South Africa Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes
Find South Africa Travel and
Tourist Information with links to official
travel and tourism websites and state
resources for visitors to South Africa.
About South Africa
The Republic of South Africa has some of the most spectacular
coastline on the continent; between Port Elizabeth and The Cape.
Countries neighbouring South Africa are:
independent country of Lesotho forms an enclave in the eastern
part of the country.
Weather in Africa:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around Africa.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to explore the African
coast for a sea route to the East.
In 1652, the Dutch established a settlement on the Cape as a supply
base for the Dutch East India Company.
As more Dutch settlers arrived, joined by French Hugenots fleeing
persecution at home, the Khoikhoin slowly lost their lands.
During the Napoleonic Wars the British briefly occupied South Africa,
then in 1814 purchased the Cape Colony from the Dutch.
Thousands of British colonists arrived to impose British law in the
area, and give protection to the Khoikhoin. English became the official language in 1822.
The Boers resented this and started the Great Trek - a move north by
Bloody battles followed as the Boers sought fertile lands and able
locals to work them. The British also pushed their protectorates further and increased the
Boer loathing of them.
The discovery of Gold in the Boer controlled areas encouraged
thousands of British prospectors to move up in search of fortunes.
They were taxed heavily by the Boers and denied the right to vote,
causing a rebellion against Paul Kruger. The uprising was soon supported by soldiers from
the cape colony and the Boer War broke out.
The British suffered large early loses, but the Boer commandos were
gradually defeated, and the war formally ended with the signing of the Treaty of
Vereeniging in 1902.
The financial centre of South Africa is in the north-east of the
The city was founded in 1886, above the world's largest known gold
deposits, and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange soon followed.
Most of today's gold mining occurs elsewhere on the Witwatersrand,
although corporate headquarters remain in Johannesburg.
Commissioner Street is the heart of the commercial area. Other
important buildings can be found around Eloff Street's shopping thoroughfare, south of the
city's railway station.
The Market Theatre complex includes several theatres as well as art
Gold Reef City is recreation of a Victorian-era mining town for
To the south-west of Johannesburg lies the black township of
Soweto; established by South Africa's former white government to segregate the country's
black and white populations.
There are organised tours to the township from Johannesburg.
The most famous national park in South Africa is the Kruger National
The administrative capital of South Africa is well planned, with
large parks and a number of landmarks commemorating the history of Transvaal.
The people here speak mostly Africaans.
Sir Herbert Baker designed the curving Parliament Buildings in
You can also visit the home of Paul Kruger, the president of the
breakaway South African Republic, or Transvaal, from 1883 to 1900.
The Transvaal Museum contains natural history displays, while the
Municipal Art Gallery features South African art and the Pretoria Art Museum has a
collection of 17th-century Dutch art.
Other collections are housed in the National Cultural History and
Open-Air Museum, and the Military Museum is located in the 19th century Fort Schanskop.
The National Zoological Gardens are also in Pretoria. No beaches in
the capital though, for that you'll have to head out to Durban and follow the coast down
to Cape Town.
Known as Kaapstad in Afrikaans, Cape Town is the legislative
capital of South Africa.
Located at the northern end of the Cape Peninsula, Cape Town is one of
South Africa's most popular holiday destinations; renowned for its scenic beauty and
selection of beaches.
It is also a regular port of call for freight and passenger vessels
rounding the Cape of Good Hope to the south.
There are many restaurants and tourist shops around the harbour, with
street entertainers performing below the magnificent backdrop of Table Mountain.
You can get to the top of Table Mountain by cable car if you don't
want to walk or drive. The view of the surrounding area is excellent.
On a Sunday, take the train out to Kalk Bay and enjoy your Fish Braai
to live music.
The oldest buildings in Cape Town are the Castle, and the Dutch
The Malay Quarter on Signal Hill has interesting old Dutch-style
buildings and mosques.
As well as the houses of Parliament, Cape Town has a good selection of
museums to visit; most notably the Michaelis Collection of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish
Town - The Fairest Cape:
As a destination and gateway to the rest of South Africa or the Western Cape region, Cape
Town continues to grow in popularity with international travellers. And with good reason.
The Robben Island Museum was established as a National Monument and National Museum, by
the Cabinet of the South African Government, in September 1996. Nelson Mandela was
imprisoned there before he became President, and revisited his former cell to light a
candle for democracy as part of South Africa's Year 2000 ceremony.
Furnished with period pieces and original artworks, this home offers a unique combination
of old-world charm and ultra-modern facilities. Somerset West, on False Bay.
Affordable car rental vehicles for local and international clients. Although Cape Town is
a beautiful place, there is a lot of crime. When driving around, keep your windows closed
and door locks at all times.
There is a lot of things to think about when planning your trip to
Cape Town is not your average city. You can stay there for a week and
not experience everything that you wanted to; so plan ahead wisely.
Book your accommodation close to the city centre or within the
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront - a good option because you can move freely around in a
What to See and Do in Cape Town?
