South Africa is huge and diverse, and quite different from the other African countries we travel to. It offers world-class cities, outstanding wildlife safaris, breathtaking landscapes and activities (Great White shark cage diving, anyone?), friendly hospitality - and sophisticated restaurants and bars serving some of the very best food and wine to be found anywhere in Africa. The best of South Africa can easily be combined into a two-week trip incorporating Cape Town and the neighbouring winelands, a safari in one of the private game reserves adjoining Kruger National Park, and a self-drive trip along the famous Garden Route. As an added bonus, much of the country is malaria-free. South Africa holidays are ideal for families with children of any ages.
South Africa Holidays: 5 top reasons to go
1. The wildlife! South Africa’s wildlife parks have a fabulous variety and density of African big game, and the safari experiences on offer are well-managed - some are even malaria free.
2. For outdoorsy types like us, South Africa’s mountains, seas, rivers and bush combine to offer a mouth-watering multi-activity holiday the like of which we haven’t found anywhere else.
3. South Africa’s infrastructure is advanced, making it a very easy place to get around – the internal flight network is good and self-drive is also a viable option. There is a vast range of accommodation at every level, from simple guesthouses and B&Bs right up to super-expensive world-class luxury suitable for the most discerning traveller. South Africa is therefore a fantastic introduction to Africa for first-time visitors.
5. The great value that the Rand is currently offering: you can get more holiday and more luxury now for your money than you could get a few years ago. What's not to like about that!
South Africa: some background
The ‘cradle of humanity’, South Africa was inhabited by our ancestors over 2.5million years ago. The South Africa recognisable today began to take shape around the middle of the 17th Century when the Europeans arrived. Diamonds, and the attraction of South Africa’s shores lining a popular trade route, irrevocably influenced the country’s history and intensified its battles, until it won independence as a sovereign state in the early 1960s.
Although South Africa has experienced a great deal of unrest due to racist legislation enacted during the apartheid era, the apartheid laws were finally rescinded in 1991 with a democratic election following shortly thereafter. South Africa now represents a vibrant emerging market economy and is a safe and welcoming country to visit.
In geographical terms South Africa is vast, approximately twice the size of France, and packs in a smorgasbord of landscapes which can be reduced to three main areas: the low-lying coastal zone which gives way to a mountainous escarpment which in turn pans out into a high inland plateau.