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A beginner's guide to South Africa
Home to fascinating culture, superb food and wine, spectacular scenery and awesome wildlife, South Africa truly is a diverse country waiting to be explored. Take a trip to Robben Island off the shores of Cape Town, savour the wonderful cuisine in the many gourmet restaurants, take a drive around the stunning Cape Peninsula and visit one of the many game reserves to search for the elusive Big Five. All this is possible on one trip…believe us, you won’t be disappointed!
South Africa is often called the ‘Rainbow Nation’, a term which neatly describes the country’s multicultural diversity. Because of its colonial past, South Africa has a large number of Afrikaans- (descended from Dutch settlers) and English speakers (the British began colonising the region in the 1800's). African culture is mostly known for its colourful art, dance and music, but also influences the stunning architecture and cuisine. Among native South Africans, there are many different ethnic groups and nine officially-recognised local languages.
Food and drink
South African food celebrates the country’s rich cultural heritage, as well as taking advantage of the natural bounty of seafood, meat, game and plants. There are myriad of indigenous delicacies such as biltong (dried, salted meat), bobotie (a much-improved version of Shepherd’s pie) and boerewors (hand-made farm sausages, grilled on an open flame). Of course South Africa is famous for its wine - the result of the many sun-kissed vineyards that line the winelands region. Sample some of the regions finest on a fun-filled wine tasting tour, or better still stay in the Winelands region for a night or two to experience one of the most tranquil and breath-taking regions, and some of the country’s best restaurants.
Further reading: A true taste of South Africa
This astonishing country is home to a great array of landscapes, including the luscious winelands, rugged mountain ranges and sensational beaches that fringe the coast. The scenic Garden Route on the southeastern coast between Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth offers glorious stretches of coastline, mountains, forests, lakes and lagoons all waiting
to be explored. In the east of the country in the province of KwaZulu-Natal you’ll find the pretty Drakensberg mountain range and wonderful natural sites that are perfect for hiking.
With an abundance of national parks to choose from you won’t find a better place to spot the Big Five (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros). With over 19,000 square kilometres of bush, Kruger National Park is not only a haven for safari goers but it also caters for all sorts of other activities. Away from the safari circuit, watch out for hippos on a boat cruise along the St Lucia estuary, ride an Ostrich at Oudtshoorn, go whale watching at Hermanus or visit the penguins at Boulders Beach near Cape Town.
Further reading: Explore Kruger National Park in search of the Big Five