South Africa is one of the most geographically varied countries of the continent and one of the most popular holiday destinations. You can still escape to wild, remote areas and experience exceptional game viewing and true wilderness – then, just an hour’s flight away, there are modern cities and hotels that compete with the best in the world.
With 11 official languages and a diverse range of cultures and ways of life, it is no wonder that Mandela named South Africa “the rainbow nation”.
South Africa is set between the warm Indian Ocean and the turbulent waters of the Atlantic.
This incredible country has three major geographical regions: the coastal strip running from Cape Town along the Garden Route and up to Kwazulu Natal in the northeast; the majestic and beautiful Drakensberg Mountains that run unbroken for over a thousand kilometres; and the central plateau which is covered by rolling grasslands known as “highveld”.
South Africa has an amazing three hundred game reserves and national parks, the largest and best known of which is Kruger National Park which sprawls for over 300km along the Mozambique border and covers almost five million acres. It has a savannah landscape and is home to Africa’s “Big Five” as well as a huge variety of other species totalling 142 other mammals, over 500 birds, 114 reptiles, 34 amphibians, 49 fish and 336 trees.
South Africa has a diverse climate, ranging from the warm, dry desert of the Kalahari to the cool, wet mountains of the Drakensberg. The climate is influenced by a number of factors, including the country’s location in the Southern Hemisphere, its altitude, and its proximity to both a cold and a warm ocean.
The amount of rainfall in South Africa varies greatly depending on the region. The Western Cape, which includes Cape Town, has a Mediterranean climate with wet winters and dry summers. KwaZulu-Natal, and Mpumalanga(the area Kruger National Park sits it) have a subtropical climate with hot, wet summers and mild winters.
The best time for a safari is between May and November in the Kruger area and the best time for Cape Town and the Garden Route are between October and March.