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South Africa is prominently listed among Africa’s top destinations for its unique and fascinating culture; it seems like the travel industry has no end of new awards to heap upon SA. Unlike many spots on the continent, South Africa is fashionable, modern, and sophisticated—the country has blossomed in the twenty years since apartheid. From entertainment and dining to basic infrastructure, you’ll be amazed by this chic and cosmopolitan place.
Of course, no matter how worldly the big cities may be, this is Africa. South Africa is no different in that natural wonders abound, inspiring adventures are just begging one to explore. Come see the enormous, squat baobab trees, the oldest of which are so wide around as to fit several people inside, the desolate moonlike landscape of the Kalahari Desert, snowy ski slopes, and the world’s largest green canyon. You’ll glimpse waterfalls unlike anything you’ve seen, spy on wild animals in their natural environment, and walk the storm-kissed southern tip of Africa. Warm, sunny conditions reign in most areas during most of the year, ensuring that the weather is perfect for you to fully enjoy everything to see and do here.The South African beaches are among the best in the world, along with its wines. Its history is groundbreaking, from Cape Hope’s place in the Age of Exploration to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, living legends for their parts in fighting for freedom. South Africa carries its age and expansive history gracefully, but always has an eye on the futur. Of course, no matter how worldly the big cities may be, this is Africa. South Africa is no different in that natural wonders abound, inspiring adventures are just begging one to explore. Come see the enormous, squat baobab trees, the oldest of which are so wide around as to fit several people inside, the desolate moonlike landscape of the Kalahari Desert, snowy ski slopes, and the world’s largest green canyon. You’ll glimpse waterfalls unlike anything you’ve seen, spy on wild animals in their natural environment, and walk the storm-kissed southern tip of Africa. Warm, sunny conditions reign in most areas during most of the year, ensuring that the weather is perfect for you to fully enjoy everything to see and do here. The South African beaches are among the best in the world, along with its wines. Its history is groundbreaking, from Cape Hope’s place in the Age of Exploration to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, living legends for their parts in fighting for freedom. South Africa carries its age and expansive history gracefully, but always has an eye on the future.
Top South Africa Sights
On a continent renowned for the strength of its safaris—just think of Kenya and Tanzania!—Kruger Park may have a valid claim for the best wildlife viewing in the world. This national park and wildlife preserve is one of South Africa’s crown jewels. Lions, elephants, rhinos, and other veldt superstars roam free, allowing you an up-close-and-personal glimpse into their lives, along with the chance to snap some of the most mindblowing photographs of your life. You can explore solo by car or on foot, or hire a ranger for authentic game drives and night safaris to get the richest-possible experience. Must-see sights include the eponymous toothy residents of Crocodile River and the restored Iron Age village of Masorini.
Cape Town is many things: beautiful, exciting, and unique. Above all things, though, it is primarily diverse. One never forgets that they are in Africa, but the people, food, music, and languages are a glorious blend of traditions and cultures. The world’s oldest mountain, Table Mountain, is here. You can catch a cable car ride up to the top, and then go abseiling down! Nor is this the only adrenaline-pumping activity going on! Go diving with sharks (from the safety of a cage) off nearby Gansbaai for an experience well worth bragging about. On a more sedate note, the nightlife here is fantastic. The local music scene rocks, the fashion is outstanding, the cuisine is great, and the dance clubs are packed and electric. The next day, lounge off your excesses at clean white beaches, trying nothing more vigorous than a bit of fishing. Cape Town has it all.
The urban forest of “Joburg” is unlike anything else on Earth. Get wild at the Montecasino Bird Gardens, where macaws, parrots, and other feathered friends hang out. Kids love this sort of thing! Visit the Mandela family’s first home, now a museum, in the district of Soweto. The Apartheid Museum here is worth a stop as well, and is a moving and emotional visit. Soweto is the most densely populated area of Johannesburg, if not the whole country. Tour operators are your best bet for getting a good look at the sights. Shopping is excellent both on the street level and at the malls, some of which specialize in local offerings and some of which are flooded by the same name brands and chains you see everywhere. The pubs are fantastic and numerous—great for kicking back, downing a pint, and taking in the scenery. The South African capital of Pretoria is close enough by that its surrounding metro area almost overlaps that of Joburg. From official buildings and landmarks to big-city bustle, you’ll find much to explore.
