South Africa Tours
Our South Africa adventure tours will show you all this amazing richly diverse country has to offer as well as the friendly and welcoming local people. From stunning Cape Town overlooked by Table Mountain and through the famous wine lands along the Garden Route, you’ll have the chance to visit many national parks, caves and ostrich farms.
Addo National Park is famous for its huge elephant population and its dung beetles! Take a South Africa adventure tour to explore the lush cloud forest region around Hogsback or the spectacular mountains in the Drakensberg National Park. We pass by glorious beaches and enjoy sleepy towns with lots of adventure activities like St Lucia. Of course no South Africa adventure tour would be complete without a visit to Kruger National Park, the most famous in southern Africa and filled with wildlife, including the big 5 (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard) which you can enjoy up-close. These are just a taste of many of the great things you can see and do on a South Africa adventure tour.
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All Tours of South Africa
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+ local payment US$450
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South Africa Travel Articles, Inspiration & Information
Exploring Cape Town
When visiting a city, many people set aside two or three days to see the sights, do a spot of shopping and take in the culture and pace of the city. One of the few cities that do not fit into this category is the magnificent Cape Town. Towering cliffs overlooking the city overflow with white cloud that spills off the top. Out to sea, an island sits on the horizon, Robben Island, possibly the second famous prison in the world after Alcatraz. Read more
Foods of South and Eastern Africa
For most people when deciding to visit Africa, food doesn’t come in to it. They want to see the big five, meet the Maasai, ride the rapids, trek the gorillas and dive with sharks. For some people African food is nothing special, just something that gives you energy for their next exciting African experience, “they all just cornmeal porridge and stew anyway don’t they?” Read more
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South Africa Travel Guide
South Africa Travel Guide
Long before written records began, South Africa as we know it today, was occupied by San Bushmen, Hottentots and then later Bantu speakers. The first written history starts when the European navigators arrived – the first of these being Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1488 who circum-navigated the Cape of Good Hope as it became called. In 1652, a victualling station was established here by the Dutch East India Company and a gradual take over from here by the Dutch ensued. The British briefly seized the Cape area in 1795 to use as a stop en route to Australia and India and also to stop it falling into the hands of Napoleon Bonaparte and after a brief return to Dutch rule, the British finally took control in 1806.
The discovery of gold and diamonds brought about the Boer Wars in 1880 (won by the Boers) and again in 1899 (won by the British). Boer is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for local farmer and they fought the British fiercely but were eventually overwhelmed by the superior numbers of the British and their external supply chains. In 1910, the Union of South Africa was created, a self governing dominion of the British Empire, which later became the Republic of South Africa in 1961. During this time controversial apartheid took hold in South Africa with the white minority enjoying wealth and a high standard of living whilst the black majority remained disadvantaged in income, housing, education and life expectancy. There was often violent resistance to apartheid with the ANC (African National Congress Party) being the main anti-apartheid movement and who eventually put an end to it, although millions of South Africans – mostly black – still today live in poverty. Eventually, in 1994, the first multi -racial elections were held which were won by the ANC who continue to be in power today.
Geography and weather
South Africa forms the bottom of the African continent and has coastline on both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The famous Cape of Good Hope forms the point at which they join but is not the most southerly point of Africa – this is at Cape Agulhas, further east along the coast.
South Africa is very varied in both its geography and climate with the southern Namib Desert in the far northwest being very dry and arid, to the lush, sub-tropical climate to the east along the border with Mozambique. The interior plateau known as the Highveld is quite mountainous with skiing possible in the Drakensberg mountains during winter, whilst in the Cape area, the climate is similar to that of the Mediterranean with long dry summers and cold wet winters and this is where the main wine growing regions are to be found.
The south coast has a regular rainfall through out the year and due to this, is very green and known commonly as “The Garden Route”.
Visit www.worldclimate.com to get an idea of what the weather will be like on your tour.
Currently EU, US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand citizens do not need a visa to enter South Africa. However, it is your own responsibility to check all visa requirements before travelling and obtain in advance if required.
Travellers who are arriving overland from Namibia into South Africa require two blank pages for their South African entry and exit. Please check your passport before you travel to ensure that you can meet these requirements.
