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South Africa

Introduction:

South Africa is a huge and varied country, spanning the tip of the continent from west to east and encompassing many different ecosystems. The western coastline offers rugged scenery overlooking the wild Atlantic, which blends with the calmer Indian Ocean at Cape Point.

More Info:

General Information

Geography - Environment

History, Culture and Politics

Useful Information

Country Hotspots

General Information

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The east coast beaches offer excellent surfing and swimming opportunities from safe and unspoiled beaches. Inland, the landscape varies from the beautiful Drakensberg Mountains to extensive wilderness areas with excellent wildlife.

Travel via self-drive safaris, fly-in holidays or guided tours here is usually safe and relatively uncomplicated, the infrastructure is excellent with well-maintained main roads, frequently situated fuel stations and a wide variety of shops and accommodation establishments.

South Africa has so much to offer in terms of wildlife safaris, beach holidays, family safaris, adventure activities, cultural and heritage tours, vineyards, hiking trails, diving and snorkelling and much, much more! One of the best ways to travel through South Africa on safari is by renting a car and taking a self-drive holiday. The Garden Route is one of the most famous attractions, and many visitors begin this route in Cape Town where they enjoy a trip to Robben Island, Table Mountain, Cape Point, Boulders Beach penguin colony, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek wine regions, Kirstenbosch botanical gardens and the many beaches of Camps Bay, Llandudno, Bantry Bay and Clifton.

Geography - Environment

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South Africa is a huge country, spreading for just less than 2,000 km north to south and around 1500 km west to east. The climate is mostly dry and sunny as the majority of the country lies just south of the Tropic of Capricorn.

Three distinct ecosystems can be identified within the country; the vast inland plateau (\'highveld\'), the great escarpment and the narrow coastal plain (\'lowveld\'). South Africa is home to an amazing variety of flora and fauna taking advantage of every niche including the Atlantic & Indian Ocean coastlines, grassy plains and lush meadows and the mountains of the Drakensberg. This country boasts one of the World\'s floral kingdoms within its borders, the only country in the World to do so. The Cape Floral Kingdom is found in the Western Cape and is home to the unique \'fynbos\' (fine bush) vegetation of which the Protea, South Africa\'s National Flower, is one species. There are approximately another 8,500 fynbos species including many Erica and heath varieties.

Succulent species such as euphorbias, aloes and annuals, can be found in the drier areas of the country and meadows of wild flowers are a famous visitor attraction each spring in the Namaqualand region. South Africa is home to many animal and bird species, including the \'Big 5\' rhino, elephant, lion, leopard & buffalo. Visitors have an excellent chance of seeing these animals in the many private game reserves as well as the National Parks. Kruger National Park is one of the most established wildlife areas in Africa.

South Africa is also home to an amazing variety of birds, including spectacular flocks of flamingos, many striking Ostrich, coastal waders, plains and forest species.

History, Culture and Politics

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Historians believe that the first people to settle in the area that is now South Africa were the San Bushmen, around 100,000 BC. These nomadic people lived a generally peaceful and isolated existence until the widespread settlement of Khoikhoi farmers around 80,000 BC. Bantu tribes arrived in the area in the 3rd century AD moving in from the north. Over time, the San have virtually disappeared as a separate race in South Africa; disease brought in from outsiders has combined with genocide on behalf of more aggressive peoples to wipe out the majority of the San. Many tribes have also merged their cultures with others through inter-marriage, for instance the Khoikhoi race has been largely absorbed into South Africa\'s coloured population.

Today there are many tribes living throughout the country, the most prominent of these include the Zulus, Xhosa and Ndebele as well as the Afrikaner and European peoples.

Modern day religion revolves mainly around Christianity but there is enormous variety with around 4000 African indigenous churches, and sub-sects of the Dutch Reformed Church. The Zion Christian Church has the largest Christian following in the country, members wear a Silver Star on a green background and advocate non-drinking and \'clean living\'. Many people in neighbouring countries, such as Botswana, also adhere to this religion closely. As in much of Africa, Christianity mingles with ancestor worship and traditional values.

The Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Diaz first rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 1487, and a Dutch settlement was established at the Cape in 1652. In 1688 French Huguenot\'s arrived at the Cape armed with extensive wine producing experience. Their influence is still keenly felt! However, colonial influence did not occur on any kind of large scale until the arrival of the British and the Dutch in the early 19th century.

