Welcome to South Africa, a diverse country of breathtaking natural beauty - from sun-baked deserts to sub-tropical coastlines, majestic mountains to vast expanses of untamed bushveld, teeming with wildlife.
- Eastern Cape
The Eastern Cape is strikingly varied in its scenic beauty. Its landscape ranges from pristine forest to arid desert, from looming sandstone cliffs to unspoilt emerald green coastline. Scattered along the Garden Route, fashionable seaside resorts abound, attracting visitors from around the globe. Tiny coastal villages appeal especially to outdoor people who enjoy an unstructured holiday agenda.
The national parks and game reserves are home to a wealth of wildlife including the rare mountain zebra. Over 200 elephants inhabit the Addo Elephant Park.
A popular leisure resort, Port Elizabeth beckons with an attractive atmosphere of year-round holiday fun against a backdrop of urban activity. In addition to sport, land-based leisure options encompass a wide range.
The Sotho word, Gauteng, means "Place of Gold”. Vibrant, exciting Johannesburg, the provincial capital of Gauteng offers visitors a large selection of recreational, cultural and historical attractions.
This dynamic province offers a wide variety of cultural and leisure activities - over 60 museums which include South African art, natural and military history and gold mining. For a wildlife experience, visit the Johannesburg and Pretoria Zoos or game reserves which are within an hours drive from Gautengs major cities. There are also outstanding botanical gardens and bird sanctuaries for visitors to enjoy.
- Kwazulu Natal
Kwazulu Natal is a kaleidoscope of natural wonders, ultra modern facilities, fascinating glimpses of a multi cultured people, a history rich in heroic deeds and bloody battles. All set against a majestic backdrop of sun, sea, mountains, sky and rolling hills of sugar cane.
Leisure facilities abound. Visit uShaka Marine World, Wilsons Wharf on the Victoria Embankment and the nearby BAT centre. Enjoy fine traditional dining, entertainment and shopping in scenic surroundings. Shop till you drop in modern shopping malls. Grey Street and the Warwick Triangle boast vibrant local shops and markets. Beachfront stalls sell traditional arts and crafts. Enjoy the excellent entertainment on offer at the city’s theatres and clubs. If its peace and sheer beauty you’re after, make for Durban’s nature sanctuaries or parks.
A visit to the Drakensberg is a must, with its awe-inspiring basalt cliffs, snow-capped peaks in winter, lush yellow wood forests and cascading waterfalls.
Wedged between the magnificent Orange and Vaal Rivers lies a region blessed with such beauty and grace that for scores of years thousands of pioneers paid the ultimate sacrifice for the honor and privilege of calling it their home.
The Free State is a rural province of wide horizons and blue skies, with farmland, mountains, goldfields and widely dispersed towns.
Impressive game reserves exist such as the Willem Pretorius. The grassy plains in the south of the reserve provide ideal conditions for large herds of plain game such as black wildebeest and springbok. The ridges, koppies and plains typical of the northern section are home to kudu, red hartebeest, white rhino and buffalo. The African wildcat, black wildebeest, zebra, eland, white rhino and, the endangered wild dog can also be seen. Probably the most scenically attractive of all the reserves in the Free State is the Golden Gate Highlands National Park dominated by spectacular sandstone mountains.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy horse-riding, hunting, and bird watching. The rivers and dams offer a myriad of water sport opportunities. There are various day and overnight hiking routes.
Known as the Great North, the Limpopo province is land of legend. Ruins and relics abound in ancient forests, sparkling trout waters, hot mineral springs and waterfalls. Much remaining unchanged for centuries, offering unlimited opportunities for the enjoyment of untamed Africa. Limpopo is home to ancient lands and pre-historic secrets. This is home to the Stone Age and Iron age relics of Makapansgat Valley and the treasures of Mapungubwe that date back to time immemorial.
The northern section of the Kruger National Park is renowned for its large herds of elephant and buffalo, significant numbers of tsessebe and sable and a rich bird life. On the parks western border, excellent privately owned game reserves offer luxurious, air-conditioned accommodation and day and night game viewing in open 4x4 vehicles. The mountainous area of the Waterberg is also home to numerous game reserves, proving a rewarding experience of wilderness country.
