South Africa

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South African Destinations

South Africa is blessed with a host of destinations, a wealth of attractions and activities to suit almost every preference.

Top Destinations

South Africa's top travel destinations are amongst the world's most alluring attractions. The fact that they are popular does not at all mean that they will always take you to areas with large numbers of tourists, but rather that they are interesting, exciting and well worth visiting.

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Cape Town

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South Africa's Mother City
Cape Town is one of the world's top travel destinations.

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Kruger National Park

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South Africa's largest conservation area
No other national park in Africa boasts the same diversity of mammal species.

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Sabi Sand

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Luxury safaris at their best
South Africa's top luxury safari destination where the Big Five can be viewed.

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Cape Winelands

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Rugged mountains & lush vineyards
Located a stone's throw from Cape Town, this area is well worth a visit.

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Garden Route

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Beautiful coastal scenery
The ideal destination for a relaxing, yet activity-filled vacation.

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KwaZulu-Natal

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The province that has it all
From sandy beaches and Big Five wilderness areas to impressive mountain scenery.

Private Game Reserves

Private game reserves are scattered across various regions of South Africa. These reserves offer international tourists exceptional game viewing opportunities in areas which are largely untouched by time and civilization. The lodges which are found in the private game reserves of South Africa offer accommodation of varying standards, but all would normally provide a degree of comfort and luxury which is superior to that found in the national parks of the country.

All of the private game reserves suggested by African Sky Safaris & Tours are home to the Big Five. The elephant, rhino, buffalo, leopard and lion are the most illustrious of all of Africa's mammals. A close encounter with one of these magnificent animals is often hair-raising, but always memorable. The experienced rangers and trackers that conduct the game drives are there to ensure that clients are safe and well-informed at all times.

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Klaserie

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One of the Greater Kruger's largest reserves
Offers only a handful of lodges that provide exceptional game viewing.

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Madikwe

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Game viewing in a malaria-free wilderness
The ideal reserve to visit with children in order to enjoy Big Five game viewing.

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Manyeleti

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Borders the Sabi Sand
Manyeleti occupies a prime stretch of the Greater Kruger north of Sabi Sand.

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Phinda

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KwaZulu-Natal's top private reserve
Seven different eco-systems make Phinda a genuinely unique wilderness.

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Sabi Sand

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South Africa's most famous private reserve
The frequency and quality of leopard sightings is arguably unrivaled.

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Shamwari

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Luxury lodges, great game viewing
Finest private game reserve in the southern part of South Africa.

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Timbavati

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Highly recommended
Offers magnificent game viewing and fine five star lodges.

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Welgevonden

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In the beautiful Waterberg
A malaria-free wilderness area some two and a half hours from Johannesburg.

National Parks

South Africa protects a large diversity of its natural heritage in a number of national parks. South Africa's national parks stretch from the southern tip of the continent to the game-rich areas of the north and northeastern parts of the country. The most visited national parks in South Africa include the Kruger National Park, Addo Elephant National Park and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

The national parks of South Africa are well-managed and each serves to protect a unique part of the country with different mammal, plant and bird species which are natural inhabitants in the area. Re-introduction programs have contributed greatly to the re-establishment of specific species in areas where they had become endangered. The white rhino, which was saved from the brink of extinction in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi National Park, is one of the greatest success stories in recent times of how effective wildlife management in the national parks of a country can ensure the that we do not deprive future generations of some of the most magnificent mammals in the world.

Elephants approach a waterhole in the Addo Elephant National Park.
Addo Elephant Park

Home to over 500 elephants and a wide diversity of other wildlife, including black rhino, spotted hyena and leopard, the reserve ranks as the third largest national park in South Africa. Addo currently stretches over 180 000 hectares (444 700 acres) and also happens to be in a low-risk malaria area, which makes it ideal for families traveling with small children.

A shipwreck bobs in the swell of the Agulhas National Park.
Agulhas

This beautiful coastal park is situated on the southern-most tip of Africa where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. Known as the 'Cape of Storms', these treacherous waters are responsible for many shipwrecks in centuries past. In season, visitors may be spoiled with sightings of Southern Right whale, while the endangered African Black Oystercatcher can be spotted year-round.

