South Africa General Information

SA1The southernmost sweep of the African subcontinent comprises South Africa and the independent kingdoms of Swaziland and Lesotho that fall within its boundaries. For the most part of this wilderness of wide-open spaces stretching from mountain to sea, desert to savanna. The undulating grasslands, wooded valleys, open bushveld and towering cityscapes combine to create a rich tapestry that forms a breathtaking backdrop to the natural wonder of southern Africa and the diverse cultural heritage of its many peoples- from the Zulu to the San- as they embrace full democracy. For intrepid travelers and adventures, the prime attraction is the region’s unrivaled wildlife heritage, at its most impressive in the big-game regions of Mpumalanga, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Eastern Cape. The landscape is arid and desolate in parts, while other areas are verdant and bountiful. Such contrasting faces offer unique look at a region that varies from First World sophistication to pastoralists Africa.

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South Africa Guided Tours

SA3Active Garden Route:
See the bolder side of the Cape’s famous Garden Route through Active Garden Route’s collection of exciting adventure experiences, from canopy tours to tubing.

Timbavati’s white lions:
Whether you see their white coats as a symbol of spirituality, or a natural anomaly, a glimpse of a white lion in the wild is a rare privilege.

Veterinary game capture adventure:
A veterinary game capture adventure immerses you fully in hands-on conservation action, from animal tracking by helicopter, to translocation, and even emergency life-saving surgery in the bush.

The Sardine Run:
For an unforgettable marine wildlife action adventure, get in the water when the sardines come to town – the annual Sardine Run must rate as one of nature’s most spectacular shows.

Tiger fishing in South Africa:
Lake Jozini in KwaZulu-Natal is the home of South Africa’s tiger fish. A ferocious game fish, the tiger fish will test your fishing skills to the limit.

SA7Kite Surfing:
Perform leaps meters-long and intricate stunts with kite surfing the new boardsport for anyone who is mad for surf and wind

Great White Encounters:
An exhilarating experience with the largest predator on earth- Shark Cage Diving!!

Tugela River white water rafting:
All you need is your sense of adventure, a little bit of courage and an extra tight grip to successfully tackle the white waters of the awesome Tugela River.

Shark Alley:
The aptly named Shark Alley, off the Western Cape coast, offers visitors adrenaline-packed adventures with its resident Great White Sharks, both in and out the water.

Maluti Cave Route Hiking Trail:
The Maluti Cave Route Hiking Trail is a challenging 4-day route featuring some of the most impressive mountain scenery in the eastern Free State.

Baviaanskloof off-road adventures:
Dominated by mountains and pristine indigenous vegetation, the Baviaanskloof is an isolated wilderness begging for exploration. Take the ultimate ride on the wild side.

Rock Climbing:
Amazing spots for all levels of rock-climbers

sa13The Drakensberg Mountain Range:
South Africa’s Drakensberg Mountains offer an unbelievably huge range of scenery and activities for every visitor, from the scenic admirer to the extreme sportsman

Oribi Gorge adventures:
Oribi Gorge not only features some of the most stunning natural scenery in the country, but also a multitude of adventurous ways to enjoy it.

Soweto’s bungee jump:
A collection of adventure activities centred around Soweto’s famous Orlando Towers cooling station – including an exhilarating bungee jump – will kick-start the adrenaline on your township tour.

 

The Tsitsikamma Forest:
The Tsitsikamma forest is a natural wonder on the Garden Route, where thrill-seekers can enjoy the highest commercial bungee jump in the world!

The Apartheid Museum:
The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg recreates what it was like for people of colour during the darkest days of racial oppression in South Africa.

A Soweto township tour:
A Soweto township tour is the ideal way for visitors to experience this iconic township, renowned for its struggle credentials and vibrant urban vibe.

South Africa’s Constitution Hill:
Constitution Hill, now a human rights precinct and home of the Constitutional Court, was once a symbol of oppression, fear and hopelessness.

Robben Island Museum:
Robben Island was the focus of the freedom struggle as it was here that many of the leaders of the freedom struggle were imprisoned.

Shangana Cultural Village
The Shangana Cultural Village recounts the story of this fascinating ethnic group through music, dance, theatre and a traditional feast.

