South Africa

Spotlight on South Africa

South Africa is an exciting place to visit. Cape Town, with its vibrant nightlife, stylish young people and beautiful surroundings, has become one of the most desirable destinations in the world. South Africa's natural attractions are as appealing as ever: the green vineyards and rocky coast of the Cape; the arid landscape of the Karoo; the rich farmlands of Gauteng and Mpumalanga; the snowcapped peaks of the Drakensberg range; and the verdant hills and wide beaches of KwaZulu-Natal. The country also has more than 300 game and nature reserves, along with some of the finest lodges on the continent. Your surroundings can be as wild or as genteel as you want -- or both. The hottest tourist attraction in South Africa these days is Robben Island, where former president Nelson Mandela spent almost 20 years as a political prisoner.

Cape Town - Cape Town is southern Africa's most beautiful, most romantic and most-visited city. Few urban centers anywhere can match its setting along the Cape Peninsula spine, which slides like the mighty tail of the continent into the Atlantic Ocean. By far the most striking – and famous – of its sights is Table Mountain, frequently mantled by clouds, and rearing up from the middle of the city to provide a constantly changing vista to the suburbs below. Table Mountain is the city’s solid core which divides the city into distinct zones with public gardens, wilderness, forests, hiking routes, vineyards and desirable residential areas trailing down its lower slopes.

Johannesburg -  Johannesburg's contrasts are some of the most extreme in the world; poverty-stricken and overcrowded Alexandra is surrounded by some of the richest suburbs in South Africa, and downtown hundreds of homeless struggle to survive around the Stock Exchange. The contrast between suburb and township is mirrored nationwide, but is more extreme here because of the intense wealth of many of the suburbs, and the sheer size of the townships and their satellite squatter camps. Yet the city as a whole continues to suck in people and skills from all over the country, making it the financial, commercial and cultural powerhouse of South Africa.

Kruger National Park - This enormous and magnificent park is one of the most popular public game parks in the world. Its density of permanent game is unrivalled with hundreds of different species; 507 birds, 336 trees, 147 mammals, 114 reptiles, 49 fish and 34 amphibians! Sighting the "Big Five” has become a quest for many people on safari, and Kruger National Park has more than its fare share of these, with an estimated 1,800 lion, 9,125 elephant, 25,000 buffalo, unknown number of leopards and 2,300 black and white rhino. These animals became the 'Big Five' because they are the five most dangerous animals to hunt - when injured they attack! There are plenty of other fascinating animals and birds in the African bush.

Durban - South Africa's third-largest city, thriving industrial center, and largest port in Africa creates a photogenic place for meandering or eating and drinking dockside. Durban's second-largest population group, Indians, have mosques, bazaars and temples festooned with wildly colored deities standing juxtaposed to Victorian buildings that mark out the colonial center. The city's main interest lies in reconciling competing Indian, African and English cultures and in keeping rampant vegetation at bay. Admire mosques, explore the Indian area around Grey Street, or pass by Dalton Road Zulu Market. Enjoy the KwaZulu-Natal game parks, the Drakensberg, and the Battlefields.

Pretoria Pretoria itself was founded in 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius, a leader of the Voortrekkers, who named it after his father Andries Pretorius. The elder Pretorius had become a national hero of the Voortrekkers after his victory over the Zulus in the famous Battle of Blood River. It became the capital of the South African Republic (ZAR) soon afterwards.

Pretoria is one of South Africa's leading academic cities, and it is home to both the largest residential university in the country (the University of Pretoria) and the largest distance education university (the University of South Africa, more commonly known by its initials, UNISA). The South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is also located in this city.

Zululand – Evocative of grandeur as Zululand surely is - conjuring up images of noble culture, magnificent wildlife and fabulous surroundings - nothing compares to first- hand experience of our Kingdom's heartland...via ultra- modern, efficient infrastructures. Once a magnet for the tall ships, dhows and caravans of early imperialists, seafaring opportunists and fortune-hunters, this great wealth of earthly beauty and resources is now firmly established as one of the world's most protected places. An extensive network of expertly-run Nature Reserves and Game Parks, ensure not only our flora and fauna's abundant future, but absolute delight for today's outdoor-loving traveler... and those to follow.

These sanctuaries give refuge to several hundred bird species - of South Africa's total - in addition to many antelope variants and, of course, our much-vaunted “Big Five”...lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. Not that the hippo is insignificant, the cheetah lacking in grace or the giraffe vertically-challenged! Glancing seawards from pristine sand dunes before the snorkel - or scuba-adventure of a lifetime, a likely reward is yet another awesome sight - giant and gentle whales plying their way north to breed...or returning south to feed.

Woven into this exhilarating fabric of nature-at-large are fascinating opportunities to be immersed in vibrant, living culture...and gain insights into our somewhat turbulent past. The powerful Zulu nation was forged amid this splendor...involved itself in a short, bloody conflict with Boer settlers...then traded battle scars with British soldiers during the year-long Anglo-Zulu War. Historic military landmarks also bear witness to several major campaigns of the Anglo-Boer War that followed.

From luxury game lodge, floating chalet or beach camp...on foot or horseback...by canoe or 4x4...these unforgettable adventures beckon with open arms. As do your proud hosts...the “People of Heaven”. We look forward to meeting you soon!

Use the wCities link below to learn more!

...back to Destination Articles

Agents who have been to South Africa...