Destination Overview

South Africa

South Africa has an abundance of wildlife and scenery – from the sandy beaches, forest-covered cliffs, and amazing marine life of its coastline to arid deserts, peak-filled mountain ranges and open bushveld savannah. Historical landmarks and interaction with local cultures and communities provide an insight into the “Rainbow Nation”. Train journeys, award-winning wine estates and a large variety of shopping opportunities are just some of the other facets to be experienced.

Capital

Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Pretoria

Time

GMT +2

Currency

South African rand

Language

Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, English

Religion

Christianity, Islam, Hinduism

Population

60 Million

International Airports

Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Mmabatho, Nelspruit, Sun City

Weather

South Africa has many different climate zones. The north, west and large parts of the central part of South Africa have to deal with a relatively warm desert climate (north-west) and warm steppe climate (north). However most parts of South Africa have a temperate climate because of the proximity to the Atlantic and Indian Ocean. In general South Africa is a relatively dry country and is well known for its many hours of sunshine a day.

Top Highlights

The Kruger Park

Kruger National Park is one of South Africa’s most celebrated destinations, and rightly so, home to diverse and abundant wildlife – including the Big Five – over 500 species of birds and a great range of beautiful habitats. This huge park is a playground for wildlife, from huge herds of elephants to mighty lion prides. Explore off the beaten track or join a volunteer conservation program and you can discover new layers and new sightings in this much-loved park.

The Garden Route

The Garden Route is a much-celebrated section of the southern coast and encompasses many of the best things to do in South Africa in one neat package, from wildlife watching to wine tasting. Adventure is easily accessible along the route, with fairy-tale forests for hiking in, blissful beaches, craggy coves and whales that skim the coast on their annual migration. The Garden Route is wild and wonderful, with the real excitement happening when you get out of the car.

Winelands

The majestic scenery and wonderful climate make this one of the most picturesque South Africa holiday destinations. Wineries here date back to the 1700s, but for a contemporary twist on this traditional industry, visit one of the many vineyards around Stellenbosch. Alternatively, ride Franschhoek’s open sided Wine Tram through the valley for a narrated tour with tastings. Try the intensely full-bodied Pinotage, a wine unique to South Africa, and the perfect accompaniment to a meaty braai. (Barbeque)

South Africa Journeys

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Top Places to Visit

Cape Town

The "Mother City" regularly features in the most beautiful or best place to visit rankings. Scenery, food and wine, and unique experiences such as cage diving with great white sharks ensure that there is something for everyone. Located at the foot of Table Mountain with the adjoining mountains Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head, Cape Town is simply called “the Cape” by South Africans, in recognition of its uniqueness and its status as a mother city.

The Kruger National Park

At two million hectares (the size of Israel) The Kruger National Park is home to 30% of the worlds endangered Rhino's as well as large herds of Elephant, Buffalo, 2500 Lions and the elusive Leopard. Accessible to self drive day visitors, as well overnight accommodation in National Parks Board lodges and luxury accommodation in private concessions. Approximately 5 hours drive from Johannesburg or a short one hour flight Kruger is a definite to include in an itinerary.

The Garden Route

Following the coast between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth awaits an Eden for those with a little more time to explore. Knysna with its annual Oyster Festival is one of many jewels waiting to be discovered. Detours to Cape Aghulas, the Southern Tip of Africa and beach holiday town of Plettenberg Bay are worthwhile diversions on this most picturesque journey.

Wine: The Pinotage story

One of the worlds top 10 producers, the wine regions surrounding Cape Town offer excellent quality and value. The Dutch started but French Huguenot immigrants helped to perfect the Cape wine industry. "Pinotage" is unique to South Africa and its history is just one of the many things you'll experience on a wine tour.

Johannesburg

"Egoli" or Place of Gold in Zulu is the major gateway into Southern Africa. A popular overnight stop before or after Safari "Joburg" also connects visitors to Cape Town, The Victoria Falls, Botswana, East Africa and more. The Sandton precinct with its modern shopping mall, hotels and restaurants is a popular base from which to explore SOWETO, The Cradle of Humankind and South Africa's Capital City Pretoria lies just 30km away.

The Northwest

Boasting Pilanesberg National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve as well as the Sun City Resort the Northwest Province of South Africa is easily accessible for safari lovers. Located in the bowl of an extinct volcano, Pilanesberg is located only two hours drive from Johannesburg. One can easily book a day safari and it is also one of the few reserves where one can view animals from a hot air balloon.

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