Colourful Ndebele culture:
The origins of the Ndebele tribe are shouded in mystery, although they are generally recognised as forming part of the Nguni tribes of Southern Africa.
sa14South African cultural villages:
South African cultural villages celebrate the ethnic diversity of the country by showcasing the traditions and lifestyles of its people.

Ribolla Open Africa Route:
The dancers, storytellers and singers to be met along the Ribolla Art Route in Venda offer great insight into rural life in northern Limpopo Province.

Cape Malay culinary experience:
Cape Malay cooking is an accessible South African fusion food. Its gentle aromatic spicing and elegant hospitality habits are the definition of delicious dining.

Brilliant Boerekos:
Afrikaner cuisine has two forms; boerekos and Cape Dutch cooking. Both are fusion food forms fit for a king

Best Winelands cheese venues:
Classic companions, our wines and cheeses have grown in stature, regularly grabbing dozens of medals at international level. Enjoy them both at our best winelands cheese venues.

South African food and wine pairings:
Whether you’re an adventurous wine lover, a curious foodie or just in the mood to titillate your taste buds, you’ll find these unusual food and wine pairings intriguing and delicious.

Sun City:
A legendary, world-class resort, the Sun City theme park offers exciting family fun with its games arcade, casino and The Valley of Waves.

Ratanga Junction:
A full day’s entertainment of family amusement rides, bird and snake shows, souvenir shopping, live music and great entertainment is in order at Ratanga Junction.

Valley of the Waves:
A legendary recreational water park that’s been built inside an ancient volcano. Come and enjoy the Valley of the Waves theme park – one of Africa’s jewels.

uShaka Marine World:
Experience the interaction between land, see and sky when you visit uShaka Marine World – the home of sea mammals, sharks and other fish, birds and great beaches.

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The Kruger National Park

SA10The Kruger National Park is one of the largest Game Parks in Southern Africa and the largest in South Africa. This is the people’s Park, an icon of South Africa and voted by the Getaway magazine as one of the ten best Game Parks in Africa.The Park, nearly 2 million hectares in size, was formed in 1898. It has over 500 Bird Species, 147 Mammal Species, 114 Reptiles, 7 Major River Systems and 35 different landscapes from River Forest to Open Dry Savannah. The Park is vast and boasts larger herds of Buffalo, Elephants and Antelope species that can be found crossing the road daily. Kruger Park is natural, a landscape that has not been touched for decades. The Big 5 is regularly seen. For this reason game viewing is restricted to roads to keep this vast landscape unspoiled and the wilderness areas protected. Come and enjoy with FLEET FOOT this vast landscape teaming with Wildlife from the smallest insect to the largest mammal, the elephant. Well-appointed accommodation, good food, and the companionship of a knowledgeable guide make this trip an unforgettable Africa experience.

 

Mpumalanga

SA8Enter Panorama, Mpumalanga, as you pass the north-eastern part of the Great Escarpment in the northern Drakensberg. The land falls away sharply, opening up dizzying vistas of the Lowveld plains far below. One breath-taking view after another – that’s South Africa’s Panorama Route.
The small town of Graskop is the gateway to Panorama, South Africa. It’s a good place to set up base. Scenic landmarks with evocative names like God’s Window, Wonder View, the Pinnacle, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and Three Sisters as well as the awe-inspiring Lisbon, Berlyn and MacMac waterfalls are a short drive away. Adding some historical romance into the mix, half an hour’s drive from Graskop, the goldrush town of Pilgrim’s Rest – a national monument in its entirety – gives you the chance to relive the 1873 goldrush in surroundings of unparalleled beauty. You can even try your hand at panning for gold.
From Graskop, you head on to the Blyde River Canyon Reserve. Imagine threading your way along the cliff tops 800 metres above the Blyde River Canyon, third largest in the world – walking into the rain forest among the clouds. Although the visual element dominates, all your senses are enriched by the wealth of plant and animal life that the region supports: klipspringer, dassies, grey rhebuck, oribi, kudu, bushbuck, bushpig, monkeys, bushbabies, chacma baboons, and just about every kind of bird… including the eagles that might well look you in the eye. Unless you fly over them in a helicopter.
Some of Panorama, Mpumalanga’s less renowned but no less fascinating attractions are clustered around Ohrigstad. Echo Caves extend for 40km into the rock, a limestone fairyland. At Ohrigstad Dam Reserve you can fish for yellowtail or carp on tranquil waters surrounded by mountains – an ideal refuge from the crowds in peak season.