Development around the Cape area was mainly undertaken with British rule. From the 1820\'s, the Boer settlers were becoming increasingly dissatisfied with this fact, and began to move northwards into largely unexplored territory on what became known as the Great Trek. The first stopping point was an area near the current Bloemfontein in 1838 where the Boers hoped to establish a republic.

The leader of this republic, Retief, approached the Zulu King Dingaan who agreed to allow the Boer to establish their republic here. Unfortunately for the trek participants, the agreement was a trap and all were massacred immediately after signing the land title deed. There followed a revenge attack which left 3000 Zulus dead in the battle of \'Blood River\'. When the Boers later moved into Mgungundlovu and found the deed granting them Retief\'s republic, they moved into this area.

The republic was short lived however, as the British annexed the area in 1843 and most of the Boer population moved northwards into the Transvaal. Between 1852 & 1854 the Transvaal & Orange Free State were granted independence from British rule, unfortunately the politics of the region were constantly unstable with the Boers often at war with the local Basotho tribe who were sometimes given help by the British, adding to animosity between the two colonial powers.

The Transvaal & Orange Free State both depended entirely on cattle for income, and boasted no industry, very little agriculture and small Boer populations. Just as the areas were beginning to settle into workable communities, diamonds were discovered in Kimberley in 1869 and the British again annexed the area, hence compounding existing tensions! The new mines led to a rush of European immigrants and a migration of black labour from all over the country. The Boers became angry that the republics were missing out on the economic benefits of these mines and the resultant unsettled feelings within the British rule led to the Transvaal being annexed by the British in 1877.

Rebellion followed and the first Anglo-Boer war resulted in a massive Boer victory at the Battle of Majuba in 1881. The Boers regained a certain amount of independence and established the ZAR, (Zuid - Afrikaansche Republiek). The situation deteriorated further with the discovery of gold in Witwatersrand, near the present day Johannesburg. More foreign workers and local people moved into the area drawn by promises of work, although these immigrants were not allowed any vote within the communities. The Boer population mounted another rebellion against the British who eventually brought in Lords Roberts & Kitchener with an army of 450,000. Against 80,000 Boers, the British gained the upper hand very quickly and the Boers were forced to give way.

A new kind of war began, with Boer countryside commandos doing their best to cause disruption and chaos within British controlled areas. Since no official army could be identified, the British took revenge by removing women and children to concentration camps where around 26,000 people died before the war was over. By 1902 the strain was taking its toll and a peace treaty was signed which gave power of the Boer republics to the British. Boers flooded back to the cities to compete with the local black population for work. The English language dominated and was made an official language along with Dutch. It was not until much later that Afrikaans was also given this distinction.

The British realised that they had to attempt some kind of co-operation with the Boers and a \'representative government\' was established in 1906 (not very representative in fact since none of the black population were allowed to stand for parliament…)

The Union of South Africa was established in 1910, excluding the area which is now Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana (Bechuanaland) & Zimbabwe (Rhodesia). The first election was held, and won by the South Africa National Party, a coalition of Boer groups under the leadership of General Louis Botha and General Jan Smuts. Botha became the first Prime Minister.

Repressive legislation was implemented which included rules such as no striking by black workers and increased laws governing the movements of the black population. These laws prompted Pixley ka Isaka Seme to form the South Africa Native Congress in 1912, later becoming the ANC in 1923. In 1913 the Natives Land Act allocated 7.5% of the land area to the black population (approximately 70% of South Africa\'s people). Squatters were moved from traditional land to overcrowded reserves or cities.

In 1914 South Africa found itself at war with Germany, by default in its role as part of the British empire. Involvement on the side of the British prompted the last major Boer rebellion. South West Africa (now Namibia) was taken from German control and became part of South Africa under mandate from the League of Nations following the end of WWI. In 1924 the National Party, under the leadership of the staunch supporter of Afrikaner independence, Hertzog, merged with the South African National Party to form a fusion government. Jan Smuts became deputy to Hertzog, but this joint government was rejected by Dr. D. F. Malan and followers who formed the Purified National Party and became known as the \'Broederband" of Afrikaans brotherhood.

During the Second World War, South Africa\'s economy boomed and the black urban population nearly doubled with enormous squatter camps building up outside the cities. The National Party won the 1948 election on an apartheid platform; apartheid literally means a \'state of being apart\'. Power was held in this way until 1994. Previous laws were strengthened and every aspect of life was made separate, from residential areas to public amenities with each member of the black population being required to carry a pass at all times and having their movements vigorously restricted.

