South Africa is the Rainbow Nation with some of the most vibrant landscapes teaming with wildlife and natural beauty.
People are a great asset on the country, expressing a diversity of cultures and traditions. This is one of the most exciting destinations in the world.
South Africa needs no introduction, but just for the sake of it, allow us to boast about a remarkable country that cradles a world within its borders.
South Africa is nation characterized by the distinction of diversity and its locals are as warm and welcoming as the radiance of the African sun. This multi-racial, multi-lingual and multi-cultural country embraces the past, celebrates the present and blazes a trail as leaders towards a bright future. It is a country that challenges a nation, inspires a continent and invites the world to explore a land that roots mans existence. South Africa is a county that prides itself in the revolutionary unity of a people, marching to the rhythm of an African vision.
With no less than 8 World Heritage Sites, South Africa is etched with the uniqueness of an African culture and the unravelled beauty of its natural allure. The county is world renowned for conservation effort, most famed for iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Kruger National Park. Nestled within iSimangaliso Westland Park is St. Lucia estuarine system, which is the largest of its kind in Africa. Kruger National Park is South Africa’s conservation flagship, and with its untamed and unfenced landscape, the park is home to the largest concentration of free roaming mammals on the continent.
As the country is big on wildlife, nature and African safaris; so are South Africa’s cities big on magnificent and interesting tourist sites too. Kimberly is synonymous with the Big Hole, one of the largest, most astonishing manmade, hand-dug holes in the world; its magnitude runs 215 meters deep and cuts into Kimberley like a crater.
Once known as the ‘Gold Capital of the World,’ Johannesburg is visited by many and is still being referred to as Egoli, thriving as The Place of Gold. As the driving force behind South Africa’s growing economy, the city bursts with an ever busy atmosphere and buzzes with the fast paced lifestyles of its locals.
In stark contrast to Johannesburg, Cape Town glitters as South Africa’s laidback, relaxed cosmopolitan capital. Voted as the Best Travel Destination, Cape Town has everything to keep anyone entertained; from magnificent flashy beaches lined with the glamour of fine dining venues, to fabulous chic boutiques and even an array of sophisticated bars and sassy clubs to help awaken the night.
South Africa is all this and so much more! Visit the nation and explore its majestic landscape.
South Africa has major airports located in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. International flights from Atlanta, New York, Sao Paulo, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Paris, Zurich, Dubai, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Singapore and Sydney are all scheduled daily, mostly into Johannesburg.
A world in one country, you will need more than two weeks to see a small part of South Africa. The longer you stay the more you discover that you need to stay even longer.
BUSH WALKS: Stroll into the African wilderness and learn about the efforts in place to re-establish ancient wildlife migration routes. A knowledgeable guide will teach you the skill of tracking animals and show you plants with various medicinal. Track down cheetah, antelope, elusive leopards and fleeting zebra. You may even gain an appreciation for the smaller critters that roam these landscapes.
GAME DRIVES: When on safari, you will get the exhilarating chance to experience the wildlife in the early hours of the morning or during the night when nocturnal predators come out to hunt. With lions, elephants, buffalo, rhino and leopards; the African Big Five may be viewed from close and safe distances.
BIRD PARADISE: ISimangaliso Wetland Park (St Lucia) is a sanctuary to more than 520 species of birds, some of which flock in the thousands to use these wetlands as a nursery. Vista’s of pink dot the landscape as flamingo prod in search of supper. Keep an eye out for the Fish Eagle when darting through the African sky, as he breaks the calm of the lakes surface and emerges with claws clenching the latest catch of the day. A paradise to all twitchers indeed, as white backed vultures and bateleurs may also be seen. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park welcomes migrant birds and acts as a haven to many flying friends, such as small waders, duck, geese, storks and pink-backed pelicans find sanctuary in times of drought. There is no doubt that twitchers will bask in the outstanding beauty that is attracted by iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
South Africa has a well established infrastructure. All major cities are equipped with first world facilities, banking and communications; from international conference centres to boutique hotels and luxury safari lodges. The country also has a good transport network, including railway and national road systems.
As diverse as its people, South Africa consists of a myriad of topographies and is often referred to as “A World within One Country”. The Indian and Atlantic Ocean stretches along South Africa’s coast for more than 2500km. The highest mountain range is the Drakensberg.
South Africa is believed to have a history of San inhabitants ranging back as far as 500BC. As the San became orientated with regards to herding of livestock, they became known as KhoiKhoi, those who did not, remained known as the San or Bushmen. As time passed, the KhoiKhoi moved towards the coastal regions of South Africa, while the San remained inland. When both the San people and the KhoiKhoi mixed and intermarried, their offspring gave rise to the term Khoisan.
With the arrival of Bantu-speakers in 10000BC, their lifestyle introduced agricultural activity and situated themselves in villages around present-day KwaZulu-Natal Province. The country contains many archaeological sites which gave modern day historians a glimpse into prehistoric living. The Cradle of Humankind in Sterkfontein, Swartkrans and the Drakensberg Mountain range is drenched in the history of cave paintings and excavated human fossils. Today, the majority of South Africa’s diverse population belong to the Xhosa and Zulu tribes.
