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South Africa is one of the most diverse countries on Earth and is certainly a sharp contrast to the rest on the continent. Here you will find a wealth of landscapes from parched savannahs to lush forests and an extensive range of cultures to welcome you.
The San (hunters) and Khoi Khoi (herders) were the first people to occupy South Africa and some parts of Southern Africa long before the arrival of Bantu-speaking people, and several thousand years before the arrival of Europeans. The great southward Bantu migration in Africa took place in sub-Saharan Africa (south of the Sahara Desert), over some 2 000 years. With the development of the iron blade, military arsenal and agriculture took on a whole new meaning for the Bantu people. This was one of the largest human migrations in history. A linguistically related group of about 60 million people originating in west and equatorial Africa, gradually migrating down the continent into South and Southern Africa.
The first European known to set foot on South African soil was Bartholomew Dias in December 1487. In 1500 Dias sailed further and that resulted in the discovery of Brazil. The expedition then turned back towards the south coast of Africa and on 29 May it fell victim to a cyclone. Bartholomew Dias drowned at sea along with the crew. In 1652, Jan van Riebeeck and his 90-strong party arrived from The Netherlands and set up a ship-refuelling station at Cape Town – an important stop both geographically and politically, as it was on the only early trade route from Europe and the Americas to India, the ‘Spice Islands’ of the East Indies, and the East. Over the next 200 years, various waves of other European and Indian settlers also arrived.
Subsequently, the Dutch, British and to an extent, the French, fought for control of the Cape, with the British finally triumphant in 1806. Dutch Boers prepared to trek into the hinterland to escape British rule.
This was also the start of the Mfecane (‘the scattering, the crushing’) of Africans that began in Zululand, crossed the Drakensberg and swept through the present Free State province. Spurred on by the Zulu warrior king Shaka’s growing militarism, it became a confusing maelstrom of movement and massacre. Adding the land-hungry Voortrekkers and the newly arrived 1820 British Settlers into this mix brought further conflict.
The late 1800s saw the discovery of South Africa’s immense gold and diamond wealth, and later, the great platinum finds.
The 20th century saw the end of the South African War (also known as the Second Anglo-Boer War), which was fought from 1899 to 1902; the establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910; the involvement in World War I and World War II on the side of the Allies; a narrow victory for the mostly Afrikaner National Party in 1948; and, in the years to come, the formulation of apartheid.
Apartheid was a nearly 50-year period of institutionalized racism and the suppression of non-whites, during which the African National Congress was banned and its leaders, including Nelson Mandela, banished to prison on Robben Island.
The unbanning of the ANC, the release of Mandela and his fellow prisoners, and the 1994 democratic elections heralded the birth of the new South Africa.
South Africa, the southernmost country on the African continent and the country is bordered by Namibia to the northwest, by Botswana and Zimbabwe to the north, and by Mozambique and Swaziland to the northeast and east. Lesotho, an independent country, is an enclave in the eastern part of the republic, entirely surrounded by South African territory. South Africa’s coastlines border the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest. Land area of South Africa is 1213090 km²
Population Size: Estimated to be 56 500 000
South Africa boasts three capital cities, one for each branch of government. Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa. Cape Town is the legislative capital and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital.
Post-Apartheid democratic constitution recognises 11 official languages as part of South Africa’s multi-cultural heritage. The official languages are English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Tsonga, Setswana, Venda, Swati and Ndebele.
South Africa Standard Time is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2) / (UTC+2)
Country Calling Code: +27
Literacy Rate: 88.3 %
Currency: South African Rand sometimes denoted as Zuid Afrikaanse Rand (ZAR)
Internet domain: .za
Nestled between a rugged mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It’s also one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Africa. This multicultural city enjoys a superb natural setting, pristine beaches, sophisticated infrastructure and a mild, Mediterranean climate.
South Africa is famous for its award-winning wines, and some of the best wine in the country comes from the scenic rural outskirts within a short drive of the city – including Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Constantia and Robertson.
KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
South Africa’s iconic national park and one of Africa’s conservation success stories, the Kruger National Park is a must-do safari for any bush lover and for those keen on ticking off the Big 5 (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo) in a relatively short space of time.
The Garden Route offers a laid-back and intoxicating blend of beaches, lagoons, craggy mountains and ancient indigenous forests. Gorgeous historical coastal towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley offer a range of accommodations to suit every need, and the many smaller rural villages along the way each offer an authentic charm. While the spectacular landscape is enough to leave you awestruck, it’s worth exploring the many hidden nooks and crannies, where some of the true gems lie.