The sun sets over the grand gurgle of the Augrabies Falls.
Augrabies

The main attraction of the park is no doubt the thundering 56m Augrabies Falls, which the Khoi people called 'the great noise'. Besides the falls, which form part of the immense Orange River Gorge, the park boasts many other unique sights, including fascinating geological formations, like Moon Rock and the Swart Rant. Though the park is not known for its wildlife, dassies (rock hyrax) and klipspringer enjoy frequenting the rocky, arid landscape.

A small gathering of colorful bontebok in the Bontebok National Park.
Bontebok

The picturesque Bontebok National Park park is situated in the Cape floral region under the imposing gaze of the Langeberg Mountains and full of myriad plant, animal and bird species. The park was established to protect the bontebok, which faced extinction in the 1800’s. From the original 17 bontebok, the park is now home to approximately 200 of the 3000-strong global estimate.

The dramatic rocky outcrops of Camdeboo National Park.
Camdeboo

The park is located in the Eastern Cape within the uniquely beautiful region of the Karoo. The vast, arid landscape surrounds the sleepy town of Graaff-Reinet and includes the Valley of Desolation, with its giant, towering dolerite pillars. A variety of activities are available to visitors, from boating on the Nqweba Dam to scenic hiking trails.

A river bubbles by under the imposing gaze of the Drakensberg mountains.
Drakensberg

Boasting some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in South Africa, the Drakensberg region is characterized by lush green valleys and breathtaking mist-covered peaks, including the famous Giant's Castle and Champagne Peak. This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts one of the largest concentrations of rock art south of the Sahara and is also listed under the Ramsar Convention's Wetlands of International Importance.

The iconic Brandwag Buttress of Golden Gate National Park.
Golden Gate

Found in the Maluti Mountains of the northeastern Free State, Golden Gate National Park is characterized by striking sandstone rock formations that display magnificent golden hues when bathed in sunlight, most notably the Brandwag Buttress. Black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell's zebra roam this handsome landscape, while rare bird species like the bearded vulture and bald ibis own the skies.

A crash of rhinos grazing in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve.
Hluhluwe-iMfolozi

Located in KwaZulu-Natal, the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve is home to the Big Five and particularly high numbers of white rhino, due to a responsible focus on conservation. The park was home to Operation Rhino back in the 1950’s and 60’s, and many of Southern Africa’s current white rhino populations can be traced back to Hluhluwe. Established in 1895, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi is the oldest proclaimed nature reserve on the continent.

The thatched rooftops of Ntshondwe Camp under the facade of the Ngotshe Mountains.
Ithala

Because of its numerous waterways and lush vegetation, Ithala Game Reserve is rich in wildlife and offers a rewarding game viewing experience. Interesting flora such as red Pride of De Kaap flowers spread over the Ngotshe Mountains and Phongolo River valley. Ithala is known for its high concentration of giraffes and the KwaZulu-Natal province's only breeding herd of tsessebe.

The breathtaking semi-arid landscape of the Karoo at sunset.
Karoo National Park

This boundless semi-desert region is known for the wide diversity of life that ekes out a living and survives in this harsh environment. In recent years, many species have been reintroduced that used to occur here naturally, including lion, brown hyena and Cape mountain zebra. South Africa’s national animal, the springbok, is quite common throughout.

The Knysna Heads guard the turbulent entrance to the Knysna Lagoon.
Knysna Lakes

The Knysna Lakes area forms part of the Garden Route, arguably the most scenic and picturesque stretch of South Africa's coastline. The region is rich in biodiversity and offers many unique locations, from dense forests to unspoiled beaches and sparkling lakes. Popular activities include a deluge of watersports, hiking trails, birding and mountain biking. Keen birders will delight in sightings of the colorful Knysna Turaco.

An imposing male lion marks his territory against a small thorn tree.
Kruger National Park

The internationally acclaimed Kruger National Park is considered to be the crown jewel of South Africa's national parks. The park boasts an impressive 2 million hectares teeming with a multitude of mammals, birds and reptiles. In fact, 147 different mammal species call Kruger home, as do 507 unique species of bird. Nowhere else in Southern Africa will you find the unparalleled diversity of species, landscapes and even accommodation options.

