Sensational South Africa

South Africa: The Jewel of the Southern Hemisphere

South Africa is the southernmost country within the African continent and it also contains one of the most ethnically diverse populations on the planet.  This partially stems from the fact that the nation was under UK rule for many years before it became an independent country.  South Africa is now one of the most economically rich nations in Africa and its international importance continues to grow.  This is partially a result of its rather temperate location when compared to the heat associated with sub-Saharan countries.  Tens of thousands of tourists from the United Kingdom every year and if you have been planning a holiday here, it is a good idea to take a look at what you can expect during your stay.  Let's take a look.

South Africa: The Basics

South Africa comprises approximately 1.2 millions square kilometres of land.  It is bordered on three sides by oceans and to the north by other nations such as Zimbabwe.  As of th e last census, more than 54 million residents are thought to live here.  As South Africa is higher in regards to latitude, the heat here is not as impressive when compared to countries in Central or Northern Africa.  Snow rarely falls and this country boasts some of the most splendid beaches on the continent.  While there are many native dialects spoken here, English is the official language.  You will therefore not encounter problems when visiting major urban centres such as Cape Town.

The Main Attractions Here

South Africa is a unique synergy of the natural and the modern.  Many will arrive here to experience the dozens of unique safari tours offered.  It can be argued that the most famous excursions take place within Kruger National Park.  If you have always wanted to get an up-close and personal view of lions, zebra, hippos and giraffe, you are in luck.  As opposed to being a barren wilderness, there are actually a number of high-quality resorts found within the confines of this reserve.  Other natural parks include Robben Island, Tsitsikamma National Park and Lion's Head Mountain.  In fact, you can even interact with elephants when visiting Addo Elephant National Park (the third-largest park in the country).

If you are instead interested in hiking and bicycling, Table Mountain is surely of interest.  You will be able to experience truly unparalleled views of the nearby countryside and you will also be pleased to learn that the nearby beaches will provide a cooling refreshment once you have finished.  Experienced climbers have have a go on their own while those hoping to enjoy a casual outing are recommended to join a tour.

As far as urban attractions, many prefer to visit the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.  This massive retail complex is home to thousands of well-to-do South Africans and it also offers up a host of attractions (including amusement parks) for the entire family.  A large art museum displays the work of local artists and sailing adventures are always within reach thanks the presence of a large harbour.  Chartering a yacht for the weekend is always a possibility. 

Should you prefer high-end accommodations, be sure to check out the properties found within major urban centres such as New London, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.  There are countless five-star resorts and naturally, you will be quite close to bustling retail districts and similar tourist-friendly attractions.

What to Visit and What to Keep in Mind

There is no “wrong” time to visit South Africa.  The winters here are mild and the summers are generally free from rain.  If you are planning a safari, it still might be a good idea to avoid the height of the summer and to instead make reservations for the spring or the late autumn.  Always recall that as this country is within the souther hemisphere, the seasons are reversed (summer here is winter in the United Kingdom and vice versa).  It is always a good idea to exchange your pounds for the South African Rand before your travels, as rates can be quite high after your arrival.  As this is such a large country, plan your itinerary accordingly while taking into account how long you plan on staying as well as the main sights that you hope to enjoy.