Why go to South Africa
South Africa is truly a world in one country. South Africa is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa, as it offers truly magnificent views and has an abundance of activities to enjoy. This Southern African country is rich with culture and traditions; with every citizen having a unique heritage, culture and story to tell. Here, guests will find themselves enchanted with a unique vibrancy and absorbed in the freedom of every citizen. The combination of the beauty of the landscape and friendly nature of the locals makes South Africa a truly inspiring and exciting country to explore. Since the 17th century and the arrival of its very first settlers, South Africa has been claimed, to be one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Not only is the weather warm and mild throughout the year, but locals and visitors enjoying an endlessly beautiful scenery and diversity in landscapes. Undoubtedly, South Africa’s main attractions are it’s beautiful mountain and coastal views, however it’s cities also attract more than enough tourist attention. In 2010, South Africa hosted the FIFA Soccer World Cup, putting on an incredible show and proving themselves as one of the world’s leaders in the hospitality industry. Guests were made to feel welcome and encouraged to participate in local celebrations and enjoy the sights of each region; a factor which surely contributed to the Mother City of South Africa, Cape Town, being voted by TripAdvisor to be the most desired tourist destination in the world. Among South Africa’s other top attractions are Johannesburg (The City of Gold), Durban (a surfer’s paradise), Port Elizabeth (the friendly city), the Garden Route and the Kruger National Park. A trip through this stunning country will show you just how far it’s come and will showcase the diversity, vibrancy and freedom which makes South Africa a pleasure to visit today.
Where to go in South Africa
Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa and attracts over half a million tourists every year. Experience the thrill of being on safari, observing the big five as well as zebras, giraffe and rhinos and be inspired by an authentically African atmosphere. Kick back and relax while exploring the park with Nomad Tours; you’ll have the time of your life and a Kruger experience you couldn’t have imagined possible. The Kruger National Park spans across two provinces in South Africa, Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province, and you can reach Kruger within eight hours of driving from Johannesburg. Kruger is larger than some small countries in Europe, it is larger than the Serengeti National Park and is just less than two million hectares of conservation area. Kruger National Park is one of South Africa’s most sought after safari and tourist destinations and is one of the world’s most diverse and abundant nature and game reserves. Kruger was established in 1898 by Paul Kruger to protect the wildlife in the area from being hunted to extinction. It was this foresight that ensured the existence of many of the species that exist only in Kruger National Park.
A paradise of warm waters, sun-drenched beaches and eco-wonderlands, KwaZulu-Natal (also known as the Zulu Kingdom) is steeped in history and adventure. From Durban’s bustling gateway of ports, fine dining and first-class shopping outlets to the historic battlefields, where strategists Shaka and Winston Churchill showed their might; this sunny region is fantastic for adventure seekers and discerning travellers. KwaZulu-Natal is home to the renowned &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve as well as two UNESCO World Heritage sites; the iSimangaliso/Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, and the breathtaking mountainous region of the uKhahlamba-Drakensburg Park, which showcases exceptional San rock art and is perfect for avid hikers. The Drakensberg is the largest and highest mountain range in Southern Africa. It’s Northern and Central regions are most popular and can be found in South Africa while its southern region can be accessed from Lesotho. Four valleys can be explored in the northern and central regions, and are undeniably breathtaking and inspiring.
Apart from its wildlife sanctuaries, seaside getaways and dramatic mountain landscapes, KwaZulu-Natal is also a province steeped in history. It was here that the bloody battles of the Anglo-Zulu war were fought in 1879. Travel to the renowned sites of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, where some of the most dramatic clashes between the British and the mighty Zulu Kingdom took place. Immerse yourself in tales of courage, strife, ingenuity and drama on fascinating tours led by masterful storytellers. Visit historic sites and museums or enjoy a cultural tour to a traditional Zulu settlement. At the Battle of Isandlwana, the first major encounter between the British and the Zulus, a portion of the British troops was overwhelmed by 20 000 Zulu warriors, who easily overthrew the trained soldiers, making this one of the Empire’s worst defeats. However, the Anglo-Zulu clash at Rorke’s Drift saw the tables turned when 150 British troops successfully defended a missionary station against a vicious attack of over 3 000 Zulu warriors. The sites of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift are the most notable in the Battlefields region, however, a stop at Fugitives’ Drift, where a heroic stand was made in an attempt to save the Queen’s Colours, is also not to be missed.
