It was the Dutch who first established a settlement in 1652 at what would later become Cape Town, with the city becoming a British colony in 1806. A century later, the Union of South Africa was created in 1909 as a dominion of the British Empire. However after fifty years of allegiance to Britain, South Africa became a republic in 1961. Today, South Africa navigates the challenges of the modern world as it negotiates a post-apartheid society that prides itself on equality for all.
South Africa is a large country with varying climates and weather systems. On the coast at for example Cape Town the mercury rises in summer to around 26 degrees, while in winter the temperature peaks at an average of 17 degrees. Whereas in the Kruger National Park temperatures rise to 34 degrees in January and peak at 26 degrees in winter. Summer is considerably wetter than winter.
South Africa hosts many festivals and events throughout the year. In March the Cape Town International Jazz Festival celebrates music, whereas the Woodstock Music Festival is the largest youth-orientated music event. One of the oldest events in the country is the Ficksburg Cherry Festival, while Arts Alive in Johannesburg celebrates dance, visual art, poetry and music.
There are direct flights from Australia to South Africa. Johannesburg is a major hub. Airlines that fly from Australia to Johannesburg include:
The flight takes around 15 hours.
There are land borders between all of South Africa’s neighbours including Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
The major South African cities offer luxury five star accommodation options with the associated comfort. When undertaking a safari, some parks offer luxury lodge packages, which include flights, game drives and suitable elegant accommodation.
To find out more about the range of holiday accommodation available with Travel Associates call 1800 017 849 or enquire online.
Sights to See
South Africa has three capital cities: Pretoria the executive, Bloemfontein the judicial and Cape Town the legislative, with each city deserving attention. In Cape Town the cable car up Table Mountain is very popular, as is strolling through the neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap for the brightly coloured houses. Nelson Mandela, along with other political prisoners were held on Robben Island just off the coast. The two oceans off Cape Town coastline provide great diving opportunities – note the difference in marine life between the Atlantic and the Indian.
While cities provide a fascinating insight into modern South African culture, perhaps the true attraction to the country are the national parks and the opportunity to undertake a wildlife safari. Arguably the most famous reserve is the Kruger National Park, located in the northeast, on the Mozambique border. Here you can spot the big five – lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceros and buffalos.
A fascinating glimpse into man’s evolutionary process can be gleaned at what is known as the cradle of humankind, northwest of Johannesburg. There are 13 fossil sites and over 200 caves where hominids and advanced ape fossils were discovered.
Don’t Leave Without…
Sunscreen and insect repellent, while available, can be expensive if purchased in Egypt. Mosquitoes are active throughout the country, especially around dusk and near waterways, so be prepared to use your preferred repellent liberally.
Sunscreen and insect repellent are essential. Mosquitoes are active throughout the country, especially around dusk and near waterways, so be prepared to use your preferred repellent liberally. Some areas are malarial, so take the necessary medical precautions as instructed by your doctor.
Things to be careful of…
Taking a safari can be an exhilarating experience however it’s important to follow a few simple rules for your own safety and those of the animals. Obey the speed limits at all times and don’t leave your car except in designated spots or at a camp site. Never feed the animals and never drive at night.
Consult your GP prior to departure to ensure you have all the necessary vaccinations.
Most visitors to South Africa enjoy their trip without incidence. However it’s important to remain vigilant without being paranoid. Don’t wear jewellery or unnecessary bling and keep valuables and cash out of sight.
Never photograph locals without their permission.