SA Map 1 South Afrca is a country rich in diversity and is aptly referred to as – a world in one country.

Its people and their respective cultures and traditions, and its natural beauty and wildlife constitute a few of the aspects that make up a rainbow country in the true sense of the word.

Its land is home to a unique mixture of first and third world cultures and many first time visitors are surprised to find such an advanced infrastructure. Walk down a busy city street and encounter business people of all levels from the sophisticated stock market specialist to the informal beaded and blanketed street trader.

The visitor enjoys the hospitality and graciousness of the people while partaking of the luxury of a five-star hotel one day, only to be immersed and awe struck by the culture and traditions displayed in the nearby rural areas and informal settlements.

 

LONE FLAG -- One lone Mexican supporter in the middle of South African fans at the Fan Zone at St. George's Park in Port Elizabeth. - Photo by Nicole Clark Time will allow all cultures their own place in South African society. But then, as now, the adventurer, the sightseer and the just plain curious will find a country of spectacular beauty and rich diverseness waiting.

For Official policy information disseminated by the U.K. and U.S.A. governments about travel to South Africa and other countries, please refer to the web sites listed below:

U.K. – http://www.fco.gov.uk/travel/countryadvice.asp?SL

U.S.A. – http://www.state.gov/travel/

FACTS AND FIGURES

Language: English is widely spoken throughout South Africa as well as Afrikaans
plus another 9 tribal languages.
Entry Requirements: Valid Passport. Contact your embassy.
International Airports: Johannesburg in the northeast, Cape Town on the southwest and Durban on the northeast coast. Several more International Airports are in the planning stages to cope with the expected increased demand in tourism. Several other smaller airports make it easy to make domestic connections.
Currency: Currency is the Rand R. which has weakened against most major currencies during the past few years making South Africa an extremely popular and affordable destination.
Geography: South Africa is geographically composed of three primary regions: The central plateau, a nearly continuous escarpment of mountain ranges that ring the plateau on the west, south and east and finally a narrow strip of low lying land along the coast.

CLIMATE / PEAK TRAVEL SEASON

The subtropical location, on either side of 30 degrees S. accounts for the warm temperate conditions so typical of South Africa. The country also falls squarely within the subtropical belt of high pressure, making it dry, but with an abundance of sunshine. The average number of sunshine days are among the highest in the world. Located South on the reverse side of the hemisphere, South Africa’s summer is Europe’s winter. Travel season runs from October to May in general with some regions being all year round.

MAJOR CITIES / TOWNS

Johannesburg: Also nicknamed Egoli (place of gold), Johannesburg is the engine room of the South African economy, accounting for 40% of the countries gross domestic product (GDP). Mine dumps and headgear stand proudly as symbols of its rich past, while modern architecture rubs shoulders with glorious examples of nineteenth century engineering prowess.
The busy streets ring out with the call of fruit sellers and street vendors, and an exciting blend of ethnic and Western cultural activities is reflected in theatres and open air arenas throughout the city.

Pretoria / Tswane: Some 50 kilometres from Johannesburg lies Pretoria. This city is dominated by government services and the diplomatic corps of foreign representatives in South Africa. The pace of the city is relaxed and pervaded by a sense of history. Sun City is just a two hour drive away.

Cape Town: Situated on the southwestern tip of Africa , Cape Town, also known as the Mother City, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is a region of folded mountains, well- watered valleys, wide beaches, and breathtaking scenery. The cold Atlantic Ocean along the west coast is a rich fishing area, while the warmer Indian Ocean skirts its southern beaches. The region boasts one of the six accepted floral kingdoms of the world. Although the smallest of them all, the Western Cape Floral Kingdom, locally called fynbos, contains more plant species than the whole of Europe.

Stellenbosch: Also nestled in the Western Cape about one hours drive from Cape Town, Stellenbosch is situated in the heart of the Cape Winelands and is the best preserved example of the period of control by the Dutch East India Company. Known as “the town of oaks”, due to their abundance, some oak trees have been declared national monuments. Along with its near neighbours, Paarl and Franschhoek, this town is a must-see for the winelover and sightseer alike.

Garden Route: The town of George, in the heart of the famous Garden Route coastal stretch between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, was named after King George III of England and nestles on a coastal plateau in a setting of parkland and garden. Founded in 1811 it grew as an administrative, communications and timber centre. One of the original oak trees, which has been proclaimed as a national monument, contains an embedded chain to which it is believed slaves were fastened and sold at auction. It is also the home of South Africa’s premier Golf Resort – Fancourt Hotel and Country Club Estate. Other beautiful and popular towns along the Garden Route include Hermanus (a haven for whales which congregate annually between July and November to give birth to their calfs) Knysna, a quaint town with a spectacular river estuary, Plettenberg Bay a holiday playground with stunning beaches and abundant sunshine and the Tsitsikamma coast – a ruggedly beautiful and untouched nature reserve.

Durban: Durban’s sub tropical climate makes it an all year round tourism destination. The region is also the only province in South Africa with a monarchy specifically provided for in the constitution – as the region is the home of the Zulu Monarchy.

HOTELS

South Africa’s lodging industry has met the increased demand of tourism by building quality luxury properties throughout the country. These range from the spectacular Palace of the Lost City at Sun City, whose interior designed was masterminded by Texan Trish Wilson, to numerous 4 and 5 star quality hotels and Game Lodges.