A baobab tree juts from the landscape of Mapungubwe National Park.
Mapungubwe

The park shares its borders with Botswana and Zimbabwe, making it part of the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area. Its collection of archaeological treasures has also earned it UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Mapungubwe Hill marks the remnants of an Iron Age African civilization that once prospered here. Elephant, giraffe, white rhino, eland, gemsbok and numerous other antelope species occur in the area.

The bewitching scenery typical of the Waterberg and Marakele National Park.
Marakele

Marakele National Park lies deep within the captivating Waterberg Mountains. The park is remarkably diverse in wildlife due to its location, habitat and climate. Marakele also plays sanctuary to the largest colony of endangered Cape vultures. Elephant, rhino, lion and leopard roam this malaria-free reserve, which is known for its particularly handsome kudu population. In addition to basic park accommodation, luxury lodges have recently begun to emerge across this magical landscape.

The blinding greenery typical of the Mkuze Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mkuze

This Eden in northern Zululand is bordered by and named for the Mkhuze River on the eastern slopes of the Lebombo Mountains. The habitats, which include wetlands, woodlands, riverine forest and swamps, make this region a bird watching paradise. The 40 000 ha reserve also forms part of the Greater iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Mammals frequently encountered include black and white rhinoceros, elephant, giraffe, nyala, blue wildebeest, warthog, eland, hippo, impala, kudu and other smaller antelope.

Camelthorn trees populate the sandy plains of Mokala.
Mokala

Vast sandy plains, dolerite hills and semi-desert terrain provide the setting for one of South Africa's newest additions to its family of national parks. The park boasts a host of indigenous plant species, such as the culturally valuable camelthorn tree. Situated south of the historic Northern Cape mining town of Kimberley, Mokala is named precisely for the camelthorn tree that sprouts across its koppieveld and sandy, open plains.

A mountain zebra grazes on a hilltop in the Cape Mountain Zebra National Park.
Mountain Zebra

28 000 hectares in the Eastern Cape make up this scenic sanctuary for an assorted collection of wild animals, most notably the once-threatened Cape mountain zebra, which is now flourishing as a result of concerted conservation efforts. Today more than 700 Cape mountain zebras enjoy refuge in the park. Other endangered species thriving include black rhino and cheetah – the only major predator that occurs here.

Spring flowers burst across the landscape of Namaqua.
Namaqua

The park forms part of Namaqualand, a semi-desert area in the succulent Karoo biome. With the advent of spring, this normally arid region undergoes a fairy tale transformation into a sea of color with a dazzling display of flowering plant species. Remarkably, more than a 1 000 of its estimated 3 500 plant species are found nowhere else on earth.

Lily pads and reeds float along Lake St Lucia.
iSimangaliso

The sub-tropical utopia of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park is renowned for its diverse habitats comprising dunes, coral reefs, coastal forests, swamps and mangroves, to name a few. The park is South Africa’s first declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region offers many outdoor activities, the most popular being scuba diving, deep sea fishing and the scenic safari boat cruises on Lake St Lucia – Africa’s largest estuarine system.

Table Mountain seen from across Table Bay.
Table Mountain

The Cape Peninsula is considered to be one of the most beautiful natural locations in South Africa. Table Mountain National Park incorporates various stretches of the peninsula, comprising scenic hiking trails, pristine beaches and wonderful wildlife encounters. It is also home to world's smallest yet most diverse floral kingdom. Table Mountain National Park encompasses popular sites like Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve.

The ruddy, barren landscape of the Tankwa Karoo National Park.
Tankwa Karoo

Extraordinary arid landscapes unfold in the Tankwa desert of the Northern Cape. This vast, flat park is one of the finest destinations in South Africa for stargazing. Though wildlife occurs far and in between, sightings of springbok, gemsbok and red hartebeest are frequent, as are encounters with reptiles like tortoises and skinks. The park is situated within the Succulent Karoo Biome, one of the 25 richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on earth.

The rugged coastal beauty of the Garden Route is protected in the Tsitsikamma National Park.
Tsitsikamma

This dramatic protected area forms part of the Garden Route National Park. The acclaimed region is known for its rugged, untouched coastline, lush indigenous forests and its hiking trails, most notably the Otter Trail. Various species of dolphins and whales are often spotted from the shore, while the forested trails host many lesser mammals like badgers, genet, mongoose and even African wild cat.