There are a lot of tour operators that provide Cape Town Tours (if you
do not go the packaged route) and normally this will enable you to cover quite a lot of
ground with an expert tour guide.
Like Eating Out?
Well, so does Cape Town. The city has got some really good eateries
and the locals love being seen there, so make reservations early (even before you depart),
to avoid not sampling some amazing food.
A good restaurant guide to use is
Choose The Time of Year Wisely
Summer months (December to March) are great but normally the city is
quite packed and the hotels charge quite a bit; whereas the winter months (May to August
or even September) you will find much less people and the rates for hotels drops
Winters in Cape Town are not too cold and you can often be lucky and
find some really nice days. Going on safari in South Africa is best in the winter, as less
grass which makes game viewing easier.
There are a lot of seasonal activities which needs some considering
when visiting the Mother city:
Whale season (June to November).
West Coast flower season (August to October).
Beach season (December to April - remember that the Atlantic is quite
cold and not conducive to swimming).
By Shaun Scrooby - Adventure
Located in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Durban is a seaport and whaling
station on the Indian Ocean. It is also a popular beach resort.
Durban is blessed with balmy weather all year round, making it a
perfect holiday paradise. The beachfront is bordered by five star hotels and luxury
apartments, all of which have an idyllic view of the Indian Ocean.
The official site of the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Authority.
East London is another popular beach resort, halfway down the
Indian Ocean coast of South Africa.
It was used as a British garrison during a war between the British and
the indigenous Xhosas in 1847.
Fine beaches are also found at Port Elizabeth, further south of
The King George VI Art Gallery has collections of British and South
African art, while the Port Elizabeth Museum has natural history exhibits, an Oceanarium,
and a collection of reptiles.
You can also visit Fort Frederick, built by the British in 1799, and
the nearby Addo Elephant National Park.
The capital of the Free State is the judicial capital of South
Africa; home to the highest court in the land.
The beautiful natural setting helped to give Bloemfontein its name:
'Fountain of Flowers'.
South Africa by Rail
The railway system in South Africa links all main centres.
The Blue Train:
The Blue Train has an aura of mystique about it. Kings and presidents have travelled on
this magnificent moving five-star hotel. The route between Pretoria and Cape Town is a
27-hour journey of 1,600 kilometres (994 miles), through some of the most diverse and
spectacular scenery offered by the African sub-continent.
South Africa by Road
The best way to enjoy the scenery is to travel down South Africa,
along the coast.
One of the most significant developments of the backpacking industry in South Africa has
to be the Baz Bus. Specifically designed for budget travellers and backpackers, the Baz
Bus picks them up and drops them off at backpacker hostels or lodges around the country.
Baz Bus Routes:
Johannesburg or Pretoria to Cape Town, via Swaziland or Drakensburg.
Cape Town to Durban.
Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.
Johannesburg or Pretoria to Durban, via Swaziland and Drakensburg on a
South Africa by Air
The busiest airport is Johannesburg, but you can also fly to Rio
de Janeiro from Cape Town.
Airlines & Airports:
South African Airways is the major airline, and the country is also served by several
smaller carriers as well as foreign airlines.
Coast to Coast:
Colourful backpackers guide to southern Africa.
SA-Venues - South Africa Explored:
Available in both English and German, one of
the largest online travel guides for
South Africa has been assisting travellers with
their South Africa travel plans since 1999.
Offers luxurious five star accommodation and renowned cuisine amidst spectacular mountain
scenery. Close to Kruger National Park, in the heart of wild Africa.
Situated in the heart of the Valley of the Olifants in the Lowveld of the Northern
Province, South Africa, Phalaborwa forms the central gate to the world-renowned Kruger
National Park and is known as The True Gateway to Game and Golf.
This vast dominating range of mountains, stretching in a mighty panorama from east to west
across the northern reaches of the Northern Province of South Africa, is unique in its
splendour and beauty.
The privately run Ranch Hotel is situated on 1,000 hectares of South African bushveld,
only 2 hours drive north of Pretoria (on the N1) and 20 minutes south of Pietersburg.
Find hotels in South Africa with special online rates.
Paradise Found - Knysna:
Bed and Breakfast or self-catering accommodation; with an heavenly view of Knysna Lagoon.
The Place On The Bay:
This cosmopolitan retreat, perfectly positioned on the Atlantic Seaboard, offers
exclusive, luxury, self-catering apartments in the heart of Cape Town's trendiest suburb;
Planning a trip to South Africa
Make sure you plan your trip to include two thirds of your time on the
Eastern side of South Africa. This is rural Africa rich in cultural heritage, history and
the oldest game park in Africa - Hluhluwe-Umfolozi.
Home to the Zulu Nation, the Kingdom of KwaZulu-Natal has everything
from mountains to beaches, from nature to buzzing city life (Durban).
Phalaborwa is surrounded by game farms and natural wonders. The area
is a natural heritage site and evidence of ancient copper workings by tribes such as the
Ba-Phalaborwa people can still be seen.
