Mountains, deserts, seascapes, and bushveld offer visitors some of the most spectacular and breathtaking scenery anywhere on the continent, and tourists from every corner of the globe arrive in South Africa every day to experience these wonders.
CAPE TOWN AND WINELANDS
Cape Town – Known as South Africa’s “Mother City”, beautiful Cape Town lies on the southwestern tip of the African continent. Its historical significance dates as far back as the 15th century, having played a crucial role in the booming spice route to and from Asia. Magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean are set against Cape Town’s hallmark Table Mountain, a truly unique feat of geology.
Be sure to make the journey by cable car, or hiking trail for the more adventurous, to the flat summit of Table Mountain and take in rare and dramatic views of the city.
Winelands – Nestled in the Western Cape, the Cape Winelands is the largest wine-producing region in South Africa and can be divided into six main wine regions, each offering their own unique wine route: Constantia, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Robertson and Wellington.
Johannesburg holds the distinction of being South Africa’s most populated city, with over 3 million citizens. The Greater Johannesburg Area, however, has an estimated population of over 8 million. This epic city is steeped in historical significance, including its famous gold and diamond mining infrastructure.
Of course, it is most famous for its central role in the struggle against the apartheid regime that oppressed South Africa’s population for so many years. Johannesburg’s Soweto Township, former home of Nelson Mandela and crucial site in the fight for freedom, now attracts thousands of tourists to its inspirational streets.
The Eastern Cape lies on the southeastern South African coast. It is the countries second largest province and is approximately the size of Uruguay. The Eastern Cape is home to the noble Xhosa people famous for the “clicking” pattern of speech. The Xhosa language is the second most common home language in South Africa spoken by approximately 18% of the South African population.
The province’s diverse climates and landscapes range from the dry and desolate Great Karoo to the lush forests of the Wild Coast and the Keiskamma Valley, the fertile Langkloof, renowned for its rich apple harvests, and the mountainous southern Drakensberg region around the town of Elliot.
The Garden Route is a popular and scenic stretch of the southern coast of South Africa, stretching from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River. It includes towns such as Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley.
The Garden Route enjoys a maritime climate with moderately hot summers and mild to chilly winters. Most rain falls in the winter months, brought by the humid sea-winds of the Indian Ocean rising and releasing their precipitation along the high mountain ranges just inland of the coast.
KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
Perhaps Africa’s most well known reserve, the 2 million hectare Kruger National Park was established in 1898 to protect the fragile wildlife of the Lowveld area. Kruger National Park is known for its place on the cutting edge of environmental management techniques and its success finds emphasis in the enormous variety of species safely thriving here. These include 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals.
There are several types of Kruger National Park safari vacations ranging from Kruger Park rest camps like Olifants, Letaba and Skukuza, self-catering family style traditional bungalows, self-drive safaris, private conservancies within the Kruger National Park and privately owned Game lodges/Camps in the Sabi Sands, Timbavati, Thornybush, Manyeleti and Kapama amongst other reserves . Grouped together these reserves form the greater Kruger National Park.
Hazyview is a small town in South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province, it’s name derived from the shimmering haze caused by the intense summer heat. In addition to its bustling banana farming industry, Hazyview enjoys a great location just west of Kruger National Park in close proximity to its major gates.
Consequently, Hazyview makes a great jumping off point for guests self-driving into Kruger National Park, or for those who simply prefer to stay outside the Kruger park. Adventurous spirits will find plenty on offer with available activities in the area like white water rafting, quad biking, and hot air balloon rides.
MADIKWE GAME RESERVE
Although lesser known than Kruger National Park, Madikwe Game Reserve represents one of South Africa’s true conservation success stories and offers a malaria free safari option perfect for those unable to take malaria prophylaxis and/or families traveling with young children. In the early 1990’s, government studies determined that poor soil quality was impeding sustainable farming in this small area along the northeastern border with Botswana.
A decision was made to convert the land into a national park, and between 1992 and 1999 over 10,000 animals spanning over 28 species were gradually relocated to Madikwe Game Reserve.
KWAZULU – NATAL
Welcome to the Zulu Kingdom or the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. The Elephant Coast (Maputaland), Big Five nature reserves of international repute amid Zulu customs in Zululand. The coastal iSimangaliso (Greater St Lucia) Wetland Park World Heritage Site due east of pivotal landmarks in Zulu history.
&Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve often described as “Seven Worlds of Wonder” and boasts seven distinct habitats offers the perfect bush and beach adventure. The mountainous ‘Barrier of Spears’ uKhahlamba- Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site adorned with Stone Age cave paintings realm of the legendary Zulu kings and steeped in living Zulu tradition.
Hermanus is a seaside town with beautiful beaches and a moderate climate within easy reach of Cape Town Airport. Hermanus is fondly referred to as the Riviera of South, and offers fabulous shore-based whale watching. Starting in July/August every year visitors from from all over the world visit Hermanus to experience this phenomenon, a succession of Southern Right Whales parading up and down the coast.
During the summer months the white sandy beaches are filled with holiday makers enjoying the sunny weather and excellent swimming in the sea. Hermanus, located between the fynbos-covered mountains and the waves of the Atlantic has much to offer – golf, yachting,canoeing, scuba diving, hang gliding as well as surfing.
SOUTHERN – KALAHARI
The Green Kalahari, Northern Cape, extends for hundreds of kilometres along the Gariep (Orange) river forming an oasis of unspoilt nature reserves and outdoor adventure activities. The Southern Kalahari is known as the green Kalahari because it receives far more rain than the Central Kalahari. The area is therefore able to sustain a wider diversity of wildlife.
When you are on a Southern Kalahari Safari, the red sand dunes and sparse vegetation allow for spectacular viewings of game and excellent photographic opportunities and is home to black-maned lions, roan and sable antelope, gemsbok and cheetah. If you are lucky enough you may get to see meerkats – the cutest critters in the bush.There is also the Augrabies Falls National Park, a gem among Green Kalahari attractions.