- Country Quickfacts
- Things to know before you go
- Best Time to Go
- Arrival Guide
- South African Trivia
- Phrases and Words in 4 of the official languages
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Cape Town, 4 days
- Johannesburg, 3 days
- Beautiful Knysna, 3 days
- Sun City, 3 days
- Durban, 3 days
- Cape Winelands, 3 days
INDEPENDENT TRAVEL IDEAS
- Cape Town and Kruger, 12 days
- Cape Highlights and Safari First Class Option
- Panoramas Best, 3 days
- Winelands and Wildlife, 10 days
- Kruger Park Adventure, 3 days
- Savanna Style, 10 days
INDEPENDENT LUXURY TRAVEL
- Cape Gourmet, 8 days
- Cape Highlights and Safari Deluxe Option
- Route of the African Sun, 9 days
- Ultimate South Africa, 12 days
- Zululand Spectacular
- Splendours of the Cape, 9 days
- Cape Town to Kenya, 41 days
- Cape Desert Safari, Northbound, 11 days
- Cape Desert Safari, Southbound, 11 days
- Great Kruger Walking Trek, 5 days
- Transkalahari Adventure, 21 days
- World in one Adventure Lodge Safari, 19 days
- South West Safari, 19 days
- Zanzibar, Victoria Falls and Kruger, 22 days
FAMILY FRIENDLY HOLIDAYS
UNIQUE SMALL ESCORTED GROUPS
HOLIDAY OF A LIFETIME
- Magic of Africa, 20 days
AFRICAN TRAIN JOURNEYS
- The Blue Train, South Africa
- Rovos Rail, South & East Africa (Itineraries)
- Shongololo Express, Southern Africa
EXCLUSIVE GAME LODGES
- Kruger Area
- Eastern Cape Area
- Northern Cape Area
- Kwa Zulu Natal, 3 days
- North West Province
- Limpopo Province
- Project Rhino Kwa-Zulu Natal
- Mpumalanga Excursions
- Car Rental
- Eastern Cape Beach Safari, 9 days
- Garden Route, Winelands & Whales, 7 days
- Kwa-zulu Natal, Beach & Bush, 7 days
- Scenery, Culture & Game, 7 days
STAYS OF DISTINCTION
- 15 On Orange
- Cape Grace Hotel
- Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
- Melrose Arch
- Oyster Box
- Palace of the Lost City
- Table Bay Hotel
- Taj Cape Town
Lion "BIG 5" #1
Protea (South African flower)
Request this special brochure for information on locally escorted tours and safaris, self drive ideas, luxury rail journeys and luxury private game lodge experiences. We also make specific recommendations for: the 50's plus & the 18-39's.
Leopard "BIG 5" #2
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, one hour ahead of Central European Time and seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, USA.
The climate is generally sunny and temperate, with average number of sunshine hours each day among the highest in the world. Winters are mild and clear, although occasional snowfalls occur on the higher mountain ranges of the Eastern and Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, causing brief cold spells in the surrounding areas.
More than 40% of South Africa lies nearly 4, 000 feet above sea level, which exerts a significant influence on temperatures and rainfall in the interior of the country. The Western Cape Province enjoys a Mediterranean-type climate (dry summer and winter rainfall, mostly in the form of short afternoon thunderstorms). As the country lies in the southern hemisphere, seasons are the reverse of those in the northern hemisphere.
The average maximum temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit of four of south Africa's major cities are:
|Cape Town||27°C - 80°F||20°C - 69°F|
|Durban||28°C - 83°F||25°C - 77°F|
|Johannesburg||27°C - 81°F||26°C - 78°F|
|Pretoria||30°C - 87°F||23°C - 74°F|
°C / °F
°C / °F
°C / °F
°C / °F
|JANUARY||16-27 / 61-81||21-26 / 70-79||15-25 / 59-77||20-32 / 68-90|
|FEBRUARY||15-25 / 59-77||21-26 / 70-79||15-25 / 59-77||19-32 / 66-90|
|MARCH||15-25 / 59-77||20-26 / 68-79||14-24 / 57-75||18-31 / 64-88|
|APRIL||13-22 / 55-72||18-25 / 64-77||15-21 / 55-70||10-27 / 59-86|
|MAY||12-19 / 54-66||15-23 / 59-73||12-18 / 54-64||10-27 / 50-81|
|JUNE||10-18 / 50-64||13-22 / 55-72||5-16 / 41-61||6-26 / 43-79|
|JULY||10-17 / 50-63||13-21 / 55-70||6-16 / 43-61||6-25 / 43-77|
|AUGUST||10-18 / 50-64||13-21 / 55-70||7-19 / 45-66||8-27 / 46-81|
|SEPTEMBER||11-19 / 52-66||15-22 / 59-72||10-22 / 50-72||12-29 / 54-84|
|OCTOBER||12-21 / 54-70||17-22 / 63-72||12-24 / 54-75||15-31 / 59-88|
|NOVEMBER||14-24 / 57-75||18-24 / 64-75||13-24 / 55-75||17-32 / 63-90|
|DECEMBER||15-25 / 59-77||20-25 / 68-77||14-25 / 57-77||19-32 / 66-90|
South Africa's currency is the rand which is divided into 100 cents.