 

Blyde River Canyon

SA2One of the most spectacular of the county’s natural wonders is the Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga- an awesome conglomoration of impressive buttresses and forested inclines that forms the centre point of the 27 000 ha nature reserve of the same name. Some 800m deep and 1,5 km wide prizes and series of sculptured bowl formations carved by the abrasive action of the Motlase River. The most unusual of these are the famed Bourke’s Luck Potholes, named after a prospector who sought his fortune in the gold yielded by this stony ground.

 
 
 
 
 
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Cape Town – The Mother City

SA5Cape Town is SA’s oldest city and it is for this reason that is known as the Mother City. There’s plenty to see and do in Cape Town, the legislative capital of SA. Take a trip through the Cape Winelands, visit Table Mountain or hang out at the V&A Waterfront.
Cape Town’s attractions have made it a famed destination for many Hollywood movies and European travelers alike.
Take a trip to on the Cape Winelands and taste our homegrown wines; see the world from your vantage point on the top of famed Table Mountain; dine like a king at any of our fantastic restaurants and celebrate the great outdoors even during the winter months.
For some great retail therapy why not head to the V&A Waterfront. It’s a super spot shopping and eating, and its attractions include the Two Oceans Aquarium, a craft market and an amphitheatre where local artists perform. From here you can take a harbour cruise or strike out for Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent many years in imprisonment.
The treacherous Cape Point promontory – a witness too many a shipwreck – enhances Cape Town’s reputation for dramatic scenery. It’s a trip well worth making, the last part up to a lighthouse completed by funicular. The journey to Cape Point includes a 10 km drive over Chapman’s Peak which, with its hairpin bends atop sheer cliff drops, sets the stage for scenic awe. The drive also links the city to Hout Bay and Noordhoek beaches.
Cape Town has activities aplenty for more sedate natural encounters in Cape Town. On the eastern slopes of the mountain are the celebrated botanical gardens at Kirstenbosch, with walks of all levels to tackle, landscaped picnic spots and restaurants serving as a refined break with their offerings of tea and scones (or a glass of good Cape wine).
Its striking beauty and rugged landscape makes Cape Town the ideal holiday spot for those seeking adventure, relaxation and entertainment. The city offers something for everyone and all accommodation tastes and budgets are welcomed.

 

Table Mountain

sa16The distinctive flat-topped summit of Table Mountain is the most recognizable landmark in Cape Town (the Mother City) and lies in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest but richest of the world’s six broad floral regions. Fynbos (hardy fine-leaved shrubs and plants that have taken root in these nutrient-poor soils) accounts for about 80 percent of the 8 500-plus plant species on the mountain slopes. The world famous Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden lies on the slopes of Table Mountain. Many wild animals once roamed these rocky slopes, including Africa’s great cats and a number of antelope species. It is currently the domain of the Dassie (rock-hyrax) easily viewed from the ever revolving cable car of vantage point. The highest point on Table Mountain is the MacClear’s Beacon, 1 086 m above sea level, and foot lies Table Mountain.

 

Robben Island

SA4Less than 12 km from the shore of Table Bay and CapeTown’s bustling VNA Waterfront lies tiny Robben Island, isolated from the mainland by the tumultuous waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Plagued by a sorrowful history (including ostracized leprosy and political prisoners), Robben Island is best known as the place where former South-African president Nelson Mabdela spent much of his 27 year imprisonment. It is acclaimed throughout the Western world as the spiritual world home of South-Africa’s struggle for democracy and is considered a remarkable human rights monument. The 570ha Island is a World Heritage Site, and conservationists have hailed it as one of the world’s few remaining unspoiled ecosystems.

