South Africa

Kruger, South Africa

The Republic of South Africa is a wonderful place to go on a safari, enjoy stunning scenery, golden savannahs, beautiful beaches and coral reefs. Home to some of the world’s most luxurious game reserves and lodges where you will come in search of the ‘Big Five’. With vibrant cities of Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Soweto, birthplace of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s anti-apartheid revolutionary political leader. This is a country that has a melting pot of cultures, great museums, galleries and cuisines.

One of the best and oldest game reserves in South Africa would have to be Kruger National Park. Located approximately 4 hrs from Johannesburg, Kruger NP will give you the opportunity to see the ‘Big Five’ of Lion, Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard and Rhino as well as an amazing variety of other wildlife. While at the park take a look at the San (Bushman) rock paintings and archaeological sites.

Situated between the mountains and the sea, Cape Town is a stunning city. Table Mountain is a flat topped peak presiding over the city with amazing views. The best way to reach the summit is by cableway or to hike up Lion’s Head. Along the eastern slopes you will find the amazing Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, situated within a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cape Town’s Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is where you might get to see whales from the harbour and along the beaches of False Bay you might also have the opportunity to see Penguins walking past. Other favourite places to visit include Camp’s Bay and Chapman’s Peak, a spectacular spot at sunset.

Located in Table Bay you will find the World Heritage Listed Robben Island, a haunting reminder of the horrors of the apartheid years. This is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years in a tiny cell along with other political dissidents. A must visit is to the Museum at the Nelson Mandela Gateway on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront to see the exhibits.

Durban has stunning beaches that tempt both surfers and swimmers. The legendary Golden Mile is the waterfront promenade, a major tourist site and a great starting point to your cities exploration. Other top sites include the beach area, the uShaka Marine World, a sea themed attraction, Moses Mabhida Stadium and Mini Town, a small replica of Durban with a miniature rail network, airport and harbour.

Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa, it is also a gateway for visitors to start their safari. Commonly referred to as Jo'burg or ‘The City of Gold’ due to its rich deposits of precious metals. Any visit should include the Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill and Gold Reef City. The shanty towns of Soweto are the soul and birthplace of the freedom movement, which created South Africa's new democratic constitution. A popular tour is a visit to the Mandela House, now a national monument. Situated nearby, Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa, a city of gardens, parks, the Voortrekker Monument and Heritage Site and the highly acclaimed Freedom Park.

Pilanesberg National Park is home to an abundance of wildlife including a variety of birds. Situated just 2.5 hours from Johannesburg, Pilanesberg might be smaller than Kruger, however you will still be able to see the Big 5 as well as the opportunity to see Zebra, Giraffes, Antelope and African Wild Dogs as well as many Bird species.

The Garden Route runs for about 200 kms through some of South Africa's most breathtaking scenery. The route stretches along the Indian Ocean from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape. This very popular drive passes coastal towns, lakes, lagoons and coastal cliffs with highlights including the town of Knysna, the beautiful Garden Route National Park with tidal pools and gorges to dense forests.

One of the most picturesque towns would have to be Stellenbosch, where you will find whitewashed Cape Dutch houses, old Oak trees and a variety of farms. This vibrant University town also has some of the best restaurants and cafés. While here a trip to the Stellenbosch Village Museum would interest those history aficionados or to the Rupert Museum, which houses important works by South African artists. For those into nature the neighbouring area offers hiking and cycling with wilderness trails in the stunning Jonkershoek Nature Reserve.

Drakensberg or ‘Dragon Mountains’ is one of most visited places in KwaZulu-Natal, it is also the home to the country's highest peaks. The area incorporates the World Heritage Listed uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, with its awe inspiring natural beauty and the Royal Natal National Park, home to the stunning Amphitheatre, a magnificent cliff face and source of South Africa's main rivers. Here you can enjoy cycling or hiking the scenic trails, rock climbing, parasailing or water rafting.

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is a World Heritage Area and home to the largest estuarine system. iSimangaliso meaning ‘Miracle and Wonder’ in the Zulu language is located along the northeastern coast of KwaZulu-Natal and connects eight interwoven ecosystems including coral reefs, Crocodile filled rivers, lakes, towering coastal dunes, swamplands and savannas. The area has more than 500 species of Birds as well as two types of Turtles, Leopards, Hippos and Rhinos. A safari here can be combined with a coastal adventure that includes diving, snorkelling or kayaking.

Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve in the eastern Mpumalanga region is a favourite stopping point between Johannesburg and Kruger National Park. The park is home to Africa's second largest Canyon, a rich variety of wildlife and plants. Game viewing can be quite rewarding here with species of South African primates, Hippos and Crocodiles. Two of the most panoramic lookouts include the Three Rondavels and God's Window.

No visit to South Africa would be complete without a tour to the Victoria Falls, this breathtaking beauty sits on the Zambezi River, forming the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. This natural wonder plunges over a cliff into the Boiling Pot a natural pool at the bottom of the falls and a series of dramatic gorges. The Devil’s Pool is a natural infinity pool, sitting on the edge of a sheer drop on the Zambian side of Falls, midway across the waterfall and close to Livingstone Island with panoramic views across the Main Falls. Another great vantage point is the Knife-edge Bridge, where visitors will have one the best views over the Eastern Cataract. The surrounding Zambezi National Park is also home to Elephants and White Rhinos amongst others.

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