South Africa Travel Guide - Overview
South Africa is a treasure chest of unforgettable scenery, from lofty mountains to sun-baked deserts and dramatic coastlines washed by the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Its game viewing equals the best in Africa, and where else can you find both penguins and elephants?
Overshadowed by dramatic Table Mountain and surrounded by the Atlantic, Cape Town is one of the world's most picturesque cities. You can sample fine wine under the grapes in the tranquil winelands, while the pretty Garden Route offers country towns, lagoons and forests to explore. The Wild Coast boasts isolated beaches, rocky coastline and traditional rural villages, and the resorts along the KwaZulu-Natal coast offer lots of family seaside fun.
Inland are the intriguing and moving battlefield sites that lay testament to the Anglo-Boer war. Here too rise the Drakensberg Mountains where vultures ride on the thermals over deeply green valleys and jagged peaks. To the east is the Kruger National Park where the thorny bush harbours the ‘Big Five' animals to see (the lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino) as well as many other fascinating animals and birds.
South Africa also has a vivid history. Apartheid was broken down in 1990 by President FW De Klerk, and jailed ANC leader Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years of imprisonment. In the first democratic elections to be held in South Africa, Mandela became president in 1994. The story is told in the excellent museums in Johannesburg, by far the most vibrant of the country's cities with a rich cultural heritage.
Apartheid activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu named the newly integrated South Africa the ‘Rainbow Nation'. It is a fitting name for a country with 11 official languages and people of all colours, races and creeds, living in a vividly coloured and sculpted landscape. It is no wonder then that its cities are so cosmopolitan.
General South Africa Travel Information
South Africa is the economic powerhouse of Africa with first world infrastructure and a thriving economy. The road and rail network is well developed making travel around South Africa easier and the country is open to investment and development.
Such is the faith in the future of South Africa; it was awarded the rights to host the world's largest sporting event, the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
The positive aspects of South Africa are dampened by social problems such as HIV, poverty and crime. However, there is still a very positive attitude towards the future.
South Africa lies below the Tropic of Capricorn and is bordered in the north by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique and surrounds Lesotho and Swaziland.
South Africa is a heady mix of third and first world cultures – along with the best and least crowded beaches in the world. Throw in wildlife parks such as the Kruger Park, beautiful natural scenery, a great infrastructure, and a stable post-apartheid environment and you have a great travel destination waiting to happen.