 

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Garden Route

SA11The Garden Route is an extraordinary beautiful stretch of countryside that winds along the southwestern contour of the subcontinent for some 200km between the town of Mosselbay and the mouth of the Storms River. The route is dotted with charming little towns and villages, including some of the country’s most notable holiday resorts, such as Knysna and Plettenbergbay. The Garden route boasts an astounding array of indigenous flora and fauna and attracts adventures and holiday-makers from far afield. Flanked in the east by the warm Indian Ocean and in the west by the sometimes parched hinterland, the tranquil coves and sandy dunes are a traveler’s paradise. The coastline is battered in parts by wind and pummeled by the ocean, yet much of it is traversed via well-developed roads, with only an occasional dirt road leading to out-of-the-way beach-side havens. The Garden Route is also home to magnificent indigenous rainforests, geological sites and the world’s most southern forest Elephants, the Knysna Elephants.

Drakensberge

SA6The western boundary of Kwan-Zulu Natal is demarcated by a series of crests that comprise the spectacular Drakensberg range. This in turn forms the Great Escarpment that separates the province from mountain kingdom of Lesotho beyond. The scenic splendor of these mountain slopes and lush is also the picturesque setting for some of the country’s finest national parks and game reserves, which are characterized by towering peaks and rolling hills. Among the most spectacular of the towering peaks are Cathedral Peak (with streams and rivers coursing down its rocky inclines) and the magnificent Mon-Aux-Sources Amphitheatre, which in turn towers over the valleys of Drakensberg’s Royal Natal National par. In stark contrast tot the vision of sparkling waters gushing through the rocky gorges of the Drakensberg in the summer rainfall season, the winter landscape yields a blanket of snow that descends on the towns and villages that punctuate the craggy rise of the Great Escarpment. This ‘Mountain of the Dragon’ is the most significant of the Escarpment, and its age-old-like rock faces are dotted with caves painted by ancient San artists.

 

Cape Winelands

SA12The Cape winelands are a major attraction for any visitor to the Western Cape Province. Gracious gabled homes, towering mountain peaks and craggy mountain passes, slopes verdant with vines in neat rows – that’s the image conjured up by the winelands, perfect to tour on a chilly day when there’s no action on the field. Of course, you could spare the poetry and just think of gorgeous Chardonnays and robust bottles of Shiraz.
The winelands of the Cape comprise over 200 cellars within easy reach of Cape Town, where wine in all its varieties – red, white, pink, sweet, dry and sparkling – can be sampled. Most popular are the Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek and Wellington wine routes. The idea is to drive from estate to estate, paying small fees to taste the wines, stock up on those you fancy at extremely reasonable prices, and enjoy some superior cuisine en route. You may, however, be sidetracked by bargains in antique shops, treasures in art galleries and delicacies at farm stalls. It’s also a good idea to go as part of a tour, or nominate a designated driver, if you’re planning to have more than a glass or two.The Western Cape has over 16 wine routes – all quite different in character. Well-known is stately, oak-lined Stellenbosch, a university town; Franschhoek, founded by 17th-century Huguenots, is South Africa’s French corner and emulates her gastronomic tradition; Paarl is rich in national monuments and produces outstanding brandies; and Wellington is so tranquil, you’ll find it hard to leave.
If you have a few days to spare you can enrich your winelands experience with hot air ballooning, rock climbing, golfing or horse riding. Winelands spa’s are increasingly popular and a soothing way to restore balance after a day of over-indulgence in the vineyards.

 

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Addo Elephant National Park

sa17Deep within the shadows of the dense valley bushveld of the Sundays River region of the Eastern Cape lies the Addo Elephant National Park. Here, the evenings are punctuated by the strident howl of the black-backed jackal, and the francolin’s call heralds each new dawn. Safe from relentless persecution in the past, the grey leviathans of the bush now roam in peace. The original Elephant section of the park was proclaimed in 1931, when only eleven elephants remained in the area – today this finely tuned ecosystem is sanctuary to over 450 elephants, Cape buffalo, black rhino, a variety of antelope species, as well as the unique flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo. And their Addo has only just begun. With plans to expand the 164 000 ha Addo National Elephant Park into a 360 000 ha mega-park. In addition, plans include the proposed proclamation of a 120 000 ha (296 500 acre) marine reserve that includes islands that are home to the world’s largest breeding populations of Cape gannets and second largest breeding population of African penguins.

Addo Elephant National Park seeks to be fully integrated into the regional landscape, conserves and enhances the characteristic terrestrial and marine biodiversity, ecological processes and cultural, historical and scenic resources representative of the Eastern Cape region for the appreciation, and benefit of present and future generations..

