The Western Cape is a province of great diversities; it offers visitors a unique cultural and natural heritage coupled with breath-taking natural attractions and spectacular scenery – add warm, friendly people and a first world infrastructure – it is one of the most popular provinces in South Africa! Cape Town and the Western Cape are renowned as being one of the most beautiful places on earth!
A trip up Table Mountain in the aerial cableway or a helicopter ride will help you gain a geographical perspective, although it is best to avoid a day when the ‘Tablecloth’ descends, covering the top of the mountain in a rolling white mist!
Table Mountain National Park
This natural world heritage site, and Natural New 7 Wonder of the World, is a haven of magnificent mountains plunging into crystal seas fringed with bleached white sands of the Cape Peninsula. The mountain chain stretches from Signal Hill in the north, to Cape Point in the South and is also home to the world’s smallest, yet most diverse floral kingdom, The Cape Floristic Region.
Table Mountain National Park is a must-visit for anyone in Cape Town, local or international. From open access hikes and beautiful forest walks to pristine picnic and day-visit spots to secluded picturesque accommodation facilities throughout the park, there is plenty to do, see and experience.
The Cape Peninsula provides many opportunities for days out and about, including family-friendly beaches such as Hout Bay, at the base of the breathtaking Chapmans Peak Drive. The road, carved in to the rock, winds its way towards Cape Point, the stunning tip of the Peninsula’s mountain chain. Alternatively, you can choose to share your beach with the penguins at Boulders Bay or opt for sophisticated Camps Bay.
The world-renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens offers lovely trails through the gardens and is host to concerts on Sunday evenings in Summer, when guests are welcome to bring a picnic.
Hermanus is rich in breathtaking scenery; with its unparalleled scenic beauty, modern infrastructure, upmarket shops and endless adventure options, it is no wonder that Hermanus is transformed into a bustling hubbub of activity in-season as well as out-of-season. Hermanus is surrounded by majestic mountains, indigenous Fynbos and spectacular natural beauty while its residents are the heart and soul of the town providing an unforgettable holiday experience.
For any intrepid tourist or appreciator of nature's wonders, Hermanus is the ideal location for an unforgettable experience. This coastal resort offers the best land based whale watching in the world. Famous for their majestic nature and gargantuan size, the Southern Right Whale has always been a fascination for many. Their playful nature and rarity have made them a famous addition to the Cape Whale Coast between June and October every year. Thousands of whale-lovers arrive along the coast to witness these massive mammals birth and care for their new-born calves.
Don't miss Constantia, known as Cape Town's vineyard, the seaside enclave of Simon's Town and Noordhoek with its picturesque shoreline. The heart of the Winelands lies between the historic towns of Franschhoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch. However the wine growing region extends south to Hermanus and north as far as Tulbagh.
Wine tastings are obviously a huge part of the Winelands experience, but there is so much more. Whether you want to pamper yourself with gourmet cuisine, a spa break or a round of golf, go hot air ballooning or horse riding through a Big 5 game reserve, these are all possible.
The Victoria & Albert Waterfront, with its restaurants and shopping malls, is the iconic image of Cape Town but there is so much to explore beyond. City highlights include the Two Oceans Aquarium, Robben Island - where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated, the City Bowl where the business district sits alongside historical buildings, museums and gardens, and of course, Table Mountain - the theatrical backdrop to every conceivable vista of the city.
Garden Route - Route 62 - Hermanus - Swellendam - Montagu - Oudtshoorn - Knysna - Plettenberg Bay - Port Elizabeth
South Africa’s Garden Route is one of the most scenic areas of the country, with miles of white-sand beaches, pretty lagoons crossed by low bridges, forested mountains with a network of footpaths, and pretty towns with excellent seafood restaurants. The Garden Route is the ultimate destination for an amazing South African road trip. It covers a beautiful stretch of coastline between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.
The accustomed approach to the Garden Route is from Cape Town, via Hermanus and Swellendam in the south or past the Winelands and across the arid and starkly beautiful Little Karoo on the famous Route 62. The towns of Montagu and Oudtshoorn are well worth exploring before dropping down through the impressive Outeniqua Pass to the coast.
The best of the Garden Route itself stretches from Mossel Bay to Storms River Mouth with a number of pretty towns providing welcoming and good value accommodation.
Wilderness and Plettenberg both have excellent beaches and Knysna has an array of boutiques, cafés and restaurants to discover, as well as a lively harbour area. Across the Knysna Lagoon is the beautiful Featherbed Nature Reserve with magnificent ocean views and walking trails.
Knysna has many attractions in the surrounding area as well, one of the most spectacular being the Knysna Forest. It is the largest indigenous forest in South Africa comprising of tall and ancient trees of local and exotic species. Knysna and it's surrounding areas boast forest walks and beach walks aplenty and it's a wonderful way to spend healthy time with family.