PRIVATE GAME RESERVE (Kruger)
Sabi Sand, Timbavati, Klaserie, Umbabat and Balule) that share its unfenced western border make up about 22 million hectares (22,000km²) of varied bushveld with six ecosystem types, and are collectively referred to as the Greater Kruger National Park. Kruger’s vast size and variety of ecosystems results in a wide diversity of wildlife (including over 500 bird species) and some of the finest game-viewing in Africa.
Zululand and the Elephant Coast, where black and white rhinos recovered from almost going extinct, plays home to the mighty Zulu warrior and to iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Africa’s oldest protected area and South Africa’s first World Heritage Site. This is also the home of other renowned protected areas such as Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, uMkhuze, Ndumo and Thembe, offering a wide array of habitats such as woodlands, wetlands, palm savannas and coastal forests.
MADIKWE GAME RESERVE
The malaria-free 75,000 hectare (750 km²) Madikwe Game Reserve in northern South Africa, close to the Botswana border, is favoured by those who want a Big 5 safari, but without the crowds sometimes associated with larger, more popular reserves. Madikwe does not permit day trippers or self-drive game drives, ensuring a private safari experience.
1. The Majestic Wildlife.
South Africa is home to Africa’s most iconic animals: lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, rhinos and so much more.
2. Inspirational History and Culture.
Not only does it have exceptional wildlife – including a quarter of the world’s cheetahs and the last free-ranging population of black rhino.
3. Modern, Cosmopolitan Infrastructure and First-class Accommodations.
Modern airports, roads, highways and buildings make it an ideal destination for international travellers visiting Africa for the first time.
4. Commitment to Conservation and Sustainability.
South Africa aims to build sustainable economic growth, South Africa offers so many opportunities for travellers to give back through organized platforms run by NGOs and Wildlife conservation is forefront and centre in South Africa.
Travelling to South Africa from any part of the world is easily achieved, as most countries offer flights to O.R. Tambo International Airport outside Johannesburg, and, increasingly, to Durban International Airport and Cape Town International Airport. South Africa’s international airports are of world-class standards. More than 70 international carriers service South Africa, with numerous daily and weekly flights. O.R. Tambo International Airport is considered the gateway to South Africa and receives the most direct international flights. Although Cape Town and Durban do receive a limited number of international flights, domestic flights from Johannesburg to these destinations are quickly and easily arranged. South Africa also boasts a number of smaller airports that receive charter and cross-border flights from other African countries.
Travelling to South Africa by road from neighbouring countries can be done through one of 53 border posts with Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho and Botswana facilitate entry. Most border posts observe normal working hours and some, like those with Mozambique and Botswana, are open from 06:00 to 00:00. The posts at Ficksburg Bridge and Maseru Bridge (Lesotho), Nakop and Vioolsdrift (Namibia) and Beit Bridge (Zimbabwe) are open 24 hours a day.
Weather & Best Time To Visit
South Africa is a year-round destination due to its varying regional climates and wildlife opportunities. The Cape has beautiful hot, dry weather in its summer months between November and February, while the best time to visit for whale watching is between July and November. The northern regions can be rainy from November to February, but this can be the best time to travel for birding, while the cooler winter months from May to September bring superb conditions for viewing big game.
Passport & Visa Info
Not everyone wishing to travel to South Africa needs to have a visa. The citizens of some countries are allowed to remain in South Africa for up to 90 days without a visa. Most European countries are exempt from acquiring visas to enter South Africa. This is also the case for the United Kingdom, the Unites States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and a handful of South American countries. If you cannot find your country in the lists, you will need to apply for a visa at least four weeks BEFORE arriving in South Africa, as visas are not issued at ports of entry in South Africa. In other words, if you need to have a visa and you arrive in South Africa without one, you will be sent back to your country of origin immediately.
If you need to apply for a visa, you will need to meet the following general requirements.
• Form B1-84 – available from the South African representative in your home country or the accredited representative in a neighbouring country
• Your valid passport must remain valid for at least 30 days after your stay in South Africa ends
• If you are a citizen of a visa-exempt country, you need to have at least 1 blank page in your passport; citizens of other countries need to have at least 2 blank pages
• Your flight or travel itinerary
• Two passport photographs
• Proof of your intended activities and their duration in South Africa, such as hotel bookings or an invitation letter from your South African host – if you have a host in South Africa, you also need to provide proof of their legal status in South Africa
• Proof of sufficient funds for your stay in South Africa, such as bank or credit card statements
• Yellow fever certificate if you are travelling in the Yellow Fever Belt
• The prescribed application fee, which varies from country to country and will be quoted to you in your local currency
Exit and Entry Requirements For Children
All documents must be original or copies certified as a true copy of the original by a commissioner of oaths or the equivalent commissioning authority.
