About South Africa Travel
Blyde River Canyon: The scenic canyon forms the northern part of the Drakensberg escarpment. It is 26 kilometers/16 miles in length with an average depth of 762 meters/2,500 feet deep. It is one of the largest canyons on earth with lush subtropical foliage, deep cliffs, and geographical features such as God’s Window, a point along the escarpment with spectacular views of cliffs that plunge over 700 meters/2,297 feet to the lowveld.
Cape Town, Cape Winelands & Cederberg Mountains: Cape Town sits in the shadow of Table Mountain. It has a unique multicultural personality that is an amalgamation of Indonesian, French, Dutch, British and German settlers, Bushman and Khoi tribes and the Bantu tribes from the north. From this energetic mix comes a city alive with possibilities for the traveler to explore from the stylish shops of Victoria & Alfred Waterfront to the colorful Malay Quarter’s narrow streets and original buildings, many with facades dressed in vibrant hues. The city‘s history unfolds around every corner: the Castle of Good Hope, built in 1652, city center’s 18th-century buildings. Natural attractions abound, such the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Cape Point, with its captivating panoramas of two oceans – the Pacific and the Indian. The coast offers wildly scenic landscapes, fishing villages and Boulders Bay with its quirky colony of African penguins. Kirstenbosch Garden is enchanting. Cape Winelands encompasses classic wine estates and well-dressed villages of oak-lined avenues set against the backdrop of the Hottentots Holland Mountains. Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch form the heart of the Cape Winelands. Franschhoek is also noted for some of the top restaurants in the country. Cederberg Mountains and nature reserve north of Cape Town are noted for dramatic rock formations and San rock art. Found in the caves and overhangs of the area, some of these rock and cave paintings may date back to about 400 BC.
Eastern Cape & KwaZulu Natal: These two provinces offer an array of activities from trekking to big game safaris to beaches. The Eastern Cape encompasses the evergreen Tsitsikamma Forest, the rugged Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area and the arid Great Karoo. Pleasant year-round weather, miles of beach and easy access to a wide range of water sports make this a natural destination for outdoor enthusiasts. KwaZulu Natal supports two natural areas: the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites and considered wetlands of international importance. Phinda Private Game Reserve is situated in subtropical northern KwaZulu Natal, with close proximity to the warm Indian Ocean. It is an awardwinning game reserve with a strong focus on conservation and community involvement. KwaZulu Natal also has the unspoiled beaches of Maputaland, culture and history of the Natal battlefields.
Family Friendly Malaria-Free Game Reserves & Grootbos Nature Reserve:
Some of South Africa’s private game reserves have the benefit of being malaria free, important to families with young children or women who might be pregnant. Madikwe Game Reserve, for example, has lodges that include special safari activities for children such as learning to identify animal tracks. Game viewing includes lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, cheetah, Cape hunting dog, spotted hyena, giraffe, zebra and antelope. Grootbos is a private reserve renowned for its ecotourism and sustainability practices. It is spectacularly situated on the fynbos and forest clad hills of Walker Bay. Land-based whale watching is good here in season. The reserve’s Cape Fynbos Kingdom is a flora
biodiversity hotspot with more than 740 different species of plants. Grootbos Nature Reserve has promoted its beauty, interpreted its intricate stories, and developed projects focused on conserving this exceptional natural region.
Garden Route: The Garden Route travels through both the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces. On its journey between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, it edges along the Indian Ocean coastline where mountains crowd the shoreline, creating dramatic plunging cliffs. And, miles of uncluttered beaches invite leisurely walks. The route meanders through historic towns, alongside lakes and rivers into Tsitsikamma National Park, with its views of the muscular coastline. Ecosystems along the route range from a coastal plateau in a fertile area of lush greenery at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains to the edge of the Klein Karoo, a semi-arid region with towering mountains and gorges. Oudtshoorn is the center for ostrich farming.
Luxury Trains: South Africa is the home of two award-winning trains that offer unsurpassed luxury travel reminiscent of another era. The Blue Train and Rovos Rail are each unique in their own way. Rovos Rail offers a romantic, intimate experience with an ‘old style classic feel’ while the Blue Train offers similar luxury but with modern touches such as television in the rooms. It’s a journey into a timeless world of grace, elegance and romance, where spectacular scenery stirs your imagination and luxurious comfort soothes your body. Sit back, enjoy and relax! Both are exceptional, so the choice is yours.
Private Game Reserves: Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa, covering 19,485 square kilometers/7,523 square miles. Adjacent to Kruger are several leading private game reserves including Sabi Sands, Timbavati and Thorybush, which offer excellent game lodges and classic safari experiences. They share open boundaries with Kruger, which is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, an area designated by UNESCO as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve. Each private reserve has its own distinctive style and personality, but all are powerful models of sustainable tourism in action. The lodges and camps operate using environmentally friendly practices that help reduce any negative impact on the environment. They seek to insure conservation of biodiversity and preservation of the cultural heritage that includes benefits to the original local people.
Best Times to Travel to South Africa
Suggested South Africa Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is a cosmopolitan city with immense charm cradled by Table Mountain.
Day 2: Cape Town
Table Mountain, 18th-century buildings, Castle of Good Hope and colorful Malay Quarter are city landmarks.
Day 3: Cape Peninsula
The peninsula takes in a rugged coastline, historic Cape of Good Hope and the quirky penguins of Boulders Bay.
Day 4: Cape Town/Cederberg Mountains
Cederberg Mountains are known for dramatic landscapes and many ancient San rock art sites.
Day 5: Cederberg Mountains
Some rock art sites date back 10,000 years. Guided rock art walks, fly fishing, game drives, canoeing are all options.
Day 6: Cederberg Mountains/Cape Winelands
Some of the Cape Winelands established vineyards date back to 1652.
Day 7: Cape Winelands
The Winelands is an area of exquisite beauty with rocky mountains overlooking green vineyards.
Day 8: Cape Town/Pretoria/Luxury Train
The luxury trains of South Africa offer a touch of old-world elegance while traveling through distinctive landscapes.
Day 9: Pretoria/Johannesburg
Johannesburg is the heart of South Africa’s commercial life, and home to Soweto and the Apartheid Museum.
Day 10: Johannesburg/Private Game Reserve
Several private game reserves offer a classic safari experience.
Days 11/12: Private Game Reserve
Days on safari set their own pace with game viewing in search of lion, leopard, rare rhino, springbok and elephant.
Day 13: Blyde River Canyon
The scenic canyon encompasses the sheer cliffs of God’s Window, Pinnacle and Bourke’s Luck Potholes.
Day 14: Kruger/Johannesburg/Depart
Custom Travel Options
Family Friendly Malaria-Free Game Reserves & Grootbos Nature Reserve (4 days)
South Africa’s private game reserves offer a variety of options for experiencing a classic big game safari even with young children. Grootbos offer excellent whale watching.
Garden Route (4 days)
Historic towns, lakes, rivers, dramatic cliffs and beaches dot the route along the Indian Ocean before it turns inland.
KwaZulu Natal (3 days)
It is called the garden province and is the home of the Zulu nation, and offers a variety of excursions.
Private Game Reserves (4 days)
These game reserves play a vital role in the health of Southern Africa’s wildlife lands while providing quintessential big game safaris.
Land price, per person, double occupancy: Approx. $700 - $2,000 per day.