by Cindi LaRaia
A world in one country.
South Africa in my view is a wonderful first country to visit in Africa if you are a little confused on where to go and if you have any trepidation about visiting Africa. 'It is so diverse and rather civilized' is how I describe it, if you look at the map, it is huge.
Here is how I recommend your first visit to South Africa;
1, Fly to Johannesburg you most likely need to over night here after your long flight as the flights to the Kruger go early in the day.
2, Fly to the famous Kruger National Park, there are different areas to view game here, I would start with 2 nights in the middle area called the Timbavati, then transfer (all done for you) to the Sabi Sands Game Reserves in the south of Kruger for 2 or 3 nights. This area is undisputed at the cream of the crop for game in the Kruger, this is where you are almost guaranteed to see the Big Five in all their glory. The top of the line in luxury safari lodges are here also, however we have a some lovely lodges that fit a less pricy budget.
3, If budget and time allow, I recommend flying down from Kruger to the Phinda Game Reserves, they have several different lodges here and the cheetah viewing in parts of it is out of this world.
4, Zulu land is full of culture and wonderful people, if you are a historian, the 'Battlefields' are a fabulous must see during the era of Shaka Zulu the great Zulu warrior as he protected his tribe from the invading English and Dutch Boers. I recommend reading every book from beginning to end of Wilbur Smith about the Courtney Family, he is a great novelist and historian!
5, Cape Town is very European and cosmopolitan, this is a great place to end your visit in South Africa with winelands touring in the Stellenbosh area, Cape point and the penguins at Boulders Beach, Simons town, Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens are a must and the lovely waterfront where the shopping is to die for! I recommend ending here so you do not have to lug your treasures around the game reserves.
You can self-drive in South Africa with relative ease if you have been before, however I recommend we put your holiday in the hands of our award winning Southern Africa Tour operator where you will be met and greeted upon your arrival and never left on your own. Your safely and stress free enjoyment is what we propose and fulfill, even in your wildest dreams!
Other highlights include the beauty of the Garden Route along the coast of South Africa; the Greater St Lucia wetlands in northern KwaZulu-Natal for fishing and a more relaxed area to hang out. Rocktail bay is our favorite area for Scuba Divers, a plethora of marine life makes it's way here at different times of the year, mating ragged tooth sharks, humpback whales and leatherback turtles nest on the beaches!
Spring flowers for photographers in Namaqualand and the Western Cape, this is a country you come back to.
And lastly, South Africa is often called the "Rainbow Nation", a term coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and later adopted by then President Nelson Mandela. Mandela used the term "Rainbow Nation" as a metaphor to describe the country's newly developing multicultural diversity after segregationist apartheid ideology. The country's socially progressive policies are rare in Africa, for example, by 2007, the country had joined Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, and Spain in legalizing same-sex marriage.
DID YOU KNOW? South Africa is home to some of the most ancient and beautiful art in the world, the rock paintings of the ancestors of today's Bushman or San. It is also the scene of a host of vibrant and challenging contemporary artists producing new & important work.
-- Cindi LaRaia
Explore the Kruger National park on a true African adventure safari, Mala Mala game reserve is one of many wonderful south African game lodges for wildlife, relax on a train journey through the Cape's Garden Route or sample the wines on a Stellenbosch Wine estate.
Travel to South Africa is renowned for its wonderful scenery however, few are prepared for the diversity of terrain that ranges from lush, verdant forest to misty mountain ranges, from glorious golden beaches to wildlife-rich bushveld, from arid desert to fertile wine land. Much of South Africa's charm lies in the breathtaking beauty of the its landscape.
The Kruger National Park
Established over a century ago, the Kruger Park and resorts today comprises over 5,5 million acres of game-rich African bush - a wilderness area larger than Massachusetts, Wales or Israel. Taking a wildlife safari through this magnificent park is a life-dream come true.
This city has ultra-modern skyscrapers contrasting with elegant Cape-Dutch farmhouses. Hi-tech agriculture co-exists with basic subsistence farming yet the enlightened democracy that was fought for so hard has brought wealth to many but has not yet solved all of the country's problems.
With dramatic mountains, lovely beaches and the beautiful sweep of the bay it is easy to see why Sir Francis Drake called it "the fairest Cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth" Take a romantic train journey for a stress-free journey through the diverse South African landscape. Excellent restaurants, beautiful countryside, the internationally renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, great shopping, and fabulous sunsets - Cape Town is a city that has something for everyone.
This region shares many of the Cape Town's traits. Try the aromatically spiced Cape Malay cuisine, admire the beautiful landscape overlooked by soaring mountain peaks and the graceful Cape Dutch style architecture which lends historic and aesthetic interest to many of the old wine estates with Cape Town tours.
The Stellenbosch Wine Region
World renowned wines are produced in this breathtaking area. Visit small, boutique wineries or larger commercial wine estates. Join the winemaker on a tour of his cellar and sample the best the Stellenbosch has to offer. Treat yourself to a luxury accommodation, Stellenbosch has many to offer along the famous Stellenbosch wine route.
This refers to the strip of land between Stilbaai and Port Elizabeth on the south coast. The resorts are perfect for traditional beach holidays, but there's also excellent walking, watersports, old manor houses, arts and crafts, superb golf courses and birdwatching. Between July and October go dolphin and whale watching.