At the southern tip of the African continent lies South Africa, a country known for its rich diversity of landscapes and cultures – One of the top travel destinations on the planet. South Africa blends both the wild, old Africa with the modernity of today’s world. With 11 official languages it is no wonder the country has been named “The Rainbow Nation” after its array of diverse and very distinct cultures.
The landscape is no less varied with both the Atlantic and Indian oceans on its borders, forming a splendid selection of beautiful beaches. The semi-arid region of the Kalahari Desert in the Cape contrast significantly to the world renowned city of Cape Town; the vineyards of The Cape Winelands and lush tropical forests of The Garden Route. The dramatic Drakensberg mountain range stretches down to the green valleys of the famous Zululand Battlefields while the vast stretches of the African bushveld are yet another wonder, hosting game reserves of the highest calibre. The Kruger National Park and other smaller private reserves offer Wildlife Safaris in Big 5 country that are not to be missed.If the opulence lifestyle attracts your attention, a trip on one of the country’s Luxury Trains is an experience of true 5 star luxury travel.
South Africa really does have something for everyone, be it an interest into the fascinating history of our past, a couple of rounds of golf on one of the many world class golf courses, or for the more adventurous why not cage dive with great white sharks in Cape Town.
Cape TownCape Town is known as one of the world’s most beautiful cities. It is famous not only for its beauty, but by the many attractions found in the area. The world-renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, dominant Table Mountain, and the spectacular scenery of Cape Point and Chapman’s Peak Drive are a few of the not to miss activities in the city. From the white sand of some of the finest beaches, to the many historical areas of interest, Cape Town blends sophistication with African charm.
Cape Town is also the gateway to the Cape Winelands, home to many world-renowned wines, as well as the Whale Route and magnificent Garden Route.
Cape WinelandsThe Cape Winelands are renowned for their beauty and some of the finest wines in the world. Experience the spectacular scenery of the encircling mountain ranges and rich, fertile valleys which are home to a wonderful array of award winning Winery’s. The picturesque, historical university town of Stellenbosch in the heart of the Cape Winelands, offers the finest examples of Cape Dutch architecture, while the quaint village of Franschoek is just charming.
Whale WatchingThe coastal town of Hermanus is built along the shores of Walker Bay near the Southern most tip of Africa. Magnificent mountains watch over the town which is home to the Southern Right Whale. Here, the whales arrive from the Antarctic and the sights are special, offering some of the best land based whale watching in the world (June to November). The harbour was declared a national monument in 1972. Breathtaking walks along the cliff path stretching all along the coast of Hermanus add to the attraction.
The Garden RouteThe Garden Route holds visitors spellbound with its abundance of mountain passes, indigenous forests, rivers, birdlife, lagoons, lakes and beaches. Many of the country’s premier coastal resorts are to be found here. Knysna is a visual splendor with the Knysna ‘heads’ guarding the sea entrance to its large tidal lagoon surrounded by lush forests. The Wilderness area is a lovely array of lakes, and the up-market resort of Plettenberg bay is just along the coast nearby to the incredibly beautiful Tsitsikamma National Park. The famous Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe train runs through incredibly coastal scenery between Knysna and George. This region boasts some of the country’s best hiking trails and offers many adventure opportunities. Golf is also an integral part of the Garden Route, with several holiday and championship golf courses from which to choose, in beautiful natural surroundings.
The nearby town of Oudtshoorn is a stark contrast to the lush coast as it is part of the semi-arid Karoo. This is the ostrich capital of the world, and it attracts hordes of visitors every year. Other items of interest in the area include The Cango Caves, the Cango wildlife ranch, along with spectacular scenery.
An African Safari is an opportunity of a lifetime. South Africa has preserved wide tracts of land for conservation; allowing visitors to witness and experience close encounters with African animals at home in their natural habitats. Many game reserves can be found around South Africa, all offering excellent opportunities and experiences. The Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in South Africa at nearly 2 million hectares is home to an impressive number of species.
The Big 5; lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhino are among these. Also to be seen are zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, cheetah, wild dogs and hippo. Surrounding the park are smaller private game reserves that have increased the animals freedom by lowering their fences with Kruger National Park and forming a larger area for them to roam. These private game reserves offer exclusive luxury accommodation in harmonious bush lodges or luxury tented camps. With most of these lodges in excellent settings, it is not uncommon to see game from your private viewing deck overlooking a waterhole. With every modern comfort and excellent cuisine, the romance of Africa is certainly captured. Game viewing takes place from open-air vehicles and a private game guide will ensure that the experience is unforgettable, getting you up close and personal with the wildlife.
Luxury Train Travel
South Africa boasts two luxury trains. Their main route is from Pretoria to Cape Town and vice versa taking either one or two days for the journey, but there are other shorter or longer side trips that are available. Both offer a memorable and very special experience.
The Blue Train:
The Blue Train affords the traveller the ultimate luxury of the leading hotels of the world with the charm of luxury train travel. Take a journey into the timeless world of grace, elegance and romance. While the spectacular landscapes of South Africa stir your imagination, allow luxurious comfort to soothe your body and soul.
The Rovos Rail:
Step aboard the wood panelled coaches of The Rovos Rail – classics remodelled and refurbished to mint condition – and enjoy fine cuisine in five-star luxury as some of the most varied scenery imaginable unfolds beyond the windows. Recapture the romance and atmosphere of a bygone era, when privileged travellers experienced the magic and mystery of Africa in a relaxed and elegant fashion.
The Beaches of South Africa
Set on the Cape peninsular, Cape Town is almost surrounded by the ocean and prides itself on having simply stunning beaches. Along the rugged coastline, many beautiful bays of fine white sand and calm aqua-blue chilly seas; Camps Bay, Clifton, Lundudno and Muizenberg to name a few, are the perfect destination for some rest and relaxation for those beach goers enjoying a lazy suntan. Moving up the coastline the water turns warmer and whales and dolphins can often be spotted from these many inviting bays and lagoons.
For a more unrefined coastline, the Eastern Cape area is renowned for its ‘Wild Coast’, offering the visitor an experience of desolate beaches located at the base of rocky cliffs and rolling hills. Here the fishing and walking is very good for the more rustic traveller looking for great rewards.
The KwaZulu Natal coast, running north towards its border with tropical Mozambique, has long stretches of white sandy beaches which offer a diverse underwater world for those beach goers interested in snorkelling or scuba-diving.
The Drakensberg Mountains
This impressive mountain range has been proclaimed a world heritage site and is certainly worth the accolade! The Drakensberg Mountains stretch for hundreds of miles along the interior of the country forming a dramatic escarpment between the coastal plains and the high lying plateau, providing a glutton of peaks, pinnacles, tabletops and breathtaking vistas. The Drakensberg region is certain known for its beauty worldwide, offering a wealth of mountain walks, mountain streams and rolling green hills. This is a wonderful getaway for anyone who enjoys peace and tranquillity, with the option of taking part in all levels of hiking, trout fishing, horse trails or even a game of golf.
It is difficult to imagine that the scenic and tranquil landscape of Northern KwaZulu Natal was once the focal point of major military engagements that shaped the course of South African history and rocked the pedestal of the British Empire. Over some 70 years Boer, Brit and Zulu forces clashed in bloody conflict on these battlefields, against the backdrop of sweeping grasslands and the mighty Drakensberg Mountains. Expert historians and storytellers vividly recreate the battles, strategy and personal stories of these hero’s of yesteryear, making history come to life. This is a memorable treat not to be missed.
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