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South Africa

Iconic Table Mountain, Cape TownA country of incredible diversity and contrasts: first-world mega-cities ... humble tribal villages. Snow-capped mountains ... sweltering deserts.  A treasure-trove of breathtaking scenery, fascinating cultures and majestic wildlife on the southern-most tip of Africa ...




Iconic Table Mountain with it's "table cloth" - the first sight that the

ancient explorers would have seen on entering Table Bay.

Photo: Mary Alexander - MediaClubSouthAfrica.com

 



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South Africa is a place that's easy to visit ...  And hard to leave. 

Why do we love South Africa so?  Here are 10 top reasons just to start with:

  • Historical Groot Constantia wine farm near Cape Town* Cape Town is one of those gob-smackingly beautiful cities - and should be tops on anyone's 'bucket list'
  • * Kruger Park, national and private reserves give you a face-to-face encounter with the awesomeness of Mother Nature
  • * It is a photographer's dream: enormous variety of landscapes, vegetation, ecosystems, backdrops, lighting and scenery - not to mention the unique wildlife and amazingly diverse people and cultures.
  • * It has an ancient timelessness, patience and wisdom.
  • * It is an adrenalin junkie's paradise - the world's highest bungee jump (216m), abseiling, paragliding, kloofing, kite-surfing, zip-lining, canopy tours, rapp jumping ...
  • * The bush has its own particular aura, sounds and scents that you'll never forget
  • * It has the lion's share of enduring, admirable, likeable, friendly, gentle, humbling and humble people
  • * It has a superb climate - perfect for enjoying the great outdoors and big, blue skies
  • * It's major centres have world-class facilities: accommodation, hospitals, IT, banks, airports, roads
  • * There are hidden, rural, unspoilt communities and places where you can escape to reconnect with your soul

Left: Historical Groot Constantia is one of the Cape's oldest wine farms. 
Photo: Mary Alexander MediaClubSouthAfrica.com


Yes, it has its frustrations (unemployment, housing, education)... its challenges (crime, corruption) ... and its sorrows (poverty, HIV/AIDS). 

But it's a young democracy in an age-old land, playing 'catch up'. 

And it has an earthiness, a realness and a heart-stopping beauty in its lands, its peoples, its wildlife and its cultures. 

A beauty that once tasted, will have you returning for more.

Welcome.  And enjoy!!!

Top 10 Attractions (difficult to limit!!):

  • Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga
  • Cape Winelands, Western Cape                          
  • The Garden Route, South/Western Cape                                                                                  
  • Namaqualand Wild Flower Spectacle, Northern CapeThe towering Drakensberg Mountains
  • Table Mountain & Cable Way, Cape Town
  • Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town 
  • Sun City Resort & Casino, North West
  • uKhahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage Site, KwaZulu-Natal
  • Soweto (South Western Townships), Johannesburg
  • Robben Island, Table Bay, off Cape Town
  • Incredible beaches (coastal areas)
  • Fascinating cultural villages (countrywide)
  • The majestic Drakensberg Mountains.
  • Photo: Mary Alexander, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com

Quick Facts:

Size & setting:
South Africa is roughtly as large as Columbia with a landmass of around 1,230 000 km² and a coastline of almost 2 800 kilometres, washed by the cool Atlantic Ocean to the west and the warm Indian Ocean to the east.

Neighbours:
To the north: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe
To the east: Mozambique
Virtually within SA's borders: Lesotho & Swaziland

Cradle of HumankindReplica of Mrs Ples' skull
South Africa has some of the oldest archaeological sites in the world with fossils from Sterkfontein, Kromdraai and Makapansgat caves indicating that australopithecines lived here some 3 000 000 years ago.