Wild flowers bloom along the sandy shores of the West Coast National Park.
West Coast

The West Coast National Park is a World Ramsar Site, widely celebrated for the wetland bird species that migrate to the area. The Geelbek Hide is a popular spot to observe rare lagoon waders from. Immaculate beaches, flower-covered fields and the crystal-clear waters of the Langebaan Lagoon provide the stunning scenery. As in Namaqua, the flower season flourishes between August and September.

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Wildlife Gallery

The big five, antelope & other mammals

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Client Reviews

Reviews from clients who have been on safaris and tours with African Sky

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Articles

Travel topics and articles about Southern Africa, written by African Sky staff

South Africa's Activities, Attractions & Provinces

A striking view of the Berlin Falls.
Berlin Falls >>

Berlin Falls is one of the numerous waterfalls that grace the Mpumalanga province in South Africa. They are the second highest falls in the province, with white waters tumbling down over 80 meters. The falls were named by German miners who settled in the area during the gold rush of the 1880's.

The Blyde River Canyon as seen from a viewpoint.
Blyde River Canyon >>

The Blyde River Canyon is located along Mpumalanga's wonderfully scenic Panorama Route. With Namibia's Fish River Canyon taking first place, it is the second largest canyon in Africa and offers a most spectacular sight. Guests on a safari in South Africa will typically visit the Blyde River Canyon en route to the Kruger National Park.

The unique giant's kettles at Bourke's Luck.
Bourke's Luck Potholes >>

Bourke's Luck Potholes are a curious geological feature created by the swirling waters of the Blyde and Treur rivers eroding the walls of the pools over hundreds of years. The 'potholes' mark the beginning of Mpumalanga's Panorama Route, leading travelers from one beautiful natural feature to another.

The misty veil of Bridal Veils Falls in Mpumalanga.
Bridal Veil Falls >>

Though not the most noteworthy of Mpumalanga's waterfalls, Bridal Veil offers a rewarding hike and an almost otherworldly, delicate sheath of water amongst lush forests - the ideal spot for a well-deserved picnic. Bridal Veil Falls are located outside the sleepy lowveld town of Sabie en route to Graskop.

The Cango Caves offer awe-inspiring tableaus.
Cango Caves >>

Our South African tours that explore the Garden Route often visit the Cango Caves - a most breathtaking natural wonder in the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains. The first thrill-seeking tourists arrived at the caves in the 1800's and these magnificent underground chambers have inspired awe from visitors ever since.

An informative sign at Cape Point.
Cape Point >>

Cape Point forms the most southwesterly tip of the continent. A headland rich with wildlife, indigenous fynbos and rugged beaches, a trip to Cape Point is always a highlight on a Cape Town tour. Enjoy breathtaking views from the old lighthouse and encounters with dassies (rock hyrax), baboons, ostriches and variety of antelope species.

A tour of the Featherbed Nature Reserve on one of the Knysna Heads.
Featherbed Nature Reserve >>

The Featherbed Nature Reserve is a handsome stretch of coastal wilderness on Knysna's western head. Home to the endangered Knysna seahorse and the charming little blue duiker, this reserve is known for its dramatic natural beauty. Visitors with ample time may also enjoy lunch beneath the dappled shade of a Milkwood tree grove.

The Huguenot Memorial in Franschhoek.
Franschhoek Wine Route >>

The Franschhoek Wine Route includes the exquisite bouquet of wine farms that surround the historic French Huguenot town of Franschhoek. Bordered by the dazzling Drakenstein Mountains, this fertile valley produces delectable harvests and some of the finest restaurants in the country.

The remarkable view from God's Window.
God's Window >>

God's Window offers sweeping views across Mpumalanga's leagues of forested hills and plantations. 700m above the pines, the sight is truly spectacular and, on a clear day, one may even see the Lebombo Mountains of the Kruger National Park in the distance. This breathtaking vantage point is one of the most popular in South Africa.

Kirstenbosch is rich with natural beauty.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens >>

The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens carpet the rolling slopes of Table Mountain in a verdant spectacle of indigenous plants and flowers. A newly installed canopy walkway named 'the Boomslang' offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy nature's spoils from above the treetops.