At the eastern end of the Garden Route is the town of Post Elizabeth and the malaria free game parks of the Eastern Cape. You'll find first class lodges offering luxurious accommodation and exciting game experiences, providing the perfect end to a Garden Route tour.
Western Cape - Paarl - Wellington - Ceres - Tulbagh - Citrusdal - Wupperthal - Clanwilliam - Lamberts Bay and more
The scenic beauty of Paarl compels visitors to explore the many cultural and historical attractions in the Drakenstein Valley, together with some of the most bountiful nature reserves in the surrounding mountains.
Paarl takes its name from the huge granite outcrop that stands proudly on the crest of Paarl Mountain. The town was founded in 1687, is the third oldest settlement in South Africa and has a rich cultural and historical heritage.
Wellington The region is renowned for beautiful Cape Dutch homesteads, picturesque environment, gardens and wineries. The historic Bain’s Kloof Pass, with unsurpassed vistas, indigenous flora and fauna and crystal-clear streams and rivers, is the perfect spot for hikers and fly-fishermen. Closer to town, guided wine-walks and horse-trails through rich farmland and flowering fynbos offer the opportunity to see and experience Mother Nature at her finest.
The Berg River flows along the western border with two smaller streams, the Spruit and Kromme and the towering Hawequa Mountains stand guard on the eastern side. The Bainskloof Pass, built by the famous Scot, Andrew Geddes Bain, was the sole gateway to the north, before Du Toitskloof Pass was built.
Wellington is surrounded by fruit orchards, wine estates, buchu plantations and olive groves. In addition, its vine-cutting nurseries produce approximately 85% of the country’s vine root stock for the wine industry.
Ceres lies in a peaceful valley in the shadow of the Boland Mountains on Route 62 and is one of the country's largest deciduous fruit producing regions. The towns of Ceres, Tulbagh, Wolseley and Prince Alfred's Hamlet are found here. Ceres, named after the Roman goddess of fruitfulness is situated in a fertile valley, surrounded by magnificent mountains.
The town of Ceres lies on the western side of this fertile valley, through which the Dwars River bustles forming pools and rapids in which trout fishing is very popular, just 150 km from Cape Town. The Ceres district is far larger and equals the rest of the Breede River Valley put together.
The Ceres district consists of four diverse areas and each has its own unique charm and landscapes. Scenic mountain passes are the only gateways to the Ceres valley. Although sunny days are experienced down in the valley during the winter months, locals and tourists alike flock to Ceres when the snow-capped mountain peaks resemble giant ice cream cones towering over the region. This has, ambitiously, led to the region being dubbed ‘South Africa´s own little Switzerland’.
Steeped in history and characteristically Cape-Dutch, Tulbagh yet offers all the modern-day comforts the discerning traveler might wish for. The charming historical town of Tulbagh is in the winelands of the Boland in the Western Cape Province, South Africa.
Part of the Witzenberg municipal region, immediate neighbouring towns are Gouda, Wolseley, Ceres and Prince Alfred's Hamlet. Towns such as Wellington, Malmesbury, Paarl, Franschhoek, Riebeek Valley, Piketberg, Porterville, Rawsonville, Worcester and Stellenbosch are within three quarters of an hour's drive from the valley and Cape Town is only 120km distant.
Nature enthusiasts, adrenalin junkies, wine lovers, families and those simply seeking peace and tranquility are all catered for. Tulbagh is the fourth oldest town in South Africa (after Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Swellendam) dating back to the early 1700s.
Located in the Olifants River Valley, between the Koue Bokkeveld and Swartberg Mountains, Citrusdal is surrounded by mesmerizing scenery. Agriculture in the area is dominated by citrus fruit farming, hence the town's name.
The Baths, with its Natural Hot Water Springs, is situated on a citrus farm in the scenic Olifants River Valley, near the town of Citrusdal in the Western Cape of South Africa. Established in 1739 this self-catering resort, with handsome Victorian-style stone buildings, maintains an old world charm in a scenic, rural setting.
The rugged mountain terrain offers moments of both serene solitude and extreme exhilaration. It is popular with hikers, rock climbers, and mountain bikers.
Wupperthal is situated about 75km from the town Clanwilliam. The town dates back to 1830 and was established by German Rhenish missionaries, Baron Theobold Von Wurmb and Johann Gottlieb Leipoldt, a shoemaker by trade and grandfather of famous South African poet, Louis Leipoldt.has Wupperthal has a long tradition of small-scale farming and grows organic Rooibos Tea.
The Ancient Part of Clanwilliam The Cederberg Mountains are 500 million years old. At the height of the ecological epoch of the land, it supported vegetation, birds, fish, reptiles and mammals in perfect equilibrium. Elephant, Lion and Black Rhino were abundant, and the now-extinct Quagga roamed the plains alongside endless Antelope herds, from the smallest Steenbok to the mighty Eland. Ten years after the arrival of the Settlers in South Africa (1652), the first residents arrived in Clanwilliam, but it was not until 1725 that people settled here permanently.