• Where BOTH parents are travelling with a child, parents must produce an unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents of the child.
• In the case of ONE parent travelling with a child, he or she must carry an unabridged birth certificate and:
(i) Consent in the form of an affidavit (issued no earlier than 3 months prior to travel dates) from the other parent registered as a parent on the birth certificate of the child authorizing him or her to enter into or depart from South Africa with the child he or she is travelling with
(ii) Copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child;
(iii) A court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child, if he or she is the parent or legal guardian of the child; or
(iv) Where applicable, a death certificate of the other parent registered as a parent of the child on the birth certificate,
• Where a person is travelling with a child who is NOT his or her biological child, he or she must produce:
(i) A copy of the unabridged birth certificate of the child;
(ii) An affidavit (issued no earlier than 3 months prior to travel dates) from the parents or legal guardian of the child confirming that he or she has permission to travel with the child (see sample affidavit of consent);
(iii) Copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child; and
(iv) The contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child,
(Note: Where the parents of the child are both deceased, and the child is travelling with a relative or another person related to the child or the child’s parents, the South African authorities have the discretion to approve such a person to enter or depart South Africa with the child.)
• An unaccompanied minor must produce:
(i) Proof of consent from one or both his or her parents or legal guardian, as the case may be, in the form of a letter or affidavit (issued no earlier than 3 months prior to travel dates) for the child to travel into or depart from South Africa. In the case where one parent provides proof of consent, that parent must also provide a copy of a court order issued to him or her in terms of which he or she has been granted full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child (see sample affidavit of consent);
(ii) A letter from the person which is to receive the child in South Africa, containing his or her residential address and contact details where the child will be residing;
(iii) A copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child in the South Africa; and
(iv) The contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child.
On a general basis, most visitors to South Africa are in the main required to have up to date administration of vaccinations as it relates to MMR, DTP, varicella and polio. Anti-malarial medication is only obligatory for those that will undertake safaris in the Greater Kruger National Park and the northern low-lying wilderness areas of KwaZulu-Natal like Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, Phinda and the St. Lucia Wetlands. The remainder of the country does not carry malaria risk.
South Africa’s tap water is generally good for human consumption, but bottled water on the other hand is available just about everywhere. The foodstuff is of a very good standard and delightfully garden-fresh. Good medical care is available at private clinics in the major urban areas and in the vicinity of game parks but may be difficult to obtain elsewhere. Many doctors and hospitals will expect payment in cash, regardless of whether you have travel health insurance.
Whilst on your guided overland tour in South Africa with tourAfrika, you are always privately conveyed in a closed, comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle. For the period of periods of huge demand, mainly in December, we also rent vehicles from numerous reliable car and bus rental companies. Vehicles utilised by private and state-owned game reserves lodges / camps are open game drive safari vehicles and are generally large 4×4 vehicles that have been modified according to specific regulations ensuring safety of clients being transferred. Open game drive vehicles offer unobstructed views, coupled to this fact is that each row of benches or seats are staggered in height. Therefore, the last row will be the highest and the first row will be the lowest.
With regards to air travel, most of the regional flights covered are commercial flights with respectable airlines (we use South African Airways, Mango and British Airways). While overland safaris and tours save you money, by opting for a ‘fly-in’ safari, you are able to eliminate the long overland journeys that often make up significant portions of traditional safari itineraries. This means your whole vacation is spent viewing game – which is, after all, what you travelled so far to see.
For more high-end safaris or lodges in remote destinations, we will intermittently make use of light aircraft charter flights. These charter planes have a stringent luggage restriction and are time and again expensive. Substitute transport alternatives involve lavish overnight trains like the Blue Train (which travels between Cape Town and Pretoria) and the Rovos Rail (which travels between Cape Town, Pretoria and the Victoria Falls). The trains journey guests through some of the most breath-taking countryside to be found anywhere in the world.
South Africa’s geographic regions are as diverse as its people and offer a wide range of cultural, wildlife and adventure activities. In this country so rich in natural beauty, you will find the great outdoors irresistible, experience 4×4 and walking safaris, water sports, ocean safaris and eco adventures.
Game Viewing in South Africa is done either in closed vehicles (mostly in the National Parks of which the Kruger National Park is the most famous), in open safari vehicles in the Private Game reserves and both day and night game viewing is available in these private reserves. Tracking game on foot is also an option available in some parks and reserves. There are game reserves where ‘Game-viewing on Horseback’ is an option. (for example see Ubizane Wildlife Reserve in KwaZulu Natal). Wildlife Safaris on horseback are an extraordinary experience as the game see you as part of the horse and don’t frighten easily which affords you the opportunity to get up close to the animals.