The wines of South Africa are famous, and some of the best come from the city of Stellenbosch. Located in the heart of the Cape Winelands, this is the second-oldest city in South Africa. Traces of the Dutch influence are strong here even today, with Afrikaans spoken widely and street names / historic sites steeped in hints of colonialism. The Fick House museum showcases furniture, kitchen equipment, and housewares as they would have existed during the historic colonial period, and the Powder House commemorates the site where munitions were stored. Wine tours of the vineyards are, of course, popular—tastings, too! As should be the case when great wine is involved, the food here is exceptional as well.
Adjacent to Kruger Park, Sabi Sands is a premier game reserve and national park in Mpumalanga. Animals roam freely between the two parks with nothing to hem them in! Accommodations in Sabi Sands are decidedly high-end, with opulent game lodges sprinkled throughout the park. Some are themed to the Roaring 20s, when sophisticated European and American poets and playboys first became fascinated with Africa and the concept of a Grand Safari… all are top-notch. No matter how luxe your lodge, however, the natural beauty surrounding you can’t be beat. View lions, rhinos, giraffes, and other wildlife—take day trips into the bush on a heart-pounding game drive or enjoy a thrilling night safari!
|Primary Airports: OR Tambo International Airport (JNB), Cape Town International Airport (CPT)|
|Currency: Rand (ZAR)|
|Population: 51,190,000 (2012 est.)|
|Language: Afrikaans, English|
|Electricity: 220V/50Hz (South Africa plug)|
|Time Zone: UTC +2|
South Africa Travel Reviews
The Sights of Pretoria, South Africa
Living in South Africa for three years gave me the opportunity to enjoy some extraordinary sights in and around Pretoria, the Jacaranda City. Pretoria was named the Jacaranda City because her streets are lined with the colors of lilac and white from Jacaranda trees that bloom during the South African spring. The Jacarandas are also found around the Union Buildings, which houses the executive branch of the South African government. Pretoria as the administrative branch of the government is where President Mandela was inaugurated in 1994. Visiting the Union Buildings gives you a sense of the major accomplishments and strength of the amazing people of the Rainbow Nation. Pretoria is located in Gauteng province in which several of the best nature parks we discovered to catch sight of the magnificent animals that make South Africa unique. Lion Park is a favorite where you can pet sleeping lion cubs. If you decide to take the drive through the park in your vehicle, you will likely to see giraffes, cheetahs, springboks, ostriches, and zebras. Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Centurion, Pretoria offers self-drive tours or guided tours if you are looking for herds of eland, rhinoceros, and zebras. It is incredible to watch a mommy rhinoceros and her baby crossing the dirt road right in front of your car. We found that caution is advised when approaching larger herds of rhinoceros. Several of the adult rhinos turned and started stomping their feet at us, we knew that we had gotten too close. With the park’s map, we made a quick three-point turn, leaving the herd in peace and our car undamaged. For the safari experience, Pilanesberg National Park a little less than 2 hours outside of Pretoria via the N4, offers the great safari lodge experience. We saw the Big Five along with several other species of animals all in one afternoon. A lioness with her cubs amazed us by enjoying their walkabout near our safari truck. After a gourmet dinner on their terrace, a male lion serenaded us as we continued to enjoy the African moonlit evening. South Africa and her people prove every day what an exceptional country it is to visit.
August in Beautiful South Africa
I went to South Africa for a memorable 8 day trip. I visited Cape Town and Kruger National Park. I flew direct from New York to Johannesburg on South Africa Airways. Although it was a long flight, it was comfortable and the service was excellent. Cape Town is a beautiful city with many sights and I felt very safe walking around during the day. Locals are very friendly and welcoming. Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela spent much of his imprisonment term, is not to be missed. The tour guide was a former prisoner who gave details of the harsh life there. You can also see Nelson Mandela's cell. Also in Cape Town is the District Six Museum. District Six is a former residential area whose citizens were forced to move by the apartheid regime in the 1970's. A wonderful place to enjoy authentic African dishes from different regions is the Africa Cafe. A great place to get African masks and jewelry is Greenmarket Square. I also highly recommend taking a day trip to the Cape of Good Hope - you will pass beautiful beaches and wineries along the way. Kruger National Park is an amazing experience. I went with 3 others in an open air Jeep driven by an official guide employed by the park. The open barren land is like nothing else and we were fortunate enough to see 3 of the "Big Five" - lion, elephant and leopard.
I highly recommend South Africa as a travel destination. The culture, sights and feel of the country are very unique - you will not be disappointed.