In 1949 the ANC began to move towards open resistance and more physical methods of objection to this unethical state of government. Illegal strikes were organised along with protest marches and public disobedience. As part of a 1955 congress, a number of organisations including the ANC and the Indian Congress adopted a Freedom Charter with a vision of a non-racial and democratic state.

The situation escalated enormously with the Sharpville riots in 1960 when police opened fire on demonstrators and many black protestors were killed. Shortly afterwards, the ANC and the PAC (Pan African Congress) were banned and a vote was taken on withdrawing from the British Commonwealth. A slim majority voted in favour of this and South Africa became the Republic of South Africa in May 1961. At this point Nelson Mandela became the leader of the underground ANC and Oliver Tambo was sent abroad to establish and promote the organisation in exile. Mandela was arrested in July 1963.

The Homelands Policy was brought into place around this time; another separatist policy which was promoted under the guise of providing the black population with their own, self-governed, states.

These \'traditional\' tribal areas were in fact the least desirable land areas in terms of agriculture, industry or any other viable means of making a living. Often, people were removed to tribal areas bearing no resemblance to their traditional background. No infrastructure was provided in the Homelands and the land areas were incapable of producing enough food to keep the population self-sufficient. Once again, a tiny percentage of the land area (13%) was assigned to 75% of the population. Residents were not allowed outside their homeland without a pass and prior permission.

By 1980 South Africa (along with South West Africa) was the last remaining white controlled state in Africa. Pressure was rising and sanctions were being steadily increased by countries abroad. The ANC and PAC had direct support from black African governments (except Malawi & Swaziland). Between 1977 & 1988 the South African Defence Force undertook some major attacks in Angola, Zimbabwe & Moçambique in an attempt to defend their position. By 1985 the country was under a state of emergency with censored media and up to 30,000 people detained without trial. Foreign banks refused to roll over government loans, sanctions continued to increase and the value of the Rand collapsed.

In 1989 Botha was replaced by FW De Klerk who realised the vital importance of ending the struggles within the country. In 1990 the ANC, PAC & Communist Party were legalised, and Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years. This was also the year of Independence in South West Africa, which became Namibia. An interim government of National Unity ruled South Africa until the 1994 elections, the first free and fair of the country’s history. The ANC won with just under 63% of the vote.

Today\'s President is Jacob Zuma. In post-apartheid South Africa, unemployment has been extremely high as the country has struggled with many changes. While many blacks have risen to middle or upper classes, the overall unemployment rate of blacks worsened between 1994 and 2003. Poverty among whites, previously rare, increased. While some have attributed this partly to the legacy of apartheid, increasingly many attribute it to the failure of the current government\'s policies. In addition, the current government has struggled to achieve the monetary and fiscal discipline to ensure both redistribution of wealth and economic growth. Since the ANC-led government took power, the United Nations Human Development Index of South Africa has fallen, while it was steadily rising until the mid-1990s. Some may be attributed to the AIDS pandemic, and the failure of the government to take steps to address it in the early years.

Useful Information

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  • [?]Health & Malaria

    Malaria is not present throughout the whole of South Africa, but areas where prophylaxis should be taken include KwaZulu-Natal, areas of the north coast, Kruger National Park and the Botswana & Mozambique border areas. Your doctor can advise you on the best type for the area of travel and your personal requirements. However, taking prophylaxis will not guarantee that you will not contract malaria! The best way to avoid malaria is to avoid being bitten by the mosquitoes that carry the parasite. Only the females of one species of mosquito (Anopheles) carry the tiny parasite, and the greatest incidence of malaria is in areas of high population where there are many people for the mosquito to bite and pass the parasite between.

    Mosquitoes usually bite between sunset and sunrise, so make sure that you are covered up during this time! Wear loose fitting, long sleeved shirts and trousers, use a good insect repellent and sleep underneath a mosquito net or in a tent/ room sealed with netting.

    If you do develop flu-like symptoms, or feel at all unwell, during your holiday or after your return home, you must make sure that your doctor knows that you have recently travelled in a malaria area. Malaria is not a serious problem provided people take adequate precautions and seek advice and treatment immediately if they feel unwell.

    Hospital treatment in large cities of South Africa is good but can be expensive. Medical facilities in rural areas can be basic. In remote areas, air evacuation is sometimes the only option for medical emergencies. For this reason you must make sure that comprehensive travel insurance is taken out before you travel, this insurance should cover any medical expenses, air evacuation and repatriation if necessary.