Transkei-The Wild Coast

SA10The Wild Coast, Eastern Cape, couldn’t be more aptly named: lush green hills give way to craggy cliffs and spectacular beaches with sheltered bays, coves and lagoons, all framed by unruly coastal thicket. This natural beauty is undoubtedly the most sought after of all Wild Coast attractions.The Wild Coast was previously called the Transkei, an independent homeland under the apartheid government. Due to the lack of infrastructure afforded to the area in the past, it has largely remained untouched by commercial ventures. This has produced a number of ‘off the beaten track’ experiences, with hikes, trails and horse riding ranking as some of the most popular Wild Coast activities.There is a plethora of hiking trails available, of varying length and difficulty, which are best undertaken with qualified guides. Be sure to check out the numerous shipwrecks along the coast – the Wild Coast is notorious for its stormy sea conditions and has claimed many ships through the ages.
Fishing is a favourite Wild Coast pastime, and nowhere are conditions better than at Mazeppa Bay with its abundant game fish population. The bay is also a popular swimming and surfing spot.Dolphins and whales frequent the coast, so grab your binoculars and head off to Morgan’s Bay, one of the region’s best whale watching destinations.There are a number of forests to explore in and around the area – look out for walks and trails that combine forest scenery with the Wild Coast’s many spectacular waterfalls.The region’s natural diversity is equally as impressive. Get your fix of indigenous fauna and flora at the Hluleka, Silaka, Dwesa and Cwebe nature reserves, which literally burst with bird life and local game.There’s a definite laid back kind of air to the Wild Coast, an unhurried ambience that allows visitors to sit back and simply drink in its rugged beauty.

 

Oudtshoorn

sa15World-renowned for the Cango Caves and as the Ostrich Capital, but there’s much more to Oudtshoorn than just that!
Surrounded by natural beauty, Oudtshoorn is situated at the foot of the majestic Swartberg Mountain range. Numerous rivers, streams and falls have their origins in the Swartberg, Outeniqua and Kamanassie ranges around the town.
Waterfalls abound, and visitors can safely visit two spectacular examples at Rus en Vrede and at Meiringspoort – a narrow, vertical cleft in the Swartberg Mountain, with the road through crossing the Meiring’s River no less than 32 times!
Amidst the 400 ostrich farms surrounding the town, three have distinguished themselves worthy enough to be named show farms. Get to know this exotic bird species, and, for the more adventurous, take an ostrich ride.
The Swartberg Pass, between Oudtshoorn and Prince Albert, is one of the most sensational drives in southern Africa, declared a national monument. It is the masterpiece of a brilliant engineer, Thomas Bain, and dates from the 1880′s, when it was hand-built in 5 years’ time.
One of the world’s great natural wonders, the Cango Caves, was sculpted by nature through the ages. Mysterious and breathtaking limestone formations in a wide variety of natural colours, only some 20 odd km from town. With daily guided tours, this is really a trip worth-while.
Then there’s the town itself. Exceptional stone masonry through the ages led to that special touch. Admire the grandeur of the numerous ostrich palaces, like Pinehurst, established in the times of the feather boom. Conserved to this day as museums, guesthouses and dwellings for the discerning.
Visit the C.P. Nel Museum, with the theme The Ostrich through the Ages, and relive the booming Ostrich Era. Visit the home of the famous C.J. Langenhoven, Arbeidsgenot, or any of the many historical church buildings, or experience a walk over one of the most elegant suspension bridges in the country. And just over the mountains is the world-famous Garden Route!
And still it does not end – visit the Cheetah Breeding Farm, one of the foremost examples of eco-tourism in the world. A superb mixture of conservation and tourism. This is a highly successful breeding station, one of only two in the southern hemisphere. Be photographed cuddling a cheetah, the fastest animal on land.
And on your way (to or from) the Cheetah Farm, why not stop a while at the Angore Rabbit show farm, and the charming Schoemanshoek Valley.
Or gaze with awe at the slithering reptile species from all over the world. Imagine more than 400 crocodiles and alligators in their prehistoric unattractiveness. They’re being bred here, and they’re awfully nice, as long as you don’t get too close!

 

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