|City||Distance - km/Miles|
|Cape Town to Johannesburg||1403 km/870 miles|
|Cape Town to Durban||1660 km/1030 miles|
|Cape Town to George (for Garden Route)||435 km/270 miles|
|Johannesburg to Pretoria||58 km/36 miles|
|Johannesburg to Durban||595 km/370 miles|
PLANT AND ANIMAL LIFE
South Africa has an extraordinary wealth of flora and fauna. Found here are some 22, 000 species of flowering plants (of which 730 are classified as trees) which are endemic to the country, and about 900 species of birds, representing 22 of the world's living orders. Indigenous animals include many carnivores, as well as a large number and variety of antelope and other herbivore - the largest being the elephant. The country's game parks preserve an amazing diversity of habitats to which different species have adapted over hundreds of thousands of years: desert and semi-desert, mountain, savannah bushveld, temperate and subtropical coast, lake, estuary and river. Apart from the 800 game reserves and 17 National Parks Board Reserves, there are several privately owned sanctuaries, where conservation is strictly enforced.
Power supply is 220/240 volt 50 cycle in most parts of the country. Adapters are usually available on loan at major hotels in South Africa. Be certain, however, to bring along transformers where needed. Although some stores in major cities carry transformers, they are not readily available. Three to five star hotels usually have 110 volt outlets for electric shavers in bathrooms and often provide hair dryers and irons. An NW 4 plug with two prongs, 0.19 inches in diameter is required for compatibility.
Usually informal, casual dress is sufficient, with elegant or smart casual wear for occasions where tie and jacket are required at restaurants, nightclubs or concerts. For the summer months from October to April light-weight clothing is sufficient, but keep in mind that even hot areas such as the Lowveld where the game parks are situated, may experience chilly nights in summer and require at least a sweater or jacket. Most of the country, with the exception of the Western Cape region, has rains in summer. A compact umbrella or raincoat is useful. During the winter months warm clothing is needed, as temperatures can decrease dramatically.
It is inadvisable to swim in rivers and lakes in the eastern and northern regions of the country, as the bilharzia parasite may be present in the water. There are usually warning signs indicating that swimming is not allowed in the particular affected rivers or streams.
Vaccination against cholera is not required.
Malaria is caused by the bite of an infected mosquito and is endemic (transmission occurs throughout the year) in certain areas of the Northern Transvaal, Eastern Lowveld and Northern Natal. Although this disease is very much under control in South Africa, visitors are advised to take a course of anti-malaria tablets, containing both CHLOROQUIN and PYRIMETHAMINE. These tablets are obtainable from any chemist (drug store) in South Africa, inexpensively. The tablets can be taken 24 hours before entering the malaria affected area (preferably at bedtime) and then on a weekly basis for a maximum of five to six weeks.
Please note that blood donors will be unable to donate blood for at least 2 years after taking anti-malaria tablets. If any doubt exists, a local physician should be consulted.
Vaccination against smallpox is not required.
IMPORTANT: Any person entering from, or via, a yellow fever infected area must be in possession of a valid International Certificate of Vaccination against yellow fever. If passengers are travelling between any of these countries and South Africa, a Yellow Fever certificate is mandatory, even for passengers in transit.
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PEOPLE, HISTORY, CULTURE
Throughout its history, South Africa has been a geographic designation rather than a reflection of a national reality. The result is that today the Republic of South Africa has one of the most complex and diversified population mixes in the world, a rich mosaic of distinctive minorities. This is underscored by the fact that not one of South Africa's major languages is spoken by a majority of all the people.
The four major ethnic divisions among black people are the Nguni, Sotho, Shangaan-Tsonga and Venda. Together the Nguni and Sotho account for the largest percentage of the total black population.