  • [?]Water

    The water is safe to drink throughout most of South Africa. In the remote areas, purification tablets or bottled mineral water should be used. Plenty of water must be drunk to prevent dehydration. We recommend 2-3 litres minimum, excluding beverages such as tea, coffee, juice and alcohol. Dehydration can cause very serious problems, it is totally avoidable, so don\'t let this spoil your holiday!

  • [?]Climate

    Rainy season: Late November to late March in most of the country. The Western Cape has more of a temperate climate with rain all year round and a cooler average temperature than the tropical regions of the north and east coast.

    Summer: October to March with a high of 30° C and a low of 17° C.

    Winter: June to September with a high of 20° C and a low of 5° C.

    There is no "best time" to visit South Africa as the different seasons all offer completely different experiences! However, you may like to consider the following when planning your trip:

    Season Summer rainy season (October to March)

    Pros: Lush green landscape, quieter tourism except for Christmas & Easter.

    Cons: Wildlife is more spread out, very warm temperatures in the tropical areas, activities may be interrupted by rain.

    Season Winter dry season (June to September)

    Pros: Higher chances of excellent game viewing, cooler, few mosquitoes, great spring wildflowers in September, whale watching at the coast.

    Cons: Busiest tourism period, especially in the SA school holidays of July & August, cold mornings and evenings, drier environment.

    Our personal preference would be for either March - April, except Easter, or September - October as these times are neither too hot nor too cool and the tourist areas are generally quieter. In March-April the game viewing is usually excellent and in September the spring flowers are riotously beautiful, whale sightings are at their best off the coast and the rains have not usually begun.

  • [?]Photography

    Bring plenty of memory cards and a spare camera battery as these items may not be available in some of the more remote areas of Namibia.

    A good zoom lens (minimum 200 mm) is essential for wildlife photography.

  • [?]Clothing

    Neutral, muted colours such as khaki, dark green or beige ensure as little disturbance to wildlife as possible whilst on game drives or walks. White or bright colours are not advised, neither are army camouflage uniforms or army hats. Normal beach wear such a shorts & T-shirts are useful for the coast, as are sarongs and hats as the sun is very strong.

  • [?]Recommended Packing

    Neutral coloured casual clothing (shorts/shirts) for everyday wear, stout shoes (with soles thick enough to protect against thorns and for walking), light waterproof jacket for the rainy season, warm jumper/ fleece for winter or for the more temperate regions, warm long trousers for winter, two sets of good casual clothes for evening dining where appropriate, towel, broad brimmed hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, camera, plenty of film & spare battery, binoculars, reliable torch, sleeping bag if camping.

    It is also worth noting that if you are travelling by light aircraft or as part of a guided safari, you should carry no more than 10-15kg of luggage in a soft bag for ease of packing.

  • [?]Currency

    The South African Rand is split into 100 cents. US$ can be easily exchanged throughout the country, as can Euro and pounds sterling. Traveller’s cheques can also be changed in banks and most hotels, lodges & shops accept credit cards, mainly Visa or Mastercard. You may only carry ZAR 5,000.00 cash on your person, when entering South Africa.

  • [?]Visa Requirements

    Your passport must be valid for no less than 30 days after your intended departure from South Africa and you must have at least two blank pages in your passport. Visitors from most British Commonwealth countries and some others can obtain tourist visas for up to 3 months at the border. Please contact us for details regarding your personal visa requirements

Country Hotspots

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  • [?]Cape Town

    Often touted as the most beautiful city in the world, Cape Town\'s spectacular location combines with its cosmopolitan history to offer visitors a fascinating mix of culture and scenery. The first people to inhabit the Cape Peninsula were Stone Age tribes, followed by San hunter-gatherers and the KhoiKhoi who were closely related to their San predecessors.

    The first Europeans arrived at the Cape in 1487 when Bartholomew Dias sailed around the edge of the continent and named it the "Cape of Good Hope".

    Cape Town is located 40km from the Cape of Good Hope itself, and lies nestled in the lee of Table Mountain, possibly the most photographed landmark in South Africa.

    The Mountain is 1000m high and is often blanketed in a "tablecloth" of wispy cloud, making the climb to the top an exciting way to spend a morning! Cable cars also run from part way up the mountainside for visitors wishing to take a more leisurely route to the summit.