Lisbon Falls as seen from above.
Lisbon Falls >>

The Lisbon Falls are the Mpumalanga province's highest falls and were named by Portuguese miners who arrived along with a colorful medley of Europeans during the Barberton Gold Rush. At 90 meters high, Lisbon Falls offer a beautiful backdrop to a pit-stop picnic.

A side glance of Mac Mac Falls in Mpumalanga.
Mac Mac Falls >>

Mpumalanga's Mac Mac Falls are twin falls created by Scottish miners who blasted the rock face behind the initial waterfall to divert the flow from a gold-bearing reef. The Mac Mac Pools a few minutes' walk upstream provide a pleasant, cool reprieve during Mpumalanga's humid summer months.

The Paarl Wine Route is home to some spectacular vineyards.
Paarl Wine Route >>

The Paarl Wine Route meanders along the picturesque Cape winelands town of Paarl. The route is home to favorite venues like the Fairview Wine and Cheese Farm, the massive KWV Wine Emporium and the Nederburg Wine Estate - home to the South African edition of the popular television series MasterChef.

Taste some of South Africa's finest bouquets in Stellenbosch.
Stellenbosch Wine Route >>

The Stellenbosch Wine Route is based around South Africa's second oldest town. Stellenbosch is revered for its stunning examples of well-preserved Cape Dutch architecture, its elite university, cozy sidewalk cafes, colorful boutiques and, naturally, the award-winning wines produced on the surrounding estates.

The desolate landscape of the Swartberg Pass.
Swartberg Pass >>

Though seldom frequented, the Swartberg Pass is a striking route that snakes through the Swartberg Mountains of the Little Karoo. The semi-arid landscape and fascinating geological formations make the pass quite a treat to drive through - if you can manage the hairpin bends!

Table Mountain as seen from Table Bay.
Table Mountain >>

Table Mountain is one of Africa's most recognizable landmarks and is a must-do on a South African tour that visits Cape Town. A swift cable car ride to the top cedes awe-inspiring views across Table Bay, with Robben Island emerging from the waters to the west and the Atlantic Ocean stretching as far as the eye can see.

Tugela Falls in the Drakensberg region of South Africa.
Tugela Falls >>

The Tugela Falls are the highest falls in Africa and the second highest in the world. Though appearing as only a thin stream, the sheer 947 meter drop is sure to take your breath away. The Tugela Falls are located on the Zululand side of the majestic Drakensberg Mountains .

A demonstration at the Bird of Prey Rehab Centre.
Bird of Prey Rehabilitation Centre >>

The Bird of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre is located just outside the sleepy Mpumalanga Highlands town of Dullstroom. This center sheds light on the plight of South Africa's endangered raptor species by rehabilitating injured and orphaned birds. It also offers demonstrations to the public.

African penguins roaming the sands of Boulders Beach.
Boulders Beach >>

Boulders Beach is situated in a sheltered cove in False Bay. What makes this pristine little stretch of beach so remarkable is that it is home to a colony of endangered African penguins, endowing visitors with the opportunity to swim and sunbathe among these handsome flightless birds. Strewn with thousand-year-old boulders, the beach itself is quite beautiful.

Guests enjoy an informative bush walk in the Greater Kruger National Park.
Bush Walk >>

A bush walk provides safari enthusiasts with a unique way to experience the wilderness areas of Southern Africa. Embark on foot in the company of armed rangers and trackers equipped with experience and knowledge that will make your bush walk all the more interesting. Learn more about the environment you are traversing and observe wildlife up close.

Crocodile cage diving at the Cango Wildlife Ranch.
Cango Wildlife Ranch >>

Cango Wildlife Ranch invites visitors to experience an exciting variety of animal encounters, from cheetah and tigers to meeting lemurs and crocodile cage diving. This family-friendly nature park offers once-in-a-lifetime moments that avid animal lovers will treasure for years to come.

An elephant-back safari in the wilderness of Southern Africa.
Elephant-Back Safari >>

What better way to explore the African wilderness than from the backside of the continent's largest mammal? Elephant-back safaris are available throughout much of South Africa, but the experience adopts a wilder tone in Zimbabwe and Zambia, where true wilderness areas are traversed rather than small sanctuaries.

