Situated at the southern tip of Africa, South Africa is 1 233 404km² in size and is edged on three sides by nearly 3000km of coastline, with the Indian Ocean to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The country is bordered in the north by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and also encloses two independent countries, the kingdoms of Lesotho and Swaziland. South Africa has three capitals: Cape Town (legislative), Pretoria (administrative) and Bloemfontein (judicial). There are nine provinces in South Africa, namely: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West and Western Cape.
Airports – South Africa’s three major international airports are OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg); Cape Town International Airport; and King Shaka International Airport (Durban). Regional airports include the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Mbombela (Nelspruit). Over 70 international airlines now fly into South Africa. Award-winning South African Airways, the national carrier, flies to destinations all over the world and is connected to major international air routes.
Currency – South Africa’s currency is the Rand, which offers visitors great value for money. The rand comes in a range of coins (R1 = 100 cents) and note denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200.
Weather – South Africa is known for its long sunny days, hence the title, ‘Sunny South Africa’. Most of the nine provinces have summer rainfall, except for the Western Cape, which experiences winter rainfall. The high-lying areas of the interior can be chilly in winter. South African seasons are:
Spring: September - November
Summer: December - February
Autumn: March - May
Winter: June - August
What to Pack – What you bring with you depends on the time of year you will be travelling. A warm, waterproof jacket is essential all year round. Pack light, and remember the basic essentials: camera and attachments; a good pair of lightweight binoculars; adaptor plugs; toiletries including insect repellent and sunblock; medications and prescriptions; If you have a specific medical condition, carry the relevant doctor’s prescription with you.
Facilities for the Disabled – There are facilities for disabled people (although fewer than in the United States or many parts of Europe). All major hotels will have facilities for disabled people. When renting a vehicle, discuss special needs and parking dispensations with the car-hire company.
Detail your services – If customers can’t find it, it doesn’t exist. Clearly list and describe the services you offer. Also, be sure to showcase a premium service.
The city of Cape Town can be found nestled at the base of the world famous Table Mountain. With the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and Bo-Kaap right on the doorstep, there is a wide variety of things to do and places to visit. Cape Town offers visitors a choice of top restaurants, cultural experiences, colorful street markets and world-class shopping malls.
Table Mountain is among the most popular attractions in the world, and it is no surprise that it holds the title as one of the New7Wonders of the world. A five minute trip in the state of the art cable car gives you the chance to experience 360 degree views before reaching the summit where you get the chance to explore nature from new heights.
The vibrant Cape Town city center is alive with fascinating stories of past and present, captivating public art, beautiful spaces, dramatic architecture, and a dynamic food and retail culture. There is simply no better way to explore all there is to offer than on foot, and walking the streets will bring the city to life before your eyes. The City Walk seamlessly connects you to the Cape Town CBD’s top sights and attractions through a colorful community with hidden treasures to share.
Green Market Square Set on a cobbled square in the center of the city, this historical square has been transformed from a slave market to one of the most visited street markets in the world. Entertainment and shopping blend into one with clothing, glassware, hand-painted fabrics and curios from all Africa on offer.
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
The V&A Waterfront is situated in the heart of Cape Town’s working harbor and offers a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and sensations from around the globe. Indoor shopping and entertainment venues merge seamlessly with outdoor restaurants, ocean vistas and mountain views, creating a cosmopolitan and vibrant atmosphere.
Two Oceans Aquarium
The Two Oceans Aquarium is one of the finest in the world, offering the opportunity to view over 3000 marine creatures, including sharks, turtles and penguins. The experience is both educational and entertaining as you get up close to some of these magnificent creatures.
There are few places in South Africa that bear the weight and sheer historical importance of Robben Island, and a trip to the former prison serves as a jarring reminder of a country’s troubled political past. From the moment you arrive on the humble island, just a short ferry ride from the V&A Waterfront, you’ll feel the impact of this World Heritage Site, especially as you visit Nelson Mandela’s old prison cell.
The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is world renowned for its diversity of flora covering 36 hectares of sprawling, landscaped gardens on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. With an award winning treetop walkway, guided walks, popular restaurants to sunset concerts and outdoor movies, there is plenty to enjoy at the gardens.
Canal Walk Shopping Mall
Canal Walk is one of the largest shopping malls in South Africa and is conveniently located a quick 15-minute drive from the city center. A shopper’s paradise with over 400 stores representing both local and international brands in a convenient and majestic setting.
