South Africa has been referred to as a ‘World In One Country’ and a ‘Rainbow Nation’. It does indeed have some of the most awesome and diverse scenery, wonderful wildlife and the richest mixes of culture found in Africa today.
South Africa is located at the southern tip of Africa and is divided into nine provinces. The country has a huge coastline running from Mozambique in the east all the way around to Namibia in the west – some 2,798 kilometres which borders two oceans - the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. To the north of the country lie Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe; to the east are Mozambique and Swaziland.
The population of South Africa is one of the most complex and diverse in the world.
Habitats in South Africa are just as diverse. The interior is a vast, flat, and sparsely populated scrubland, the Karoo, which is drier towards the northwest along the Namib Desert. The eastern coastline is lush and well-watered, and enjoys a climate similar to the tropics.
To the north of Johannesburg, the altitude drops beyond the escarpment of the Highveld, and turns into the lower lying Bushveld, an area of mixed dry forest and an abundance of wildlife. East of the Highveld, beyond the eastern escarpment, the Lowveld stretches towards the Indian Ocean and has higher temperatures.
The climate in South Africa is again diverse with most regions have hot, humid summers with frequent late afternoon thunderstorms from November to March, and a cooler, dry and sunny winter season lasting from June to September.
The dry season lasts from April and extends all the way to October with the coldest days in July–August.
In winter, also due to altitude, temperatures drop to freezing point, and in some places, even lower. During winter, it is warmest in the coastal regions, especially on the eastern Indian Ocean coast.
Rain is to be expected mainly in the summer months, with the exception of the Western Cape, which is a winter-rain area that enjoys a Mediterranean climate.
South Africa has a huge and varied amount of public and private wildlife regions and game parks in many different habitats including desert, mountain, coastal and forest.
It is ranked sixth out of the world's seventeen megadiverse countries with more than 20,000 different plants, or about 10% of all the known species of plants on the planet, making it particularly rich in plant biodiversity.
Mammals found in the bushveld including lions, leopards, white rhinos, blue wildebeest, kudus, impalas, hyenas, hippopotamus and giraffes. A significant extent of the bushveld exists in the north-east including Kruger National Park, Sabi Sands and the Mala Mala Reserve, as well as in the far north in the Waterberg Biosphere.
South Africa is one of the top birding destinations in the world with over 858 species of bird recorded including 31 endemics and nine species introduced by man.
Combine South Africa's fantastic wildlife with a journey along the Garden Route or perhaps indulge in a little wine tasting in Stellenbosch or Franschhoek. Hire a car, travel by train or fly to create your perfect itinerary.
Enjoy whale watching along the Garden Route in Hermanus and along the southern Cape Coast. The southern right whale can be viewed from June to Novermber and the peak calving season is from July to August.
Because of it's long coastline South Africa offers a diverse array of diving opportunities but is better known for sharks and other large marine life. Underwater habitats can range from tropical coral reefs in the north of KwaZulu-Natal to cool temperate rocky reefs on the West Coast.
The annual sardine run up the east coast is justly famous and there are a large number of wrecks along the coast providing good dive sites.
South African diving is generally more physically challenging than the more popular destinations. It may involve cold water, surf launches, big swell or strong currents. Shark cage diving can be arranged in the Cape Town areas.
For families there are the malaria free reserves and parks along the Eastern Cape or Madikwe which can easily be combined with time on the beach in stunning locations. Horse riding safaris can be arranged in a number of locations and habitats.
Combine the wildlife of the Kruger area with the Bazaruto Archipelago for a superb 'bush and beach' itinerary.
Or visit the historical Zulu Battlefields, superb game reserves and miles of coastal areas of Kwazulu Natal with the freedom of your own car.
So - where to start? We have recently travelled to South Africa and have visited the Kruger National Park, Sabi Sands and many of the private reserves in the area. Additionally we have travelled to malaia free Madikwe National Park and extensively in Kwazulu Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape. Most of our itineraries are tailor made to suit your exact requirements, interests and budget.
We would be delighted to assist you with your adventure - call us for ideas and inspiration on 01386 830264 or email [email protected]