Dolphins encountered on a dolphin watching cruise in the Garden Route.
Garden Route Dolphin Watching >>

The Garden Route region offers fantastic swimming beaches and idyllic natural beauty. In addition, the waters off its coastline are rich with marine wildlife, making it the ideal location for a dolphin watching cruise during a tour in South Africa. These cruises typically depart from Plettenberg Bay.

The elephants of the Knysna Elephant Park during a sunset walk.
Knysna Elephant Park >>

The Knysna Elephant Park is located near the charming Garden Route resort town of Knysna. This elephant sanctuary provides visitors with the amazing opportunity to interact with, walk with and ride on these magnificent animals. The experiences are enhanced by the elephants' ever-present handlers, who share stories and interesting facts.

Rhino spotted on safari in South Africa.
Open 4x4 Game Drives >>

An open 4x4 game drive is the traditional way to experience an African safari. The vehicles have been modified to offer the best game viewing possible, with elevated seats and either a canvas top or no top at all. Your open 4x4 game drive will typically be accompanied by an experienced ranger to guide you through the bush.

A flock of female ostriches on a farm near Oudtshoorn.
Ostrich Ride >>

An ostrich ride provides a unique, adrenalin-pumping experience. These large, flightless birds can reach speeds of up to 70km/h. Those with less adventurous tastes may still engage with the ostriches by feeding them and learning more about the significant resources they provide, such as their beautiful feathers and delicious lean meat.

Visitors enjoy a traditional performance at Shangana Cultural Village.
Shangana Cultural Village >>

Shangana Cultural Village offers guests on a Kruger Park safari or South African tour in Mpumalanga the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local Shangaan culture for an afternoon. Interact with the villagers, meet the village 'sangoma' (witch doctor) and chief and enjoy a lively traditional performance in the chief's 'kraal'.

Dive with great white sharks off the coast of South Africa.
Shark Cage Diving >>

Shark cage diving certainly counts among the most thrilling and daring activities available in South Africa. Plunge into the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean and meet the formidable great white shark - a true apex predator. Gansbaai's 'Shark Alley' alongside Dyer Island boasts a remarkably high concentration of great whites.

The city of Cape Town bathed in a golden sunset.
Sunset Cruise from Table Bay >>

A sunset cruise from Table Bay is a most relaxing affair. These cruises typically depart from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, with many different vessels available. From substantially-sized boats and traditional yachts to catamarans and pirate-themed ships, visitors are spoiled with options to revel in the last light over the Atlantic Ocean.

Fossils unearthed at the West Coast Fossil Park.
West Coast Fossil Park >>

The West Coast Fossil Park provides an educational adventure ideal for families visiting the West Coast region during a South African tour. Hosting numerous remarkable fossils from the Mio-Pliocene age, young archaeologists will delight in learning about an eons-old landscape and the creatures that once roamed it.

White water rafting is an adrenalin-pumping activity.
White Water Rafting >>

White water rafting, particularly on the wild rivers of Southern Africa, is not for the faint-hearted. The most popular of these waterways is the Zambezi River that slices through Zimbabwe and Zambia . Following the terminus of the Victoria Falls, the river flows into the famous rapids of the Batoka Gorge. Many local operators offer full and half day rafting.

An idyllic sunset cruise on the Zambezi River.
Zambezi Sunset Cruise >>

A sunset cruise on the Zambezi River blesses participants with dramatic, fiery African sunsets, occasional wildlife sightings and a truly memorable location to enjoy a sundowner. This safari activity is a favorite amongst visitors to the Victoria Falls , and the rolling mists of the Falls are often spotted on the horizon during your languid glide down the river.

Eastern Cape Province

The Eastern Cape province is South Africa's second largest province. The areas of the province differ to such an extent in relief, climate and vegetation that each region has its own character. In the north are the plains of the Great Karoo, in the northeast the Drakensberg Mountains and the coast is home to the beautiful Wild Coast. The eastern interior is covered with grasslands while typical Karoo vegetation occurs in the dry northern parts and savanna on the central western plateau. Addo Elephant National Park and the various beaches in the area are fast becoming some of South Africa's favorite travel destinations . It does not matter whether you are after a holiday at the sea or in the bush. Due to its sheer diversity, you will almost certainly find what you are looking for in the Eastern Cape. While East London and Port Elizabeth are perfect getaways for families, the idea of holidaying in the Karoo is becoming more popular. Graaff-Reinet is known as 'the gem of the Karoo'. The town is laid out around the 1886 Dutch Reformed Church, a real landmark as you enter the town. And who can resist the charming beauty of Hogsback with its distinct English country character? It is here that you will find St Patrick's on the Hill, one of South Africa's smallest places of worship. The peaceful coastal resort towns of Kenton-on-Sea and Port Alfred will provide you with unforgettable beach holidays and are a water sport enthusiast's paradise.