Fancourt Hotel and Country Estate is another exquisite example of American styled Golf Resorts boasting state of the art conference facilities and 3 excellent golf courses including the top rated Links at fancourt.

South Africa caters for all levels of traveler from wealthy to budget / backpackers and the accommodation infrastructure is of a high first world standard and extremely good value for money.

CONVENTION CENTERS

All large hotels in major centers have good convention facilities. There are large convention centers in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban and Port Elizabeth and at the premier golf resort destinations of Sun City and Fancourt Hotel & Country Estate. Many smaller convention venues are available throughout the country.

THINGS TO DO

Safari’s: View the Big Five: Lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant. The famous Kruger National Park is larger than the state of Israel, approximately the size of Wales , and is home to over 300 species of trees, 49 species of fish, 33 types of amphibian, 114 reptillian species, 507 species of birds and 147 species of mammals.

The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, located on the western border of the Kruger National Park, is the home of the world famous white lions. A number of privately owned Game Reserves, including Makalali, Garonga and Thorneybush Game Lodge, are located here and offer ranger escorted game drives, night game drives, walking safaris and luxury overnight accommodations.

The Pilanesburg National Park is another excellent, although smaller reserve, situated on the perimeter of the Sun City Resort, which also has all of the Big Five as does Umfolozi and Hluhluwe Game Reserves in the Kwa Zulu Natal area.

Cape Town: Rated the number one tourist attraction in South Africa, there is an abundance of things to do in Cape Town, one of the most dramatic scenic settings of any city on earth. Sight seeing excursions available include Table Mountain, Lions head, Signal Hill, Robben Island the former penal colony made famous by Nelson Mandela, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope, Historic Simonstown and the spectacular Chapman’s Peak Drive to Hout Bay, Rhodes Memorial and of course the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront development, the cities most popular attraction. Many stately homes are open to the public and culture lovers are well catered for with music, ballet and the theatre.
Fishing, Sailing, Climbing, Walking, Whale watching, Golf, a varied and exciting Nightlife are on offer to the enthusiast.

Winelands: The South African wine industry is largely situated in the scenically beautiful Cape regions of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek and offers the wine lover a variety of high quality wine tasting experiences including sparkling wines made in the authentic French Champagne method. Beautiful elegant homesteads, dating back to the early 1700’s are open to the visitor and the excellent South African Wines available compliment the superb local cuisine.

Garden Route: A place of rare beauty, the Garden Route, a 227 kilometer stretch of bays, cliffs and rocky capes, strung along a line of white pounding surf, is aptly named. Sightseeing amid lakes, mountains, forests and verdant countryside under an African sun is a pleasure not to be missed.
A pleasant way to see the wonders of the Garden Route is from a steam train journey from George to Knysna on the Outeniqua Choo Choo. Knysna is also famous for its last herd of wild elephants which live deep in the depth of the Knysna forests. Plettenberg Bay, Brenton and Belvidere are all tourist playgrounds and the area offers a host of activities including, fishing, boating, canoeing, golf, mountain biking, walking trails and more.

Blue Train & Rovos Rail: Offer exclusive and luxurious scheduled train journeys between Pretoria / Johannesburg and Cape Town, Pretoria and Victoria Falls plus a journey from Pretoria to the Kruger National Park. Combining the opulence of pre-war travel with subtle modern innovations guests relax and are pampered by caring staff.

Diamond Tour: The Cullinan Diamond mine discovered in 1902, situated in Pretoria, produced the largest diamond ever found in the world – the famed Cullinan. The stone with a mass of 3 106 carats, was presented to King Edward VII. It was then cut into the 530 carat Star of Africa, which is set in the sceptre of the Crown Jewels; the 317-carat Lesser Star of Africa, which is set in the Imperial State Crown of the Crown Jewels; seven other gems worn by the Royal Family; 96 lesser gems, also known as brilliants. Tours to the Cullinan Diamond Mine can be arranged.

Lesedi Village: Nestling in the pristine bushveld at the foot of the Magaliesburg mountains, north of Johannesburg, lies Lesedi Cultural Village, where families from the Zulu warrior nation, the proud Xhosa, the warm hearted Pedi and the mountain dwelling BaSotho, live in their traditional homesteads. Lesedi awaits those willing to participate in an adventure that reveals the mystical cultures of these ancient peoples, steeped in tribal folklore and ancestral traditions.

Fishing: Is one of South Africa’s most popular sports and the visitor has the choice of a deep sea excursion after Game fish like Marlin and Tunny, Crayfish (lobster) excursion along the Atlantic side of Cape Town, where the catch is enjoyed on board with some excellent Cape Wines, Rock and Surf fishing and Trout fishing breakaways can also be arranged.

Golf: South Africa is home to world class golf courses. These include the Gary Player CC at Sun City – venue of the annual Million Dollar Challenge, Fancourt which has two Championship layouts, Royal Johannesburg’s East course and Rand Park, Durban Country Club and Erinvale in the Cape, South Africa is truly a “Golfing Paradise” with weather to match it.
However, the magnificent scenery of the fabulous Table Mountain backdrop can be a distraction when playing golf in Cape Town.

RESTAURANT GUIDE

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NIGHTLIFE ENTERTAINMENT

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