- 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
These are not your conventional African experiences. From 6 to 41 days you can journey between Cape Town and Kenya in self sufficient custom built trucks. As one of the team you are involved in day to day duties. As we said these are not your conventional African experiences.
Dutch traders landed at the southern tip of modern day South Africa in 1652 and established a stopover point on the spice route between the Netherlands and the East, founding the city of Cape Town. After the British seized the Cape of Good Hope area in 1806, many of the Dutch settlers (the Boers) trekked north to found their own republics. The discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886) spurred wealth and immigration and intensified the subjugation of the native inhabitants. The Boers resisted British encroachments but were defeated in the Boer War (1899-1902); however, the British and the Afrikaners, as the Boers became known, ruled together under the Union of South Africa. In 1948, the National Party was voted into power and instituted a policy of apartheid - the separate development of the races. The first multi-racial elections in 1994 brought an end to apartheid and ushered in black majority rule.
The Republic of South Africa lies at the southern tip of the African continent between latitudes 22 and 35 south, flanked by the Indian Ocean on the east coast and the Atlantic on the west, and bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland. Washed by the cold Benguala current on the west coast and the warm Mozambique Agulhas current on the east, the country has a coastline of 1, 832 miles.
The nine provinces - Gauteng (Capital - Johannesburg), KwaZulu-Natal (Capital - Pietersburg), North West (Capital - Mmbatho), Mpumalanga (Capital - Nelspruit), Free State (Capital - Bloemfontein), Northern Cape (Capital- Kimberley), Western Cape (Capital - Cape Town), Eastern Cape (Capital - Bisho), cover a total of 1, 227, 200 km (472, 359 square miles). Comparatively, South Africa is slightly less than twice the size of Texas.
According to the 2011 mid-year estimates, South Africa's population totaled 50, 586, 757 people - African 79.5%, Colored 9.0%, Whites 9.0%, Asians/Indian 2.5%. This heterogeneous composition embodies a unique diversity of cultures, religions, languages and lifestyles.
|POPULATION PER PROVINCE (2006 ESTIMATES):|
|Western Cape||4.7 million||(10.9%)|
|Northern Cape||1 million||(2.3%)|
|Free State||2.9 million||(6.7%)|
|Eastern Cape||6.9 million||(16.1%)|
|Northern Province||1 million||(2.3%)|
|North West||3.4 million||(7.9%)|
|POPULATION IN MAJOR CITIES (2006 ESTIMATES):|
|Cape Town||2, 415, 408|
|Durban||2, 117, 650|
|Johannesburg||1, 480, 530|
|Soweto||1, 098, 094|
|Pretoria||1, 104, 479|
|Port Elizabeth||749, 921|
PARKS & RESERVES:
KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
The largest game reserve in South Africa, the Kruger National Park is larger than Israel. Nearly 2 million hectares of land that stretch for 352 kilometres
(20 000 square kilometres) from north to south along the Mozambique border, is given over to an almost indescribable wildlife experience.
Certainly it ranks with the best in Africa and is the flagship of the country’s national parks - rated as the ultimate safari experience.
The Kruger National Park lies across the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo in the north of South Africa, just south of Zimbabwe and west of Mozambique.
It now forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park - a peace park that links Kruger National Park with game parks in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and fences are already coming down to allow game to freely roam in much the way it would have in the time before man’s intervention. When complete, the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park will extend across 35 000 square kilometres, 58% of it South African, 24% Mozambican and 18% Zimbabwean territory.
Kruger National Park Ecosystem
The game stock in the Kruger National Park is globally unique. 114 different species of reptiles, 507 bird and 147 mammal species are represented here. About 3000 hippos and just as many crocodiles live in the rivers which have water all year long. On land, the Impala antelopes are the most numerous animals, with more than 90,000 specimens. Some 30,000 zebras and 15,000 buffaloes also bustle about in the vast savannah, and 5,000 giraffes and 8,000 elephants keep them company. Only the rhinoceros seems to be a bit under-represented with a population of only 300. However, the number of predatory cats is considerable: 1,500 lions, 900 leopards and 300 cheetahs are part of this magnificent eco-system.
Did you know…
- Early mornings and evening time are usually the most productive game viewing periods.