Replica of Mrs Ples' skull, one of earliest fossil discoveries. 
Photo: Graeme Williams, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com

Original inhabitants (recent times)
The Khoikhoi and San peoples (creators of enduring rock art) were gradually conquered by dominant indigenous tribes from the north, the two major groups being the Xhosa and Zulu peoples,

Early Europeans
1487 - Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Diaz was the first to European to land in South Africa. 
1652 - Jan van Riebeeck starts refreshment station for Dutch East India Company at the Cape
1806 - Cape Town declared a British Colony
1820 - British Settlers arrive

Climate
Generally temperate but with a huge variety - from the scorching, semi-arid Karoo plains to the lush, tropical east coast, the towering Drakensberg to the low-lying, afro-montane forests of the southern Cape. In Cape Town, the average temperatures are 8 - 28 °C and the average rainfall is 625 mm (winter rainfall area).  Johannesburg (summer rainfall) has an average of 760 mm, and is in the centre of the Highveld at an altitude of 1,740 metres.  Summers are hot and winters cold but snow is rare - winter days vary from 8 - 24 °C but nights can go below zero °C.

Capitals:
Popular Camps Bay Beach in Cape TownCape Town - legislative
Pretoria - administrative
Bloemfontein - judicial

Camps Bay Beach, Cape Town - great spot for sundowners at one of the trendy sidewalk restaurants.
Photo: Jeffrey Barbee, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com


Ruling party:
African National Congress (ANC)
Official opposition - Democratic Alliance (DA)

President: Jacob Zuma
Deputy President: Kgalema Motlanthe

Languages:
11 official: English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda and Ndebele.

Read more under Travel Guide


Useful sources for more info:

Wikipedia - South Africa

Lonely Planet - South Africa

South African Tourism


Gauteng

Where it all happens ...
Greater Pretoria / Tshwane, Greater Johannesburg, East Rand/Ekurhuleni, West Rand, Vaal / Sedibeng, Cullinan/Metsweding

Western Cape

Heaven ... at the tip of Africa
Cape Town & Peninsula, West Coast, Winelands, Overberg, Garden Route, Klein Karoo R62, Cape Karoo

Mpumalanga

Panoramas, wild life and endless views
Coal & Cosmos, Cultural Heartland, Panoramic Route, Lowveld, Southern Kruger, Highlands Meander, Wild Frontier, Grass & Wetlands

Eastern Cape

Wild & wonderful ... mountains, beaches & deserts
Greater Port Elizabeth, East London/Buffalo City, Sunshine Coast, Central Karoo Heartland, Midlands & Frontier Country, Wild Coast, Pondoland & Interior, Ukhahlamba Mountain Region

KwaZulu-Natal

Battlefields & Beaches, Culture & Kingdoms
Battlefields, Drakensberg, Greater Durban, Dolphin/North Coast, Elephant Coast, Hibiscus/South Coast, Zululand, Midlands

Free State

Golden mines & mielies & mountains
Transgariep/Xhariep, Central/Motheo Region, Goldfields/Lejweleputswa Region, Eastern Highlands/Thabo Mofutsanyana, Northern/Fezile Dabi Region

Northern Cape

Flowers, deserts & bushmen
Diamond Fields, Greater Karoo, Namaqualand, Green Kalahari, Kalahari

North West Province

Platinum, diamonds, bushveld & legends
Eastern, Western, Central, Southern

Limpopo

Land of myths, legends, beauty & Baobab trees ...
Waterberg, Capricorn, Soutpansberg, Valley of the Olifants, Northern Kruger

Settings
Atmosphere
Suitable For
Attractions
Ratings
Coffee Shack, Coffee Bay
Budget > R200 pps
The Coffee Shack - mecca for fun-loving travellers - is on the beach of the untamed Wild Coast
Coastal

60 - 100 guests
  • Lively
  • Informal
  • Casual
  • Nature lovers
  • Tourists
  • Young
  • Adventurers

* Bomvu River Mouth

* Hole in the Wall

* Mapuzi Cliffs

* Baby Hole

* Waterfall

Guests: 8
Our:

Offical:
Phantom Forest Lodge, Knysna
Deluxe R1200 - R2000 pps
Phantom Forest Lodge & Eco Retreat nestles in the indigenous forests & overlooks the magnificent Knysna lagoon
Nature Reserve

10 - 20 guests
  • Tranquil
  • Elegant
  • Eco
  • Honeymoon
  • Nature lovers
  • Tourists
  • Hideaways
* Knysna Heads
* Thesen Island
* Oyster Farm
* Featherbed Reserve
* Knysna Quays