South Africa is rich in diversity. Whether man-made bird hides near watering holes, spacious aviaries at sanctuaries, dense forests, or vast expanses of the open African sky; there certainly is no shortage of world-class bird watching, set against breath-taking vistas. The grasslands and wetlands of South Africa are prime areas for bird watchers to catch a glimpse of some endangered bird species like the Blue Crane and the African Black Oystercatcher. Whilst the southwestern interior regions of South Africa are known for their high density of birds per square kilometer, spectacular bird watching can be experienced almost anywhere in the country. Some of the best game reserves and parks in which to see incredible birds is the Kruger National Park, Kariega Game Reserve, iSimangaliso Wetland Park and De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Giant sand dunes run straight into the ocean, creating breathtaking sceneries and unique landscapes, just waiting to be discovered. Wedged between the sea and the Namib Dunes, potable water seeping from the underground aquifer sustains the freshwater vegetation at the base of the dunes. Feel like an adventurer, while our experienced and professional guides take you through the dune-belt on a quad bike and 4×4.
Shark Cage Diving
Shark cage diving in South Africa has grown greatly in popularity and there are now a number of commercialized locations to view these incredible monsters of the deep. Your adrenaline is sure to pump as you come almost face to face with the sea’s most awesome predators. Shark cage diving is absolutely safe and you need not have any diving experience at all. Just before you start, you’ll receive a short course on general safety and the use of the equipment and you’re good to go. The South African winter, which is from May to October, is the best time to experience a South African shark cage dive. These months are considered to be the high season, but Sharks are generally seen throughout the year. There are two main places in South Africa that promise fantastic shark cage diving experiences namely at Gansbaai and Mossel Bay.
South Africa caters to fly fishing enthusiasts, regardless of whether they prefer the untainted beauty of natural mountain streams or the convenience of manmade dams. Fly fishing is fast becoming the sport of choice for those that love combining the beauty of the outdoors with the excitement of reeling in an impressive catch. South Africa is a land of natural abundance, and it is not surprising that it has so much to offer in the way of fabulous fly fishing. There are a number of spectacular fly fishing spots in South Africa, where enthusiasts and beginners alike can experience the joys and challenges of this incredible style of angling. South African locations are well regulated, and no boats or floating tubes are permitted. Most locations will charge a nominal daily conservation fee. The Drakensberg Mountains in KwaZulu Natal are home to an impressive collection of spectacular dams and rivers, where there are plenty of bass and trout to be caught. In fact, the northern Drakensberg Mountains alone offer nearly 25 unique fly fishing locations, and most of these have more than one dam or river from which to choose.
Those who live here will attest to the magnificent sunsets in South Africa with colours that would dazzle an artist and scenery that will leave you speechless. Arguably the best way to view these sunsets, is on a South African sunset cruise. Port cities like Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and East London are all well equipped with a huge variety of options for you to take in the wonders of a South African sunset cruise. A Sunset cruise in South Africa promises an unforgettable time with friends and family with exquisite sunsets and magnificent views.
Whale watching in South Africa is of the best in the world. Whilst our waters are home to a wealth of resident dolphins, porpoises and whales all year round it is the annual migration of the Humpback, Brydes and Southern right whale in particular, between June and November, that allows us to boast exceptional land-based, and boat-based, whale watching in South Africa. And thus to welcome thousands of visitors to our seaside towns. Whale watching in South Africa is so popular that whales have joined the ranks of lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard. Collectively they make up the ‘big six’ of African game viewing. The sheer elegance of these massive sea mammals, their spectacular displays of water gymnastics and gentle majesty leave even hardened cynics oddly moved. Whale watching is one of the biggest draw card in the Western Cape.
There is an abundance of South African snorkelling locations with an even greater variety of incredible sea life and corel reefs to explore. The oceans of South Africa provide some of the most magnificent snorkelling destinations The KwaZulu Natal coast has become a popular destination for South African snorkelling and has attracted enthusiasts from all around the world. The immense variety of tropical reefs, ship wrecks and an absolutely stunning variety of sea-life make for a memorable South African snorkelling experience. The warm Agulhas current that flows down the KwaZulu Natal coast allows the tropical reefs to flourish, and the water seldom drops below 20º C, summer or winter.
