The first thing travellers think of when contemplating visiting South Africa is the big five; elephant, rhino, leopard, buffalo and lion. South Africa has had a long and troubled history, but it is also a country of magnificent beauty, stunning savannahs and unique wildlife. Much of South Africa has been set aside to protect and conserve the wildlife.
Cape Town has all the modern facilities such as galleries, fabulous shopping, great restaurants and beautiful beaches. There are many cultural attractions and a visit to the Table Mountain National Park is a must. There are so many adventure activities on offer that you will not get bored with all that is going on in this constantly buzzing place. A visit to the World Heritage Cultural Landscape of the Winelands, will take you past flourishing vineyards, white-washed farmhouses and of course, cellars offering wine tasting.
The Garden Route
Surrounded by pristine beaches, sweeping gorges and dense forests, following the Garden Route from Stilbaai to Stormsriver is nothing short of spectacular. This is a great self-paced route where you can hike, sea kayak, bike or golf. You can pass time listening to live music at one of the many music venues or take a leisurely stroll through the galleries and markets. There are also many great restaurants specialising in seafood. If you prefer to relax, wellness centres can be found throughout this region.
Johannesburg is a vibrant city that was founded on the gold mines that now lie just beyond the city. This cosmopolitan city has had a bad reputation, but things have changed dramatically and it now has a definite vibe to it. There are many music venues and museums to visit and you can even see the magnificent Lipizzaner stallions at Kyalami. You could try hot air ballooning or kayaking on the Crocodile River. Shopping is amazing and adventure activities are seemingly endless.
This island is steeped in history, mainly because it was the prison where Nelson Mandela and anti-apartheid activists were kept. The prison is now a museum and is a symbolic piece of the history of South Africa. The island is now used for conversation, and is home to many birds and endangered antelopes. A short ferry ride from Cape Town will take you to the island.
Kruger National Park
Kruger is bordered by many unfenced game reserves allowing the wildlife to roam freely. This an ideal place to view the big five. There are private and budget safaris and a wide range of camping and accommodation facilities. An escarpment separates the lush grasslands from the scorched savannahs. At 352kms in length and covering over 19,000 square kilometres, this ecotourism park is a refuge to birds, flora, animals and amphibians.
If you feel South African beckoning you, Tours by My Adventure Store can make arrangements to enable you to take in the vibrancy and natural wonders of this enormous country. South Africa is unique and you will be able to absorb experiences that no other country can offer. You can be sunning yourself on a beach one day and coming face to face with a rhino the next day.
By Kim Blair