Full steam ahead for a multi-faceted land
Boasting an exceptional natural heritage, South Africa is also the cradle of cultural diversity. So, what should you see during a trip to South Africa? Here is our selection of iconic locations in the rainbow nation!
1. Cape Town, the dizzying city
Located on the southern tip of the African continent, Cape Town is considered to be the country’s mother city, an eclectic land filled with contrasts. Diversity is the keyword of this former Dutch and British colony. Right in the city centre, bordered by palm trees, the white sand Camps Bay beach is a festive meeting place. Another must-see: a tour of the wine-growing estates which surround Cape Town (known as the Winelands), with their mansions with typical Dutch architecture.
Bonus: The magical view from the top of Table Mountain, accessible by cable allows you to see the Cape of Good Hope on a clear day. Also worth a visit: Robben Island, nicknamed “seal island”, which served as a prison during apartheid..
2. Kruger National Park, the park of wonders
Enjoying an exceptionally diverse climate, South Africa is home to fauna as dense as it is varied. Make your way to Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in the country (2 million hectares!) for an unforgettable experience as close to nature as possible. On land, mammals like zebras, greater kudus, and not to mention antelopes, are plentiful. In the skies, 864 species of bird can be seen, including about 50 endemic species such as the blue crane.
Bonus: Look out for the “Big 5” game animals in Kruger National Park. What are the Big 5 exactly? The five largest mammals on the continent: African lion, African elephant, Black rhinoceros, African leopard, and Cape buffalo.
3. Port Elizabeth, the friendly city
Nestled 750 km from Cape Town is this charming and welcoming city. So much so that Port Elizabeth has quite a flattering nickname: “the Friendly City”. Many South Africans head here during the holidays to enjoy the magnificent beaches located in Algoa Bay, such as King’s Beach. With a large number of buildings testifying to its colonial past such as the State Library and the statue of Queen Victoria, Port Elizabeth’s historic centre is also well worth the detour.
Bonus: One hour from Port Elizabeth, in the Sundays River Valley, Addo Elephant National Park is a veritable sanctuary waiting to be discovered. It brings together nearly 450 elephants and many black rhinos, two species which are particularly endangered.
4. Durban, the cosmopolitan side
Nestled right in the heart of the province of KwaZulu-Natal, in the east of the country, Durban is a city strongly influenced by Indian culture. As well as being home to the largest industrial port in the country, it attracts a lot of surfing fans due to its stretches of golden sand. The most famous beach is the Golden Mile, which is packed with shops and restaurants. Finally, for a change of scenery, stroll along Margaret Mncadi Avenue to see the imposing Vasco da Gama memorial clock.
Bonus: You can fully grasp the Indian influence by visiting Victoria Street Market and its stands of multicoloured spices or the Juma Masjid Mosque.
5. PheZulu, the authentic community
Finally, what kind of South African immersion would it be without discovering the Zulus, the “people from the sky” who have inhabited these lands for more than 1,200 years? Representing nearly 20% of the national population, the community perpetuates certain cultural traditions based on singing and dancing, in particular. PheZulu Safari Park offers an authentic immersion in the heart of the Zulu people’s beliefs. The Gasa clan perform dances here in costumes accompanied by traditional music.
Bonus: Baptised the “Valley of a Thousand Hills”, this ancestral land, home to the Zulu people, is just one hour from Durban!
Travelling to South Africa means venturing off for an inspiring journey to a diverse, multi-coloured land. This bucket-list adventure is not to be missed!
Along the South-African coastline
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