Destination Overview SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa

A world in one country, South Africa offers something for everyone from adventure seekers to food and culture fans. Cape Town and Safari top the visitor charts especially for first timers but there is so much to see and do that many return and plan longer visits. Few destinations offer the variety, quality and value that you will experience in South Africa. It is also the hub from which to explore neighbouring countries and attractions including The Victoria Falls and Botswana’s Okavango Delta.

South Africa attracts millions of travellers to its shores with its unique blend of old and modern Africa. It 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.

The weather in South Africa is generally pleasant throughout the year – warm to hot days, and cool to warm nights. During the winter months however (May to September), it can be cold at night and in the early morning, particularly when on safari. There is no place like South Africa that is known for various safaris. “A life changing experience” is how guests often refer to their first safari. Whether in one of the many National Parks or Private Reserves, in a tent or luxury safari villa – there is somewhere for you to enjoy Africa’s wildlife.Excellent shopping is available, from large modern malls in the main centres to local handicraft markets and roadside stalls. Quality gold and diamond jewellery is high on the list of the most popular purchases. Leather goods, wooden carvings, sculptures, paintings, bead work and woven articles are also available for purchase. Most major shopping centres and malls operate 7 days a week, however, in smaller towns and rural areas one will find that shops are closed on Saturday afternoons and on Sunday. A blend of African cultures including Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho Venda and many others South Africa also has a strong European influence from the Dutch and British colonial times.
Slaves from Indonesia and Malaysia had a major impact on food especially around Cape Town where they settled. Durban has a large Indian population which has also influenced local cuisine. Although there are 11 official languages, English is the most widely spoken. Most South Africans are Christian, although African interpretation of Christianity sometimes means that services are held under trees. In Cape Town and Durban you will notice several Mosques built by the descendants of slaves and Indian labourers.South Africa is a regional hub and the major access point for visitors to Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Visitors regularly enjoy multi centre holidays. There are regular flights from both Johannesburg and Cape Town directly linking visitors to The Victoria Falls, Kalahari Desert, Okavango Delta, Chobe and other regional highlights. Additional connections connect to Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kigali (Rwanda) enabling those with sufficient time the opportunity to explore even more of the continent.

Top Destinations

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 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Insider Journeys
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