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Affectionately dubbed the ‘Rainbow Nation’ because of the diversity of its cultures, languages and religions, the Republic of South Africa at the very tip of the African continent is the ultimate explorer’s holiday destination.

Boasting 21 national parks, 8 world heritage sites and over 3,500km of wildly beautiful coastline bordering two oceans, the vastness of this amazing country and the limitless possibilities it provides for adventure is astounding.

Its sheer size causes South Africa to experience dramatic variety in its climactic zones. With dry deserts in the North West, tropical humidity on the east coast, and an almost Mediterranean weather front to the South West, each province has its own unique quirks and personality to offer holidaymakers.

Explore the forests from a leafy canopy vantage point, or get up close and personal with Africa’s Big 5 in a safari tour or why not dive deep underwater and experience the terror of coming face to face with a ragged tooth shark?

Whatever you’re looking for from a South African holiday, you’re sure not to be disappointed!

Grab your binoculars wildlife lovers, South Africa is the holiday hotspot for you! Home to all of Africa’s notorious Big 5, (Elephants, Leopards, Rhinos, Lions and Buffalo) as well as many other wonderful species, a few days on safari in one of South Africa’s national parks should guarantee you a glimpse of these wild and endangered species in their natural habitat.

 

If you prefer your creatures swimming however (and with even more teeth!) shark cage diving is a popular attraction for tourists visiting the capes east coast. Home to around 98 different species including the native ragged tooth ‘raggie’ shark, this excursion is not for the faint of heart!

 

The South African seabed is also home to some astonishing coral reefs and ethereal shipwrecks for those who fancy the dive… without the danger!

 

Although South Africa is largely regarded as the most developed region of Africa, it has fought a long, hard battle to get to where it is today. The late Nelson Mandela played a huge role in the redevelopment of South Africa, solidifying himself in history as a hero in the process.

 

The Nelson Mandela Museum memorialises his life and work, and his fight for the freedom of his country. For a glimpse into the history of this truly amazing country, the museum is definitely worth a visit.

 

On the Western Cape lies the city of Cape Town, home to the iconic Table Mountain, so named for its flat summit and constant stream of cloud cover which appears like a table cloth. No visit to South Africa would be complete without taking a trip to the top!

 

No need to pack your hiking boots though, there are regular cable cars which run daily, offering stunning views over Cape Town (without the sweat and tears!)

With so many cultural and international influences, it is difficult to pinpoint precisely what constitutes traditional South African cuisine.

 

In all of the major cities, fast food chains and restaurants serving world cuisine from Chinese to Moroccan can be found, it is in the smaller resorts where real, hearty South African cooking rules supreme.

 

One thing that can be said for certain is that the South Africans love their meat! Barbecues, traditionally known as braais are incredibly popular where everything from beef, to biltong (dried meat), to game meat like ostrich can be cooked al fresco.

 

Bunny Chow is another popular local dish, comprising hollowed out bread loaves filled with deliciously spiced curries.

 

In the coastal regions, seafood is very popular but beef is still the dish of choice when available (vegetarianism is practically unheard of in South Africa!)

 

International influence is also finding its way into South Africa’s thriving wine regions. Famous for its rustic tasting reds and fortified spirits, vineyards across the cape are flying experts in from Europe and California to help develop the South African vintages to suit an international palate.

No visa is required to enter South Africa, but one blank page must be free in the passport to accept the South African stamp.

 

If no page is available then entry will be denied.

 

6 months validity is required on a 10-year passport.

 

The majority of the main tourist resorts are Malaria free, however some of the national parks can pose risk of trasmission in the summer, so seek advice about prevention before travelling.

 

No vaccinations are required for adults prior to travelling, unless travelling from a yellow fever contaminated region of Africa or South America.

 

Vaccinations against Hepatitis B are recommended for children under the age of 12, if they have NOT already had a complete set of boosters as an infant.

 

Please be aware that South Africa has one of the highest HIV positive rates in the world.

 

Like in most countries, crime is an issue in South Africa, so follow security and tour guide instructions at all times.

 

Holiday Resorts in South Africa

Location of South Africa

Key Facts

  • Language: English + 10 other official languages
  • Currency: South African Rand
  • Time Difference from UK: 2
  • Flight time: 11 hours
  • When to go: November - March (sun), May - October (safari)