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South Africa Info map

Attractions Highlights Safari Areas Seasons Fast Facts Info Map Travel Tips

 

 

South Africa is the largest country on the sub-continent and is the regional financial and economic powerhouse.  Johannesburg, although not the capital, is the economic heart of the country and is the regional hub through which most long-haul international flights arrive and depart. 

First settled by the Dutch in 1652, the country passed through various phases of Dutch and British rule before becoming a republic in 1961.  The transition to democracy happened in 1994 when Nelson Mandela became the first democratically elected president of the country. 

Since then, the country has developed tremendously and is very much a sophisticated mix of first and third world elements – ensuring a unique and fascinating voyage of discovery for any visitor. 

Tourism has become a huge foreign revenue earner with the country aptly described as a ‘world within one country’.  Attractions bound – from big game safari areas to pristine beaches, from deserts to lofty mountain ranges,  from whale–watching and shark cage diving to authentic cultural experiences, this country has it all!

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Attractions

Wildlife

South Africa is richly endowed with plant and animal life and is considered to be the third (after Brazil and Indonesia) most bio-diverse country in the world!

It is the only country to have one of the world’s 6 floral kingdoms completely confined within its borders, and this region, known as the cape floral kingdom has over 8600 plant species (25% of all plants found in Africa), with roughly 50% of these found nowhere else!

A wide range of biomes, from mountain grassland and dense forests to semi-deserts and rolling savannahs and a rugged coastline flanked by 2 great oceans – the cold Atlantic to the west and the warm Indian with its tropical beaches and coral reefs to the east - ensure that there is an abundance of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish species to keep anybody interested in nature enthralled!

Cultural

*Note – South Africa, as with most of southern Africa, does not generally have the ‘tribal village scene’ (some genuine and some contrived) that is very much part of a safari to parts of Kenya and Tanzania, with most rural folk being quite westernised with no ‘traditional clothing’, etc. so it is best NOT to come with glamorised ideas for such a visit!

Cultural experiences are, however, to be had throughout the country and there is a rich and diversified cultural history.

The principal tourist areas of the country all have sites of historical and cultural significance and there are a number of ‘cultural villages’ where visitors can experience local traditions, homesteads and meals. These are all generally ‘contrived’, having been set up for tourists but are nonetheless educational. 

A relatively recent development is ‘township tourism’ where visitors can visit the so-called townships – areas to which non-whites were confined during Apartheid and where most of the black population still resides.

This gives unique insight into the way that modern black South Africanslive and an organised visit to the larger townships of Johannesburg and Cape Town is highly recommended.

Scenic

The country has a huge variety of scenic attractions.  The Drakensberg mountains are the largest and highest range in southern Africa and besides offering stunning views when large parts are covered with snow in winter, the summer months blanket the lower slopes and foothills with verdant green grassland.

The rugged fold mountains of the Cape stand in stark contrast with most of the peaks revealing bare grey rock.

The beautiful white sand dunes of De Hoop in the Cape and Cape Vidal in northern KwaZulu-Natal province; the rolling red scrub-covered dunes of the Kalahari; the unbelievable spring flowering displays in Namaqualand; the red, gold and green wine valleys of the Cape and the mist-belt forests with thousand-year old Yellowwood trees are just a few of the scenic delights that await visitors to South Africa.

What we consider to be HIGHLIGHTS of a visit to South Africa

  • Big game viewing with expert trackers in the greater Kruger
  • Looking for white lions in the Timbavati Reserve
  • Exploring the spectacular and historical wine areas of the Cape
  • Walking among African penguins at Boulders Beach
  • Taking in the views of the Mother city from the top of Table Mountain
  • Taking a walk in the Knysna Forest along the beautiful Garden Route
  • Look for black rhino and spend time with meerkats at Tswalu Reserve

Best Seasons to Travel

Any time of year – this is an all-year destination with the size of the country and varied landscapes making for destinations that are best visited at contrasting times of year. Because the Cape receives winter rainfall and the rest of the country summer rainfall, an itinerary taking in both areas will require a compromise on season for one or the other.

Because the Cape is essentially a scenic destination where good weather is a necessity to get the most out of your visit, we would recommend a visit in summer when game viewing is still good if you are willing to put up with a bit of rain here and there and high temperatures. That way, you at least get to see everything, rather than coming in winter when temperatures can be shockingly cold but the game viewing is good and you get to Cape Town and have to skip or cancel most activities because of horrendous weather.

OUR FAVOURITE MONTHS
Cape Town: October – February OUR FAVOURITE MONTHS –
Bush destinations: May – December

Safari Areas

  • Greater Kruger – National Park/ Sabi Sand/ Timbavati/ Thornybush
    Selected Lodges / Camps
    Kruger National Park: Singita, Pafuri Camp
    Sabi Sand area: MalaMala, Singita, Lion Sands
    Timbavati area: Ngala, Tanda Tula
    Thornybush area: Royal Malewane
  • Madikwe Game Reserve
    Selected Lodges / camps
    Mateya Safari Lodge
  • Phinda Resource Reserve
    Selected Lodges / Camps
    Mountain and Zuka Lodges
  • Addo Elephant National Park
    Selected Lodges / Camps
    RiverBend, Gorah Elephant Camp
  • Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
    Selected Lodges / Camps
    The Motse, Tarkuni
  • Samara Game Reserve
  • Knysna Forest / Garden Route
    Selected Guest Houses
    Palms Wilderness Retreat
    Kanonkop Guest House
  • Cape Town Area / Peninsula / Winelands
    Selected Hotels
    City: Cape Grace
    Winelands: Le Quartier Francais, La Residence, Mont Rochelle
  • Johannesburg
    Selected Hotels
    InterContinental OR Tambo, Saxon Hotel

FastFacts

  • Capital:  Pretoria
  • Population:  46 million
  • Government:  Multi-party democracy
  • Head of State:  President Jacob Zuma
  • Length of term: 5 years
  • Maximum terms: 2
  • Currency:  Rand; divided into 100 cents
  • Exchange rate: USD 1 : R 7  
  • Dominant religion: Christianity
  • Major Industries: Mining, manufacturing, agriculture, tourism
  • Literacy:  86-88%
  • Urbanisation:  61%
 

Reservations & Enquiries

Please get in touch to book your personalised safari.

  • Tel: +27 (0) 83 442 0652
  • Email: safaris@beataboutthebush.co.za
  • Postal Address
    PostNet Suite # 42
    Private Bag X3008
    Hoedspruit 1380
    Limpopo, South Africa