But it was the home side who came out on top as they held on to a narrow 14-13 lead to secure victory and finish unbeaten.
As in their previous two games, Wales gave it their all and tested the opposition with ball in hand. And with wing Ashton Hewitt in such fine form, Allan Lewis' side were always going to be in with a shout.
The young Dragons winger added another two tries to his impressive tour tally with Luke Price kicking the other three points.
Sadly though, South Africa held on as their 14-8 half time lead proved vital.
Climatic conditions failed to help either side to play the rugby they like, the result being a game with limited kicking, dominated in the middle third of the pitch.
With little between the sides, Wales started well with their forwards looking bang up for the contest. And although the South African eight stood up to the challenge, it was Welsh fly half Price who opened the scoring with a penalty after 14 minutes.
A narrow lead seemed to give Wales confidence as they tested the South African defence with ball in hand. A further score failed to arrive though and the home side soon hit back, Jean-Luc Du Preez crossing for a try converted by fly half Brandon Thomson.
South Africa's lead lasted just a matter of minutes as Hewitt again showed his finishing qualities. The winger out-sprinted two defenders to finish superbly.
The conversion was missed and with the game now opening up, South Africa responded with some powerful forward surges. Forced to defend in numbers at the breakdown, there were plenty of gaps out wide for Leolin Zass to add South Africa's second. Thomson again converted on the half time whistle.
With a deficit to overturn, Wales knew they had to bounce back immediately. And they did just that, with Hewitt scoring his second try of the day after finding space on the right side of the field following a strong showing by the pack.
Price's conversion attempt went wide but with more than enough time left on the clock, Wales would have been confident of victory.
Sadly though, they failed to breach a tight South African defence in the remaining minutes as the Springboks held out.
South Africa - Tries: Jean-Luc du Preez, Leolin Zass. Conversions: Brandon Thomson (2).
Wales - Tries: Ashton Hewitt (2). Penalty: Luke Price.