Here is where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet; warm weather lasts most of the year, and where Africa’s best Game Reserves can be found. Traces of our ancestors are still evident in fossilized footprints 80,000 years old, and in the world’s oldest rock paintings. South Africa has it all: a unique blend of the old and the new Africa that combines ultra-modern cities and up-to-the-minute facilities with an ancient heritage. It is easy to see how South Africa is known as ‘a world in one country‘.
Lying between Table Mountain and the ocean, Cape Town is considered one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Dramatic mountain scenery, lovely beaches, an architecturally delightful city center, designer shopping, and that world-famous, flat-topped mountain will both stun and enchant you. It’s an easy place for tourists, with most attractions clustered close together or linked by a good transport system, with spectacular scenery when you venture further afield.
There’s a European feel to the upmarket areas, mixed with African vibrancy in its street life and craft markets. Cape Town is a fascinating mosaic of Asian, European, and African traditions. These streams of history flow together in the city but, particularly because of the legacy of the apartheid system, visitors to Cape Town are often amazed by the dramatic contrasts that remain between sectors of the city. The stunning natural beauty of the city, and vastly different sub-climates around the peninsula, create an enormous diversity of vegetation. The city has a population of 4.7 million people descended from every corner of the world and is connected by freeways. Twenty minutes from the bustling city center, you could be on a beach, on a wine farm in the leafy Constantia valley, or even in a shanty township. It is truly fascinating to discover the different areas of the city and experience the diversity of culture in Cape Town.
Cape Town is the oldest city in South Africa and is the country’s legislative capital. SA’s main tourist center offers plenty to see and do, and has a rich history. Robben Island, where former President Nelson Mandela and many other political prisoners were incarcerated during apartheid, is a must-see.
Beyond the city are the world-famous Winelands and a peninsula that eventually tapers to a windswept point, The Cape is world famous for its superb wines, which have given rise to a tourism sector all of its own. Wine estate tours are a must and include tastings, wine sales and excellent restaurants in the wine-growing regions of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek, with some charming towns to visit on the way. All in all, you’re sure to love it.
Want to know more about Cape Town? Visit our dedicated Cape Town page.
Johannesburg, the glittering city of gold, has become everybody’s darling in the past few years. Jo’burg is South Africa’s brashest, boldest city with a zing and vibrancy well worth exploring. It’s a hip and happening place with excellent theaters, live music venues, and great markets too. The city was founded in 1886 after a gold reef was discovered. Some attractive yellow mine dumps are still visible. Revitalization schemes have created great pockets of culture with cafes, museums, markets and inner-city living. It’s also one of the greenest cities in the world, and the suburbs turn glorious purple in November when avenues of jacaranda trees bloom.
Learn more about Johannesburg’s heritage sites, here.
Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa. It is roughly the same size and shape as Wales, covering 8,989 square km (7,332 sq mi) and extending 350 km from north to south, and 60 km from east to west. To the west and south of the Kruger National Park are the two South African provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo. In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is Mozambique. It is now part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that links Kruger National Park with the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.
Here is where you will see the “Big 5”: the African Elephant, Rhinoceros, Cape Buffalo, Leopard, and Lion. The park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, an area designated by the United Nations Education and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve (the “Biosphere”).
For more information about Greater Kruger Park & Kruger National Park read this blog post.