South Africa: Holidays, Events, Climate
The following events take place annually in South Africa:
|New Year (December/January)||Cape Minstrel Carnival in Cape Town|
|March||One City Festival (arts and culture festival) in Cape Town|
|April||Oppikoppi Easter Festival at Oppikoppi Farm in Northam|
|May||Cape Gourmet Festival in Cape Town|
|August September||Namaqualand Spring Flowers (Flower Festival) in Springbok|
|August||Cape WOW Women’s Festival in Cape Town|
|September||Oppikoppi Festival (live music festival) in Worcester|
Source: Countryaah – South Africa Holidays
Arts Alive Festival
This Johannesburg performing arts festival hosts events across the city for three weeks. There is live music, dance, cabaret and theater. The highlight of the festival is the “Jazz on the Lake” at Zoo Lake.
The Citrus Festival, which is celebrated every year in August, takes place in Addo, which is very close to PE. Among other things, many stalls open their doors and sell everything that has to do with lemons.
Durban International Film Festival
This film festival is one of the most important and largest celebrations in Durban. You can experience it every year in July or August.
July in Durban is also reserved for Durban July every year. This is Africa’s first horse racing festival. Countless celebrities come to the city for this occasion.
Hindu Festivals in Durban
There are numerous Hindu festivals throughout the year. However, you will have to ask around a bit, because these festivities are not necessarily made known everywhere. There is definitely a festival at Easter in the Umbilo area. Believers then walk over glowing coals. Another Hindu festival takes place between February and July – the exact period changes from year to year. It’s called Kavady. On the occasion, devotees pierce their backs with hooks and carry sacred shrines through the streets of the city.
PE Toy Run
The November PE Toy Run is said to be one of the largest charity motor races in the world. The aim of the participating Motor-Krosser is to give the children of the Nelson Mandela Bay region as many toys as they can.
The Rose Festival, which has taken place every year since 1976, once again confirms Bloemfontein’s reputation as the city of flowers and roses. While the festival was a minor affair at the time of its appearance, over the decades it has become one of the city’s most important and notable events. It has now taken several days and will take place in 2010 from October 15th to 22nd. The majority of the rose festival is held in the Mimosa Mall. Among other things, you can attend the Champion Rose Competition, an exhibition of various types of roses.
|January 1||New Year|
|March 21||Human Rights Day|
|Easter Monday||Family day|
|April 27||Freedom day|
|1st of May||Labor Day|
|June 16||Youth day|
|August 9||National Women’s Day|
|September 24||Day of Heritage|
|December 16||Day of Atonement|
|December 26||Goodwill tag|
If a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is a public holiday.
Addo Elephant Marathon
For May you can check the Addo Elephant Marathon with a thick cross. However, the participants should be prepared for a slightly different run, because the route to be mastered leads through a National Wildlife Park near Port Elizabeth. Instead of slippery roads, the marathon runners have to fight their way through African bushes.
Billabong Professional Surfing Contest
July attracts me to this surfing competition, which takes place near Port Elizabeth, of course, at Jeffrey’s Bay, which is ideal for it.
The Comrades Marathonwas launched in 1921 by war veteran Vic Clapham as a memorial run for the South African fallen in World War I. It takes place every year in June, alternating between Pietermaritzburg and Durban as a start and end point on a distance of approx. 90 km. This largest and oldest ultra marathon in the world is the most important sporting event of the year in South Africa. Participants in the popular run come from all walks of life and festivals are organized along the entire route. The race is completed after 11 hours, but the camaraderie of the participants (Comrades = comrades) should be emphasized: some of the collapsed athletes are carried across the finish line by their fellow competitors, which is not only allowed but even encouraged.
Ironman South Africa
Since 2000, the Ironman South Africa has been held in Port Elizabeth every March and April, a triathlon sporting event that includes 3.86 km swimming, 180.2 km cycling and 42.195 km running. The next time the Ironman South Africa will take place on April 25th 2010 and as always in Nelson Mandela Bay.
In addition, the Million Dollar Golf Challenge golf tournament will take place in Sun City in late November/early December.
South Africa: climate
The climate in South Africa differs within north and south and east and west.
The climate in the north of the country is predominantly sunny and dry. The average daytime temperatures are around 14-17 °C from October to March and drop to 8-9 °C by June/July. At night they fluctuate around 16 °C from December to January. The coldest months are also here June/July with 4 – 5 ° C. The rainy season lasts from November to early March. During this time there are an average of 7 – 8 rainy days per month.
