It’s interesting that when I saw this news, I was so excited that I wanted to focus on this great country for my weekly content but then figured I likely already had. When I looked back at all my blogs, they were focused on Uganda, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya and various other points about traveling to Africa, but nothing specifically on South Africa.
This particular country was the one we first fell in love with since it has such a diverse offering with a variety of experiences for everyone including, obviously, our initial passion and reason for traveling to Africa, that is Great Safari Experiences!
In fact, for our first South African trip, we only had 3 nights of Safari in Sabi Sand Game Reserve located adjacent to the Kruger National Park at the delightful Singita Boulders Lodge depicted here. Our second trip to South Africa, we planned a total of 8 nights of safari with 4 nights in 2 completely different reserves with a couple of nights in between at a great beach property near Durban, called The Oyster Box Hotel, to break it up. We also experienced the fabulous Rovos Rail on this trip and went to Victoria Falls on the Zambian side. Certainly, we quickly learned what our preferences were to enable me to better assist others with their planning.
Photo courtesy of Virtuoso - Singita's Boulders Lodge
Since these first 2 trips to South Africa, we’ve since done 2 more land safaris including our Uganda experience with the gorillas, chimpanzees & tree lions and our lovely East Africa experience in Kenya along with Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side with a stay on the Zambezi River and also the lovely country of Botswana. In the middle of these 4 experiences, we also enjoyed a fabulous luxury ocean cruise traveling roundtrip from Cape Town enabling us to see a lot more of the South African coastline including some great land safari excursions plus acquiring a taste of Namibia & Mozambique.
I love this description of South Africa: “One of the most beautiful and diverse countries on earth, and a world-class destination for every type of traveler.” You can choose from any of these great experiences or have them all, including safari wildlife, active adventure, cultural roots & history, coastal beaches, scenic beauty, city lifestyle, great food and wines and wonderful people!
Here's a great link for a great Consumer Brochure of South Africa and all that it has to offer:
In the fabulous city of Cape Town alone, you can easily spend days with all that this great place has to offer including Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Devil’s Peak, Bo-Kaap, Chapman’s Peak, Cape of Good Hope & Cape Point Lighthouse, Simon’s Town, Boulders Beach & the Penguins, Seal Island & the Cape fur seals, Kirstenbosch Gardens, Robben Island, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront for great shopping & dining, the nearby wine regions of Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, & Constantia and so much more. Not much further afield is Hermanus for some great whale watching and plenty else to do throughout the various seasons for adventure-seeking travelers.
Photo courtesy of Virtuoso - Mont Rochelle in Franschhoek, SA
And that’s just one city, albeit a fabulous one, in the Western Cape province of South Africa! From Cape Town, one can consider a beautiful scenic drive called “The Garden Route”, that pretty much starts in Cape Town and ends in Port Elizabeth. It runs for almost 200 miles along a coastal road on the southwest tip of South Africa and many regard it to be the most beautiful region in the country. The drive can take anywhere from 3 to 14 days, but one recommended option is for 5 days that would include stretches from Cape Town to Hermanus; Hermanus to Cape Agulhas; Struisbaai Beach to Oudtshoorn; Oudtshoorn to Knysna; and finally, Knysna to Port Elizabeth (also nicknamed PE).
All along the Garden Route there are great opportunities for hiking trails, water sport activities, nature reserves, beaches, dripstone caves, wine tasting, golfing, shopping, Great White shark cage diving, and plenty of beautiful flora and fauna.
Another great area that I mentioned earlier was Durban where we stayed nearby at the famous Oyster Box Hotel on the coast. This is part of the KwaZulu-Natal province where we also had a wonderful safari experience in the Phinda Private Game Reserve. Interestingly, Durban has the highest population of Indians outside of India.
Gauteng province includes both Pretoria, the capital of South Africa and the famous Johannesburg where the primary international airport resides called OR Tambo. Joburg is known as “The City of Gold” and is the largest city in South Africa. It features The Apartheid Museum, Soweto & Mandela House, Constitution Hill, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Cradle of Humankind to name just a few places to visit in and around the area.
The very popular and famous Kruger National Park resides in the Northeastern part of South Africa and is one of the largest game reserves in all of Africa. Greater Kruger National Park that includes adjoining private reserves, such as Sabi Sand, Timbavati, and Thornybush to name a few, encompasses 2 million hectares of unfenced borders enabling animals to roam freely in between each of these reserve areas.
There are so many incredible safari lodges all over South Africa including some even in malaria-free areas and you can even bring your children and family to share these experiences with them. The animals are what it's all about and there are so many! The big 5 including elephants, buffalo, rhinos, leopard, and lions along with cheetah, giraffe, all kinds of antelope, birds galore, hippos, zebra, you name it and they have just about all of them in South Africa!
I can't recommend South Africa highly enough. It just has so much to offer everyone, young and old, adventurous and not-so adventurous, foodies, culture and history lovers, everyone! If and when you're ready to plan your South African experience or anything else on the great continent of Africa, I'm here for you and looking forward to it!