South Africa – any Travellers Dream
South Africa covers an area of well over a million square kilometers (386,000 sq. miles) and is located at the southern tip of the continent.
A country rich in diversity, South Africa enjoys a matchless setting. Appreciate the wealth and richness of various cultures, scenic beauty and wildlife, which still remain the prime reason for foreign tourists to visit South Africa.
Eco tourism includes nature photography, bird watching, botanical studies, scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking and mountain climbing. Explore the mystique and diversity of the African bushveld and the natural drama of both the scenery and the wildlife.
Most popular South Africa tourist destinations :
- Kruger National Park
- Garden Route
- Cape Town
- Pilanesberg National Park & Sun City
- Northern Cape Province
- Maputaland & St. Lucia Wetland:
- Mapungubwe (Limpopo Province)
The Kruger National Park is the primary destination in South Africa for many international tourists. Each year more than a million visitors are registered.
The National Park was opened in 1898 at the instigation of then-president Paul Kruger. After hunters had considerably decimated the originally rich game stock, all the land between the Sabie and the Crocodile Rivers was put under the protection of Nature Conservation to ensure the survival of the remaining animals. Only as recently as 1961 was the extended Kruger Park fenced in.
The park stretches from the Crocodile River in the south up to the Limpopo River, which is the international border in the north. Altogether it is 350 km long, 65 km wide and comprises an area of about 20,000 sq km. A web of roads of 1863 kilometres leads through the National Park, 697 kms of them being tarred. For the visitor there are numerous differently equipped restcamps, most of them scenically positioned. Within the park boundaries, travel is only allowed between sunrise and sunset. After dark one has to stay in one of the fenced restcamps.
A guided Kruger National Park tour, accompanied by a knowledgeable tour guide or a self-drive tour can be booked via Touraco Travel Services. Examples of tour proposals appear to the left on this Internet site. Itineraries can be adapted to suit personal needs. In all cases it is recommended to book in advance. The Kruger Park lies approximately half a day’s drive from Johannesburg/Pretoria.
The Park offers good opportunities for game viewing throughout the year, although generally the best time for observing the animals is the dry winter season. Then the grass is low and bushes and trees don’t have leaves, so that one can have an unobstructed view. Because it virtually doesn’t rain in winter, the animals come to the waterholes to drink in the mornings and evenings and can easily be watched from the car. The game stock in the Kruger National Park is globally unique. 114 different species of reptiles, 507 bird and 147 mammal species are represented here. About 3000 hippos and just as many crocodiles live in the rivers which have water all year long. On land, the Impala antelopes are the most numerous animals, with more than 170,000 specimens. Some 30,000 zebras and 15,000 buffaloes also bustle about in the vast savannah, and 5,000 giraffes and 13,000 elephants keep them company. The rhinoceros are represented with a population of about 3000. However, the number of predatory cats is considerable: 2,000 lions, 900 leopards and 300 cheetahs are part of this magnificent eco-system.
The vegetation in the Kruger Park consists mainly of Bushveld, a combination of grassland, various shrubs and trees. In the northern parts of the park the vegetation is, due to the higher rainfalls, more dense than in the south. There is also the characteristic African baobab tree
South Africa Tour Proposals
Kruger National Park Tours
The edge of the berg – no more hauntingly beautiful landscape exists in all Africa than the eastern escarpment of Mpumalanga, ‘the place of the rising sun’. Situated on the north-east border of South Africa, bounded by Swaziland and Mozambique, Mpumalanga is a land of contrasts. Highveld grasslands dominate the western border with Gauteng, moving eastwards through bushveld to the Greater Drakensberg
Escarpment overlooking the lowveld and the Kruger National Park. The wildlife, birds and plant life are truly representative of Africa. The scenery is majestic and endless. Here you will find the true Africa where peace reigns in the stillness of an African sunset. At dark, you will thrill to the sounds of the wild. The people of Mpumalanga wait to welcome you with African warmth to their land.
The Panorama Route is one of the most beautiful and popular travel destinations in South Africa. It leads through the rugged mountain range of the northern Drakensberg. Here, in the north-eastern part of the Great Escarpment, the inland plateau declines abruptly and steeply and opens up fantastic views of the plains of the Lowveld a thousand metres below. This view is most reliable in the dry winter months. At other times the spectacle is often impaired, since the escarpment is a barrier for the clouds coming from the east, rising at this point and bringing a lot of rain.