    The city and surrounds offer a huge variety of attractions in addition to Table Mountain. These include the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, located on the opposite side of the mountain to the main city centre and bequeathed to the nation in 1902 by Cecil Rhodes. The gardens are planted with mainly indigenous species and 9000 of South Africa\'s 22,000 native plant species are represented. The Cape of Good Hope nature reserve boasts an amazing variety of plant species including the country\'s national flower, the Protea. The unique fynbos flora found here constitutes the world\'s smallest unique floral kingdom. Visitors to Cape Town may also like to visit Robben Island, the isolated jail of Nelson Mandela for so many years.

  • [?]Stellenbosch

    Stellenbosch is only 20km from Cape Town and the surrounding area is often compared to southern France with its rolling, green hillsides and lush valleys. Many different wine producing estates can be found in the area, most offer wine tasting and some have cosy restaurants offering wonderful meals. The town of Stellenbosch itself has a very last century European feel to it with wide avenues lined with oak trees, a rambling university and many buildings in the Cape Dutch style.

    Wine producing began in the region back in the 1670\'s with the arrival of 200 French Huguenots, and much beautifully crafted architecture can still be seen from this period

    The nearby towns of Franschoek and Paarl are equally picturesque with steep, winding passes leading to nature reserves and secluded wine farms where visitors can sip a particularly good vintage whilst looking out across the surrounding valleys.

  • [?]St Lucia Wetlands

    The St. Lucia area is one of Africa\'s premier eco-tourism destinations, and a haven for bird and animal life. It was recently renamed the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. As well as a mind-blowing range of natural systems, ranging from dune, swamp and coastal forests to rocky and sandy shores, coral reefs and submarine canyons, mangroves, savanna grassland, thickets, woodlands, and the largest protected wetland in southern Africa, it is a culturally fascinating area.

    Much work has been done to ensure that these habitats are conserved and that the tourism activities undertaken here are sensitive.

    Excellent marked hikes through woodland, grassland and across pristine beaches can be taken around St. Lucia, Cape Vidal and False Bay Park.

    Snorkelling and diving at the restricted area of Cape Vidal are popular pastimes, as is fishing, whale watching and walking in the forest reserve there.

    Boat trips on the estuary at St. Lucia also present wonderful scenery and beautiful sunsets. This shallow area of brackish water is teaming with fish and attracts a great many water birds in addition to crocodile and hippo. Sodwana Bay, one of the most popular diving sites in Southern Africa, is close by and also includes a great variety of habitat niches which are home to over 330 species of bird.

    The St. Lucia and Maputaland Marine reserves cover the coastal strip and three nautical miles out to sea from Cape Vidal to Mozambique. This area encompasses several nesting sites of the rare leatherback and loggerhead turtles.

  • [?]Garden route

    This section of beautiful coastline stretches along South Africa\'s southwest coast and covers indigenous forest, lagoons and sand dunes as well as some beautiful beaches.

    The sleepy town of Mossel Bay is one of the first towns along the route and was first established after Bartholomeu Dias\' visit in 1488. Trade between Europeans and the resident KhoiKhoi tribes was initiated and today the town\'s history is evident.

    The areas of Wilderness, Knysna and Tsitsikamma are favourite stops along the Garden Route and are surrounded by the lush Outeniqua Mountains, indigenous forest, freshwater lakes and pristine beaches. Several walking trails exist in the area including the popular Otter Trail

    Knysna lagoon is an excellent diving and snorkelling site where visitors may get the chance to see the unique Knysna Seahorse before enjoying a trip on the steam train or a meal at one of the many excellent seafood restaurants. Plettenberg Bay, further east along the route, is a bustling resort with lovely beaches and many activities on offer including canoeing, hiking, diving and mountain bike trails.

    Traveling the full route offers guests a relaxing and varied holiday with a great many activities and natural features to enjoy along the way.

  • [?]Drakensberg Mountains

    This basalt escarpment forms the border between Kwazulu Natal and the kingdom of Lesotho in South Africa. The name literally means "Dragon Mountains" which seems appropriately enigmatic for this often mist-swathed and lonely landscape of towering peaks and forested valleys. The Drakensberg are usually split into three specific areas; the Northern, Central and Southern Drakensberg. The whole area is scattered with tea shops, craft centres and plenty of beautiful places ideal for spending a relaxing afternoon.