The town was first known as Jan Disselsvalleij but was changed to Clanwilliam in 1814 by Sir John Cradock who named the town after his father-in-law, the Earl of Clanwilliam. Clanwilliam is one of the ten oldest towns in South Africa.
Sadly, by 1900 the Bushman culture was close to extinction. The once plentiful herds gave way to farms and agriculture. The Cederberg’s eponymous Cedar trees were fashioned into fence posts, slicing up the land and restricting movement.
Rock Art of the Cederberg Mountains
As if South Africa’s Cederberg Mountains weren’t majestic and awe-inspiring enough, they are also home to over 2,500 extraordinary works of art painted by the Bushmen, or San people. The nomadic Bushman shared this paradise and left us a legacy of mystical paintings on rocky overhangs. These depict their myths, rituals and the abundance of life that surrounded them. These ancient images feature humans, animals, and birds, as well as scenes of dancing, hunting, and shamanistic rituals. Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat is the custodian of over 130 of these extraordinary rock art sites, and we provide our guests with exclusive access to them.
Bushmans Kloof is one of the best locations to see and admire San Rock Art as well as gain a greater understanding of the lives and belief system of a civilization who lived in harmony with nature and not against it,’ he says.
Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve The Reserve is located in an untouched wilderness area of the peaceful Southern Cederberg Mountains, in the Western Cape.Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve - breathtaking rock formations and magnificent scenery. Here you can find an exceptionally wide range of fauna and flora, some of which are classified highly endangered.
This region was home to the San people for centuries, the Reserve is renowned for its scenic beauty and dramatic rock formations typical of the Cederberg.
The red-brown weathered sandstone formations seen here are typical to the Cederberg. Plants are described as drier mountain Fynbos and you can see for miles and miles because the area is largely treeless. A variety of shrubs dominate the area, including Southern Cone Marigold, Klaaslouwbos, Koringbos, Renosterbos, Sneeubos, Wolwedoring, Taaibos and Skilpadbessie. Some Protea species, typical to the Cape, can be found in higher parts.
Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve is home to many different wild animals. The Burchell's Zebra and Antelope species including Eland, Gemsbuck, Black Wildebeest, Blue Wildebeest, Bontebok, Springbok, Grey Rhebok, Duiker, Klipspringer and Steenbuck are most common.
Smaller animals such as the Dassie, Grey Mongoose, Rock Rabbit, Cape Hare and Striped Polecat inhabit the Reserve. The larger animal residents, which generally cause the most excitement amongst our guests, include Aardwolf, Antbear (Aardvark), Black-backed Jackal, Caracal and Cape Porcupine. The only large carnivore found in these parts is the Leopard. These beautiful and illusive creatures generally prefer the safety and quiet of the canyon in the west and although real-time sightings are rare, we are fortunate to enjoy the privilege of regular sightings via our motion sensor cameras and our passionate and qualified guides who keep tabs on them via spoor and kill tracking.
Kagga Kamma is also home to many bird species. On the open plains large birds like Ostrich, and Kori Bustard can be seen. Closer to the Lodge we find the Cape Bulbul, Clapper Lark, Common Sparrow and Cape Wagtail. There are a large variety of bird species to be seen at Kagga Kamma – including Spotted Thick-Knee, Swifts, South African Shelduck, Rock Kestrel and Pale Chanting Goshawk – amongst many others.
The Cape West Coast is doubtless one of the Cape’s most unique travel destinations. Vredendal for example, situated in the Olifants River Valley, borders on the southern point of Namaqualand, the northern part of the Boland and is recognized to be part of the West Coast. The Olifants River’s upper and main catchment area of the Olifants River is around Ceres and the Cederberg mountains. Olifants River Valley is one of the northern most wine regions in South Africa’s Western Cape.
It stretches between Lutzville in the north and Citrusdal Valley in the south, and includes the areas of Cederberg, Koekenaap and Vredendal. If you are up for a tasting adventure, Wilgenhof, Stoumann’s Wines, Klawer Wine Cellar and Lutzville are only a few wine estates to mention.
The surrounding rugged mountains transform into a tapestry of amazing colours, as the flower season starts at the end of July and comes to an end early in October.
The Vredendal region is fast becoming recognized for its exceptional wines which are proving to be winners in both local and overseas markets.
The town's economy is based on mining and agriculture. The majority of the vineyards of Vredendal run along the banks of the Olifants River. The Olifants River Irrigation Scheme has made it possible for farmers to grow not only grapes, but potatoes, tomatoes, onions, pumpkins, watermelons and sweet melons.