Gauteng Province

The Gauteng province may be South Africa's smallest province, but a large percentage of the South African population live in Gauteng. Johannesburg is the capital of Gauteng and is part of the larger Witwatersrand urban area. Pretoria, the other metropolis, is the administrative capital of South Africa. Benoni, Boksburg, Germiston, Krugersdorp, Soweto, Springs and Vanderbijlpark are the other main urban areas in Gauteng. Gauteng can be seen as the heart of South Africa, as its mines, factories and services deliver more than 30% of South Africa's gross domestic product. Although gold mining is not the main role player in the economy of Johannesburg anymore, it still delivers approximately 500 tons of gold annually. Gauteng is in a summer rainfall area, where thunderstorms occur in the late afternoons from November to March. The annual rainfall of Johannesburg is 515 mm per year. Although Gauteng is quite close to the equator, the temperatures are moderate because of the high altitude above sea level. Johannesburg is 1763m above sea level and experiences sunny winter days with cool to cold temperatures during winter nights.

KwaZulu-Natal Province

The KwaZulu-Natal Province is often called the “Garden of South Africa”. Tropical and subtropical regions fall within the boundaries of this beautiful province which has for years been a favorite amongst the travelers of South Africa. A visit to KwaZulu-Natal should include the Drakensberg, a mountain range 1046km long that lies on South Africa's western border with Lesotho. The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, a world heritage site well known for its beautiful mountain scenery and San rock paintings, also lies within this area. Some of the peaks in the Drakensberg Mountains are higher than 3000m and are often covered with snow in the winter. The Greater St. Lucia Lake (also a world heritage site), the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park , Mkuze Reserve and Ithala Park are some of the large conservation areas you can visit while you travel through KwaZulu-Natal. The subtropical and tropical vegetation is often very dense because of the humid conditions. Beautiful beaches are found on the coastline, which borders the Indian Ocean on the eastern side.

The KwaZulu-Natal Province is the second largest contributor to the South African economy. Pietermaritzburg and Ulundi are joint capitals of KwaZulu-Natal. Other important urban centers include Durban, Pinetown and Richards Bay. Forestry, sugar, tropical and subtropical fruit, dairy products and cattle are the main agricultural industries of KwaZulu-Natal. Tourism and marine services are the most important tertiary activities. IsiZulu, English and Afrikaans are the main languages spoken. Many diverse flavors contribute to KwaZulu-Natal's blend of culture, which is historically influenced by British colonialism, Indian slavery and the interaction between the Zulus and the Boers.

Limpopo Province

The Limpopo Province garners its name from the Limpopo River, which forms South Africa's northern border. Limpopo is known for its contrasts - there are mountains, lush forests, plantations as well as wilderness areas and farms. A large portion of the Kruger National Park is in Limpopo, and together with game farms and private game reserves, visitors will find a great deal of game in Limpopo and this is what makes it such a popular travel destination. Limpopo is the gateway to Africa, as it borders the countries of Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique Polokwane, once known as Pietersburg, is the capital city. Other important urban centers include Bela-Bela (Warmbaths), Makhado (Louis Trichardt), Makopane (Potgietersrus), Mussina (Messina), Phalaborwa and Thabazimbi. The population of 5.5 million mainly speaks Sepedi, Xitsonga and Tshivenda. The Limpopo Province falls in the summer rainfall region of South Africa. Thunderstorms occur often in the late afternoons from November to March. Polokwane's annual rainfall is 478mm. The winters are temperate with cool nights, while the summer temperatures in the low-lying areas are high to very high.