The daily average temperatures in the south of the country are 17 – 26 °C. The hottest time is from November to February, the coldest is in July. At night, temperatures drop to 7 °C in July and 16 °C in January/ February. There are at least 3 rainy days a month all year round. From June to August the number increases to 10-11.
From December to March the average daily temperature is 28 °C. The temperatures drop to 22 °C by June and then rise again. At night, temperatures drop from December to February to 16-17 °C and by June/July even to 2 ° C. Here, too, there are at least 3 rainy days every month. From November to January there are even 14-15 rainy days per month.
The daytime temperatures in the west fluctuate around 20 – 24 °C all year round. At night they drop to 13-15 °C from November to April and down to 9 °C in July. In the west it hardly rains all year round. There are a maximum of 2 rainy days per month.
Lesbians and homosexuals in South Africa
South African law prohibits discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation. Therefore you will find a lively and active lesbian and gay scene especially in cities like Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria. Above all, Cape Town is the most open gay city on the “black continent” and has the largest gay scene in the world after Los Angeles. Numerous celebrations and festivals show the size and zest for life of the homosexuals in South Africa. For example, in September (in Johannesburg) the Gay Pride Parade is celebrated, and in Cape Town and Jo’burg the gay and lesbian Out in Africa Film Festival is celebrated in the same month. There will also be a competition in Cape Town in December for tickets to the Mother City Queer Project Party. Newspapers specially tailored to the interests of gays and lesbians such as Exit, OUTright, Womyn and Rush (especially in Gauteng) complete the offer. Despite this positive development, one encounters a strong taboo on same-sex love, especially in rural regions, among whites as well as blacks. Things change slowly, and conservative ideas take time to build acceptance and break down prejudices.
Wages in South Africa are low, so a tip of between 10% and 15% of the total bill is expected in tourist areas. Of course you are also welcome to give more.
South Africa: Sightseeing
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that SF stands for the nation of South Africa as a two-letter acronym.
Because of its geographically so practical location in the middle of the province of Free State, Bloem – the popular short form of the city – is viewed by many tourists (sometimes only) as a stopover between Cape Town and Johannesburg, the birthplace of the Lord of the Rings Author JRR Tolkien is a sight enough in itself. In addition, the capital of the Free State Province is also the seat of the country’s Supreme Court of Appeal and is therefore often referred to as the court capital of South Africa.
South Africa’s second largest city with 3.1 million residents is a delightfully vibrant, lively experience for any visitor. Colonial gems in a modern city center, long, exuberant sandy beaches on the Indian Ocean, the cheapest food in all of South Africa and the mildest air and water temperatures in all of South Africa make the city a real experience. The largest Indian community outside of the subcontinent now lives in Durban – the Zulus call the city eThekwini, which means lagoon. Indeed, the influence of the Indians in the city life of the holiday metropolis can be felt in many places.
East London is located on the east coast of South Africa and has the only natural deep sea harbor in the country. The city is worth seeing because of its beautiful coastline and white beaches, where you can find excellent surfing opportunities (especially on the Nahoon Reef). Interesting city architecture and an excellent range of restaurants along the waterfront complete what East London has to offer. The city can be reached by car from Bloemfontein on the N6 highway, but of course also by rail.
Johannesburg is 56 kilometers from Pretoria and stands in absolute contrast to the somewhat staid capital. “Jo’burg”, as it is also called. Johannesburg is a turbulent and seething metropolis and is always worth a visit. The entertainment complex Gold Reef City, the Carlton Center with its 50 floors, the Market Theater and the Museum Africa are particularly worth seeing.
The ethnic mix of Cape Town is colorful: around half of the population are Coloreds, mixed-blooded South Africans who are the descendants of white settlers from Europe, black natives and imported slaves from Asia. Black and whites are minorities in Cape Town. For this and many other reasons, many say that Cape Town is not the “real Africa” for them. Flora and fauna are more like those in the Mediterranean countries, and there is a mild, varied climate here instead of dusty -dry or moist and humid heat. First-class wines are produced in the Cape region and the overall lifestyle is rather leisurely, unlike in the gold rush region in the southeast.
The multicultural Pietermaritzburg, the historic capital of the KwaZulu-Natal province, spreads out near Durban. The city inspires with its magnificent and Victorian colonial buildings and the numerous museums on national culture.
The fifth largest city in South Africa with around 738,000 residents and largest city in the Eastern Cape Province, it is a picturesque and relatively safe experience for any visitor visiting the area. Homely and somehow enchanted, it hugs the Algoa Bay on the Indian Ocean, the coast of which joins the city for around 16 kilometers. In its dominant presence, the giant body of water also influences the everyday life of city dwellers and pampers them with seemingly endless, fine white sandy beaches, some of which even extend into the city area.