The most spectacular stretch is the Blyde River Canyon, third largest Cayin in the world, which can be reached from Graskop via R532. Just a few kilometres north a small loop road leads to “God’s Window”, from where you will enjoy a wonderful view on the Lowveld. The Canyon starts at “Bourke’s Luck Potholes” and ends at the “Three Rondavels”. From many well-positioned vantage points one has a view of the 33 km long gorge. The Potholes are very impressive rock formations that were shaped millions of years ago by erosion. The bizarre swirl holes developed when the once rapid river carried masses of sand and debris
Bourkes’ Luck Potholes:This natural water feature marks the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon. Through countless eons the swirling whirlpools which occur as the Treur River plunges into the Blyde River caused waterborne sand and rock to grind huge, cylindrical potholes into the bedrock of the river. The Potholes were named after a gold digger, Tom Burke, who staked a claim nearby. Although his claim did not produce a single ounce of gold, he correctly predicted that large gold deposits would be found in the area. The Potholes sre located 35km north of Graskop town on the R532 road. The informative visitors centre details some of the interesting natural and socio-historic features and is the starting point of the 700m walk to the potholes.
In the area of the “Greater Panorama Route” between Lydenburg, Ohrigstad and Hazyview provide numerous scenic attractions and pretty historic towns like Pilgrim’s Rest and Sabie, which are well worth a visit.
Mpumalanga & Kruger Park Tours :
Africa’s most scenic route with spectacular mountain passes, unspoiled coastlines and endless white beaches, indigenous forests, lakes and meandering rivers, stretches from Storms River and the Tsitsikamma area in the east to Mossel Bay in the west. Many good hotels and restaurants, pleasant villages, resorts and a warm ocean make the Garden Route area a true tourist haven.
Garden Route Tours:
Cape Town is South Africa’s oldest city, founded by Jan van Riebeeck and the first Dutch settlers, in 1652. The English circumventer, Sir Francis Drake, described it as ‘the fairest cape in the whole world’, nestling snugly in the natural amphitheater between the immensity of Table Mountain and the blue waters of Table Bay. Tourists frequent Robben Island, Cape Point, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden or enjoy a trip to scenic Cape Winelands.
Cape Town Tours:
The most accessible of the major South African reserves, the Pilanesberg is located just one and a half hours drive north-west of Johannesburg and Pretoria. This unusual reserve, which is the fourth largest national park in South Africa, is set high in the Pilanesberg range, traversing the floor of an ancient and now long extinct volcano, providing a number of interesting habitats for the varied fauna and flora of the park.
Amongst a wide variety of mammals Pilanesberg offers the visitor the ‘Big Five’ (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino & buffalo). Mankwe Dam situated in the centre of the reserve is a gathering point for many of the animals, providing excellent photo opportunities.
The world famous Sun City and Lost City resort, Kwa Maritane, Tshukudu Bush Lodge and Bakebung are all located close to the four park entrances. These facilities offer a wide selection of accommodation options and two world-class golf courses.
The home of the Nama people of South Africa. Namaqualand is probably the worlds most awe inspiring floral kingdom in the world. You have not seen any flowers until you have experienced the splendour of Namaqualand in full flower. Each year in spring, Namaqualand hosts the most spectacular show on earth. Situated in what is probably the most arid part of South Africa, the stark contrast between winter and spring can nowhere be more dramatic than in this part of the world.
Northern Cape Province/ Namaqualand Tours
Augrabies Falls is rated as one of the six greatest waterfalls in the world and experience its full might and thunderous roar as the entire Orange River’s water drops 191 metres at the Augrabies Falls. The thundering cascade of water led the original Hottentot residents to believe that evil spirits were active here, and so they named the waterfall Ankoerebis, ‘place of big noises’, from which the Trek Boers, who settled here later on, derived the name Augrabies. Especially in late summer, when the river carries a lot of water, the roaring waters fully justify that name. New waterfalls then form at the sidewalls, and the air is filled with dense spraying fog. The gorge at the Augrabies Falls is 240 m deep and 18 km long. It is a most impressive example of granite erosion. When the whole landmass of the area lifted about 500 million years ago, the Orange River slowly started to dig its bed into the ground. Augrabies comprises of an area of 820 sq km and stretches along the Orange River. The vegetation is suited to the arid desert climate. The Kokerboom, or Quiver Tree grow here. They are succulents and can store huge amounts of water in their stems and so survive long periods of drought. The park contains a game reserve with rhinos as the main attraction. Augrabies gorge is a nine kilometre granite cleft through which the river plunges 146 m in one short stretch through a series of spectacular cataracts into a deep pool. The main fall and the adjoining Bridal Veil fall which carries some of the river’s flow are both approximately 93 m high. During peak floods which occur approximately every ten years, the flow over the falls exceeds 9 000 m3/s.
Northern Cape Province/ Namaqualand Tours
The southern Kalahari can be classified as a sand desert with an arid savanna setting. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is situated within the arid south of the vast Kalahari Desert. With two dominant fossil rivers; the wide Nossob and narrow Auob, dune and tree savanna landscapes and haunting desert scenery, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park must surely rate as one of the world’s most special places.
One of the world’s last truly unspoilt eco-systems and a vast living desert, the Kgalagadi covers 3,7 million Kalahari hectares (9,15 million acres), making it one of the largest conservation areas in the world and conservation success spanning South Africa & Botswana. But the Kalahari is also a living desert with a rich diversity and large numbers of mammal, bird, reptile and insect species in abundance. The red sand dunes, sparse vegetation and the dry riverbeds of the Nossob and Auob show antelope and predator species off at a premium and provide excellent photographic opportunities.