Mpumalanga Province

Mpumalanga means 'area of the rising sun'. The Kruger National Park and many private game reserves are situated in the Mpumalanga province . The Transvaal Drakensberg runs from north to south through Mpumalanga and forms part of the great escarpment. The terrain of Mpumalanga varies. On the western side of the escarpment, you will find the Highveld with its grasslands and on the eastern side the Lowveld with its subtropical savanna plains. Tourism is an important part of the economy of the Mpumalanga province. Coal mining, petroleum manufacturing, steel factories and forestry also contribute to the BNP. The population of 3.3 million speaks SiSwati, IsiZulu, IsiNdebele and English. The capital city is Nelspruit. Other urban centers include Middelburg, Witbank, Bethal, Barberton, Ermelo, Piet Retief, Secunda and Standerton. You will find that summers can be very hot in Mpumalanga, especially in the Lowveld. Winter temperatures are moderate to high. On the Highveld, the winter nights can be quite cold, with frost. The annual rainfall of Nelspruit is 767mm and often occurs in the form of thunderstorms.

Northern Cape Province

The Northern Cape province lies east of the Atlantic Ocean. Its capital, Kimberley, is located more than 900km from the shoreline. Its surface area makes the Northern Cape province one of South Africa's largest provinces, but it carries the smallest population. The Orange River is the only prominent geomorphologic phenomenon - the landscape otherwise is very flat and, because of the low rainfall, the vegetation is very sparse. The largest part of the Northern Cape province falls within the Nama-Karoo biome - low shrubland and grass. The Augrabies Falls National Park was established to preserve the impressive waterfall and ravine of 18km. One can see large salt pans on the west central plains when one travels the Northern Cape province. The Orange River supplies much-needed water and irrigation schemes alongside the river produce cotton, maize, peanuts, lucerne, dates and grapes. The dry coastal plain, known as Namaqualand, turns into a wonderland of wild flowers each spring, which is a worthwhile reason to travel to the Northern Cape province.

North West Province

The North West province lies on the border of Botswana in the north and Witwatersrand in Gauteng in the east. When traveling through the North West province, you will find grasslands and savanna vegetation which are ideal for cattle farming. Maize, peanuts, sunflowers and wheat are produced by crop farmers. Tobacco, cotton, subtropical fruit, oranges, peaches, vegetables and flowers are also produced in North West. The platinum mines of the Rustenburg region are the largest producers of platinum in the world. Gold, diamonds, marble and fluorspar are also mined in North West. Most industries are mining-related. The North West province falls within the summer rainfall region of South Africa. The rainfall decreases from east to west. Mafikeng's annual rainfall is 539mm per year. The rainfall occurs often in the form of late afternoon thundershowers. The summers are warm to very hot, while the winter days are sunny and temperate and the winter nights are cool to cold. Visit the Sun City entertainment resort , one of the country's most popular tourist destinations.

Free State Province

The Free State province lies between the Vaal River in the north and the Orange River in the south. This province lies central on the interior plateau of South Africa and is characterized by its grass plains and dolerite hills. On the south-eastern border are the mountains of Lesotho. The eastern highlands are well-known for their beautiful sandstone formations in hues of yellow, brown, orange and pink. Some of South Africa's most valued San rock paintings are found in the Free State. Bloemfontein is the capital of the Free State. It also houses the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa. The Free State province is in the summer rainfall region of South Africa. Bloemfontein receives 559mm rain annually. The summers are temperate to warm, and the winters are dry and sunny, but the winter nights are cold.

Western Cape Province

When traveling in the Western Cape, you will find an area where agriculture flourishes in sheltered valleys. Rivers such as the Berg, Breede and Olifants sustain wheat, fruit and wine production. Travel to the Western Cape to see the floral kingdom, locally known as fynbos, which contains more plant species than the whole of Europe and is one of the six floral kingdoms of the world. The Knysna-Tsitsikamma region hosts the country's largest indigenous forests. Tourism contributes 13% of the GDP of the Western Cape. The population mainly speaks Afrikaans, English and IsiXhosa. Cape Town is the largest and capital city of the province. Other important urban centers include Stellenbosch, George, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Hermanus, Paarl, Wellington, Mossel Bay, Worcester and Beaufort West. The western and southwestern parts of the province enjoy a Mediterranean climate, with dry, warm and often windy summers and cool wet winters. The annual rainfall of Cape Town is 515mm. The coastal plain in the east gets rain throughout the year, with the highest rainfall in winter. The plants in the Karoo are adapted to dry conditions due to the small amount of rain.