Camps Bay is one of the trendiest places in Cape Town. Victoria Road, is jam-packed with funky restaurants, trendy pubs, and bucket-and-spade shops on one side, and a palm-fringed beach on the other. While supermodels and rock stars of the world are known to hang out at Camps Bay, it is also a great place for families with its wide, flat, sandy beach.
Boulders Beach, with its wind sheltered bays and safe sandy shores, is home to a breeding colony of over 2000 endangered African Penguins. As part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area an entrance fee is required to access these sandy shores that are home to the tuxedoed little bird. The beach is very popular for families with young children as it offers a gentle and warm ocean swimming experience.
At the southern-most tip of the Cape Peninsula you will be rewarded with some of the most spectacular views that the Cape has to offer. Although the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve is vast and often windswept it is home to numerous species of fauna and flora. At Cape Point, a three minute ride in the Flying Dutchman Funicular, will take you to the old lighthouse perched precariously high above the swirling Atlantic Ocean offering breath-taking ocean views.
The Cape Winelands
The picturesque Winelands offers spectacular scenery, fine wines and superior food with classic Cape Dutch style homesteads and plenty of history. With plenty of award winning restaurants, antique stores and art galleries, this is an area not to be missed.
Hermanus is rich in breath-taking scenery and is world-renowned for its land-based whale watching. This coastal resort attracts approximately 60 - 100 Southern Right Whales between July and November where they come to breed and rear their young in the sheltered coves of Walker Bay. These magnificent creatures treat tourists to close up exhibits of breeching and playful tail slapping that is visible from a mere 10 meters away.
The Garden Route is one of the most scenic and sought after regions to visit in South Africa. It stretches from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the country, from lush forests to sandy white beaches. For nature lovers there are some of the most rewarding outdoor trails and hiking routes through mountain passes and along the coastline. For more family orientated activities there is the Cango Ranch and Cheetah land where you can learn about Ostriches and Cheetahs and even get up close to them.
Other places of Interest include:
The Cango Caves are situated in Oudtshoorn and are one of the world's great natural wonders that have been sculptured by nature through the ages. Experience fascinating limestone formations in a wide variety of colors as you make you way through the Cango Caves.
Ostrich farm Visit an ostrich farm where you get to meet ostriches face to face and learn about ostrich farming. If you are brave enough – you can even ride one!
Cango Wildlife ranch
Meander on the catwalk over large natural enclosures and get close to some of the world's greatest big cats. From the tree top lookout, view the elegant cheetah, mighty lion, breathtaking African leopard and the awesome white Bengal tiger. The Cango Wildlife Ranch is also the location for crocodile cage diving.
A trip to Garden Route is not complete without a visit to the famous Knysna Waterfront, arguably one of the most popular leisure and shopping destinations in the region. The superior marina is a base for luxury yachts and charters into a pristine lagoon.
Knysna Elephant Park
Visitors to the Knysna Elephant Park are privileged to have a personal encounter with the gentle giants, and gain a new-found respect for these animals, as well as a better understanding of the African elephant and its plight across the continent.
Nature’s Valley is one of the most beautiful parts of the Garden Route and offers visitors plenty of scenic routes where they explore nature, bird watch or just spend time taking in the natural beauty of the area.
Jukani Cat Sanctuary
Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the big cats such as lions, cheetahs, Bengal tigers, leopard (spotted and black), jaguar, pumas, caracal and serval cats and other wildlife species. Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary is the only facility of its kind on the Garden Route and guarantees an experience of a lifetime
Monkeyland & Birds of Eden
Monkeyland is the world’s first free roaming multi-specie primate sanctuary. The safaris are at Monkeyland are guided walking tours into the forest where the primates have been released and are free-roaming. At Birds of Eden, visitors are allowed to enjoy roaming the forest freely without a safari guide.
The Tsitsikamma National Park is a protected area on the Garden Route and is a coastal reserve well known for its indigenous forests, dramatic coastline, and the Otter Trail.
Johannesburg is the largest and also the wealthiest province in South Africa. It began as a 19th century gold-mining settlement and due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills, the city is the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade. Johannesburg is known for the Soweto Township, a sprawling jumble of African workers’ houses that was once home to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Mandela’s former residence is now the Nelson Mandela National Museum.
