The 30-year-old, who has been in impressive form for his club this season, last started for England in 2008 and has not featured in a Test since 2015.
Saracens number eight Billy Vunipola is also recalled after an injury-hit 12 months which saw his last England appearance come in the 2017 Six Nations.
England will play South Africa in three Tests in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Cape Town, the tour starting on June 9 and ending on June 23.
England squad to tour South Africa:
Backs: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Cipriani (Wasps), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Nathan Earle (Saracens), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Alex Lozowski (Saracens), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks), Dan Robson (Wasps), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks), Ben Spencer (Saracens), Ben Te'o (Worcester Warriors), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Ben Earl (Saracens), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Brad Shields (Hurricanes/Wasps), Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs), Jack Willis (Wasps), Mark Wilson (Newcastle)