First mentioning South Africa in 1486, Bartolomeu Dias is believed to be the first European to reach the southern African region, with subsequent Portuguese describing Cape Town areas as the “Bay of Storms” and the “fairest Cape in the whole circumference of the earth.” The first European to land on the shores of Table Bay was in 1503, who named it Saldanah, but after 1601 a Dutchman renamed it to what is now.
In 1652, a young and adventurous Jan Antony van Riebeek set sail to establish Dutch rule, which gave birth to the Cape Town’s first erected building but this was replaced by the existing Castle of Good Hope. Since 1679, Simon van der Stel Governed the Dutch Colony and expanded the city. During this time, the Huguenots from Holland arrived on the shores of the Cape. Thereafter, the French arrived to aid the Dutch Colony during the war between Britain and Holland (1780-1783). Great Britain claimed control over Cape of Good Hope in 1795, preventing it from being controlled by the French.
The first Anglo-Boer War took place between 1880 to1881, fighting for control of South African land. In 1806, Cape Town became a British colony. As Boers left the Cape Colony in the 1830’s they became known as the Voortrekkers and moved toward the east inland, forming the South African Republic. The Blood River Battle in 1838 took place in Dundee and resulted in the death of about 3000 Zulus by the hands of the Voortrekkers. Most notable battles are the iSandiwana and Rorke’s Drift battles which took place in 1879 at Nquta. The Zulus ambushed the British resulting in the largest defeat of colonial warfare outside Europe, but the display of defence against the Zulus and heroism at Rorke’s Drift resulted in the highest decorated battle in British history.
After the Second Anglo-Boer War, the Union of South Africa was formed under the rule of the British Empire. As a result, racial restrictions in 1913 kicked into play. In 1931, the Union of South Africa was granted independence from the United Kingdom. The first National Party, under the leadership of D. F. Malan, won its first election in 1948, and as such, Afrikaners lead the country and adopted the apartheid policy. For 46 years, South Africa was segregated by racial law, which ended in 1994 with the country’s first democratic election and inauguration of a black State President, Nelson Mandela. Today, the country has one of the most liberal constitutions in the world.
CANGO CAVE: Hidden in the Klein Karoo you will find one of South Africa’s natural wonders, the 4500 million year old limestone Cango Caves which is the longest series of underground cave in the world. With some of the biggest stalagmite formations, the vast dripstone halls capture the imagination and offers majestic views to marvel over.
TABLE MOUNTAIN: Recognised as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Table Mountain is firmly planted in the Table Mountain National Park. The mountain stands 1086 meters above sea level and is rich is biodiversity. Most remarkable about the Guardian of the Cape, as it is known, is the level plateau which is nearly 3 kilometres wide. To reach the top plateau, the mountain is equipped with a cableway. For the adventurous amongst us, choose between numerous hiking trails, traditional rock-climbing and abseiling, depending on your level of fitness.
FLORAL KINGDOM: The Western Cape Province is home to one of the world’s most diverse areas of plant life. The area is so prolific that it has been dubbed as the hottest-hot spot in the world in terms of plant diversity. The colourful Cape Floral Kingdom consists of more than 9500 plant species, of which 70% are found nowhere else in the world. There is certainly no wonder why UNESCO added the floral kingdom as one of its Natural World Heritage sites.
WHALE WATCHING: Between the months of May and November, you are guaranteed to see whales from the shores of the south-west Cape Coast. Most frequent sightings of these giant sea mammals are the Southern Right Whale. Whether they are breaching, lobtailing, spyhopping, blowing, grunting or mating; these endangered fish are a remarkable sight to see. Among other whale species, seen in the False Bay area, are Humpback Whales, Bryde’s Whales and killer whales, dolphins also tend to frequent these shores so grab your binocular and do not forget to blink.
WINE ROUTE: With eight different wine routes to explore along Route 62, the quality of these wine producing regions are sure to interest your taste buds. The Klein Karoo may be a semi-desert land but its Wine Route produces some of South Africa’s best historic wines. Visit the town of Calitzdorp, known for exquisite port wines in South Africa or Graham Beck Cellar near Robertson and try their yeasty sparkling wines. Along with award winning wine, South African brandies have won many international awards for their fine quality. Not only does Route 62 produce some of the finest wines, it is also regarded as the longest wine route in the world.
CULTURAL DIVERSITY: The vibrant city of Durban is filled with a bustling atmosphere and friendly locals. The city is a predominant amalgamation of
Indian and Zulu communities. Annual Indian festivals occur in various areas in and around Durban which are characterised by jovial markets, firecrackers
and even religious body piercing during trans-like states. Zulu influences can be seen in the streets of Durban, from the market selling traditional
Zulu crafts, to the vigorous tribal dancing and the dramatically dressed men dragging rickshaws throughout the pathways of Durban.
The south-western regions of South Africa has a Mediterranean climate with cool, wet winters between May and September and warm, dry summers during November to February.
The south-western regions are known to have a subtropical or oceanic climate. Light rain is consistent throughout the year with mildly cool winters and summers are moderately warm. Spring blooms into colour round about the end of August into September, with temperatures rising in October.
South Africa’s north western areas transition from subtropical into tropical climates with hot humid rainy summers and moderately warm temperatures in winter. The tropical climate causes rain year round. Heavy rain is expected during summer months from October to March with temperatures reaching up to 35º C (95ºF). Winter is between April and September with pleasant warm days reaching temperatures of up to 23º C (73ºF).