Reasons to Visit
The most economical and by far the most popular way to experience South Africa is on a self drive. The roads are good, traffic tends to be light and driving is on the left.
Within easy driving distance of Cape Town, the valleys of Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek have become known as 'The Winelands'. Here you can admire the manicured rows of green and russet vines and even stop to sample the local tipple.
Cape Town – one of the world’s great cities, Cape Town has excellent accommodation, is easy to explore and is the gateway to the Wine Regions and Garden Route. Cape Town is an ideal place to start your trip around South Africa.
Hermanus and Walker Bay, near Cape Town, are perhaps the best places in the world to spot whales from the shore (Jun-Dec). Whale watching trips from boats are also popular in South Africa.
Learn how Ghandi, Paul Kruger and Winston Churchill were all involved in the battle of Spioenkop, during the Boer War, or how a hundred British soldiers held off some 4,000 Zulus at Rorke’s Drift, and how nearly 1,800 were killed a few hours earlier at the battle of Isandlwana.
South Africa offers some of the best safari in the whole of Africa. One of the best places are the private reserves of Kruger Greater Park, where you can see the 'Big Five' (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo).
South Africa boasts some spectacular scenery across the whole country. These include the imposing Drakensberg Mountains, coastal views along the Garden Route, the impressive Blyde River Canyon and the vast Karoo.
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South Africa arguably offers some of the best safari in the whole of Africa. One of the best ways to enjoy a safari is in one of the many private reserves of the Greater Kruger Park, or one of the lesser known areas in the north.
The Cape Region is the perfect introduction to South Africa with places such as Cape Town, the Winelands and Walker Bay - where you can see migrating whales. Equally famous is the Garden Route, a scenic stretch of coastline some 300 kilometres long.
The Garden Route is a compact stretch of coastline with glassy lagoons, steep dunes, lonely beaches and crashing surf. The Eastern Cape goes up to the border with KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho and contains a number of excellent game reserves. This region is ideally suited to a self-drive trip.
KwaZulu-Natal has many of South Africa’s greatest attractions crammed into one province: Durban, green rolling countryside, the Drakensberg Mountains and the Battlefields, an area containing legendary military sites such as Spioenkop, Blood River, Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift.
The swathe of country stretching from the Kruger Park in the east to the Botswana border in the west contains some of South Africa's most dramatic scenery, two of its major cities and one of its most remote game parks.
The Northern Cape is the most sparsely populated province of South Africa which encompasses in the west Namaqualand, famous for its spring flowers, while in the east the vast desert of red sand looms the Kalahari, famous for its black-maned lions. At its furthest point lies the Cederberg Mountains which is one of the last havens of the Bushmen, or San, and their prolific rock-art.
The Wild Coast is arguably the most attractive region in South Africa. Little touched by tourism it stretches from East London up to the KwaZulu-Natal border. It's an area of lush tropical forest hugging river valleys whose estuaries spill into lagoons behind white sandy beaches. There are ample opportunities for fishing, swimming, birdwatching, watersports and learning about the local Xhosa culture.
Further reading:Tours in South AfricaWhen to GoItinerary IdeasTrain JourneysPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout South AfricaCountry Guides
Other countries in Africa:BotswanaKenyaMadagascarMalawiMauritiusMozambiqueNamibiaRwandaTanzaniaThe SeychellesUgandaZambiaZanzibar ArchipelagoZimbabwe
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