Wetland Park: This UNESCO world heritage site is also a divers paradise. The area boasts sand dunes, beaches, mangrove swamps and wetlands, Coral reefs and lakes, woodlands and grasslands and beautiful grasslands. This is also home to one of the world’s great turtle hatcheries. iSimangaliso Wetland Park offers extraordinary habitats for you to discover. A diverse landscape of dense woodlands, azure lakes that feed into an aquamarine ocean, gilded sand dunes alongside and vast grasslands. Encounter a plethora of bird species, as well as sightings of crocodiles sunning themselves along the shoreline, curious zebra , wary impala twitching their ears at every sound and plump hippopotamus wallowing in the lakes. As you make your way along this beautiful stretch of coastline, be sure to keep an eye out for crisp white shells that echo the secrets of the sea, as well as delicate ammonite fossils, extinct marine molluscs dating back millions of years.
Also known as the Mother City, this vibrant city has so much to offer. Hailed as one of the most spiritual places on the African continent, the unforgettable flat-top of iconic Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, towers over a city that is vibrant both in its attractions and the people that inhabit it. There is an incredible nightlife and shops galore. There are art galleries, museums and social cafes, nightclubs and cuisine to die for. With all of this, just minutes away there is also peace and tranquility. You Can climb table mountain or take the cable car. There is shark cage diving and Robben Island; penguins and the peninsula, winelands and District Six; crafts and curios, art and museums; sky diving and boat trips. There is something for everyone. To access Table Mountain, visitors can enjoy a scenic ride up its revolving cableway or, for the more adventurous, enjoy a nature hike on one of the many trails that wind their way across its beautiful landscape. From the flat table top you will have glorious views of sprawling Cape Town below, nearby Signal Hill, Lion’s Head and the sparkling coastline. The Table Mountain National Park is a must-see too and covers a region that spans across Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, Table Mountain itself, Devil’s Peak, the Twelve Apostles and Orange Kloof. Here, you will find a flora-rich habitat that his home to rare and endemic vegetation including the stunning king protea and various forms of fynbos. As a coastal destination, Cape Town experiences unpredictable weather so be sure to take advantage of your clear, calm days in the city.
The Garden Route can be found on the south eastern coast of South Africa and stems from Heidelberg in the Western Cape to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape. Here, you’ll be able to explore several different eco-systems and a variety of landscapes, all unique to South Africa and truly breathtaking. Offering stunning scenery, quaint and quiet seaside towns and a vibrant yet laid back atmosphere, the Garden Route is a truly idyllic getaway. The Garden Route is famous for its magnificent scenic views. As most of the route follows a coastal road between the Indian Ocean, various mountains and seaside towns, guests can enjoy stunning views of the sea and majestic mountains; the best of the best that South Africa has to offer. The region became known as the Garden Route due to its ecologically diverse vegetation and numerous lakes and lagoons. From the fynbos of the Cape to the Tsitsikamma indigenous forest, guests who travel the beautiful coastal route will be enchanted by the diversity and uniqueness of the beauty. The Garden Route is also home to over three hundred bird species, an elephant sanctuary and several game reserves. During the whale season guests can also observe the graceful Southern Right Whales from the coast line. The Garden Route has the second mildest climate in the world, after Hawai. It has year round gentle rain – keeping it green and lush – and warm temperatures throughout, making it the perfect getaway throughout the year. With its beauty, mountain, towns and sea, the Garden Route comes with a variety of activities to participate in.
When to go to South Africa
South Africa has two different regions and two different rainfall patterns. In the Cape the Winter months of June, July and August are the rainy season whereas the rest of the country has summer rains. The best would be to determine what you would like to see. June, July and August would be the best time for the game reserve as the dry weather brings all the animals down to the waterholes. But you would not miss out if you came in September and October as this is when all the animals drop their young.
Many flock to the Cape during its warm summer months, but to visit this area in winter is also not a bad thing – there is something quite pleasing about warm fires, good wines and great food I the winter too. There are certain things that can only be experienced at certain times, such as the sardine run which attracts great sharks and whales and that is in May – July.
Namaqualand and its flower display is September and October. Hiking trails and walks would be September and October too. Whichever time you come, South Africa will not disappoint in any way.
For updated weather forecasts across Africa, please visit www.africanweather.net .