South Africa Holidays

South Africa is an amazing destination offering something for everyone. There is so much more to South Africa than Kruger National Park and Cape Town

The Place
From it’s desert border with Namibia on the Atlantic coast to it’s subtropical border with Mozambique on the Indian Ocean, South Africa’s coast spans over 1,500 miles. The two oceans met at the southernmost tip of Africa at Agulhas bringing together the cold Benguela Current and the warm Mozambique Current. The coastline is fairly smooth and bustling harbours are found at Saldanah Bay, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, East London and Richards Bay.

There are nine provinces; Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Free State, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Cape Town is the legislative capital, Pretoria is the administrative capital and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital. Johannesburg is the largest city and is arguably the hub of Africa while nothing beats the beauty of Cape Town.

The People
South Africa has a population of over 47 million and nine of the 11 official languages are African, reflecting the cultural and linguistic
diversity of the African people (Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele, Swazi, Sotho, Tsonga and Venda. The white population is largely descended from the Dutch, German and British colonial immigrants from the 17th to 19th centuries and are divided in English and Afrikaans speakers. Around two-thirds of the population are Protestant Christians with several churches combining Christian beliefs with traditional African ones. Islam, Hinduism and Judaism are also significant.

South Africa is blessed with an adundance of wildlife with the Big Five – elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo – found in almost all of the countries major game reserves. Other animals includes cheetah, giraffe, hippo, zebra, antelope, wildebeest as well as reptiles such as crocodiles, turtles, lizards and over 100 species of snake.

The marine life is also plentiful with 8 whale species found in South African waters. Great White sharks prowl the southern waters with KwaZulu Natal offering fantastic scuba diving at Aliwal Shoal and Sodwana Bay. It is also a popular destination for birdwatchers with over 850 recorded species of bird.

With so much ethnic diversity and a richly layered past, it follows that South African culture is far from homogenous. In terms of performing arts, dance and music are hugely popular from traditional Zulu and gumboot dancing at tourist sites and jazz in clubs and music halls, to sophisticated full-scale musical productions in state of the art opera houses and outdoor amphitheatres and the uniquely South Africa sounds of kwaito.

The legacy of the San can be seen in the caves of mountain ranges such as the Drakensberg, a World Heritage site that’s been called the world’s largest art gallery’. South Africa has seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, the others being the Vredefort Dome meteor impact site, the St Lucia Wetland Park, the Cape Floral Region, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape and Robben Island.

Like it’s history, South Africa’s cuisine is a veritable cultural melting pot. Cape cooking has a strong Malay influence, with curries, kebabs bobotie and stews adding to the national cuisine. Thanks to sunny skies, the barbecue (‘braai’) is a favourite and usually features meat (‘boerewors’, a sauasage, is a staple) as well as ‘pap’ (a traditional African maize porridge) and a good deal of beer. Biltong (salted, dried meat) is part of the true South African experience.

Therer are several traditional African restaurants in most of the major centre where the adventurous can sample exotic fare such as mopane worms, warthog and crocodile. In addition, there are also world-class French, Italian, Japanese, Portugese, Greek, Chinese and even Vietnamese restaurants on offer and global staples including fast food burgers and pizza.