A Guide to travelling in South Africa
Situated at the southern tip of Africa, South Africa is 1 233 404km² in size and is edged on three sides by nearly 3 000km of coastline, with the Indian Ocean to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The country is bordered in the north by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and also encloses two independent countries, the kingdoms of Lesotho and Swaziland.
The tourism industry is well established with an exciting sector of emerging entrepreneurs. The country is strong on adventure, sport, nature and wildlife, and is a pioneer and global leader in responsible tourism.
Kruger National Park – The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s premier Big Five national park and is exceptionally well set up for tourists. You can expect good roads and an excellent choice of accommodation to suit all pockets. Winter months (May to September) are best for game viewing while the summer months (October to April) are best for birding.
Drakensberg – This mountain range, which forms the border between Lesotho and South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, is not only an area of outstanding natural beauty, but has more than 600 rock art sites, the reason why it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a wonderful destination for those who enjoy outdoor pursuits, be it hiking or horse riding, with many accommodation options.
Garden Route – This route takes visitors up the south-east coast from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape, past spectacular coastal scenery and through indigenous forest surrounding the beautiful town of Knysna. End your Garden Route trip with a visit to the Addo Elephant National Park near Port Elizabeth, where you are guaranteed good sightings of these lumbering giants.
Winelands – The Cape Winelands offer unexpectedly lush scenery and the opportunity to sample excellent wines and superior dining in restaurants, many of which are on wine farms. Don’t miss a visit to the university town of Stellenbosch and nearby Franschhoek. Hikers will also want to lace up their boots and get out into the spectacular mountains of this region.
World Heritage Sites – South Africa has eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, areas that have been given special international status for their unique qualities. If you are interested in culture and natural history, then you may well want to plan a visit to at least one of these sites.
Taalmonument (en Taalmuseum) – Paarl, South Africa – Known simply as the Taal monument or Afrikaans language monument, the most famous Afrikaans icon, die Afrikaanse Taalmonument, sits on Paarl rock, erected in 1975 to commemorate the semi centenary of Afrikaans as an official language, separate from Dutch, overlooking the farmlands of Stellenbosch and Paarl.
The views from up on Paarl Rock are worth a visit alone. Table Mountain stands in the distance, whilst the Stellenbosch Mountains lie to the south and the Hottentots Holland Mountains to the east.
Gordon’s Bay – Gordon’s Bay is the smallest of three towns in the Helderberg region, so named after the Helderberg Mountain which is part of the Hottentots-Holland Mountains which dwarf the locality on two sides. Gordon’s Bay was originally named “Fish Hoek”, many years before the town of the same name, located on the western side of False Bay, was founded. Evidence of this can be seen on the outside wall of the local Post Office.