- Remember to bring a camera, binoculars, bird and wildlife reference books, a hat and sunscreen lotion. Also remember to take along medicines such as anti-histamine and lotion for insect stings and bites.
Tips and Hints
- Kruger Park is in a malaria area, immunizations are recommended. The late summer months (February to April) are the most vulnerable times. Visitors who take medication should check with their doctor to determine whether they can take certain prophylactics.
- Avoiding getting bitten is perhaps the best advice. Dawn and dusk are the most vulnerable times. People should avoid leaving areas of skin uncovered, particularly the ankles. Liberal use of mosquito sprays and lotions is recommended.
- Kruger is in a summer rainfall area. Such precipitation is usually convectional and can result in heavy downpours.
- The summer months (October to April) are hot and often balmy.
- Winters are mild, although visitors going on night-drives will require warm clothing.
ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK
Now the third largest national park in South Africa, Addo Elephant National Park has expanded to conserve a wide diversity of biodiversity, landscapes, fauna and flora. Stretching from the semi-arid Karoo area in the north around Darlington Dam, over the rugged Zuurberg Mountains, through the Sundays River valley and south to the coast between Sundays River mouth and Bushman’s river mouth, Addo covers about 180 000 hectares (444 700 acres) and includes the Bird and St Croix Island groups.
The original elephant section of the park was proclaimed in 1931, when only sixteen elephants remained in the area. Today this finely tuned ecosystem is sanctuary to over 550 elephants, lions, buffalo, black rhino, spotted hyena, leopard, a variety of antelope and zebra species, as well as the unique Addo flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo. And their Addo has only just begun, with plans to expand the Park into a 264 000 hectare (652 300 acre) mega-park. In addition, plans include the proposed proclamation of a 120 000 hectare (296 500 acre) marine protected area that includes islands that are home to the world's largest breeding populations of Cape gannets and largest breeding population of endangered African penguins.
In addition, plans include the proposed proclamation of a 120 000 ha (296 500 acre) marine reserve that includes islands that are home to the world's largest breeding populations of Cape gannets and second largest breeding population of African penguins.
Did you know…
- The park conserves no less than five of South Africa's seven biomes?
- Is also home to one of the densest African elephant populations on earth?
- It is home to the unique flightless dung beetle?
- Addo incorporates the largest coastal dune field in the southern hemisphere?
- The park boasts the Big Seven, (elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard, southern right whale and great white shark)?
- It also protects the world's largest Cape gannet breeding population on Bird Island
Tips and Hints
- Black rhino are most often sighted in the early evening.
- Lions and spotted hyenas are most often seen in the early morning or evening to night time.
- For summer (September – March), cool comfortable clothing is recommended along with sunhats and sun protection cream.
- For winter and autumn (April – August), warm clothing is recommended for the night times.
- Insect repellant is recommended, especially in summer.
- No immunizations are needed for travel to this park. The park is situated in a malaria-free area.
TSITSIKAMMA NATIONAL PARK - the place of much water
Tsitsikamma National Park is situated at the heart of the picturesque tourist region known as the Garden Route, found in the Southern Cape of South Africa. Tsitsikamma is a Khoisan (early inhabitants of the area) word meaning, “place of much water.”
The Tsitsikamma’s spectacular scenery includes the Indian Ocean breakers, pounding rocky shores beneath 180 m high cliffs, ever-green forests and fynbos (proteas and heath) rolling down to the sea in a lush carpet where ancient rivers have carved their path to the ocean through rocky ravines.
Tsitsikamma National Park protects a wonderland of inter-tidal and marine life. This is one of the largest Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the world, conserving 11 percent of South Africa’s Temperate South Coast rocky shoreline.
Approximately 30% of the park is covered in fynbos (Cape Floral Kingdom), scattered amongst the forest vegetation, boasting a wide variety of beautiful flowers, including proteas and heath.
The Tsitsikamma National Park incorporates various cultural heritage sites ranging from Khoisan cultural heritage sites such as caves, shell middens and rock art to more recent cultural historic sites such as the ruins of small fisher settlements, remnants of the past forestry industries and grave sites.
