South Africa – Situated at the southern tip of Africa, South Africa has such diverse attractions and experiences on offer. It is one of the most diverse and enchanting countries in the world. Exotic combinations of landscapes, people, history and culture offer the traveller a unique and inspiring experience. South Africa has a landmass of 1 233 404 km² edged on 3 sides by a nearly 3000km coastline along the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic. It is bordered in the north by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and also wraps itself around two independent countries, the Lesotho and Swaziland.
Since the demise of apartheid, international tourist arrivals have surged, making tourism one of the fastest growing sectors. The tourism industry is well-established with an exciting sector of emerging entrepreneurs. The country is strong on adventure, sport, nature and wildlife travel and is a pioneer and global leader in responsible tourism.
Full of record-breaking animals. It’s where you’ll find the largest land mammal (elephant), the largest bird (ostrich), the tallest animal (giraffe), the largest fish (whale shark), the largest reptile (leatherback turtle), the fastest land mammal (cheetah) and the largest antelope (eland)
With more than 20 National Parks in South Africa, including two of the world’s most renowned wildlife reserves, the Kruger National Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, plus almost as many regional parks, the country is a wild life & eco-destination second to none. You have an option to explore parks such as Tsitsikamma, Pilanesberg, Addo Elephant, Karoo National Park, Golden Gate Highland, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, Augrabies Falls across the major provinces of South Africa
South Africa has a temperate climate and is known for its long sunny days, hence the title: ‘Sunny South Africa’. Most of the provinces have summer rainfall, except for the Western Cape (winter rainfall). Winter is from May to August; Spring from September to October; Summer from November to February and Autumn is from March to April.
Botswana is one of Africa’s landlocked countries, located in the south-west part of the continent. It is surrounded by four countries – Namibia to the west and north, South Africa to the south, Zimbabwe to the east, and shares a tiny section of its borders (about 156 metres or 171 yards) with Zambia in the northeast. The first people to settle in Botswana were the San Bushmen, nomadic hunter-gatherers whose territories are also thought to have spanned present-day Namibia, Angola, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Their influence is still evident in southern Africa, where these indigenous inhabitants eke out traditional lives as hunter-gatherer. Examples of their early rock art are also still visible across the region.
Easily one of best safari destinations in Africa, Botswana is a wild and dramatic land characterised not only by its bountiful wildlife, but also by its extraordinary scenery: from shimmering salt pans and diamond rich deserts to raging rivers and fertile flood plains, the landscapes here come in many guises. Nearly half of the country is given over to national parks, reserves and private concessions, which makes for an excellent safari experience.
Botswana’s policy of favouring low-impact luxury tourism ensures that even the most famous game-viewing areas rarely feel crowded, while its population of just two million adds to the sense of wilderness. The north of Botswana in particular offers superb wildlife-watching opportunities. It is home to the wondrous Okavango Delta – the largest inland delta in the world – where shimmering lagoons and fertile waterways are crammed with more than 400 species of bird. Away from the water zebras and giraffes amble across grass flats and flood plains, keeping an eye out for the numerous big predators that also reside here.
Northeast of Okavango is another jewel in Botswana’s crown: Chobe National Park, which has one of the largest concentrations of game anywhere in Africa. The reserve is particularly well known for its vast elephant herds, some 400-strong, which share this wild land with the likes of lions, cheetahs, hippos and many more. It’s not only in conservation that Botswana is an African success story. Since gaining independence in 1966, it has achieved steady economic growth through good use of its agricultural potential and enviable diamond reserves.
Lesotho is a country in Southern Africa. Known as the Kingdom in the Sky because of its lofty altitude — it has the highest lowest point of any country in the world (1400m) and is the only country to be entirely above 1000m! Lesotho is totally surrounded by South Africa and is a fantastic adventure holiday destination.
The high altitude and mountainous geography lend a spectacularly scenic backdrop to the numerous outdoor activities on offer, including pony trekking, rock climbing, fishing, abseiling, hiking, bird watching,mountain biking and even skiing on the snow-covered slopes below the Mahlasela Pass.
The existence of valuable mineral and water resources led developers to build roads through some areas of Lesotho, but much of the kingdom and its villages remain remote and can only be reached on foot, by horseback or by light aircraft.
But Lesotho’s remoteness is a large part of its appeal, and this also helps preserve the rich traditional culture of the Basotho people, which you can experience at a number of cultural villages dotted across the kingdom. Lesotho also boasts some prominent examples of ancient rock paintings made by the nomadic San people that once inhabited this area.
Since Lesotho gained its independence from the British, poverty and unemployment have seen this protectorate lose a large percentage of its population to South Africa’s mines, while those that stayed behind have had to live with one of the world’s highest rates of HIV, which in turn has had detrimental effects on the country’s economy.
But while Lesotho might not be able to boast the wealth and infrastructure of its much larger neighbour, when it comes to raw adventure and natural beauty it can certainly hold its own
Namibia is a large, mostly arid country in southwest Africa with Angola to the north, Botswana to the east, and South Africa to the south. In the northeast corner, the Caprivi Strip, a narrow panhandle of tropical Namibian territory juts towards Victoria Falls, forming borders with Angola, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa. To the west is a 1,280km long stretch (795 miles) of perhaps the loneliest coastline in the world, with foggy shores lashed by the Atlantic and littered with shipwrecks.
Along the entire length of the country, the huge shifting dune fields of the Namib Desert spread inland for up to 130km (81 miles). The most stunning sand dunes can be found in Sossusvlei National Park. In the far northwest, the Kaokoland Mountains run parallel to the Skeleton Coast, while further inland lies the Etosha Pan, a dried-out saline lake surrounded by grasslands. The Etosha National Park is the third largest in Africa, remaining largely free of human influence. In the interior, the Central Plateau runs from north to south, sloping away into the vast sand basin of the Kalahari. Windhoek, the capital, perches on this plateau. The Kalahari has a geography all of its own, with inselbergs, or isolated mountains that create microclimates and habitats for organisms not adapted to life in the desert.
Namibia boasts remarkable natural attractions such as the Namib desert, the Fish River Canyon Park, Etosha National Park and the Kalahari Desert. Its people speak nine different languages, including some of the Khoisan languages which include the ‘clicks’ that present an enigma to most native English-speakers. Namibia produces some of the world’s highest quality diamonds.
Zimbabwe is a fantastic place for tourism. Only 20 years ago, it was the richest country in Africa. Currently with the economy struggling, it is a good place to visit as resorts and hotels are much cheaper than normal and it is very beautiful.
The Victoria Falls’ mile-wide (2 km) curtain of water plunges deep into the Zambezi Gorge creating a cloud of mist that can be seen up to 20 miles (32 km) away. They can be seen on a short trip from Botswana or South Africa but in doing so travellers will be missing some fascinating areas.
Highlights are the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, the beautiful Lake Kariba and also the two biggest cities of Zimbabwe are worth a visit: Harare and Bulawayo. Last but not least, to the east are the so-called Eastern Highlands, fine walking and fishing country, so cool that at certain times of the year, the grass in the morning can be trimmed with frost. In the west is the other-worldly jumble of granite rocks that make up the Matopos National Park.
Zimbabwe’s largest wildlife sanctuary is Hwange National Park, situated on the western border with Botswana. Hwange is home to one of Africa’s largest elephant populations and myriad other species. Other excellent game viewing areas are Matusadona, Mana Pools and Zambezi National Parks.