Important: pounds sterling are not accepted at border crossings so bring US dollars cash for any visa expenses at the border.
Into South Africa from Namibia: Noordoewer
From South Africa into Lesotho: Van Rooyen's Gate
Into South Africa from Lesotho: Maseru Bridge
From South Africa into Botswana: Martin's Drift / Grobler's Bridge
Please note: It can be very difficult to obtain US dollars in Africa, even in major cities like Cape Town. Many places will not accept any notes that are marked, torn or older than the year 2002, and you may have difficulty exchanging these notes elsewhere in Africa, so please check your cash carefully at the point of purchase.
In general, Visa is the only credit card that will work everywhere in Africa. Master Card, AMEX and Cirrus will work in some countries but not in others.
We recommend that you bring cash in US dollars only. When changing money, it is a good idea if at all possible, to get small denomination notes and coins in the local currency as often there is a lack of change when you are making purchases and no-one in Africa ever seems to have change.
Please note that it is not possible to withdraw US dollars from ATMs in Africa, only local currency.
There are a lot of different markets in and around Cape Town but many of these are only open at the weekend or on public holidays. Another shopping locations is the V and A Waterfront shopping complex. As the name suggests it is on the waterfront and is a large modern complex with hundreds of shops, cafes and restaurants.
Tipping is now common place in restaurants and coffee shops and around 10% should cover this.
Taxis are recommended for local journeys and most are metered, especially in the big cities.
Crime can be a problem in South Africa in some of the major cities, but as long as you keep your wits about you, it is no worse than in many other cities around the world. You should always be careful and not become complacent. Don’t walk around lonely back streets, especially on your own, don’t wear expensive looking jewellery or a classy watch and don’t carry a wallet in your back pocket. Don’t carry your camera openly; always have it in a small day pack which is firmly attached to your body, preferably in the front in crowded places. Always wear a money belt or leave your valuables, including your passport, in the hotel security box.
Caution should be taken when taking photos in and around the towns and cities. Locals should always be asked prior to taking a photo and it is not uncommon for them to ask for a small donation. Never take photos of police, military personal or buildings. The same goes for any government buildings, banks, post offices or the railway station.
Local food and drink
Some meals are included when camping and lunch is usually included on travelling days in the truck. When staying in hotels or hostels, all meals are at your own expense.
Your tour leader will be able to recommend restaurants.
Because of South Africa’s diverse geographical regions they are able to grow a wide range of fruits and vegetables and also have extensive beef and sheep farms. The different styles of food are as diverse as the country, and reflect the many different ethnic backgrounds that have formed the country. The Dutch, English, Indian and Afrikaans influence is strong throughout the country, but Cape Town would have to be one of the best cities in the country where these cultures meet.
A popular Afrikaaner dish is the Potjies, which is a meat based stew cooked in a cast iron pot with potatoes, carrots, maize and a tomato and onion sauce and rice. Another tradition is the Braai (Bar B Que) which is very much seafood and meat based with a few salads and corn on the side. Boerwoers (sausage) is also a braai favourite. On the menu in a lot of restaurants you will find different game meats. Ostrich, venison, impala, kudu and eland are the most common. With such a large coast line there is of course a large amount of seafood on offer. Crayfish, prawns, tuna, mussels, oysters, mackerel and snock are just a few of the large selection to be found.
If you are a strict vegetarian you may experience a distinct lack of variety in the food available, especially in small towns. You might find that you are eating a lot of omelettes and other egg dishes. Our tour leaders will do their best to provide interesting vegetarian alternatives when arranging group meals in the campsite, but your patience and understanding is requested.
All drinks such as water, soft or alcoholic drinks are at your own expense at all times.
You should be wary of drinking the local tap water. Bottled water, carbonated soft drinks and fruit juices are widely available and are generally safe to drink. Please note however that fruit juices are sometimes made with un-boiled tap water and could upset your stomach.
There are various brands of beers found in South Africa including Lion, Castle, Windhoek and Amstel. All of the campsites / hostels that we use have bars or serve alcoholic drinks. Beware imported spirit prices as they are very expensive so always ask for the local equivalent spirit if you want to remain within your budget!
GMT/UTC +2. For other time differences please visit www.timeanddate.com