This wine route is not your typical Cape wine route, but instead there are the beautiful landscapes of the Cape West Coast.
Visit the West Coast Fossil Park close to Langebaan, Western Cape. See the fossils of bears, sabre-tooth cats, short-necked giraffes and the many other exotic animals which inhabited the west coast area some 5 million years ago.
Lambert's Bay - the coast town has been proclaimed 'the Diamond of the West Coast' because of its white beaches, wildlife and lobsters. Although primarily a fishing town it has become a significant tourist attraction on the West Coast due to its moderate all-year climate. Activities range from 4x4 adventures through tanning on the beaches, fishing and crayfish diving in season, to savouring the enormous variety of bird life and Namaqualand Flowers in season.
Northern Cape - Namaqualand - |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park - Augrabies Falls National Park - Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Most of the Northern Cape province lies south of the mighty Orange River and comprises desert and semi-desert landscapes. The province is characterized by vast arid plains with outcroppings of rocks, with the cold Atlantic Ocean forming its western boundary.
Although slightly off the beaten track, there are many tourism highlights located in the Northern Cape. During August and September, the area of Namaqualand, is transformed into a brilliant carpet of wild flowers.
The Northern Cape is South Africa's largest province and a must-see destination, whether you prefer the ocean, the desert, the bush or quirky towns rich in history and culture. The 360 000 km² of the province is divided into five regions, namely Diamond Fields, Karoo, Green Kalahari, Kalahari and Namakwa. A visit to the Northern Cape is bound to be entrenched with rich cultural engagements, amazing outdoor adventures and incredible encounters with the bounty of Mother Nature.
Amongst vast spaces and inspiring landscapes, eclectic towns, and villages dot the map, rich in history of diamond thieves and other colourful characters. It is the diversity of the Northern Cape that ensures there is something for everyone, form those with a keen sense of adventure and a love of the outdoors, to those seeking peace and tranquility.
|Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
In 2003 South Africa and Namibia signed a treaty to form the Transfrontier Park. It was formed by combining Richtersveld Transfrontier Park the Richtersveld National Park in South Africa with the Ai-Ais Hot Springs Game Park in Namibia. It also includes the Fish River Canyon Park.
It is a mountainous desert situated in the north-west corner of South Africa. To its west is the cold and rough Atlantic Ocean while the remarkable Orange River, the largest river in South Africa, winds along its northern border. The Richtersveld has the highest diversity of succulent plants in the world (4 849 species, of which 1 940 are endemic), as well as peculiar coastal mists, alluvial diamonds and truly indigenous cultures. It is also one of the driest areas in South Africa, receiving only 50mm of rain annually. The Richtersveld World Heritage Site is massive, sprawling over 162 000 hectares.
Namaqualand’s Spring Flowers
Every year between July and September, hordes of tourists flock to the Northern Cape Namaqualand Valley to witnesses an incredible display of wild flowers of fascinatingly varied hues. The entire region looks like an endless carpet of flowers. Adding to the popularity is the fact that approximately 3500 species of prehistoric plants can be found in the region. Namaqua National Park is a biodiversity hotspot and part of the semi-desert Succulent Karoo biome.
The Namaqua region isn't just about flowers. Small old-timer towns, which include exotic names such as Kamieskroon, Aggeneys, Garies and Nieuwoudtville, are as much a part of the scenery as the spectacular flora.
Kamieskroon is set among the granite rock formations of the Kamiesberg range. The town's origins lie in the 1860s, 7km north of its present position. It took the name Bowesville (later Bowesdorp), after the district surgeon, Dr Henry Bowe.
As there was little room to expand in the narrow kloof the town occupied, the church council decided, in 1924, to rebuild it at Kamieskroon. Kamies might derive from the Nama word "˜kam', meaning two - referring to the twin peaks of the mountain. The "˜kroon', a 330m peak crowned with a huge, cleft rock, is a kilometre from the village.
Skilpad Nature Reserve, formed in 1993 to protect Namaqualand's plant life, formed the nucleus of the new national park with the addition of 500 km² of land to create the park. 270 km² has since been added to the park, and it now has an area of more than 700 km².
The park is semi-desert, with hot and dry summers and cold winters with variable, generally sparse rainfall. Most precipitation occurs between May and August. The eastern part of the park receives more rainfall than the west. The flower season is dependent on the winter rains, the wind and other weather factors, and the displays vary from place to place each season.
A road trip to see the flowers takes the traveler through quaint little towns such as Garies, Kamieskroon, Springbok, Pofadder (Puffadder), Soebatsfontein (Weeping fountain) and Port Nolloth. A worthwhile stop in flower season is in Kamieskroon’s Skilpad Wild Flower Reserve which is part of the greater Namaqua National Park. A good base is the town of Springbok which is the provincial capital and offers easy access to all the routes.