The park is situated 250 km north of Upington and Twee Rivieren Camp the access point. There are 2 means of access – traveling by vehicle 3 hours or time efficient air transfers from Upington Airport to Twee Rivieren’s tarred airfield.
Northern Cape Province/ Namaqualand Tours
Maputaland is a remote, magical place of shimmering lakes and rivers, forests, bush and pristine sea shore. It incorporates the 260 000 hectare Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, an internationally recognized World Heritage Site. It is one of the most unspoilt wilderness areas left on the African continent and a prime destination for ecotourists seeking an incomparable outdoor experience.
Besides Lake St. Lucia itself – a unique, 38 000 ha expanse of lake, islands and estuary – the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park incorporates an astonishing variety of habitats ranging from the Lebombo Mountains to the grasslands, forests, wetlands, mangroves, dune forests, massive stretches of beach and off-shore coral reefs.
The Park supports an abundance of crocodile, hippo, black rhino, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, nyala, impala, duiker and reedbuck, to name just a few species. Now after an absence of 100 years, elephant are being re-introduced to the eastern shores of Lake St. Lucia.
The spectacular Kosi Bay lakes, right on the Mozambique border, consist of four lakes, ranging from freshwater to saline, feeding into the ocean. The mouth of the Kosi Lakes is regarded as one of the best snorkeling sites anywhere in the world.
In the heart of Maputaland lies Lake Sibaya, 70 square kilometers of crystal clear water and 100 kilometers of pristine shoreline. As South Africa’s largest fresh water lake, the Ramsar Convention assures it international conservation status
Various lodges in the area offer guests easy access to a wide range of activities including canoeing on the lakes for brilliant birding opportunities, sundowner cruises, hippo sightings, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, surf-, spear- fly fishing and turtle watching.
St Lucia/ KwaZulu-Natal Tours :
South Africa Tour Proposals
Set right up against the northern border of South Africa, uniting Botswana and Zimbabwe, lies Mapungubwe National Park – an extensive savannah landscape situated at the meeting place of the Limpopo and Shashe rivers. This is the land of sandstone formations, mopane woodlands, brooding baobabs, ancient floodplains and unique riverine forests that form a dramatic backcloth for the wealth of animal life – elephant, giraffe, buffalo, white rhino, gemsbok and other antelope, extensive bir life, and the more elusive mammal like hyenas, leopards and lions.
Mapungubwe is South Africa’s first kingdom, a highly complex society that marked the heart of a pre-Shona kingdom between 1050 AD and 1270 AD, only to be abandoned in the 14th century. The Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape – the virtually untouched remains of the palace sites, the settlement area dependent upon them, and two capital sites that remain – was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003 and forms part of the Mapungubwe National Park.
The Cultural Landscape provides visitors with a unique portrait of the social and political structures of a society that traded with China and India, was regarded as the most complex society in southern Africa and was the first society since the Bushmen to settle in South Africa. The kingdom was regarded as the forerunner of the Zimbabwe civilisation and at its height, Mapungubwe, which means place of the stone of wisdom, was the largest kingdom in the African sub-continent. Some 5000 people appeared to live around Mapungubwe Hill where their ‘sacred’ leader lived in seclusion from his people.
After the collapse of Mapungubwe’s society, it was forgotten until the wealth of artefacts on top of Mapungubwe Hill – a sandstone oval-shaped hill with sheer vertical cliffs and a plateau of about 300 metres known as the ‘place of jackals’, accessible only by means of two very steep and narrow paths – were discovered.
Mapungubwe National Park: One of the country’s newest parks, Mapungubwe opened to the public in September 2004. Not only does it provide the public with an awesome window on the rich and varied animal life in this part of South Africa, but it is a chance to explore Mapungubwe Mountain and the culture that, despite being discovered in 1932, was kept largely hidden from the public until recently. This discovery included three findings of significance: a beautiful golden rhinoceros made from gold foil nailed around a wooden interior, and a gold sceptre and bowl, all uncovered from the excavation of twenty three graves on the hilltop site and which are on display at the Mapungubwe Museum at the University of Pretoria.
But the highlight of anyone’s visit to this incredible part of the world is the beauty of the area – huge boulders, rocky koppies, sheer cliff faces, wild fig trees that cling to rock faces and huge indigenous trees that stand tall amidst grassland. Mapungubwe is simply stunning. Together with the Tuli Block in Botswana and the Tuli Safari area in Zimbabwe, the Mapungubwe National Park, which covers some 28 000 hectares in its own right, forms part of the ambitious Limpopo / Shashe Transfrontier Park – a joining of nations in the provision of an unlimited area in which animals can freely wander.
Mapunggubwe National Park – Limpopo Tours:
South Africa Tour Proposals