Why Go to South Africa?
No other country in Africa, and few anywhere else in the world, offers a diversity of attractions to rival South Africa.
South Africa is one of the continent’s finest Big Five destinations.
The Kruger National Park and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve have all the amenities and attractions one would expect from world-class wildlife destinations.
The lion is the king of the Big Five
While adjoining private reserves such as Sabi Sand and Phinda rank among the world’s most luxurious venues for all-inclusive guided safaris. Importantly, when it comes to families with young children, South Africa is unique in that several of its most alluring Big Five reserves – for instance, Madikwe, Pilanesberg, and Addo Elephant National Park – lie within regions that are 100% free of malaria.
South Africa is remarkable when it comes to the ‘smaller stuff’. Indeed, some ecologists regard it to be the world’s third most important country in terms of overall biodiversity, thanks to its unusually high level of endemism.
The tiny Cape Floral Kingdom, centered in Cape Town, contains approximately 5% of the world’s plant species, two-thirds of which occur nowhere else on the planet.
Fynbos is one of the most diverse species of flora on the planet | Credit: PhantomForest.com
Wildlife aside, South Africa’s 2,500km (1,553mi) coastline is one of the most varied in the world and holds the opportunity for the best beach holidays.
Split between the warm Indian Ocean and cooler Atlantic, it’s studded with idyllic sun-kissed swimming beaches but also embraces everything from the subtropical forested dunes and coral reefs of iSimangaliso Wetland Park to the craggy, windswept cliffs of the Cape and Robberg Peninsulas.
South Africa today displays a unique cultural blend of African, European, and Asian influences.
There’s the bold economic powerhouse of Johannesburg and its more stately coastal counterpart Cape Town, the curry houses of Indian-influenced Durban, and the French vinicultural tradition and Dutch-derived architecture that characterizes the Winelands around Stellenbosch.
Cape Point in the Cape Peninsula is the meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian oceans | Credit: SowetoTour.co.za
Elsewhere, traditional Zulu and Ndebele cultural villages pay homage to the country’s indigenous cultural diversity, as does the incomparable wealth of prehistoric rock art found in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg.
A significant part of modern South Africa’s fascination is the immense progress it has made as a unified nation since the first democratic election in 1994, a progression placed in sobering historical perspective by a visit to Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum or Cape Town’s District Six Museum.
At the opposite end of the immediacy scale, the three-million-year-long hominid fossil record preserved in the ancient limestone caverns of Gauteng’s Cradle of Humankind has no equal elsewhere in the world.
All in all, South Africa is a country like no other.