In addition to the flowers, the little towns have an attraction of their own and celebrate the flowers by decorating their streets. Each has a unique story to tell about how they came about. Perhaps it was with a mission station or a rich copper or diamond deposit was found nearby. Copper was discovered by Europeans in the late 1600’s. The stories are rich, the people are interesting and the landscape is breathtaking.
Springbok, set in a narrow valley bisecting the granite domes of the Klein Koperberge (small copper mountains), Springbok is the capital of Namakwa and the administrative, commercial, farming and industrial centre. Situated close to the intersection of the N7 and N14 national roads the town is 550km from Cape Town, 1 274km from Johannesburg and 113km from Vioolsdrift on the Namibian border. Springbok’s colourful history is closely linked to that of the copper industry and is the site of the first commercial mining operations in the country. The first copper mine was brought into operation in 1852 by the mining concern of Philips and King and was purchased for £750 from the Cloete family (the farm Melkboschkuil) and in 1862 the town of Springbokfontein was laid out. In the late 1870s, rich copper deposits were discovered to the north at Okiep and potential miners flocked to the scene of the new discovery, yet because of the continued supply of drinkable water from the spring of Springbok, the town became a centre for the mining prospectors. Easy access, excellent accommodation and a well-developed commercial infrastructure make Springbok an essential tourist stopover.
Originally home to a Nama dwellers, Port Nolloth is a hidden gem in the north of South Africa. Situated near Richtersveld Trans-Frontier National Park and the Atlantic Ocean, the small town has unique tranquil ambiance to it.
The seaport of Port Nolloth was developed during the 1800s to cater for copper mining, diamond diving and fishing industry in the north of South Africa. In the 1920s, the town developed massively due to the discovery of diamonds. More and more fortune-seekers settled in the town. As the diamond well began to dry out, the town return to it's laid back nature. Today, the town is a holiday makers paradise full of history and unparalleled beauty.
The bay upon which the port sits was known by the indigenous Namaqua people as Aukwatowa ("Where the water took away the old man"). Its location was marked by Portuguese explorer Bartholomeus Dias on his epic voyage around the Cape of Good Hope in 1487. It was the last landfall he sighted before a wild storm blew his ship off course and out to sea for 13 days.
The land surrounding the bay remained virtually uninhabited until James Alexander's discovery in 1852 of copper at Okiep, 160 kilometres (99 mi) inland from the bay. The Cape Colony administration immediately commenced a survey of the coastline to locate a suitable harbour from which to ship the copper ore. Aukwatowa bay was surveyed in 1854, and selected for a future port based largely on its sheltered aspect from offshore winds.
Alexander Bay is a town in the extreme north-west of South Africa, also known as the region of Little Namaqualand. It is located on the southern bank of the Orange River mouth. It was named for Sir James Alexander, who was the first person to map the area whilst on a Royal Geographical Society expedition into Namibia in 1836. (It is mistakenly believed by many locals that it was he who first established commercial copper mining in the area.) With diamonds being discovered along the West Coast in 1925, Alexander Bay was established to service the mining industry.
The town of Oranjemund lies on the northern bank of the river, which forms the international border with Namibia. The two towns are linked by the Harry Oppenheimer Bridge.
Riemvasmaak lies in the Molopo River, about 12km northeast of its confluence with the Orange River and close to the Augrabies Falls National Park. According to local folklore, the name can be traced to an ancient Damara who suffered from rheumatism and wanted to reach a certain mineral spring along the course of the Molopo River. To reach the deep gorge of the river, he tied together a number of thong to lower himself down the rocky walls of the ravine to the spring below. The Khoe name for Riemvasmaak is "Konkaib" which fell into disuse when the local people were forced to speak Afrikaans in preference to their own language.
Riemvasmaak is 75 000ha of sheer mountain desert wilderness, located between the Orange and the dry Molopo Rivers, approximately 57km from Kakamas and 170km from the Nakop Border Post with Namibia. A surprising sight awaits those who make the long trek to this settlement on the northern bank of the Orange River close to Augrabies where a hot spring can be found in a deep ravine surrounded by soaring granite cliffs.
It is a wilderness born from violent volcanic activity millions of years ago, but it is a land of beauty that takes on spiritual proportions.
The Riemvasmaak community has endured, even though they were forcibly removed from this area under apartheid. In recent years, Riemvasmaaker's have returned to make a living in this stark and inhospitable land and those who visit will be awed by the lunar landscape that they will encounter here.
