Waka,Waka. It’s time for Africa!
From forests to beaches, galleries to malls, tribal villages to island prisons, South Africa encompasses several distinct and beautiful worlds within its borders. Culturally diverse and scenically stunning, this country will take your heart by storm. Explore South Africa with RCI!The first image that comes to mind when you think of South Africa is the wild sweep of the bushveld, big cats lazing in the sun and elephants winding their calm way to a waterhole. Exotic and exciting, the safari is the experience that defines the wild and mysterious continent of Africa.
South Africa has more than 300 protected areas, but the proudest jewel in the SANPark crown is the Kruger National Park. Spread out over a massive 7523 square miles, with 517 species of birds and 147 species of large mammals, Kruger is a haven for any wildlife enthusiast. You can see all of the African Big Five (lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard and rhino) at Kruger, but there’s more to Kruger than just wildlife. There are several areas of archaeological interest such as Masorini and Thulamela, and for the passionate golfer, there’s an unfenced nine-hole course at Skukuza.
South Africa has a host of other equally interesting parks and reserves. You can visit Table Mountain National Park if you want a peep at the zebras and the bonteboks, or visit the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site, where you can spot everything from a hippo to a turtle to a whale!
Several parks, including Kruger, allow you the option of a self-drive vacation, or a guided tour. But if you’re setting out by yourself, make sure to read all the safety information first... the inside of a lion is probably not as appealing as the outside!
Raise Your Glass! - Robert Louis Stevenson once commented that wine was bottled poetry. But you don’t have to be a connoisseur to enjoy the Cape Winelands. Surpassing scenic beauty, well-preserved architecture and the heavenly taste of South African wines means that there’s something for everyone in a wine tour. From the beautifully preserved towns of Stellenbosch and Paarl, timeless and elegant in their serenity, to the soft colours of the valley in which Franschhoek nestles, this area has been the heart of the South African Wine trade for hundreds of years.
There are 17 ‘official’ wine routes registered with the South African Wine Routes Forum (SAWRF), and each wine route has its own website. If you want to get a little off the beaten path, there are special interest routes like the Cape Route 62 wine route, said to be the longest wine route in the world, the Western Cape Brandy Route, and the Green Mountain Eco Route - the world’s first biodiverse wine route, or you can create your own route, depending on your tastes and interests. In addition to the excellent wine on display, the Winelands are also known for their gastronomic delights. Several estates, like Buitenverwachting and Rust en Vrede have international award-winning chefs who can tickle your palate and get you drunk on the food as well as wine!
Flowery praises - From Heidelburg to the Storms River stretches the Garden Route, a veritable paradise of sun, sea and forest. Renowned for having the second mildest climate in the world, the verdant beauty of the Garden Route encompasses diverse ecological systems, from the Fynbos biosphere and Temperate forests of Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma to the marine reserves and soft coral reefs of the coastline.
The best way to explore the Garden route is by car. You can stop along the way at several scenic spots and tourist centres, from the bustling centre of George to the lagoon at Knysna, to the more upscale neighbourhood of Plettenberg Bay. Alternatively, for a more fun experience, you can also board the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe, Africa’s last remaining passenger steam train, from George to Mossel Bay.
For the more adventurous, the deceptively tranquil Garden Route contains a variety of wild, heart-thumping experiences guaranteed to satisfy the adrenaline junkie in you. You can opt for a soaringly exciting canopy ride through the Tsitsikamma forest, or jump-start your adrenaline with a fall from the Bloukrans Bridge Bungy, the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee. You can also go shark cage diving in Mossel Bay and experience the thrill of seeing the great white shark up close and personal in its natural environ. Tip: Don’t watch Jaws the night before you undertake this adventure!
This city life! - For the more urbanly-inclined, South Africa’s cities offer a wide variety of choices in terms of cultural experiences, shopping and entertainment. You can visit Soweto to see firsthand the site of the anti-apartheid struggle, or experience the vibrant colour of the South African tribes at Mpumalanga’s Ndebele villages. You can satisfy the artist in you with a tour of Cape Town’s art galleries, or simply worship the sun stretched out at Durban’s sophisticated Golden Mile, finishing off the day with a throw of the dice at the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World.
Passionate, vivid, exotic and exuberant, South Africa is a feast for the senses. Whether you’re travelling as a couple or as a family, you’ll never run out of things to do and places to see. Pack your bags today and explore the Dark Continent with RCI!