    The Northern \'Berg stretches from Golden Gate Highlands National Park to the Royal Natal National Park and encompasses some of the most dramatic scenery in South Africa. The Golden Gate Highlands National Park is relatively small at 8000 hectares and encompasses the Amphitheatre, an 8km stretch of magnificent cliff face which is a climber’s paradise with breath-taking views from the ledges along the cliff edge.

    The Mont aux sources mountain also rises here, at an altitude of over 15,000m, three rivers have their source here including the Orange which runs from here all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

    The plentiful water supply combined with the variety of habitat niches has resulted in over 200 bird species making this Park their home, as well as many small mammal, amphibian and retile species.

    The Central \'Berg includes Giant\'s Castle, a rugged and remote area which often seems deserted despite its popularity with visitors. Clear, cool water streams bubble down the mountainsides and an enjoyable walk up the wildflower strewn valley leads to some ancient San rock paintings, evidence of the area\'s first inhabitants. Giant\'s Castle is also home to over 60 mammal species in addition to the rare bearded vulture. Some of the Drakensberg\'s most challenging climbs are to be found within the Central \'Berg. These include Cathkin Peak, Monk\'s Cowl and Champagne Castle. Hikers will be rewarded by the spectacular views which seem to stretch forever, and by the occasional sighting of a klipspringer antelope or a mountain reedbuck.

    The Southern \'Berg runs down to the Transkei and includes the steep and scenic Sani Pass which leads to Southern Lesotho. This area is less developed than the north and central regions, but is no less beautiful.

  • [?]Transkei

    One of the designated "Homelands" during apartheid, the Transkei is an area of wild and rocky coastline south of Durban with warm waters, white sand beaches and sub-tropical vegetation.

    The so-called \'Wild Coast\' of the Transkei is notoriously dangerous for ships but wonderful for surfers! Around 40,000ha of indigenous forest still exists in the area, and although many of the animal species that once roamed have now disappeared, the birdlife is still varied and plentiful.

    The town of Umtata is the main settlement in the area and was founded in 1871. The birthplace of Nelson Mandela, the village of Mvezo, is just a few kilometres from Umtata.

    One of the most beautiful small towns in the Transkei is Port St. Johns, named after a ship which foundered on the shores many years ago.  This small, relaxed town is dominated by dramatic cliffs towering above perfect beaches and is a wonderful place to spend a few days just enjoying the scenery. The nearby Silaka Nature Reserve is home to clawless otter and many species of bird and butterfly.

  • [?]Kruger National Park

    Kruger National Park was originally founded in 1898 by Paul Kruger, the then president of South Africa. It is now one of the largest wildlife parks in the world at just under 350km long and an average of 60km wide. Straddling the border with Mozambique, it covers an area the size of Wales (almost 2 million hectares).

    The greatest variety of animals within any park in Africa exists within its boundaries, and visitors may hope to encounter lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, rhino, cheetah, giraffe, many antelope, hippo and much, much more. In total there are thought to be 137 mammal species, around 500 bird species and more than 100 reptile species ranging from the "Big Five" to the lesser known and rarer, small mammals which are no less interesting

    The area consists of a multitude of ecosystems, and Park authorities keep visitors well informed about the movements of the animals so there is a good chance that guests will see a wide variety of species. Due to the excellent infrastructure, Kruger can certainly not be described as a wilderness area, but it does have the advantage of offering visitors a safe and comfortable way to see some of Africa\'s best known wildlife species. In addition to driving around the Park, there are also some guided wilderness trails on offer which are run by professional, armed guides.

    Many private reserves border the Kruger Park, the most famous include Mala Mala, Sabi Sabi and Londolozi within the Sabi Sand conservation area. These reserves offer visitors a luxurious alternative to the municipal camps inside the Park borders. The municipal rest camps are comfortable and well equipped with shops, restaurants, phones and fuel stations. Some have swimming pools.

  • [?]Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve

    The Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park is the only park under formal conservation in KwaZulu Natal where the Big Five occur. Established in 1895, this is the oldest game park in South Africa along with nearby St Lucia Reserve.

    Game viewing is the principal attraction in the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve. Viewing hides overlook pans and waterholes enabling one to observe the wildlife at close range.

    Hluhluwe Umfolozi Reserve is characterised by hilly topography and the northern section of the game reserve is noted for its wide variety of both birdlife and wildlife. Apart from game viewing drives there are self-guided vehicle trails which provide information on both the management and natural history of the Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve. Guided walks can be especially rewarding in the early morning and late afternoon.

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