Augrabies Falls National Park
The national park offers an enthralling mix of nature and adventure, and hence is the most popular tourist attraction in the Northern Cape. Take a hot air balloon ride to explore its breathtaking landscapes, try exciting water adventures in the Orange River, visit the legendary Augrabies Falls, or enjoy interesting local tribe cultures – there is so much to keep visitors happily occupied. The Falls derived their name from the Khoi word 'Aukoerebis' meaning 'place of great noise'. Picturesque names such as Moon Rock, Ararat and Echo Corner are descriptive of this rocky region.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
The Northern Cape’s Kalahari Desert is widely acclaimed for its unique geography and wildlife. People come here to enjoy the uninterrupted views of the red sand dunes, and spectacular sunset. Some of its areas are dotted with grass and acacias, and hence support an enchanting wildlife including antelope, hyenas, giraffe, warthogs, and the famous black-maned lions.
The Kalahari Desert extends for 900,000 km² and covers much of Botswana and parts of Namibia and South Africa. Its name is derived from the Tswana work “Kgala”, meaning the great thirst, or “Kgalagadi”, meaning the waterless place. For those looking for serene moments in the lap of the nature, this is just a perfect place.
Big Hole in Kimberley
Once a flat-topped mound is now the largest hand-dug excavation in the world. About 215 meters deep and with a perimeter of 1.6kms, this mammoth hole was dug to extract diamonds, hidden under the earth surface. Near to the site is an excellent museum, which portrays the perilous 19th century mining conditions. Here, tourists can see the old jigging machines as well as grease tables, which were designed to extract the diamonds from ore.
The Eastern Cape is a region of lush rolling lowlands, soaring mountain tops and 800km of coastline, ranging from sweeping sandy bays to wave-beaten cliff faces. Stretching from the snow-capped peaks of the southern Drakensberg to the lush forests of Tsitsikamma and flanked by the Indian Ocean, it's not surprising the Eastern Cape, South Africa, is described is a province of great extremes.
The Eastern Cape, which incorporates the famous Garden Route, is one of the most varied areas in terms of topography, climate, flora and fauna, encompassing the wild North-Eastern highlands, the Tsitsikamma National Park and the semi arid Karoo.
The Tsitsikamma National Park forms a section of the Garden Route National Park and is situated at the heart of the picturesque tourist region known as the Garden Route, found in the Southern Cape of South Africa. Tsitsikamma is a Khoisan (early inhabitants of the area) word meaning, “place of much water.” Ancient river gorges and abundant rivers and streams continually remind us of the creative power of water and the origins of the word Tsitsikamma.
The park is a great area for walking and there are a number of hikes on offer including the Otter Trail, the Tsitskimma Trail and the Dolphin Trail. These vary in distance and also standards of accommodation. The trails require differing levels of fitness and often get booked up many months in advance so if you are interested you need to plan early.
Port Elizabeth itself is South Africa's fifth largest city, originally known as Algoa Bay, it was renamed in 1820 in memory of the then Governor General's wife. The city’s rich cultural heritage guarantees history lovers a unique insight into the Eastern Cape and the Bay’s diverse and remarkable past.
Due north of Port Elizabeth is a large area of renegade farmland that has been returned to natural vegetation and is the home of the Eastern Cape malaria free safari private game reserves and the Addo Elephant National Park. In these areas you can enjoy malaria free safari, access to the Big 5, and in particular to the endangered Cape wild dog populations that are to be found in most of these reserves.
Addo Elephant National Park is situated 72km by road from Port Elizabeth. Stretching from the semi-arid Karoo area in the north around Darlington Dam, over the rugged Zuurberg Mountains, through the Sundays River Valley and south to the coast between Sundays River mouth and Bushman’s river mouth, Addo covers about 180 000 hectares (444 700 acres).
Established in 1931 to save 11 Elephants on the brink of extinction, and now home to more than 350 of them, 280 Cape Buffalo, black Rhino, a range of Antelope species, as well as the rare flightless dung Beetle, Addo Elephant Park is a perfect destination for the adventurous outdoor and nature lover.
Port Elizabeth is the gateway to this region and makes an interesting stopping point at either end of your visit. There are regular scheduled flights from here which connect to almost anywhere in the country.
The Amakhala Game Reserve located in the malaria free Eastern Cape of South Africa began in 1999 as a joint conservation venture between the owners of six lodges who are direct descendants of the orignal Frontier settlers some five generations ago and arrived here with the British settlers of 1820. The families originally settled to farm sheep and cattle on the wild and often hostile Zuurveld.
Amakhala Game Reserve is a unique conservation initiative that allows animals to be re-introduced to the area where they once roamed freely and so making a contribution to the conservation of our natural heritage. The land was used to ranch sheep and cattle up to the turn of the century. The challenge has been to re-establish the original flora and fauna species to the area and to return the land to nature.
The Kruger National Park in South Africa is an internationally renowned destination that offers the world's greatest safari experience. It is unmatched in terms of the diversity and quantity of African wildlife and the beautiful vastness of it's landscapes, home to a diverse member of species including the BIG 5 - lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino which creates one of the best game viewing in Africa.
Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa. It covers 18,989km2 (7,332mi2) and extends 350km (217mi) from north to south and 60 km (37mi) from east to west.
Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this National Park of nearly 2 million hectares is unrivaled in the diversity of its life forms, and holds its place as a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies.
Located mainly in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces in South Africa, this wilderness is home to literally hundreds of species of mammals, plants, birds, reptiles and insects. You will be touched with the mystical empathy of man and beast, living together in harmony and with mutual respect of creatures to be born free .
For an exclusive big game safari experience choose one of the famous private game reserves adjacent to the Kruger National Park. These extensive reserves share a common unfenced border with the Kruger Park allowing the wildlife to move freely.
Some of South Africa’s best game lodges are found here, offering an authentic and private wildlife experience away from the crowds. The Sabi Sand reserves include Mala Mala, Sabi Sabi, Londolozi, Singita, Idube and Exeter River Lodge. Further north in the Timbavati and Balule areas are Kings Camp, andBeyond Ngala, Thornybush and Greenfire Game Lodge.
The Timbavati Game Reserve is most famous for its white lions, which are still spotted in this area from time to time. The Timbavati is a collection of privately-owned game reserves which share an unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park. It is a vast Big 5 game reserve situated to the west of Kruger, and to the north of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. The bush and game viewing in the Timbavati is similar to what you will find in the Kruger National Park.
The Klaserie Private Nature Reserve lies to the west of the Timbavati Game Reserve. Covering an impressive 60 000 hectares of pristine wilderness, The Klaserie Private nature Reserve was established in 1972 as part of the greater Kruger National Park, and is one of the largest privately owned reserves in South Africa.
The private nature of this wilderness sanctuary enables visitors to embrace the African bushveld. It allows guests to take in the sights, sounds and smells that make the bushveld such a unique experience. Safaris within this unspoilt region of the Greater Kruger National Park focus on the bush and its ecosystems.
Manyeleti means “Place of the stars” in the local language. It truly is a unique safari destination well off the beaten path. This 23,000 hectate Manyeleti Private Game Reserve borders directly to the vast Kurger National Park, as well as the famous Sabi Sands and Timbavati Game Reserves.
Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve borders the unfenced western edge of the Kruger National Park, and is part of the renowned Sabi Sand Reserve, home to spectacular wildlife. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve was established in 1979 in the 65000 hectare world renowned Sabi Sands, the South-Western section of the Kruger National Park.
The spectacular Londolozi Private Game Reserve is located in the Sabi Sands Reserve on the edge of South Africa's Kruger National Park. Set in its own 17,000-hectare park, Londolozi provides the archetypal safari experience.
Balule Private Game Reserve - it forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park as a huge, unfenced wildlife conservancy where the animals are allowed unrestricted movement over more than two million hectares. Balule Private Nature Reserve - ideally located between the Phalaborwa and Kruger Park's Open Gate.
The Sabi Sand Reserve is the oldest of South Africa’s private reserves, and the origin of wildlife tourism in Southern Africa. In 1898, the Sabie Reserve was proclaimed and incorporated into both the Sabi Sand and the Kruger National Park. After the revision of the Kruger Park boundaries in 1926, private landowners collectively formed the Sabi Private Game Reserves in 1934 – a forerunner to the Sabi Sand Wildtuin, which was ultimately established in 1948.
Situated in Sabi Sands Game Reserve bordering the legendary Kruger National Park, Exeter Private Game Reserve is part of one of the greatest conservation areas in the world. At Exeter Private Game Reserve experience the service and luxury of a colonial style African safari evocative of a bygone era.
Kapama Private Game Reserve is an African Eden. Sweeping across 13 000 hectares of savannah and riverine forest, Kapama represents a piece of Africa as it used to be. Kapama Game Reserve (Hoedspruit, Limpopo) was proclaimed a private game reserve in December 1993.
The name comes from ‘Kapama’, a Swazi king whose tribe inhabited and hunted in the northern Drakensberg mountain region around Mariepskop back in the 1880s.With the mighty Drakensberg mountains in the distance and iconic Kruger National Park to the east, Kapama has distilled the finest wildlife safari offerings for the enjoyment of guests.
Situated within 14 000 hectares of pristine wilderness, adjacent to the Kruger National Park, the Thornybush Nature Reserve is a true escape from the madness of city life. This haven, which is just over 5 hours drive from Johannesburg has scooped numerous world firsts, both for conservation and hospitality.
Makalali Conservancy is over 22 000 hectares set in the Lowveld region of Limpopo, an hour west of the Phalaborwa gate of the Kruger National Park and roughly 80 kilometres from Hoedspruit.
Makalali, which means 'place of rest' in Shangaan, has as its conservation mission to expand South Africa’s green frontier. The conservancy, spearheaded by the Makalali Land and Wildife Trust, has been actively involved in trying to re-establish the ancient traditional wildlife migration routes that link the Kruger National Park in the east to the Drakensburg Mountains in the west.
