South Africa is commonly referred to as a “World in one Country” with its two oceans, subtropical savannah, arid scrubland, deserts and mountain ranges. It is roughly twice the size of Texas. The country is so diverse, with its beautiful climate and flora in the southwest, high-altitude central plateau surrounded by the Drakensberg Mountainsin its mid section, and the coastal plain with cliffs plunging directly into the sea in the South. In the east, the lowlands are more extensive and are best known for the rich wildlife found in the expansive Kruger National Park.
Kruger National Park, situated north of Johannesburg, is Africa’s oldest established wildlife park (1898) and offers one of the best safari experiences in Africa. Here you will have the opportunity to see the largest variety of wildlife in Africa including the “Big Five”, hippo, crocodile, giraffe, cheetah and much more. Kruger is also one of the best-maintained parks in Africa. On the park’s western border you’ll find a host of excellent private game reserves, some offering exceptionally high quality accommodation and game viewing.
Also known as The Rainbow Nation, with its numerous geographic and climatic zones, South Africa supports a great diversity of flora. The Cape Fynbos region is home to an astonishing 8,500 plant species and is considered to be one of the world’s finest floristic regions. Birdlife is also prolific throughout the country with some 600 breeding species. Virtually all Africa’s land mammals and marine life, including whales, dolphins and penguins can be found in South Africa and its surrounding oceans.
Cape Town is a highlight of any trip to South Africa. Its natural beauty makes it one of the most attractive cities in the world. Gorgeous beaches with Table Mountain as its back drop can be found right in the heart of the city. With over 600 wine estates and a magnet for world-famous chefs, Cape Town is also considered the culinary and wine capital of the subcontinent. Some of the top attractions of the city include the Victoria and Albert Waterfront, Robben Island, the Townships, and the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
The Garden Route – South Africa’s Garden Route is a 124-mile drive along the south coastline between Mossel Bay and the Mouth of the Storm River. It winds through resort towns such as George, Wilderness, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, some of South Africa’s favorite small towns. This drive is considered to be one of the great coastal drives in the world.
The Winelands are situated east of Cape Town among beautiful mountains creating some stunning vistas. The region is steeped in culture and history with 17th Century Dutch architecture dotting the countryside. The Winelands encompass several regions each with their own wine tasting tours. The most popular towns to visit for wine tasting include Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Wellington, and Paarl. It is worth renting a car in Capetown and spending at least a day or two in any of these quaint, enchanting towns. There are numerous hotels at all levels available in the region and are well known for their excellent restaurants and wine.
Climate in South Africa
Summers (November to March) are warm with average temperatures around 77°F (25°C). Winters (June to August) are cool with temperatures averaging 50°F (10°C).
Suggested South Africa Safari Activities
- Spot the big five on a safari in the Kruger National Park while spoiling yourself at one of the Park’s most luxurious lodges
- Enjoy the panoramic views at Cape Point and visit the Cape of Good Hope (the south-westernmost point in Africa)
- Stroll through the most beautiful gardens in Africa – the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
- Take a guided historical city walk through Cape Town and explore the Old Town, catch the buzz of the city in Greenmarket Square and visit Parliament where Apartheid laws were passed and repealed
- Kayak to Boulders Beach to see the African Penguins
- Board a boat at Simonstown Harbour and cruise into False Bay to spot the Southern-Right Whales and possibly Humpbacks, Bryde’s and Orca Whales
- Traverse the spectacular coastline of the southern tip of Africa on a Peninsula tour
- Meander along the scenic Cape Winelands via car or bicycle sampling wines and enjoying the beauty of the surrounds and historic architecture
- Walk to the top of Table Mountain for the spectacular view of the Cape Province
- Drive the length of the beautiful Garden Route, stopping to sample the fine seafood and wine along the way