The Republic of South Africa is a country located at the Southern tip of Africa, with a 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) coastline on the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. To the north lie Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe; to the east are Mozambique and Swaziland; while Lesotho is an independent country wholly surrounded by South African territory.
South Africa is known for its diversity in cultures and languages. Eleven official languages are recognised in the constitution. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans, a language which originated mainly from Dutch that is spoken by the majority of white and Coloured South Africans, and South African English. Though English has a large role in public and commercial life, it is nevertheless only the fifth most-spoken home language in South Africa.
South Africa's population was estimated to be 49 million in the 2010 census, with roughly 50% living in urban areas, and 50% in rural areas.
The Garden Route is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in South Africa, and is home to the coastal villages of Plettenberg Bay, Knysna and Wildnerness. This magnificent coastline is so peaceful that the rare African Oystercatcher is able to breed undisturbed on its coastline.
The Drakensburg Mountains
The Drakensberg Mountains, otherwise known as the uKhahlamba, meaning the Barrier of Spears is a 200-kilometre-long mountainous wonderland and world heritage site. The largest proportion of the Drakensberg area falls in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
The Zulu people named it 'Ukhahlamba' and the Dutch Voortrekkers 'The Dragon Mountain'. The Drakensberg Mountains, with their awe-inspiring basalt cliffs, snowcapped in winter, tower over riverine bush, lush yellowwood forests and cascading waterfalls, form a massive barrier separating KwaZulu-Natal from the Kingdom of Lesotho.
Panorama Route, Mpumalanga
The magnificent Panorama Route in Mpumalanga is best known for its cultural heritage and its dramatic landscapes. Offering a vast array of exciting options for the visitor, the Panorama Route hosts some of the best adrenalin enhancing adventures in the country as well as some more placid pastimes.
One of the major highlights of the region is the Blyde River Canyon Reserve, home to spectacular wildlife and birdlife and some of the best views in South Africa.
Cape Town is famous for a variety of attractions that stretch from the famous Table Mountain all the way down to the sea. With a rich history, vibrant culture, pearly white beaches, charming fishing villages, colourful floral reserves and numerous activities, including Robben Island and The Cape of Good Hope.
Kruger National Park
Is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers 19,485 square kilometres (7,523 sq mi) and extends 360 kilometres (220 mi) from north to south and 65 kilometres (40 mi) from east to west. It is home to the Africa's 'Big 5' - elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, lion and buffalo. Kruger National Park has over 500 species of birds, 150 species of mammals (including some 12,000 elephants), 100 reptiles, 23000 plant species and a variety of amphibians.
When to travel
South Africa is a very large country and the climate varies from region to region. The best time to travel to South Africa will depend on what you want to experience. It is year round destination and each season offers something different.
Cape Town experiences a cold and rainy winter from June until August and then is generally dry and hot from December until March. The cooler months can be ideal for hiking and outdoor sports. Surfing in the winter months is at its best in Cape Town. The summer months in Cape Town will attract vacationing locals and international visitors, meaning heavily booked accommodation and higher prices. We advise booking in advance if you plan to visit between December and February.
Johannesburg and Kruger National Park have heavy summer rainfall and thundershowers from December to March, and a dry winter period from May to October. The best time to visit Kruger National park is during the dry winter months, that being from May until October.
Getting there and away
Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport is Africa’s busiest airport with direct flights to 5 different continents as well as a multitude of destinations – both domestically in South Africa and regionally.
Cape Town is serviced by a few international airlines with good connections to London, Amsterdam, Paris, Istanbul and Dubai.