Sandton City and Mandela Square
Sandton City offers close to 300 leading local and international retailers and is a one-of-a-kind premier fashion and leisure destination. Adjoined to Sandton City is Nelson Mandela Square which celebrates African hospitality and international style. Home to some of South Africa’s finest restaurants, exclusive couture and designer labels and a European styled piazza, Nelson Mandela Square offers chic sophistication, culture and glamour all under the African sun.
Gold Reef City
Experience thrilling rides in the Gold Reef city theme park to the less exhilarating, but equally rewarding, Jozi’s Story of Gold. Walk along the streets of a replica village, resembling what Johannesburg looked like in its early days, shortly after the discovery of gold in 1886. Descend into the historic underground mind and get a glimpse of the underworld mine tunnels.
Visit Soweto, South Africa’s largest township, located to the south-west of Johannesburg. This vibrant township is home to a number of historical sites and is famous for its role in the struggle against apartheid.
The Apartheid Museum is a museum complex in Johannesburg, dedicated to illustrating apartheid and the 20th century history of South Africa. The implementation of apartheid and white minority rule, as well as South Africa's peaceful transition to a non-racial democratic society, are major stories of the 20th century. This is what makes the Apartheid Museum a fascinating stop for visitors to South Africa.
House 8115, Vilakazi Street, Orlando, Soweto, now known as Mandela House, has become one of the most famous addresses in South Africa. It is the house where former South African President Nelson Mandela lived, on and off, for more than 14 years and what he referred to as the “centre of his world”.
The Lion Park offers exciting activities for the whole family to ensure an unforgettable wildlife experience. Visitors are guaranteed to get extremely close to white lion, wild dog, hyena and over twenty other African wildlife species.
Cradle of Humankind
Approximately an hour’s drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria, the Cradle of Humankind is a must-see for all archaeology lovers and anyone curious about the history of mankind. You will get to see the caves that are world-famous for the fossils that were discovered there.
Pilanesberg National Park
The Pilanesberg National Park is located in North West Province in South Africa, west of Pretoria. The most remarkable feature of this destination is the 1200 million-year old volcano crater with Mankwe Lake in the centre. The Pilanesberg National Park is home to virtually all of the animal species native to southern Africa. The Park also offers a number of wonderful picnic spots, numerous hide-outs for game watching, a walk in an aviary, safari game drives and hot air balloon flights over the park.
Sun City is a luxury resort and casino, situated in the North West Province of South Africa on the door step of the Pilanesberg Nature Reserve. The resort complex is an enormous, opulent extravaganza of luxurious hotels, glittering entertainment centres, restaurants, gaming rooms, shops, discos and extensive, beautifully landscaped grounds. Sun City Resort is rated among the world's most unusually conceived, and most lavish, inland resorts and offers a wide variety of accommodation options. From unsurpassed 5-star luxury, something to suit the whole family, or your own comfortable unit away from the crowds. Each hotel has its own unique style, character and attractions. 3 star Cabanas Hotel, 4 star Sun City Main Hotel, 5 star Cascades Hotel or the 5 star Luxury Palace Hotel.
Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is the second-largest game reserve in Africa and the largest in South Africa. It is home to the famous Big Five, the Little Five and the birding Big Six, in addition to a range of fauna and flora unique to the area. The Kruger National Park is internationally recognized as a world-class destination and is at the top of any wildlife enthusiast’s list of dream destinations.
The city of Durban is built around one of the busiest ports in Africa and focuses on providing visitors with a unique experience that goes beyond the beach and into the realm of Durban’s diverse culture, urban lifestyle and scenic beauty. A number of Masjids can be found in most main areas of the city and there are many Halaal take-aways and restaurants to cater for all cuisines.
uShaka Marine World
uShaka Marine World is situated on Durban’s Golden Mile and offers a world of entertainment, fun and excitement for the entire family. uShaka has bought together cultures, like no other place in Africa with non-stop entertainment extending from the day-time operations of Sea World; Wet ‘n Wild Rides and the uShaka Beach, to the night time festivities of the Village Walk.
Shakaland Zulu Cultural Village
Travel north of Durban to Zululand, the home of the great Zulu King “Shaka” and his wife Nandi, to Shakaland situated in the Nkawaleni Valley. Learn about the beehive huts, the Sangoma and how the Zulu warriors made their spears. Complete this wonderful experience with a traditional Zulu style Lunch (alternative buffet also available).
