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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We can arrange a wide range of activities during your trip. Here is just a small selection of what's on offer.
Royal Natal National Park is found in the Northern Drakensberg and is famous for the Amphitheatre, as well as the Tugela Falls that plunges over a five hundred metre wall of rock. There are many hiking trails in the region to explore this outstanding scenery.
The South Coast
With a good guide book to hand, the battlefields of Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana can be explored on your own. It is perhaps best to start at Isandlwana, overlooking the battlefield from the ridge occupied by the Zulu commander, before making your way down to the sphinx-shaped hill where the heart of the battle unfolded.
At the eastern end of the Garden Route, and easily accessible from any of the Garden Route destinations, is the Tsitsikamma Forest, a dense cloak of deep green that coats the mountains.
This privately owned nature reserve covers much of the western Knysna Head, and affords wonderful views of the lagoon and ocean, whilst also being far less developed than the eastern, more easily accessible Head.
The Cape Peninsula is an area of dramatic natural beauty and huge ecological significance, which manages to retain a wild feel despite its huge popularity with visitors. As you drive south from Cape Town, you pass through the exclusive suburbs of Camps Bay and Clifton before continuing onto Hout Bay and through Constantia, where the road meanders behind Table Mountain and down onto the coast.
As you tour Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift, an expert guide will bring these battles to life, explaining how the numerically and tactically superior Zulu army crushed the better-equipped British at Isandlwana.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens occupy a large swathe of beautiful land on the lower slopes of Table Mountain. They house a huge collection of indigenous flora, such as heathery fynbos, flowering proteas and dramatically coloured strelitzias.
This taster to the Karoo Desert is a beautiful place, not quite as harsh or barren as the Karoo, but still stark and impressive. The climate proved ideal for rearing ostriches, and thanks to the Victorian craze for ostrich feathers, the town of Oudtshoorn flourished.
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Further reading:Tours in South AfricaRegions of South AfricaWhen to GoItinerary IdeasTrain JourneysPlaces to GoAccommodationAbout South AfricaCountry Guides
Other countries in Africa:BotswanaKenyaMadagascarMalawiMauritiusMozambiqueNamibiaRwandaTanzaniaThe SeychellesUgandaZambiaZanzibar ArchipelagoZimbabwe
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