Nowhere is the unique magic of Africa better encapsulated - nowhere are its wondrous sights and sounds more instantly evident than in South Africa. Spanning the broad tip of the giant continent and blessed with a near perfect climate, South Africa is an almost endless canvas of changing landscapes peppered with mountains and deserts, superb beaches, lush farmlands and exciting wildlife.
Cape Town and the Wine Region
Widely considered to be the most beautiful city throughout Africa, Cape Town commands a spectacular coastal location, set against the dramatic backdrop of majestic Table Mountain. About an hour’s drive to the south, the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve contains a profusion of flowers, birds and other endemic species, culminating in Cape Point where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic. Inland, the university town of Stellenbosch contains outstanding examples of typical Cape Dutch architecture and lies in the heart of South Africa’s wine country. Not far away, idyllic Franschhoek originally attracted refugee Huguenots from France, many of whom were involved in wine growing and who brought their skills to South Africa. View South Africa in a larger map
The Garden Route
East of Cape Town the so-called 'Garden Route' stretches from Mossel Bay to Tsitsikamma National Park and is one of the country’s most popular holiday destinations. With its scenic lagoon and lush indigenous forest, the sleepy, picturesque resort of Knysna seems to be caught in a time warp, almost cut off from the outside world. Between the months of July and November, Southern Right Whales can be seen in the sheltered bays along the coast. The town of George lies in the shadow of the Outeniquia Mountains, while Outschoorn, the ostrich capital of the world is a must for the first time visitor.
Perhaps the most diverse province in South Africa, KwaZulu Natal ranges from the northern tropical coastlands that border Mozambique to the snow-capped peaks of the Drakensberg Mountains. The St Lucia wetlands are a world heritage site, while the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park is a refuge for the scarce black rhinoceros. In between, the magnificent rolling landscape of the Natal Midlands is essentially fertile farming country, though the main attractions are the Zulu and Anglo-Boer Battlefields. Evocative names include Spion Kop, Blood River, Isandlwana and most notably, Rorke’s Drift.
Bordering both the Kingdom of Swaziland and Mozambique, the name Mpumalanga translates as 'place of the rising sun'. Once the scene of an early goldrush, the region is now more famous for its wildlife and scenery. The Kruger National Park is not the only attraction in this area - excellent trout fishing is to be found as well as hiking trails and and luxury game lodges. The Blyde River Canyon is one of South Africa’s greatest natural wonders and the third largest canyon system in the world. God’s Window offers views beyond compare as cliffs drop over 700 metres to the Lowfeld. Pilgrim’s Rest dates back to 1873 when gold was discovered and is a living museum preserved almost in its entirety.
The Kruger National Park is vast. Approximately the size of Wales, it supports a larger number of wildlife species than any other game sanctuary in Africa. This massive conservation area which is home to the 'big five' - elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino - is easily accessible, by road or air from either Johannesburg or Durban. A range of accommodation is available either at safari lodges or bush camps. Adjacent to the Kruger are a number of excellent private game reserves offering luxury accommodation and outstanding guided safari activities including game drives, walking safaris and night drives.
Although the best game viewing in South Africa is in Mpumalanga province, the country also has some other excellent National Parks and game reserves such as Addo Elephant Park in the Eastern Cape with its black rhino and Cape buffalo, and Shamwari Game Reserve lying between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown, a malaria free area.