South Africa’s Natural Beauty
In 2012, I traveled to South Africa, but I loved it so much that I went back a year later and still dream of returning in the future. My favorite highlights were Pilanesberg National Park, Franschhoek, Betty’s Bay, and Hermanus. Pilanesberg, which is a 2.5-drive from Johannesburg, isn’t as famous as Kruger Park because it isn’t as large, but this is actually a good thing – because it is a smaller safari park, you have a greater chance of seeing all the famous African wildlife: zebras, giraffes, elephants, leopards, lions, and more. Franschhoek has beautiful hiking, delicious food and wine (it is known as South Africa’s food and wine capital), and fascinating history. If my word isn’t enough, I met a fellow tourist who worked for the map publisher Rand McNally, and he said that he has traveled the world several times, but Franschhoek remains the most beautiful place he has ever seen. Betty’s Bay is a small town along the western coast of South Africa and is best known for its penguin colony. I spent several fun hours watching penguins as they clumsily played, swam, ate, and slept. Hermanus is another small holiday town along the western coast. It is best known for the annual whale festival; each fall, female right whales come to the shallow, calm waters around Hermanus to give birth. The whales rest just yards from shore as the mothers teach their playful young how to swim.
South Africa Offers Tourists Great Value and a Good Time
During a recent holiday in South Africa, my family and I had the time of our lives because there is so much to do and see in this now laid-back and free and easy tourist destination. In fact, there are stretches along the country’s South Atlantic and Indian oceans that are some of the most beautiful places on Earth. South Africa’s multi-ethnic society is tourism friendly in 2015, with most locals speaking English.
South Africa rocks as a tourism destination
Moreover, this is truly a “Rainbow Nation” that welcomes visitors with open arms. The legacy of Nelson Mandela, the first black African President of the Republic of South Africa, can be felt when visiting both Cape Town and the many tourism-focused villages in the country. The locals really embrace you and customer service is considered to be number one today, say other tourists commenting online.
For instance, my family and I enjoyed South Africa’s generally warm and temperate climate during a recent winter visit. We found the weather to be remarkably similar to that of the Mediterranean region. We also enjoyed viewing lions and giraffes in the wild; while enjoying a lovely lunch at Kruger National Park and the famed Mala Mala Reserve.
Overall, we highly recommend spending a family holiday in South Africa because it has all the bells and whistles that one would expect on vacation.
Africa - the Ultimate Adventure
sand dunes in Namibia-----Okavonga Delta Botswana----Victoria Falls Zimbabwa.And then came the animals! Lions/ Zebra/Hippos/Water buffolos/Giraffes/Warthogs and on and on!The people were friendly and the tour company were excellent.
My Best Holiday Ever - South Africa
My girlfriend and I flew into Johannesburg from the US, and after a day of recovering from 24 hours of flying, rented a car and headed to Phinda Forest Lodge, 300 miles Southeast of Jo'burg.
Phinda Forest Lodge is a luxury establishment offering game drives, accommodations in well-appointed glass houses, and 5 star cuisine, for an all-inclusive price.
Upon arrival by car (or charter air) you are escorted to check-in and your lodging by armed guards, who give you a safety talk, with emphasize on the "wildness" of the area. Meals are held at the central "boma" a rustic outside enclosure surrounding a fire pit, and the meals are exquisite international cuisine entrees accompanied by fine wines. You'll join fellow guests from around the world staying in the 16 unique accommodations.
There are three game drives daily during which your expert trackers and guides will attempt to locate the "big 5" (lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and cape buffalo) for your viewing and photo enjoyment.
These are wild animals in their own environment and you'll need to pay attention to your guide for your own safety!
After three days and nights at Phinda, we spent the balance of our trip driving South Africa on our own, stopping in fascinating Durban, a mix of colonial England, Indian, and African cultures, and on to the Southern coastal areas with its fabulous wineries.
South Africa, Zimbabwe & Botswana
Ebright Travel booked us into excellent hotels and game camps.We found that each camp we stayed at was more luxurious the then prior one. The food which was included in our package was first class.
Our guides were personable and knowledgeable.
The sights were fabulous.
South Africa, Cape Town, Wine Country, driving tour
Tom and Kathy D
We went to South Africa for 10 days; Cape Town for three days without a car by using the Hop On/Hop Off bus to visit the sites. We then rented a car to travel along the coast to Swellandam and beyond. The entire trip was amazing from staying in a city hotel to a tree house to a historic bed and breakfast, a beach house, and on a wine estate