Play 18-holes of golf on the championship Hans Merensky Golf Course,
while giving way to wildlife.
Skydiving, river rafting, river cruises, 4x4 trails, bird watching,
hiking, horse safaris are some of the activities on offer.
Phalaborwa is a safe and peaceful town with all the modern facilities
to make your stay comfortable.
Best Time to Visit South Africa
It all depends on what you want to visit. In general between April and
May, or September and November; when the weather is at its best. This falls into South
Africa's Autumn and Spring.
The rainy seasons for the Kruger Park is in December-January and for
Cape Town during June and July.
South Africa's Winter runs from the end of May to the end of August.
Then you can expect very cold temperature and snowfalls on the mountains.
What To Take When Visiting South Africa
In summer, wear something cool with a warmer clothing for the
evenings. In Winter, a bit of both, since during the day temperatures can get warm, but
evenings are cold.
In general: Some comfortable Shoes to walk with, a hat, sunscreen,
Safety in South Africa
Crime is a problem in any country. Please make sure to leave valuables
in the hotel safe. Don't travel with large amounts of cash at a time.
Stay in groups and out of dark lonely alleys.
Will we be able to travel by ourselves?
Yes, the roads in South Africa are in a good condition.
Rental Cars are available
with unlimited kilometres.
The South African Search Engine.
Eastern Cape and other provinces links and travel information sent in
to Travel Notes by Gareth Yearsley, an Eastern Cape Province resident.
Buffalo City forms the central hub of the Eastern Cape, with the Sunshine Coast tourist
route leading west for about 300km from Buffalo city to Port Elizabeth and the Wild Coast
route leading from Buffalo City, north-east towards Durban.
Eastern Cape Tourism Board:
The Eastern Cape is situated along the south-eastern coast of South Africa. With
approximately 820 km of coastline, the beaches of the Eastern Cape stretch from the
Tsitsikamma National Park on the south coast, across St Francis Bay, Jeffreys Bay and
Algoa Bay, up to the pristine Wild Coast and south-eastern coast to Port Edward. Added to
the diverse coastal experiences are a number of national parks and private game reserves.
Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism:
Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, Despatch and Colchester), an excellent
value-for-money-family-fun-in-the-sun-holiday destination, named after Nelson Mandela -
humanitarian, freedom fighter and world icon of peace - is located 763km east of Cape
Town, is regarded as the 'official' gateway to the scenic Eastern Cape Province and the
world renowned Garden Route and is sometimes referred to (by the people who know her best)
as the 'friendly city' or the 'water sport capital of Africa'.
The Wild Coast:
The ruggedly beautiful Wild Coast stretches north from East London for 270km and offers
peaceful, laid-back holidays away from the tourist hoards with enough footprint-free
beaches, lazy lagoons, natural wonders and rocky headlands for everyone to enjoy.
Cape Town &
Western Cape Tourism:
The Western Cape offers nearly everything a traveller could want. From buzzing night-life
in Cape Town and Stellenbosch to wonderful beaches and many outdoor options. So the basic
itinerary should include some days in Cape Town, a visit to the Cape of Good Hope, wine
tasting in Paarl or Franschhoek or Robertson, Swartland and Overberg, and a trip along the
The Free State in the heart of South Africa is rich in history with diverse cultures and a
variety of activities.
Gauteng Tourism Authority:
Gauteng Province is a dynamic, sophisticated, cosmopolitan hub containing three large
cities and numerous smaller towns. It is the economic and social powerhouse of South
See and experience true Zulu culture, interact with Indian people and get a taste of
traditional English culture still practised by residents whose descendants came to the
territory in the nineteenth century. Tourist attractions range from the steamy beaches in
the busy metropolis of Durban to mountain resorts in the majestic Drakensberg Mountain
The Limpopo (Northern) Province portrays untamed Africa - ancient baobabs guarding vast
expanses of mountains and bushveld and offers a mosaic of tourist attractions. There are
many archaeological sites where the mysteries of the past and ancient peoples are still
haunting this harsh landscape.
Mpumalanga - 'the place where the sun rises'. The province is situated in the north
eastern part of the country and borders both Mozambique and Swaziland. It is an area of
immense natural beauty and diversity - a land of mountain splendour, wide horizons,
forests and plains, rock formations, caves and waterfalls.
Northern Cape Tourism:
Experience the beauty and tranquillity of numerous nature reserves, the adventure and
excitement of 4x4 routes, hiking trails, or river rafting expeditions, the waterfalls, the
world renowned flowers of Namaqualand or the richness of a diverse cultural heritage, the
Northern Cape has something unique to offer.
Tourism North West:
Whatever your preference, there is bound to be an adventure to keep you happy. The North
West is outdoors country, with a glorious climate & challenging adventure venues.
We offer attractions and facilities equal to the best in South Africa - unique
opportunities for white water rafting, canoeing, diving, hot air ballooning, hiking,
fishing, rock climbing, abseiling, hunting, apart from conventional sport like golf, or
other outdoor activities like bird watching, to name but a few.
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