South Africa

An Introduction To South Africa

Cities, Safaris and Sands...

South Africa is such a wonderfully diverse country with so much to see and do and definitely ranks as one of life’s must see destinations. In fact once you have been, there is every chance you will go back, time and time again. There are opportunities for wildlife spotting on safari, exploration of rich vineyards, hip and vibrant cities, superb sporting facilities including golf and a coastline of glorious beaches.

Most visitors combine a few locations by plane or train such as a city and safari. A very popular choice is a road trip along the iconic Garden route from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.

South Africa has the opposite seasons to the UK. Summer is November to March and winter is from April to October. The north of the country which includes Kruger, Madikwe and Sun City is generally warm all year but the cooler winter temperatures effect the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces such as Cape Town and the Garden Route.

You will not be able to do all of South in one visit but that does not matter as its one of those countries that is worth returning to time and time again.

Essential information

south africa, flag, nationality

Continent:
Africa

Capital:
Pretoria

Time Difference:
Local Time + 2 hour

Currency:
South African Rand

Flight Time:
11h 30m from London

Visa:
No (FCO Advice)

Language:
English

Vaccinations:
yes (Check Here)

Getting Around...

Planes, trains and automobiles are considered the best means of transport in South Africa.

Travelling on buses is safe, good value and comfortable, and the vehicles are usually equipped with air conditioning and toilets.

Train travel is just about the slowest way of getting around South Africa. Trains offer overnight services saving you the cost of accommodation with varying degrees of space and comfort. There are a number of luxury train companies including The Blue train from Cape Town to Pretoria or Rovos Rail from Pretoria to Cape Town, Durban or Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

The regional flight network in South Africa is good especially if your time is short. The main airlines are South African Airways and its regional subsidiaries and British Airways Comair.

Driving in South Africa is a joy with a well maintained network of highways and roads. In order to get to some key attractions and the safaris you need a car whether its your own rented vehicle which are reasonably priced or with a private driver. You cannot reach the safari parks by public transport.

Top 10 Sights & Attractions...

Cape Town
One of South Africas star attractions. With versatile hip neighbourhoods, shops, restaurants and museums to unspoiled nature that includes the famous table top mountains as well as beautiful beaches some complete with their very own penguin colonies.

Drakensberg
The highest mountain range in South Africa, meaning the Dragon Mountains in Afrikaan is in Drakensburg. A popular destination for those seeking both history and activities. The rock paintings provide a fascinating insight into the countries past and then there is opportunity for hiking, abseiling or white water rafting on the Orange or Tugela River.

Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga
An enormous green canyon with waterfalls, that can be enjoyed as you hike, raft the rivers, cycle, take boat trips, fish or even hot air balloon with the chance of seeing a wide variety of animal species including hippos, antelopes and numerous primates.

Cable Ride to Table Mountain, Cape Town
The most popular attraction in the city which you can hike to or for a more leisurely experience why not take the cable car to the highest point at 1067 metres. From the top there are iconic views of the stunning city below.

The Boomslang
Located in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, this tree canopy walkway attracts visitors to admire the wonderful panorama of both mountains and forest.

Jeffreys Bay
One of the most famous beaches in South Africa and a mecca for the surfing community who come to challenge their skills on the high waves.

Pretoria
A diverse and vibrant town which is famous for its architecture, the National Zoological Gardens and Freedom Park which was inspired by Nelson Mandela and is a symbol of human rights.

Horse Riding in Noordhoek
The white sandy beaches of Noordhoek stretch along the coastline where you can ride the native horses through wetlands and on the beach for a truly magical experience. En route there are plenty of wildlife watching opportunities both on land and at sea.

Hiking in Sabie Valley
Surrounded by forest, the town of Sabie is situated on the Sabie River banks. From the Long Tom Pass where you will discover the silver British cannon. There are also wonderful views across to the Kruger National Park, Pilgrim’s Rest, Blyde River Canyon, the Sabie waterfalls, God’s Window and Bourke’s Luck Potholes.

Wine Tasting
South Africa produces great wines with some amazing tours available from Cape Town. Visitors can explore the vineyards, meet with the winemakers and enjoy a great meal washed down with some of the finest wines in the world.

Weather

Google Maps

Your Bradt Travel Guide

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Golf

One of the unique differences of taking a golfing holiday to South Africa is that you can combine it with awesome experience of a safari. As if that was not enough of a lure then there is also a long list of affordable high quality golf resorts with breath-taking views throughout the country.

Why Play Golf in South Africa?

Some of the finest golf in the Southern Hemisphere
Naturally beautiful courses
Why not combine with a safari
Superb food and wine to accompany every post round analysis
An excellent road network in the country
Cities with numerous bars, restaurants and attractions

Our golf partner Front 9 Travel highly recommends the following golf courses:

Rovos Rail - Golf Journeys by Train, South Africa

Experience the extravagant elegance of rail travel on the most luxurious train in the world. Rovos Rail’s unique trains travel through the heart of Africa combine some of the most magnificent scenery with the glamour and excitement of the golden age of rail travel. These beautifully rebuilt trains offer accommodation of the highest standard, combining the opulence of a bygone era with subtle modern innovations.

Click Here for more information

South Africa Blog Posts

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