South Africa Travel

Table Mountain in Cape Town

Table Mountain in Cape Town

The Republic of South Africa – the Rainbow Nation… This country fills you with inspiration and beauty and those who visit, are bound to be touched by her gentle nature and warm heart.

Mother Africa – the land has seen many hardships and survived many battles, but still offers glorious terrain and tranquility amongst all this. South Africa used to boast just 4 main provinces namely, the Transvaal, The Cape, Orange Free State, and Natal.

After the Apartheid era during the “African Renaissance” the country was further divided and now offers 9 amazing provinces for visitors to explore to their heart’s content. In each you will find familiarities, exciting and strange aspects, diversity and lovely people.

To travel to South Africa you will require a keen spirit of adventure and the ability to relax and be enveloped by the stunning sunsets, clear oceans, marvelous forests, unique bushveld and golden sun. You will find worlds within one country here and depending on where you go you will find rolling hills, magnificent mountains, vast farmlands, wildflower fields, vibrant, busy cities, lively beaches, warm and cold oceans, abundant wildlife, forests and rivers, deserts, savannah, and much more.

The summer months occur from around mid-November to mid-March and the winter season truly begins in May lasting until August. Depending on where you go in South Africa, you will find perfect weather conditions during any time of year. The rainy season in the Western Cape area is unpredictable and you may well have a day or two of rain during the middle of February. Most of the rain, however, occurs in June and July, with some gorgeous mild days that you can take full advantage of. In the Northernmost provinces you will find the rain pattern opposite, with most of the downpours being short lived and occurring during November, December and January.

Starting at Cape Town International Airport in the southernmost part of the country, a traveler will be greeted by pleasant weather conditions. Cape Town is mostly hot with occasional high winds and light, infrequent showers during the summer season, and in winter, despite some strong winds and rainy days, you can experience some of the best weather of the year. As you leave the airport the first sight you will have the pleasure of seeing is the famous Table Mountain. From here you can take tours inland to the various wine regions of the Boland, further south to the Peninsula, and along the West and East coasts for amazing vacations.

Landing at O.R. Tambo (formerly Johannesburg) International Airport which is in the Gauteng Province, you have the opportunity to experience the busy city life straight away.

The climate here during summer months is hot and dry and prone to the occasional outburst of rain to cool the land complete with vivid lightening displays. The winters here are much colder, being inland and frost is commonly seen in the mornings. You may also experience hail storms here during the winter. Try to build in a day to tour the South African Wine Country, one of the largest in the world. From here you can make your way to the nation’s capital city of Pretoria, now called Tswane and visit some of the major shopping malls and see the country’s political seat.

To travel across the entire country is great fun and there are various splendid routes that you can make use of whether you join a tour group, or hire a car. The journey from Johannesburg to Cape Town is approximately 1500 km and you can make the trip by car in about 18 hours if you include time to stop at the interesting towns along the way. From Johannesburg to the famous and much loved Kruger National Park takes about 4 hours by car. The Kruger National Park, located on the edges of the Limpopo Province and Mpumalanga Province is very hot and dry. The best time to visit the Park is during winter where the temperatures are still in the high 20 and early 30 degrees Celsius, although the nights are chilly. You can start your South African journey here and land at the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport.

If you want to experience the East Coast of the country in places like Durban, Port Elizabeth and East London your trip can last around 12 hours from Cape Town or Johannesburg. You can also land at Durban International Airport. The East Coast is a very interesting place to visit and much of the water sports community is located here. If you love surfing, waterskiing, jet skiing and windsurfing, then this is the place to be. This part of the country is generally more humid than other parts and the nights can be lovely and warm.

In the North West of the country your travels (and luck!) can begin at the fabulous Sun City and Lost City resort and casino. Pilansberg Game Reserve is near here and the International Airport of the same name can welcome you. This area is also hot and dry in summer, but offers mild, pleasant winters.

When you fly to South Africa you will need to make sure that you have the following:

  • Summer and winter clothes. The weather changes very suddenly and can be unpredictable.
  • Your passport and visas. South Africa welcomes exchange students and those with temporary and working visas.
  • Your ID documentation. This may be needed at the airport and will be needed for your place of accommodation, entrance to certain places and for some activities.
  • Secure luggage and money carriers. It is best to use traveler’s cheques and carry credit cards to ensure safety.
  • Organize your transportation before you leave. You can make use of the friendly and efficient services of car hire companies that operate from any airport.
  • Translation Guide – South Africa is mainly an English-speaking country. South Africa also has an Afrikaans-speaking population (this is very similar to Dutch and Flemish) as well as various people that speak one or more of the other 11 official languages. The African languages spoken here officially are Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho and Tswana, Ndebele, Pedi, Swazi, Tsonga and Venda.

Welcome to South Africa – the country alive with possibility!

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