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South Africa

South Africa is made of unforgettable scenery, from lofty mountains to sun-baked deserts and dramatic coastlines washed by the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Game viewing in the many parks and reserves is both spectacular and surprising - you'll find both penguins and elephants. The Republic of South Africa is a country located at the southern tip of Africa, with a 2,798 kilometres coastline with the Atlantic and Indian Oceans lining it. To the north lies Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe; to the east are Mozambique and Swaziland; while Lesotho is an independent country wholly surrounded by South African territory.

Overshadowed by the dramatic Table Mountains and washed by the Atlantic, Cape Town is one of the world's most picturesque cities. Sample fine wine in the tranquil wine lands, and then explore the country towns, lagoons and forests along the pretty Garden Route. The Wild Coast boasts isolated beaches, rocky coastline and traditional rural villages, and the resorts along the KwaZulu-Natal coast offer lots of family seaside fun.

South Africa has a vivid history that is told excellently in the museums of Johannesburg. It is by far the country's most vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage. Visit Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town's main hub, it is a beautifully restored old Victorian harbour that offers free entertainment and a wide variety of shops, museums, taverns and restaurants. Being a wildlife paradise, South Africa offers the largest colony of African penguins found living on the mainland on a protected part of Boulders Beach in Simonstown, near Cape Town. Do not miss a visit to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve as well as the Kruger National Park. The Panorama Route, Mpumalanga is also a trip to cherish a lifetime. At the top of the spectacularly scenic Blyde River Canyon in the northern Drakensberg, just to the west of Kruger, there are waterfalls, dramatic mountains, plunging cliffs and fine views of the Lowveld. A visit to Johannesburg is also a must, just as vital as it is to explore the Robben Island. Some of the finest wines in the world come from South Africa so be prepared for some fantastic cuisine and the finest spirits as you douse yourself in some South African flamboyance.


Quick Facts

Location: Southern Africa

Time: GMT + 2


Capital: Cape Town (legislative)

Visa: Pre-departure visas required for some Nationalities.  


Language: The official languages are Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga.

Weather

South Africa's climate is generally sunny and pleasant, but there is considerable regional variation: the northwest is very arid, the south is temperate, and the northeast has a more typically tropical climate. Winters (May to August) are generally mild, particularly in the Western Cape; most of the rest of the country receives only a brief cold spell, when snow falls on the mountain ranges and occasionally in lower-lying areas. The rainiest months in Cape Town are May to August; Johannesburg receives most of its annual rainfall in the summer, between November and March.

Currency

The currency of South Africa is the Rand.