KwaZulu-Natal - Durban - Elephant Coast - Lake St Lucia - Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - Kosi Bay
KwaZulu Natal is renowned for its Game Reserves and traditional Zulu Culture, it has it all - a long coastline of beautiful beaches, rolling green midlands inland, a wealth of African culture, the magnificent Drakensberg range of mountains, and game reserves stocked with the Big Five – all to be enjoyed with 320 days of sunshine a year.
The attractions in KwaZulu Natal (KZN) range from vibrant cities to the gorgeous Land of a Thousand Hills, from tranquil beaches to outstanding Game Parks and Nature Reserves. Travel through the beautiful Valley of a Thousands Hills to Pietermaritzburg and Durban.
The Drakensberg themselves are spectacular and the land around the mountains is some of the most fertile and productive in the whole of South Africa.
These are just some of the sites you shouldn't miss - Big Five Game Reserves (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino - and lots more, of course) The province also has deep and varied cultural heritage - once home to the legendary King Shaka, it has one of the largest Indian communities outside India, and a strong British colonial heritage.
The Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park(HiP) is a flagship protected area of Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife (EzemveloW) which has a long history of innovative conservation research and development of conservation techniques. The reserve boasts the Big 5, Cheetah and Wild dogs not to mention the abundance of the smaller creatures found within the reserve. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is an absolute marvel, we hope and trust that you will have a splendid self drive while in the park
You'll see this rich mix of cultures on the streets of Durban and Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal's major cities. Durban (Tekweni in Zulu) is the ancestral home of the Nguni people. Africa's bewitching seaside playground in the sun with radiant golden sands and lush sub-tropical greenery. Durban is a thriving port city with a multicultural population and world-class facilities, not to mention superb beaches. The city has balmy weather all year round, making it a perfect holiday paradise.
With the battlefields, museums, old fortifications and places of remembrance the Route boasts the largest concentration of significant Battles and war related sites than anywhere in South Africa.
Home to the Tsonga people and their primitive, yet ingenious, traditional fish traps, Kosi Bay's unique ecosystem and vast wildlife is rapidly becoming the favourite place of modern-day Elephant Coast or Maputaland explorers.
When you think iSimangaliso Wetland Park, think endless sub-tropical coastline, tall dunes with coastal forests, and behind that, endless savanna and wetland ecosystems, including South Africa’s largest natural lake!
Travel to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Mkuze Game Reserve, Temba Game Reserve and the Drakensberg.
The Free State is situated in the heart of the country, between the Vaal River in the north and the Orange River in the south. The Free State is a rural province of farmland, mountains, goldfields and widely dispersed towns.
Here outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy birding, game viewing, trophy hunting, hiking, horse riding, biking, 4x4 off-road driving, river rafting, fly-fishing, camping, climbing, spelunking or just relaxing in its more than 80 parks and reserves, such as the scenic Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The Golden Gate Highlands National Park is found in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains and also offers views of the Drakensberg Mountain Range. The magnificent Golden Gate Highlands National Park which was proclaimed in 1963 and which covers an area of 340 km2 and comprises 11 600 hectares.
The Drakensberg is steeped in rich cultural heritage and was home to the San people from late Stone Age times until as recently as the nineteenth century. The mountain caves and overhangs of the Drakensberg are now a testament to the San way of life depicted through their paintings. Over 35 000 individual recorded images at over 600 sites can be seen in the Drakensberg region - making up 35% of all of South Africa's San rock art sites.
Popular areas within the park include the dramatic Amphitheatre in Royal Natal Park in the north, Giants Castle, Cathedral Peak, Kamberg and Lotheni. All of these areas of the park offer accommodation and cater for hiking and camping with many excellent facilities available from rustic self-catering chalets to luxurious lodges- even mountain huts and caves.
The Maloti Drakensberg Transboundary World Heritage Site is a transnational property spanning the border between the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Republic of South Africa. The property comprises Sehlabathebe National Park in Lesotho and uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park (242,813 ha) in South Africa. Maloti Drakensberg Transboundary World Heritage Site is renowned for its spectacular natural landscape, importance as a haven for many threatened and endemic species, and for its wealth of rock paintings made by the San people over a period of 4000 years.
Clarens is a picturesque artist’s town in the foothills of the Maloti Mountains that stretch to the landlocked Kingdom of Lesotho. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a quiet breakaway or an adventures holiday, with the variety of things to do in Clarens, everyone will have a great time visiting this stunning town.
Kiara - located between Clarens and Golden Gate National Park you’ll find a small rock shelter with 47 Bushman rock paintings including eland, reebuck and human figures. This site is truly unique in that it has South Africa’s only unequivocal example of a dassie or rock hyrax (Procavia capensis).
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