Valley of 1000 Hills
Located in midst of the magnificent KwaZulu-Natal Midlands there is plenty to explore and enjoy in the Valley of 1000 Hills, from Zulu history, culture and curios, retail therapy, wildlife tours, adventure sports, hiking trails to excellent restaurants and the warm and friendly people.
Helicopter Flights Experience breath-taking scenery from a helicopter for a quick exciting flip over Table Mountain, a trip to the winelands for a relaxing lunch or a spectacular Safari day trip.
Sunset Cruises / Private Yacht charters Enjoy a scheduled sunset cruise around Table Bay or charter your own private yacht and experience sunset in one of the most memorable and spectacular places in the world.
Fishing Charter boats are launched from Hout Bay and all relevant equipment, rods, bait & tackle is supplied. Choose the option of a private boat or shared charter.
Horse Riding Experience a horse riding session on scenic Noordhoek Beach or choose a trail in the surrounding area. Riding experience is not essential as horses will be allocated according to skill.
Sidecar adventure Enjoy an open-air experience of your tour of choice while being chauffeured around in a vintage World War II motorbike with a sidecar, wearing cool retro biking gear.
Abseil from Table Mountain Step off the top of Table Mountain, at 1000 meters above sea level, and abseil into pure vertical space. You will be surrounded by awesome views and the deep blue Atlantic Ocean at your feet. This is the world’s original highest commercial abseil.
Paragliding Lion’s Head and Signal Hill are the most commonly used paragliding sites due to their convenient location and the stunning views of Table Mountain and the Cape Town area. Tandem paragliding instructional flights are a great way of getting into paragliding or just experiencing the joy of free flight.
Tandem Sky Diving Tandem Sky Diving is the best way to experience the Sky Diving adventure if you’re too scared to try actual Sky Diving but really want to experience the thrill. No experience is required and you can choose between Sky Diving in Mossel Bay and Cape Town.
Hot Air Ballooning Hot Air Ballooning in your choice of area allows you to experience one of the most romantic and adventurous ways of sight-seeing. Enjoy the indescribable thrill of floating high above the Magaliesburg Mountains or the Cape Winelands in a hot air balloon.
Whale Watching Experience a close encounter while whale watching from a kayak in Hermanus, Mossel Bay or Knysna. Competent skippers share their in-depth knowledge of these amazing creatures ensuring an enlightening and memorable experience for all.
Shark Cage Diving Experience being up close and personal with one of nature’s most awesome predators. Be submerged into the ocean with scuba gear in a cage and enjoy this adrenalin filled experience. For those who prefer a more sedate experience, viewing of the Great White shark and other magnificent sea life can take place from aboard the boat. Crocodile Cage Diving Crocodile Cage Diving is a global first and is only offered in South Africa at the Cango Ranch in Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape. Crocodile cage diving is clearly not for the faint-hearted! The cages used are specifically designed to withstand the crocodile's incredible power of a crocs bite pressure of over two tons per square inch. You will be carefully lowered in the croc-proof cage into the crystal clear water that is home to five crocodiles.
Ziplining Slide along steel cables from platform to platform, taking you past waterfalls and through valleys, enjoying all that Mother Nature has to offer. Elgin, just an hour out of Cape Town, offers 13 platforms and slides from up to 320m long that will thrill both nature and adventure enthusiasts.
The Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours on the Garden Route provides unequalled beauty of the indigenous forest high up on ten treetop platforms allowing thrill seekers to glide gently along in a harness, on steel cables 30 meters above the forest floor.
Bungee Jump Recognized as the ‘highest bungee from a bridge’ in the world, Bloukrans Bungee uses pendulum bungee technology to ensure the smoothest, most comfortable bungee jump possible. Jumpers are secured in a full-body harness combined with an ankle connection as they throw themselves more than 200m towards the river below.
Big 5 Safari In just under a two-hour drive from Cape Town visitors can experience the Big 5 Safari day trip at Aquila Game Reserve which is also proudly home to an array of Khoi/San rock-art. Acclaimed for its renewable energy social responsibility efforts and conservation programs, Aquila is more than just an unforgettable wildlife experience, it is an experience in luxurious African hospitality, traditional culinary delights, service excellence and the restoration of pride to the indigenous people and the land.