Organized township tours in South Africa have experienced a tremendous growth in popularity. Large numbers of international tourists are booking their spots on tours around townships in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Most tours last a day and take in a host of township experiences, giving visitors a close look at the unique atmosphere and lifestyle. South African township tour guides are typically members of the community who desire to share their experience and surroundings with others. Well run tours enable tourists to meet residents and gain an insight in this completely different environment. Although the township tourism trade began in Port Elizabeth, it is South Africa’s best-known township of Soweto that attracts the most tourist. Care should always be taken when entering townships as cases of crime do occur. It is important to leave valuables at home or at your hotel. It is strongly recommended that tourists do not visit townships unless they are part of a tour group.
There are numerous options of walking safaris throughout South Africa offering varying terrains. South Africa Outdoor Activities Walking Safaris in South Africa. There are numerous options of walking safaris throughout South Africa offering varying terrains. Discover the beautiful terrains and the fantastic diversity of the wildlife South Africa has whilst on a walking safari. Take a relaxing walk and discover the excitement and ancient secrets of the African wilderness. There are numerous options of walking safaris throughout South Africa offering varying terrains. South Africa has a superb array of National Parks and Game Reserves that offer South African walking safaris.
South Africa has a vast amount of majestic and looming mountain regions ideal for exhilarating mountain climbing adventures. South Africa’s mountainous regions boast picturesque views of waterfalls, lush forests and valleys promising you a breath-taking mountain climbing adventures. The Western Cape offers famous Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, the recently re-opened Chapman’s Peak and the lush Cederberg Mountains. KwaZulu Natal and the Drakensberg are renowned for breath-taking views and unique South African mountain climbing adventures. The Drakensberg is Southern Africa’s mightiest mountain range and especially beautiful when snow-capped in winter. Hogsback in the Eastern Cape is absolutely magnificent offering numerous mountain climbing hikes.
South Africa’s history is young. It doesn’t have buildings that date back to the fifteenth century, because back then its beaches were still combed by Strandlopers (the hunter-gatherer San, known as beach combers for their shell midden remains). What South Africa does have is an interesting and varied history, one that highlights a distinctive blend of cultures and races that are its trademark. Apartheid Museum, Isandlwana Battlefields Route, Castle of Good Hope, Reuben Island, Company’s Garden, District Six Museum, Dias Cross in Cannon Rocks and Cradle of Humankind, Voortrekker Monument are just a few of the countless museums where our history is eloquently illustrated.
Where is the best place to go on Safari?
An abundant safari parks exist in South Africa and most them offer incredible game viewing. We vouch for MalaMala Game Reserve which is located across the Kruger National Park as the best safari due to it being first commercial private game reserve in South Africa and is the model on which all other private game reserves now operate. This edge of being first has given them a leap to the rest.
Where will I bet met?
On arrival in South Africa, you will be met by tourAfrika guide or representative at the airport, or you are elect to be met at any convenient location.
Will I have internet access and mobile reception?
South Africa is widely covered by various cellphone / mobile phone networks and companies. The industry is currently dominated by two major mobile phone giants – Vodacom and MTN. Cell phone coverage is better than average, but understandably isn’t available in every square inch of the country and is for the most part fickle at far-flung safari lodges.
Which electricity supply standard is used?
In South Africa we make use of a three-pronged wall socket with an on/off switch very similar the old British standard. The wall socket is configured for plugs which have three rounded (not square) pins in a triangle formation.
How long in advance should I plan my visit?
If you intend to travel during holiday season, then we suggest you book your trip book your trip 12-15 months in advance when you’re traveling during holiday season. This is high season on steroids. Prices are high, already. With each booking, prices will continue to increase because most hotels, tour operators, and suppliers that are popular during holiday season expect to sell out.
If you intend to book in high season, then we suggest you book your trip Book your trip 6-12 months in advance when you’re traveling during high season.
If you travel during the slow season, then an advance booking of 3-6 months is recommended.
Will I have access to an ATM?
Yes, there are ATMs everywhere in SA, even in rural towns. Generally, Visa and MasterCard credit cards will work. Making local cash withdrawals at an ATM is the easiest and cost-effective way of acquiring local currency.
Are all tours guided?
Yes – all our tours are privately guided. Though, honeymoon couples often would rather be alone, and lack rigidity on our part means that you can choose when you would like to experience a tour and when you would like to unwind on your own.
Are credit cards accepted?
Major credit card brands, namely MasterCard and Visa, are widely accepted here, and debit cards and cheque cards, which give you access to your bank account in your home country, can generally be used over the counter and at ATMs wherever there’s a MasterCard or Visa sign. American Express is accepted by 70% of establishments.
65 Casa Bella, 247 Sullivan Street, Centurion, Pretoria,South Africa, 0157
Mon – Fri 08.00 – 17.00
Sat – Sun 08h00 – 13h00