5 Things to seek
- Dolphins and porpoises; keeping vigil on the ocean will produce sightings of schools of dolphins and porpoises frolicking in the waves.
- African Black Oystercatcher – this red data species is one of South Africa's most threatened bird species. Several pairs nest along the park's rocky coastline.
- Knysna Lourie – these beautiful birds with a gruff call are common in the forest.
- Cape Clawless Otter – the source of the name of the Otter Trail, this shy and elusive species hunts crabs along the park's coastline and rivers alike.
- Blue Duiker – this miniature antelope is found in the forests.
Tips and Hints
- This is a multi-dimensional marine/forest national park. Remember to bring the following: bathing suit, hat, binoculars, sun block, walking shoes, bird and mammal reference books, snorkelling equipment.
- SCUBA divers must present valid certificate and supply own equipment. SCUBA refill facilities are available at Storms River rest camp.
- No bait, shells, driftwood or any other organism, living or dead, may be removed from the Tsitsikamma National Park.
- A temperate coastal climate with an annual rainfall of 1 200 mm. The wettest months are May and October, and the driest are June and July.
KNYSNA NATIONAL LAKE AREA - Haven to the seahorse...
Knysna is situated between lush forests and the shores of a peaceful estuary and offers many activities and attractions to a wide variety of people. Knysna is one of the Garden Route's best known travel destinations and was named one of the Top 100 Destinations in the World in the TripAdvisor 2008 Travellers’ Choice Destinations Awards.
The Knysna area consists of Knysna, Sedgefield, Brenton, Noetzie, Rheenendal, Belvidere and Buffalo Bay. Indigenous forests, fynbos, lakes, rivers, mountains and beautiful coastlines combined with a moderate climate make the Knysna area a natural Eden.
Visitors are spoilt for choice with a kaleidoscope of unforgettable experiences to choose from. From leisurely relaxation, high energy adventure and sporting activities to shopping, haute cuisine, Knysna oysters or downing the locally brewed beer, Knysna reflects the finer things in life.
Track the mysterious Knysna forest elephant, take a ferry trip or a sunset yacht cruise, hike or cycle in the beautiful forests, take a walk on the beach or sip your favourite drink while watching the sun set over the estuary. With a rich history, gourmet restaurants and a variety of art & craft rambles to add, the options are limitless.
Discover a wonderfully different Knysna, see her colorful townships and experience her essence. There are a variety of township and cultural tours available. Stay in a homestay, explore the local Rastafarian community, eat an African delicacy called “Roosterkoek” or take part in a drumming session. Meet the people – from the Woodcutters in Karatara, to the Italians in Gouna, the Khoi and San Tribes like the Griqua and the Xhosa Speaking people.
People with disabilities - Wheelchair Access to Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden in Harkeville Forest offers the mobility impaired visitor a chance to explore the moister forest tree species from an 800 metre trail.
Tips and Hints
A moderate climate, and a fine selection of accommodation, restaurants and enjoyable activities make Knysna the perfect holiday destination.
WILDERNESS NATIONAL PARK - Gateway to the Garden Route
In the heart of South Africa's famous Garden Route, a captivating world of lakes, rivers, estuaries and beaches gently unfolds against a backdrop of lush forest and lofty mountains – all elements that characterize the Wilderness National Park. Nature trails wind through densely wooded forest and along tranquil rivers, affording you the opportunity to encounter the brilliantly coloured Knysna lourie, or one of the five kingfisher species that occur here. During spring, a carpet of flowers, further enhance the verdant beauty of this national park.
Looking for an action packed holiday adventure? Then, Wilderness is your playground. Experience whales & dolphins from Dolphin Point. Hire a canoe or bicycle, go abseiling, kloofing, paragliding or hang-gliding. Go boating, fishing at Island Lake or hike one of the five trails all located in the National Park, all with varying distances and degrees of difficulty. You do not have to be super fit to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. There are activities for young, old, energetic or idle: take a stroll along a forest path or visit the bird hide and discover the wealth of bird life. Lie back in a canoe on a quiet backwater and watch the world float by.