Guests: 8
Our:

Offical:
Buccaneers Backpackers, Chintsa
Budget > R200 pps
Arguably one of the best backpackers in SA, Buccaneers overlooks the beautiful Chintsa estuary and beach.
Coastal

60 - 100 guests
  • Tranquil
  • Informal
  • Sporty
  • Homely
  • Nature lovers
  • Tourists
  • Young
  • Adventurers
  • Chintsa Estuary
  • Chintsa Beach
  • Private Game Reserve
  • Wild Coast
  • Township Tours

Guests: 0
Our:

Offical:
Amakoekoe Guest House, Honeydew, Johannesburg
Standard R350 - R500 pps
This luxurious 4-star guest house in Honeydew offers a relaxing, comfortable stay at competitive rates.
Suburbs

20 - 50 guests
  • Informal
  • Relaxed
  • Casual
  • Family
  • Corporate
  • Tourists
  • Locals
  • Groups < 20
  • Weddings
Coca-Cola Dome
Northgate Mall
Ice Rink
Wilgeheuwel Hospital
Clearwater Mall
Guests: 0
Our:

Offical:
Prime R2000 - R5000 pps
With its intimate main lodge and ultra-luxury safari tents, you can feel nature all around you at Zwahili
Bush/Wildlife

10 - 20 guests
  • Tranquil
  • Elegant
  • Eco
  • Safari
  • Honeymoon
  • Nature lovers
  • Corporate
  • Hideaways
  • Open vehicle
  •   game viewing
  • Game walks
  • Cuisine
  • Spa therapies
Guests: 0
Our:

Offical:
Budget > R200 pps
Sani Lodge provides great advice and a wide range of accommodation including self-catering in the Southern Drakensberg.
Mountainous

20 - 50 guests
  • Relaxed
  • Eco
  • Casual
  • Family
  • Nature lovers
  • Tourists
  • Locals
  • Adventurers
  • Sani Pass
  • Lesotho Tours
  • Hiking
  • Rock Art Tour
  • Fishing
Guests: 0
Our:

Offical:
No.7 Worcester Street Guest House, Grahamstown
Luxury R750 - R1200 pps
This luxurious Victorian Guest House in Grahamstown has been lovingly restored and offers real, understated elegance and hospitality.
Suburbs

10 - 20 guests
  • Elegant
  • Historical
  • Casual
  • Family
  • Honeymoon
  • Gays
  • Tourists
  • Locals
  • Mature
  • Alan Weyer tours
  • Game viewing
  • Albany Museum
  • Rhodes University
Guests: 8
Our:

Offical:
Hobbit Boutique Hotel, Bloemfontein
Upper R500 - R750 pps
Hobbit Boutique Hotel in Bloemfontein is a unique, enchanting place to rest your head.
Suburbs

20 - 50 guests
  • Tranquil
  • Elegant
  • Relaxed
  • Honeymoon
  • Gays
  • Corporate
  • Tourists
  • Locals
Oliewenhuis Art Museum
Orchid House
Pres. Brand Street
Free State Botanical Gardens
Franklin Game Reserve


Guests: 0
Our:

Offical:
The White House, Grahamstown
Value R200-R350 pps
An exceptionally comfortable, safe and secure guest house in historical Grahamstown.
Suburbs

20 - 50 guests
  • Informal
  • Relaxed
  • Casual
  • Family
  • Honeymoon
  • Gays
  • Corporate
  • Tourists
  • Observatory Museum
  • Golf, clubs available
  • City Tour/walk
  • Game drives
  • Rhodes University
Guests: 0
Our:

Offical:
Ashanti Lodge, Gardens, Cape Town
Budget > R200 pps
One of the country's best "Boutique Backpackers" & guest houses in the heart of Cape Town.
City

60 - 100 guests
  • Lively
  • Informal
  • Relaxed
  • Casual
  • Gays
  • Tourists
  • Young
  • Adventurers
V&A Waterfront
Table Mountain
Robben Island
Museums
Restaurants
Clubs
Guests: 0
Our:

Offical:
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