Mpumalanga, which means the place where the sun rises, is a province of extraordinary natural beauty. Typical of its landscape are forests, mountains, rivers, waterfalls and panoramic passes offering magnificent scenic views.
Mpumalanga is well known for its wildlife parks. In particular, the world renowned Kruger National Park, with several luxurious private nature reserves on its western boundary, are literally teeming with wildlife and is one of South Africa’s top tourist attractions. This is big game country where visitors can see the Big Five. Some of the other popular attractions include the Blyde River Canyon, one of Africa’s true scenic gems, and Bourke’s Luck Potholes.
- North West
Although primarily a farming region, producing sunflower and much of South Africas maize, the North-West province is rich in mineral wealth such as gold and platinum. A number of excellent game reserves have been established including the Pilanesberg National Park, known as "The Jewel of the North-West". The crater of a long extinct volcano is the setting of the Pilanesberg National Park - a fascinating alkaline complex produced by volcanic action some 1 300 million years ago. Pilanesberg is one of the largest volcanic complexes of its kind in the world.
Adjacent to the Pilanesberg National Park lies the famous Sun City leisure resort and The Palace of the Lost City. Sun City is internationally renowned as one of South Africa s premier holiday resorts, offering a multitude of attractions and activities to keep everyone occupied. It also has two of the best golf courses in the country.
- Northern Cape
In the southwest corner of South Africa, the sun points the way to a place of clear skies, overwhelming quiet and wide open spaces.
Reminiscent of the discoverers of old, their sense of adventure uncurbed, modern-day adventurers are becoming more and more entranced with the Northern Cape. Hikers, 4x4 enthusiasts, river rafters, hunters and divers seize at the opportunity to explore the unspoilt desert and dunes, river and sea. They do not come here to get lost in the crowds, but rather to find themselves, to hear again their own thoughts and to rediscover their connection with Nature. They harness all their senses to truly experience the Northern Cape and are well rewarded for the effort.
The intrepid San people, small tribes of hunter-gatherers, were among the first humans to explore this land and make it their home. Their account of their lives and beliefs has been left in the form of rock art all over the province.
- Western Cape
Cape Town and the Western Cape is a first class destination, located at the tip of the African continent. In 2004 it was chosen as the Best City in Africa, voted as one of the world’s top 8 creative cities by Newsweek in 2002 and also as Favorite Foreign City in 2004 by the UK Telegraph.
Cape Town and the Western Cape have extremely successful film, advertising and fashion industries. In addition its wine, fishing and agricultural industries are famous all over the world. Whether you are here for business or leisure, Cape Town and the Western Cape will exceed your expectations. The Cape is a vibrant place and already recognized as a world class events destination with a yearly calendar packed full of events of all description.
Mountains crowd close to a shoreline dotted with beaches and bays, and vividly coloured wild flowers delight the eye. Between Heidelberg and Storms River you’ll find the beautiful Garden Route and Tsitsikamma Forest.
Fauna and flora have found a paradise in South Africa, and a visit to this beautiful country isn’t complete without a chance to see the exotic plant life. South Africa is in fact known as the home of over 20,000 different types of plants, which include about ten percent of all the known species of plant life on our planet. South Africa is very rich in its plant biodiversity. It is easy to see from the rich diversity that anyone interested in plant life would find South Africa a fascinating place. Just one more reason to visit the beautiful and friendly nation of South Africa.
South Africa’s Mountains were formed over many millions of years. The whole country comprises a large upland plain that is edged on its southern and round to its eastern sides by large mountains just inland from the coastal plain. The Drakensberg (Dragons’ Mountain) Range of Mountains stretches some 200 kilometres and is capped with volcanic lava that formed in the Mesozoic Era between 248 and 65 million years ago. This coincided with the breakup of the supercontinent of Gondwanaland 135 million years ago. The African name for the Drakensberg is uKhahlamba (the Barrier of Spears) on account of the vertical basalt columns on many of the peaks.