White people trace their origins to the Dutch East India Company settlement at the Cape in 1652 and the British settlements of the 1700's. The main language groups are English and Afrikaans. English speakers are descendants of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Australian, American and Canadian. They have contributed to the establishment of exclusive clubs, African paintings by artists such as Baines and Bowler, Victorian and Edwardian architecture, Scottish music and Welsh song. The Afrikaans language was developed locally from Dutch roots and its speakers are known for their pioneering spirit, desire for independence, adaptability and hospitality. The Afrikaaner community is unity-conscious, strongly bound to its culture, nation, country, language, religion, institutions and organizations.
The Griquas, largely of Hottentot (Khoi-Khoi) ancestry, have developed a culture of their own, characterized linguistically by a broken form of Dutch-Afrikaans with a peculiar yet dignified power of expression. Their religion, love of sacred song and choirs are their chief cultural features.
The Cape Malays are descendants of the early Muslim people brought to the Cape by the Dutch East India Company. Despite bondage and isolation, they have remained faithful to Islam, still manifest in all their traditional ceremonies, feasts, weddings, funerals and pilgrimages to Mecca.
The first Indians came to South Africa in l860 as indentured laborers of the Natal colonial government for Natal's sugar plantations. For many decades, it was assumed that the Indians should eventually be repatriated. It was only in 1961, after South Africa became a republic, that this notion was abandoned and the Indian community was allowed to stay as a permanent part of the South African population.
African Indigenous Churches, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu.
Discoveries in Taung and other sites in the country bear witness to the fact that prehistoric man lived about one and a half million years ago in what is today known as South Africa. The San were the first people to settle, about 2,000 years ago. They were followed by the Khoikhoi, in the Western Cape. Disease, displacement by new inhabitants and miscegenation gradually caused these groups to become extinct. The first Europeans to reach the Cape of Good Hope, toward the end of the 15th century, were Portuguese explorers seeking a sea route to the east.
The first permanent European settlement was established by the Dutch East India Company in 1652. By the middle of the 18th century, this growing Dutch colony came into contact with the African tribes that were established in the southeast coastal regions and expanding southwestward. In 1820, 5, 000 British immigrants arrived in Algoa Bay, representing the largest organized group of white settlers ever to come to the country. The first decades of the 19th century were filled with wars between the black nations, resulting in the emergence of the Zulu nation under Shaka and later Dingaan as the dominant power in South Central Africa. The establishment of vassal states and virtual depopulation of the central plateau left the way for Dutch-descended Voortrekkers, who were dissatisfied with the ruling British Government, to move into the area. The population patterns established in the first half of the 19th century remain largely unchanged to the present.
Discovery of lucrative deposits of diamonds, gold and other minerals, starting in 1866, was the impetus for the development of towns and cities in the interior. The cosmopolitan population of the goldfields was in constant conflict with the conservative government of the pastoral Boers, who resented the influx of foreigners. This was the era when British imperialism reached its peak.
Black nations were subjugated, their lands annexed and the Boer republics threatened; the result was the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. The British Empire emerged victorious from the war. In l910 the Cape Colony and Natal (British) and the Orange Free State and Transvaal (Boer republics) were joined to form the Union of South Africa under the leadership of Boer generals Louis Botha and Jan Smuts. The Act of Union was followed by a resurgence of Afrikaaner nationalism, reaching its ultimate apartheid legislation in the 1940s. Restrictions were placed on the movements of Africans and Indians and they were prohibited from acquiring title to land in 1913, although certain territories were reserved for black tribal ownership. African voters were removed from the common role in 1936. The Afrikaaner Nationalist movement grew steadily on a foundation of sectarian preference and achieved its immediate objectives when the National Party, under Dr. D. F. Malan, won the election in 1948.
Organized political activity among black Africans started with the establishment of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1912. In 1959 the Pan African Congress (PAC) was founded as a breakaway from the ANC because of its dissatisfaction with the nonviolent and nonracial policies of the ANC. The first major violent confrontation between government and African nationalist movements occurred in June 1960, when police fired on a demonstration mounted by the PAC at Sharpeville. Shortly after, virtually all black political organizations were banned.
In 1963 Nelson Mandela and a number of conspirators were convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment. Mr. Mandela was released from prison on February 11, 1990, after serving 27 years of a life sentence. Taking a conciliatory attitude toward the government, he led his party into negotiations, culminating in the democratic election on April 27-29, 1994 and his inauguration as President of South Africa on 10 May 1994.