Truly a "World in
South Africa offers the visitor an amazing variety of vacation
experiences ranging from game viewing to wine tasting.
Occupying the southern part of the
African continent, South Africa is sub tropical in the north and
east, has a Mediterranean style climate in the south and the south
west with dry arid deserts in the Karoo and Kalahari
and can be regarded as a year round destination.
South Africa is a
fascinating melting pot of cultures. The Khoisan people can
be traced back over 2000 years and there are more than 15,000 sites
of rock paintings throughout the country some of which are in the
Drakensberg (Dragon Mountains) in KwaZulu Natal,
the Golden Gate National Park in the Orange Free State
and in both Western and Eastern Cape provinces. Later
migration included the Bantu People and examples of their
cultural lifestyle can be found at Lesedi Cultural Village in
Gauteng and Dumazulu Traditional Village in KwaZulu
Natal. European emigration was started by the Dutch in
1652 at Cape Town, followed by French Huguenots in the
latter part of the century and the British in 1795. Later
arrivals of Malay, Indian and Chinese added to the
ethnic mix. Historical sites abound throughout the country
reflecting the early settlements, the Zulu wars, Anglo
Boer Wars and the
Voortrek (the great trek north by the Boers from the Western
Cape begun in 1834.)
South Africa has a wealth
of minerals with roughly 40% of the world's gold reserves. The
Western Deep Levels mine in Gauteng at 12,400 feet is the
deepest man has penetrated into the earth. Gold Reef City
near Johannesburg provides the opportunity to go underground
in a gold mine whilst Pilgrim's Rest in Mpumalanga is
an authentic gold mining village. Kimberley in Northern
Province is famed for diamonds and boasts the Big Hole,
the largest man-made hole in the world as well as the Mine Museum.
Nature lovers are
spoiled for choice in South Africa. Game viewing is available
in public game reserves or parks such as Kruger National Park
which occupies a large section of both Mpumalanga and
Northern Province or Madikwe Game Reserve in North
West Province, however, many visitors prefer the private
game reserves such as Sabi Sabi, Exeter or Londolosi
Mpumalanga or Shamwari in Eastern Cape Province.
Accommodations range from tents to luxurious suites with first class
catering arrangements. Be sure to try a Braai (BBQ) and
Biltong (dried meat). The presence of a game warden and tracker
on each safari ensures a high chance of spotting the "Big Five"
(Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffulo) as well as many other
mammals, animals and reptiles.
watchers can sight over 750 species in the game parks, public nature
reserves such as
Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in Northern Cape and
Royal National Park in KwaZulu Natal or in private
reserves like Grootbos in Western Cape Province.
Oudtshoorn in the same province has around 200 ostrich farms.
Whale watching is available off the southern coast during winter.
The Western Cape is
renowned for its profusion of flowers both in the wild and in public
and private gardens whilst the "Garden Route" between
Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth is so named for over 3000
species of flowers which grow in the area.
beauty of South Africa has to be seen to be believed.
Table Mountain in Cape Town is world famous and the
summit can be reached by cable car whilst the Cape of Good Hope
should not be missed.
Blyde River Canyon and God's Window in the
Drakensberg in Mpumalanga are awesome sights as are the
Cango Caves on the edge of the Karoo in Western
Cape Province and the Kalahari desert.
The road system in South Africa
is excellent with rental vehicles freely available in the major
cities. Luxurious train transportation is offered on Rovos Rail,
the Blue Train and the Safari Express and flights
between the major cities and tourist areas are frequent. Charter
flights are available into the more remote regions.
South African wines are
rapidly gaining international recognition with most of the "New
World" cultivars successfully grown, however, Cape Riesling
and Pinotage (a cross between Pinot Noir and Hermitage)
are unique to the country. Three of the best known producing areas
Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschoek occupy
gloriously scenic valleys just east of Cape Town whilst
Constantia is on the southern slopes of Table Mountain.
Wine tasting tours of various duration can be arranged and a variety
of first class accommodations and restaurants are located in these
A wide diversity of adventure
vacations can be offered in South Africa. Safaris are
available on horseback, by camel or hot air balloon.
Hiking, climbing, cycling, diving, and
white water rafting vacations can be arranged. Sportsmen can
enjoy golf and both fly and sea fishing.
Of the major cities, Cape Town
with Table Mountain, the Victoria and Alfred
Waterfront and easy access to the Cape of Good Hope, wine
areas and the "Garden Route" is a popular destination as is
Durban and the beaches on the surrounding coastal areas of
KwaZulu Natal. Pretoria and Bloomfontein are
steeped in tradition and Johannesburg is the financial hub of
the country. Cosmopolitan night life abounds and Sun City in
North West Province offers a complete resort option with
hotels, casinos, water theme parks, golf courses, and game viewing.
South Africa also provides
easy access to some of the less developed surrounding countries such
as Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia
and Namibia. Visits and vacation arrangements can also be
made for these countries.