One of the most photographed mountains in Africa, if not the world, is Table Mountain in the Western Cape. Table Mountain provides an outstanding backdrop to the city of Cape Town. Towering 3500 feet above the city, this flat-topped mountain of sedimentary sandstone was formed some 600 million years ago, and became an inspiration to Nelson Mandela and other prisoners when imprisoned on Robben Island. Occasionally a south-easterly wind known as the Cape Doctor drapes the mountain with a white tablecloth of cloud, clearing the city of pollution when it arrives.
It is little wonder that, with over 3000 kilometers of coastline, South Africa should possess some of the world’s finest and most beautiful beaches. To try to describe all of them would be a mammoth task. It is possible to categorize some of them, though, thanks to the European Blue Flag system, which included South Africa as the first country outside Europe in 2001. Blue Flag is a European based system of grading beaches by measuring them against strict environmental, tourism and safety standards. The system now covers 37 European countries as well as the Caribbean, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand and parts of the United States. To qualify for a Blue Flag rating the seawater must pass a strict cleanliness test, there must be spotless toilets and showers, ample parking, rubbish bins and excellent lifesaving facilities. In all, the beach must pass at least 16 out of 20 strict quality tests. Along the south coast of the Cape between False Bay and Port Elizabeth are dotted numerous small towns that have, for the most part, grown around the local beaches. Interspersed among these small settlements are miles and miles of beautiful unspoiled beaches, most of which can only be reached in a 4 x 4. The coast is known as the Sunshine Coast once you get past Port Elizabeth, then after East London is the Wild Coast, with many uncrowded and clean beaches to choose from. Many of South Africa’s beaches offer the opportunity of trekking the beach on horseback, and there are some wonderful horse trails to be found.
No visit to Africa is complete without seeing the Big Five out there in the wild. South Africa is the perfect venue for an adventure safari to view the Big Five. But what are the Big Five. Traditionally the Big Five are the African Elephant, the Rhinoceros, the African Buffalo, the Lion and the Leopard.
The African Elephant is found in a wide variety of habitats, but specifically in areas where there is a plentiful supply of food and water. Its diet, totally vegetarian, includes grasses, leaves and other plants. Under normal circumstances the elephant will consume some 300kgs of food each day, and to supplement this will drink up to 200 litres of water a day. It is estimated that there are some 600000 elephants in Africa.
The African Buffalo is normally found in large herds roaming open woodland savannah. Like the elephant, the buffalo needs a good supply of grass and water. The buffalo has a reputation of being the most dangerous animal to be found in the bush, and this beast has been known to kill several people each year. It can weigh as much as one metric tonne and stand 1.7 meters tall at the shoulder.
The Rhinoceros is the third of the Big Five. There are two species to be found in southern Africa, the White Rhinoceros and the Black. The White Rhino is the larger of the two and can weigh as much as 2000kgs as opposed to the Black, which weighs up to 1000kgs. The rhinoceros’ diet consists of grass and small shrubs – it is generally a solitary animal but can be seen in small family groups of two or three animals.
The Lion is the largest of the cat family and is entirely carnivorous. The adult male lion will weigh up to 220kgs with the female about 100kgs lighter. Lions can be found in most habitats with the exception of forests. They are normally found in family groups consisting of an alpha male with several females and younger lions of both sexes. Adult males can frequently be found as solitary animals. The lion’s normal diet consists of large mammals, which it hunts and kills as a group.
The Leopard is much smaller than the lion and is the smallest of the Big Five, weighing only about 50 to 80kgs. Leopards can be found in most habitats in southern Africa. There are several sub-species throughout Africa and Asia. The leopard will often leave its kill in a tree and return to feed over a period of several days. A leopard will feed on anything from insects to large mammals.
Few people who live outside South Africa realize that the country is home to some of the world’s more spectacular waterfalls, and that these include the second highest waterfall in the world. By far the majority of our waterfalls occur in the Drakensberg Range of Mountains Range, which stretch from the Cape to the Kruger National Park. But in the far west of the country, about 120 kilometers from Upington, lies the quiet little village of Augrabies. The village is named after the nearby Augrabies Falls (San – Place of Great Noise), which ranks among the world’s greatest cataracts. The falls lie on the Orange River and drop more than 90 meters over a series of cascades before a 56metre plunge into space. About 10% of the water somehow disappears underground from the river and reappears out of a sheer cliff face as the Bridal Falls.