South Africa Locations

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The world renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African lowveld, this national park of nearly two million hectares, is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies.

Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive variety of flora and fauna, including three hundred and thirty six species of trees, one hundred and fourteen species of reptiles, five hundred and seven species of birds, and one hundred and forty seven mammals.

Man’s interaction with the lowveld environment over many centuries – from bushman rock paintings to majestic archaeological sites like Masorini and Thulamela, is very evident in the Kruger National Park. These treasures represent the cultures, persons and events that played a role in the history of the Kruger National Park and are conserved along with the park’s natural assets.

Few cities in the world are blessed with such a recognizable natural icon as Table Mountain, rising above the “mother city”, welcoming all to visit her. Visitors from the past have left their distinct mark and today Cape Town pays homage to all the cultures that have influenced it’s history and that of the Southern Africa region. Attractions include Robben Island, Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Groot Constantia, beautiful beaches and Table Mountain. A multitude of other activities are on offer thus making Cape Town a perfect destination.

With its magnificent natural beauty, its rich cultural heritage and its world-renowned wines – the Winelands Region is synonymous with all the best that the Cape has to offer.

A 45-minute drive from Cape Town take you to the Winelands where splendid mountains form a dramatic backdrop to lush vineyards and gabled Cape Dutch homesteads steeped in history.

Experience the hospitality and beauty of Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington, Franschhoek and Robertson in the Breede River Valley.

Visit some of the many wine farms, or stroll down a beautifully restored street in one of the historical town centres and visit the museums and monuments that pay homage to our proud history.

The excellent wines produced in this area are world-renowned. Join the winemaker on a tour of his cellar where the harvest is lovingly transformed into every wine lover’s delight.

The Winelands is the ideal base from which to explore Cape Town and its surrounding area. Indulge yourself in luxury at one of the exclusive boutique hotels, or enjoy the hospitality of one of the many guest houses and bed and breakfast establishments throughout the area.

Many wine farms offer a variety of tranquil and secure accommodation options.

Paarl

Only 56 km from Cape Town, Paarl offers historical charm, culture, architectural heritage, wine and fruit farms, breathtaking scenery and many cycling and nature trails. Major attractions include Paarl Mountain (one of the largest solid rocks in the world), the Afrikaans Language Monument and a treasure house of architecture found along the 2 km stretch of the Main Street.

Franschhoek

Franschhoek is well known for its excellent restaurants, top accommodation establishments, splendid mountains and openhearted hospitality. Spend time browsing its many arts-and-craft shops, galleries and antique stores.

Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch, the oldest town in the country after Cape Town, is undoubtedly one of the most scenic and historically-preserved towns in southern Africa. The town, ideally situated in a magnificent mountain valley, boasts a mild Mediterranean climate and is the ideal destination from which to explore the Winelands and the many tourists attractions that the area has to offer.

Wellington

Wellington is famous for the panoramic Bain’s Kloof Pass, Dried Fruit shop, picturesque wine estates where wine as well as olive tastes are offered and well-known leather factories.

Tulbagh

Numerous award-winning wines can be tasted in the cellars where they were developed, the better known being Twee Jonge Gezellen, Tulbagh Winery, Theuniskraal and Drostdyhof.

Robertson

The largest wine-producing area under irrigation in South Africa, Robertson is known for superior wines, some of the country’s top racehorse studs and is well-known as the Garden Town of the Boland.

Pniel

As you travel from Stellenbosch to Franschhoek via the scenic Hellshoogte Pass, the modest village of Pniel lies on the banks of the Dwars River in the Drakenstein Valley. This peaceful town with its close-knit community is well worth a visit.

The Garden route runs from Cape Town to Plettenberg Bay in the east. The warm Indian Ocean feeds the coastline making it one of South Africa’s premier tourist destinations whilst the  area has a real rural feel with numerous small towns dotting the entire route. The scenic beauty is diverse and offers the tourist a wide range of activities. Places of interest include: Mossel Bay, Oudtshoorn, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.

Accommodation:

  • Lairds Lodge
  • De Opstal
  • The Plettenberg
  • St. James

The Madikwe Game Reserve is situated in the far of the North West Province, adjacent to the Botswana border and is a 75 000 hectare reserve restored from farmland to its natural environment. It is South Africa’s fourth largest game reserve and a malaria free area. The entire reserve has been enclosed in a 150km perimeter fence, which has been electrified to prevent the escape of elephants and the larger predators.

Operation Phoenix, which began early in 1991 and was completed in 1997, is one of the largest game translocation exercises in the world.

Madikwe is a haven of amazing diversities. The landscape has mountainous areas, plateaux, rocky hills, a perennial river, seasonal wetlands, a variety of sandy and clay areas, bushveld, Kalahari veld and savanna areas. This broad spectrum of habitats supports an animal life, which is consequently richly varied. There is a good chance of seeing the Magnificent Seven which comprises the Big Five as well as the rare and endangered wild dog and cheetah. The reserve is home to the largest elephant population outside the Kruger National Park, black and white rhino, and the biggest disease free herd of buffalo in the country. In addition to these, one may see brown and spotted hyena and all other South African predators. A multitude of plains game includes giraffe, zebra, springbok and sable. There are also large populations of wildebeest, impala and warthogs. For bird watchers Madikwe is an unmissable destination with the latest official bird list boasting an incredible 340 species.

