Contrasting the water buffalo of the Limpopo River in the north to the penguins of the Cape in the south, and the desert plains of the Kalahari to the luscious surroundings of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, you can see just why this destination is famed for its diversity.
South Africa is a country with a vast history, illustrated by its rich mix of ethnicities and cultures. The ‘Rainbow Nation’, as it is called, has a population of over 50 million with 11 official languages in everyday use.
There is so much to see and do in South Africa that you’ll wish that you had more time to fit it all in. Enjoy activities from both ends of the spectrum. The nightlife in South Africa’s major cities, such as Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, is wild, but if you’re looking for a different kind of wild you can safari at one of the country’s many fantastic game reserves.
The country has some of the best wildlife reserves in the world. Kruger National Park arguably has the most well known. The world famous savannahs of the park are home to some of the continent’s most wonderful animals. Rhinos, hippos, giraffes, big cats and over 500 species of bird all live within the park making it a photographer’s paradise. A safari at any of the country’s parks will be something that remains with you for the rest of your life.
In the south-west of the country you will find the majestic Table Mountain. Overlooking the beautiful city of Cape Town, this iconic landmark is one of the biggest tourist attractions in South Africa and offers some of the most breathtaking views you are ever likely to witness. The 1,084 metre mountain has a three kilometre long plateau at its summit, hence the name, and is accessible by either a good hike or a more leisurely ride on the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway.
Located just off the coast of Cape Town is Robben Island, which houses the jail in which former president Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of his 27 years in jail. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is now a museum documenting the history of the island and the hardships its inmates suffered both before and during their time in prison. This solemn but beautiful island highlights the injustice and discrimination endured by South Africa’s black population throughout their struggle for equality.
South Africa also has some of the spectacular surf and beaches in the world. From Cape Vidal in KwaZulu-Natal to the Eastern Cape's Wild Coast, and from the beachside city of Durban to the stretches of the Garden Route it seems that the entire coastline is perfect. It isn’t only sun worshippers who enjoy the beaches; the diversity of South Africa stretches to its shoreline, too.
While there are plenty of traditional sunbathing beaches around the country, there are also those that offer more to the energetic tourist - whether that be walking to the three castles on the sands in Noetzie or paragliding over Plettenburg Bay.
The winter months provide the perfect conditions for outdoor pursuits such as hiking and hill climbing as the weather is generally cooler and drier. This time of the year is also the best time to see the wildlife on offer. This is because the vegetation is less abundant, drawing animals to more open sources of water like rivers and lakes.