enjoy.

For more information, visit: https://www.cavern.co.za/

The Klein Karoo is home to many rare plants. Picture: Instagram.

Klein Karoo

Autumn is the time where the natural surroundings of the Klein Karoo truly come alive.

It is the best time of the year to see quiver trees as well as amaryllis bulbs, which are the first plants which start to flower during this season

This sleepy part of the Western Cape is narrow and sweeps of land, bordered by the Swartberg and the Langeberg mountains.

Dubbed the ‘“unhurried region”, the Klein Karoo is remote, quiet and peaceful, making it the ultimate escape from city life.

And with its summer notoriously reaching scorching conditions, autumn temperatures still peak at around a comfortable 25-29°C, making it optimal conditions to enjoy the outdoors.

If you aren't enjoying the plants and succulents that are found only in this region, there is also an abundance of wildlife to spot.

You can also visit the Cango Caves, which is a spectacular underground wonder of the Klein Karoo.

It features a challenging tour, with exciting passages and narrow tunnels, which also gives you a chance to work on your fitness.

The serene Rosenhof Boutique Hotel. Picture: Rosenhof Boutique Hotel.

Where to stay: Rosenhof Boutique Hotel

Surrounded by a rose garden, this 5-star hotel in Oudtshoorn is situated near the Cango Caves and Ostrich Farms.

It offers a wellness centre, well-equipped gym and a beauty clinic. Some of the rooms feature a private swimming pool while the hotel also has an on-site pub and several luxury lounges.

For more information, visit: https://rosenhof.co.za/