5 Things to Seek
- Knysna Seahorse
- Pansy Shell
- Pied Kingfisher
- Grey Heron
- Little Egret
Tips and Hints
- Nature has blessed Wilderness with a pleasant, temperate climate; it is unique in Africa as the only area in which rainfall occurs throughout the year. And, to cap it all, most of our rain falls at night! It's the ideal climate for a visit - at any time of the year!
- Remember to bring along a bathing suit, angling equipment, hat, sun block, walking shoes, binoculars, bird and mammal reference books. Hikers must always carry sufficient water.
- Please note it is preferable to swim at Wilderness beach when a lifeguard is on duty.
KAROO NATIONAL PARK
Towards late afternoon, the great, unyielding canopy slowly softens its fierceness, and from pastel shades of pink and blue, the colours deepen, setting the endless Karoo canvas ablaze with glorious hues of orange and red. The Great Karoo is a vast and unforgiving landscape of which the Karoo National Park is but a small portion. Being the largest ecosystem in South Africa, the Karoo is home to a fascinating diversity of life, all having adapted to survive in these harsh conditions. Karoo National Park is dominated by the lofty Nuweveld Mountains and rolling plains, where many species that originally occurred here now occupy their former ranges.
The Karoo National Park has a wide variety of endemic wildlife. Many species have been relocated to their former ranges - such as black rhino and buffalo, as well as Cape mountain zebra. Over 20 breeding pairs of black eagle find sanctuary within the park. There is also a wide diversity of succulent plants and small reptiles.
Areas Of Special Interest
- The Klipspringer Mountain Pass not only provides visitors with spectacular views, but the pass is also an example of civil engineering toil and precision.
Things to Seek
- Black Eagle; with around 20 pairs of these eagles breeding, the park can lay claim to one of the highest densities of this regal species in Africa
- Tortoises – the park hosts 5 different species, the highest density of species per equivalent area anywhere in the world
- Cape Mountain Zebra; this species came close to extinction early in the 20th Century. It is well established in the park and visitors have the opportunity to compare its bold stripe pattern to that of the "quagga" strain
- Springbok; the emblem of the park and present in high numbers. This is a reminder of the once massive herds that crossed the Karoo on annual migration that could stretch for several kilometres.
TABLE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Welcome to Table Mountain National Park, South African jewel, international tourism icon and Natural World Heritage Site. Nowhere else in the world does an area of such spectacular beauty and such rich bio-diversity exist almost entirely within a metropolitan area - the thriving and cosmopolitan city of Cape Town.
Situated at the south-western tip of Africa, the Table Mountain National Park encompasses the incredibly scenic Table Mountain Chain stretching from Signal Hill in the north to Cape Point in the south and the seas and coastline of the peninsula.
The narrow finger of land with its beautiful valleys, bays and beaches is surrounded by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the warmer waters of False Bay and has within its boundaries two world-renowned landmarks - majestic Table Mountain and the legendary Cape of Good Hope.
The Park is recognized globally for its extraordinarily rich, diverse and unique fauna and flora - with rugged cliffs, steep slopes and sandy flats - is a truly remarkable natural, scenic, historical, cultural and recreational asset both locally and internationally.
People with disabilities - Wheelchair Access to Table Mountain:
Access to the mountain top is accessible through a lift and the revolving cable car system. On the mountaintop the shop, restaurant and toilets all have ramped access.
A series of pathways takes visitors around the mountaintop. Some of these are over cobblestone while others have a smoother surface.
Tips and Hints
- Table Mountain National Park has what is known as a Mediterranean climate in that it typically has hot, dry summers and a short, wet winter which while cool are relatively mild with an all time low of only -1 degrees C. However in recent years climate change has resulted in dryer shorter winters.
- Strong winds feature prominently with a strong South-Easter dominating the summer months – this wind has earned itself the nickname of the 'Cape Doctor'. In winter the winds generally switch to north east bringing a series of cold fronts over the peninsula. But don't be fooled the winter months bring some spectacularly clear, warm days that are in fact the best days for hiking.
- The mountainous topography of the Park creates micro-climates which means that different weather can be experienced by area within quite short distances. For example it can be a beautiful day in Cape Town but a short hike into the mountain chain can find misty, rainy weather. For this reason it is advisable to ensure that you are dressed for all eventualities when using the Park.