South Africa is famous for many a good reason, and the below regions are certainly some of them.
Cape Town epitomises an extraordinary meeting of old and new. It is a fascinating confluence of ancient and modern architecture, history and culture. Overlooked by the impressive Table Mountain and set on a peninsula of soaring rocks and verdant valleys, the region combines the bright lights and urban sophistication of a modern cityscape with fabulous scenery and the beautiful surroundings of the Cape Winelands.
Cape Town itself is bustling with life and along with its many restaurants, shopping malls, theatres, nightclubs, jazz cafes and casinos its best known attractions include the V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain and Cape Point. It is a city steeped in history and culture, where African tribes live beside Dutch, German, French, British and other settlers.
South Africa’s Garden Route is a lovely stretch of coastline in the Eastern and Western Cape extending roughly from Tsitsikamma to Mosselbay, with its western boundaries being the mountain ranges of Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma. This picturesque area is characterised by a wonderful, sunny climate and beautiful, indigenous forests that support a range of flora and fauna. It is well known for its watersports, its friendly towns and its fabulous coastal scenery. There are numerous opportunities for expending some energy along this coastline too! Activities here include golf, snorkeling, sea kayaking, quad-biking, bungee jumping, scuba diving and polo playing to name but a few.
Half way along the Garden Route, between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, is the super town of Plettenberg Bay. The beautiful bay is fringed by white sand against a dramatic mountain backdrop. The sea here is a meeting point of the Indian Ocean’s cold and warm currents,
thereby supporting an uncommonly rich marine life.
Another lovely town on the Garden Route is Hermanus. This pretty, coastal resort offers the best land based whale watching in the world, with up to 100 Southern Right Whales coming to Walker Bay from Antartica between July and December every year. Hermanus has some glorious beaches and some great mountain walks. In town, there are some super restaurants and the craft market is well known for its art.
The world-renowned Kruger National Park is, without doubt, South Africa’s flagship park. Covering nearly 2 million hectares, the park boasts an impressive array of both flora and fauna including over 500 species of bird, 300 different types of trees and around 150 different mammals. The park is also of great historic importance with abundant bushman rock paintings and fascinating archaeological sites such as Masorini and Thulamela.
The park is unparalleled in terms of facilities and range of accommodation and visitors will find something here to suit every budget. The park is also cross-crossed by an expansive network of all-weather roads, allowing visitors to explore this diverse habitat with the greatest of ease. Despite the park being a highly developed tourist destination, it still remains one of the country’s largest un-spoilt wildernesses.
There’s just so much you could do in South Africa, and we’re full of ideas to suit you. In the meantime, here are three of our favourites.
Rovos Rail is a train journey back in time. Here you are on effectively a train safari, which travel from one side of this beautiful country to another. You’re not on any old train either! You’ll be in a luxury Edwardian-style train, accommodating up to 72 guests in which are possibly the most spacious train suites in the world, each with their own en-suite bathroom and subtle modern conveniences. The Rovos Rail has earned an international reputation for its truly world class travel experiences.
This exceptional train combine some of Africa’s most magnificent scenery with an authentic colonial style which is very hard to find in this day and age, which makes it magnificent and something that every person should experience.
The nine scheduled journeys begin or end at Rovos Rail Station, the headquarters and private station of this independent railway company, which is situated in Pretoria.
Hermanus is a beautiful coastal destination located just down the coast from Cape Town. It’s the most idyllic retreat after a few busy days in Cape Town. It’s also famous for the whale watching on offer, especially after being recognized by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) as one of the 12 best whale watching destinations in the world.
Between July and November is known, by history, as the best time to enjoy whale watching. However earlier in the season is a bit less guaranteed whereas you are almost guaranteed of seeing whales in September, October and November.
For those who really want to get up and close to the action, a guided sea kayaking trip promises you this. This unique opportunity to watch whales and explore the magnificent coastline is an unforgettable experience.
The operation is well set up around multiple prime shark locations around Cape Town, so you are almost guaranteed to Great White Sharks in a one-day session, so doesn’t take up too much of your precious time in Cape Town, leaving you with ample time to enjoy the many other activities on offer.
Timing is everything, and when you choose to visit will play a huge part in the experience you have. Here’s some advice to help.
Originally named ‘Cape of Storms’ by Bartholomeus Diaz in 1488, the ‘Cape of Good Hope’ marked the turning point for early seafarers – once it had been passed the battle of the sea was as good as won.
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