South Africa, deep at the base of the African continent. This colourful nation is a homage to immense natural beauty and broad cultural diversity. Here you'll find vibrant cities, pristine beaches in dramatic landscapes. Along with some of the world's best safari experiences.
South African Landscape
South Africa has many faces, each one is worth getting to know. Inland, the majority of the landscape features high, flat plateaus with endless grasslands and rolling plains. In contrast, the cities along the coasts boast pristine beaches with dramatic mountainous backdrops. The Great Escarpment mountain region borders on three sides except for the North. South Africa's three largest cities are Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. Just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to discovering South Africa.
South African Gastronomy
South Africa is a gastronomes paradise and you'll find plenty of creative foods to feed the soul. Influenced by its bordering neighbours and expatriates, the cuisine in South Africa has evolved and diversified over the years from its beginnings among the indigenous tribes. Biltong is probably South Africa's most loved snack. Meat dried and cured with spices, it's usually made from beef, but can come in a variety of versions like chicken and venison. Boerewors is another staple favourite. The beef mince sausage has a high meat content and is spiced to perfection. Then there's bobotie, minced beef or lamb flavoured with spices and browned in the oven into a hearty omelette. You may have noticed that South African cuisine seems to be dominated by meats and spices, (and begin with a B).
South African Culture
Culture in South Africa is a blended mix of African traditions, diversifications and new technologies. The country boasts an impressive number of 7 official languages, with many more being spoken across the board. This distinctive collection of cultures can vary from region to region, with certain aspects being more prominent than others. One trope that transcends the borders of African culture is dance. Each region and society brings its own nuances, but music and dance have always been a strong part of African culture. Representing the dynamic energy and vitality of the people and a strong bond with their cultures and traditions.
National Parks in South Africa
South Africa is famed for its abundance of wild game and extraordinary sites in the bushveld and reserves such as Kruger National Park. South Africa has more than 20 National Parks where you'll have the chance to see lions, elephants, zebras, and all manner of life. The best part? It's all in the wilds of its natural habitat. You can't get more eco-friendly than that. Getting out on safari is a true bucket list item and one that can leave you with memories for a lifetime.
Know Before You Go
The best way to get around the extensive boundaries of South Africa is by car. Even the big cities don't have a convenient public transport system apart from the Gautrain in Johannesburg. Plus, road tripping is the best way to experience South Africa's varied and remarkable geography.
Water is safe to drink in the city, so be an ecowarrior and fill up your water bottle. Though do check first when in the country and the bushveld.
Getting out into nature in South Africa is a major perk and an opportunity to witness some of the world's rarest sights. But rewarding scenes are even available in the heart of the city. Table Mountain dominates the skyline in Cape Town and you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views after a hike to the summit. Don't worry if you want to enjoy the scene but can't quite tackle the terrain. There's also a cable car with epic 360-degree views to the top.
You should take precautions for malaria in some areas. Be sure to check the areas you will be visiting including Kruger National Park and Limpopo.
Best Time To Visit South Africa
South Africa is inviting all year round, with bright, sunny weather and a mild winter temperament. Depending on your plans, the best times to visit can vary.
City - November to February is hot and dry. Perfect for enjoying the many beaches and coastlines around the cities. Visit between July and November and you'll have the best chance of spotting majestic whales along the South-Western Cape.
Christmas and New year can get super popular. So it's best to think ahead and lock in accommodation in advance.
Safari - The best season for a South African Safari adventure is from May to September (winter). This is the dry season, which is the most opportune time for safaris when animals gather around the waterholes. Mornings and nights can get cold but viewing the wildlife in all its glory is uncomparable this time of year.
What To Expect
Thinking of planning your dream trip to South Africa? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Currency - The official currency in South Africa is the Rand (ZAR)
Language - South Africa has 7 official languages the main ones being Afrikaans and English.
ATMs - There's no shortage of ATM's in the cities. It's best to stick to the common ones attached to banks, supermarkets and shopping malls. Avoid private ATM's that have higher fees.
Plugs & Sockets - South Africa has a whopping 4 plug types. C, D, M and N. Type C is the common style plug with 2 round pins. The standard voltage is 230v and 50Hz frequency.
Safety - South Africa is considered safe and is very tourist-friendly, but it's one of the big hitters for petty thefts and scams. Stay alert in touristy areas and keep your belongings safe.
Climate - Due to its expanse of space, the different regions of South Africa can see varying conditions in climate. Though most of the country enjoys glorious warm sunny days and cool nights for much of the year.
The inner regions and interior plateau have a temperate climate. Whereas the coastal southwestern corner is more Meditteranean. Enjoying hot summers around a comfortable 27 degrees celsius and mild winters.
The rain season falls mostly between May and August in the Western Cape (winter, Cape Town). A little more evenly in the Eastern Cape from November through to March (summer, Johannesburg).