The Sabi Sands Game Reserve is undoubtedly the most exclusive private game reserve in South Africa. In the 1920’ and 1930’ a number of landowner pioneers initiated the conservation of the area’s wildlife.

In the 1950’s the landowners initiated the dropping of the internal fences and the sharing of a common environmental management programme.

The 65,000-hectare Sabi Sands Game Reserve is located on the south-western corner of the Kruger National Park and shares a common 50km unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park to the east. Two perennial rivers, the Sabi and the Sand flow through this Game Park, sustaining the diverse fauna and flora of the area, which enjoys one of the highest and most bio-diverse wildlife populations of any area in Africa. Such is the integrity of the environment that there is consistently a year round population of animals that remain within the area. There is limited migration between the Sabi Sands Game Reserve and the Kruger National Park, ensuring genetic diversity with an integrated biodiversity within the entire 2,7 million hectare protected area. This area is in the process of being further enlarged within the Peace Park concept and integration and the joining with protected areas in Mozambique and eventually Zimbabwe.

Due to considerate game viewing practises the trackers and game rangers of the various Lodges are able to offer exceptional game viewing of all the general game species, as well as the high profile animals. The success of viewing leopard within this area is legendary. Elephants, lion, rhino, buffalo, cheetah, giraffe, zebra and a vast variety of antelope and other species can be closely observed within their own ranges. This greater area is home to 336 tree, 49 fish, 34 amphibian, 114 reptile, 507 bird and 147 mammal species.

The Timbavati Game Reserve lies north of Sabi Sand on the western edge of the Kruger National Park and lies between Umbabat and Manyeleti reserves. The Reserve shares a common unfenced border with the Kruger national Park. The Timbavati is a “Big Five” Game Reserve: Lion, Leopard, Rhino, elephant and Buffalo roam freely and many more species of predator and antelopes. Over 40 mammal species and 350 bird species have been identified within the area; this together with the abundant variety of flora, the tranquillity and the natural beauty of the land ensures an adventure to be remembered. It said to have the densest giraffe population in the world.

The Timbavati is famous for its white lions, which were discovered in the early 1970s. Although there are currently no white lions in the Reserve, the recessive gene causing this unusual phenomenon is still carried by the local prides, which are substantially paler than most other lions by comparison.

The Timbavati, one of the oldest private nature reserves, was formed in the 1950’s when Mr Peter Mostert urged his neighbours to pool their resources for a mutual benefit and to conserve the wildlife in the area.

The idea of forming such a reserve was first mooted as early as 1948, and for several years a handful of far-sighted men met frequently to discuss ways and means to create a nature reserve of a meaningful size in the area. Today the Timbavati is privately owned by 38 individual members and is governed by an elected committee and a constitution. Commercial development is restricted to 16 commercial beds per title deed as not to destroy the intrinsic wilderness experience that is offered to the visitors.

Soweto is the most populous black urban residential area in the country, with Census 2001 putting its population at 896 995. Thanks to its proximity to Johannesburg, the economic hub of the country, it is also the most metropolitan township in the country – setting trends in politics, fashion, music, dance and language.

But the township was, from its genesis, a product of segregationist planning. It was back in 1904 that Klipspruit, the oldest of a cluster
of townships that constitute present day Soweto, was established. The township was created to house mainly black labourers, who worked in mines and other industries in the city, away from the city centre. The inner city was later to be reserved for white occupation as the policy of segregation took root.

But it was not until 1963 that the acronym, Soweto, was adopted as the official name for the South Western Townships, following a four-year public competition on an appropriate name for the sprawling township.

The perennial problems of Soweto have, since its inception, included poor housing, overcrowding, high unemployment and poor infrastructure. This has seen settlements of shacks made of corrugated iron sheets becoming part of the Soweto landscape.

Apartheid planning did not provide much in terms of infrastructure, and it is only in recent years that the democratic government has spearheaded moves to plant trees, develop parks, and install electricity and running water to some parts of the township.

Soweto has also been a hotbed of many political campaigns that took place in the country, the most memorable of which was the 1976 student uprising. Other politically charged campaigns to have germinated in Soweto include the squatter movement of the 1940s and the defiance campaigns of the mid-to-late 1980s.

The area has also spawned many political, sporting and social luminaries, including Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu – two Nobel peace price laureates, who once lived in the now famous Vilakazi Street in Orlando West. Other prominent figures to have come from Soweto include boxing legend, Baby Jake Matlala, singing diva Yvonne Chaka Chaka and soccer maestro, Jomo Sono. Others include mathematician Prof Thamsanqa Kambule, medical doctor Nthato Motlana and prominent journalist Aggrey Klaaste.

The township has also produced the highest number of professional soccer teams in the country. Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows all emerged from the township, and remain among the biggest soccer teams in the Premier Soccer League.

Homelessness has been a perennial feature of Soweto since its inception. With its uniform four-roomed matchbox houses, hostels and without trees, Soweto looks drab and grey. The hostels were built on the outskirts of various townships to house migrant workers who have historically lived on the fringes of Soweto communities.

With its high unemployment rate, the area has also spawned many gangsters and been a seedbed of criminal activity. Since the 1930s, various gangsters, mostly territorial formations of young, barely literate males, out of school and out of work, have come and gone.
The gangs come and go, fashions come and go, but the ubiquitous township continues to grow.

The extensions built in the 1980s to house the emerging middle class, mostly civil servants, have added some colour to the township.
Recent years have seen Soweto become a site of massive development projects and a major tourist attraction in the country.

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