Pretoria (also Tshwane)
The capital of South Africa is Pretoria, with a population of approx. 1 million – in the greater area even over 2 million. Surrounded by protective hills and in the middle of the fertile Apies Valley, Pretoria is about 50 kilometers north from Johannesburg and offers a harsh contrast to the always hectic, always turbulent “Jo’Burg” (Johannesburg). The population of Pretoria consists to a not insignificant part of civil servants, which is reflected not only in the nickname “civil servants city”, but also in the somewhat conservative atmosphere.
This acronym stands for South Western Township. Soweto is a city of two million people: a network of communities and districts in which only blacks live. During the apartheid regime, black people were ordered to leave the center and other neighborhoods such as Sophiatown, as these were to become so-called “white quarters”. Soweto is now one of the poorest parts of Johannesburg. For safety reasons, tourists should only visit Soweto in conjunction with a guided tour.
Old town house on Greenmarket Square in Cape Town
The old town hall is also the former police station. Today it is home to the “Michaelis Collection” and other changing exhibitions.
Appeal Court in Bloemfontein
Established in 1929, the Court of Appeal is South Africa’s highest judicial body. The courtroom itself is inevitably one of the most beautiful halls in the country. The judicial library is now located in the old courthouse.
Apple Express from Port Elizabeth
It is one of the last narrow gauge trains with a steam locomotive. It has operated between Port Elizabeth and Loerie on Long Kloof since 1906.
Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town
The oldest building in South Africa is on Darling Street behind the train station. The British Regency style building was restored for ten years. For 150 years the Castle was the center of the Cape administration. Today it houses three different exhibitions.
City Hall (Rathaus) of Durban
In 1910 the imposing City Hall of Durban was built. The city hall of Belfast (Northern Ireland) was used as a guide. The building, which is impressive in itself, looks even more majestic, as it looks almost anachronistic in front of the ultra-modern high-rise buildings in the area. A bust of Sir Benjamin D’Urban can be seen in the entrance hall of City Hall. He was governor of the Cape Province (1834-1838) and namesake of the city. Two important museums are housed in the town hall:
On the one hand, there is the second largest art museum in South Africa, the Durban Art Gallery, in which English and African paintings are shown. In addition, the Natural History Museum with its natural history collection is located on the ground floor of the town hall. A special part of this collection is a life-size replica of a dinosaur.
City Hall of Cape Town
The architecture of the City Hall is a mixture of Italian Renaissance and British Colonial styles with a clock tower that is an exact replica of London’s Big Ben; however, it is not half as big. Nelson Mandela delivered his famous freedom speech from the balcony of the town hall, which was heard by 250,000 people at the Grand Parade. Mandela was released from prison in 1986 after 27 years in prison. The central library is also located in the town hall. Concerts by the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra take place on Thursdays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m.
City Hall of Pietermaritzburg
The town hall, completed in 1900, is considered the largest brick building in the southern hemisphere. The twelve bells of the 47 meter high tower ring several times a day.
Former market building: Market Theater Complex in Johannesburg
Since 1976, the Market Theater and the Museum of Africa have been located in this building complex from 1913. In total there are three theaters, two galleries, several restaurants, bars, a jazz club and a Sunday flea market. The colored author Athol Fugard and the white theater expert Barney Simon founded this theater together, in which blacks and whites stood together on the stage even during apartheid.
First Raadsaal in Bloemfontein
This low building was erected in 1849. The People’s Council once held its meetings here. Since its completion, the First Raadsaal has served as a church, conference room, parliament building and even as a school for the residents of Bloemfontein and Free State. Today the building is a museum and shows exhibits related to the founding of Bloemfontein and the further history of the town.
Fourth Raadsaal in Bloemfontein
Established in the 1800s, the Fourth Raadsaal is an impressive and interestingly designed structure that previously served the legislature of the Republic of the Orange Free State. Today it is used by the Free State Provincial Legislature.
Gandhi Statue in Pietermaritzburg
The modern statue was erected in 1993 in memory of Mahatma Gandhi’s first trip to South Africa, on which he was also affected by racial discrimination.
The largest dam in South Africa was built in the 1960s and 1970s on the Orange River to prevent floods and generate electrical energy. The height of the dam is 88 m, the ridge length 914 m.
Largest platinum mines in the world near Rustenburg In
1981 the tower was closed to the public for safety reasons. Since 2005 the tower has been illuminated in blue in the evening.
Hillbrow Tower of Johannesburg
This television tower is 270 meters high and is located in the Hillbrow neighborhood. Originally there was a revolving restaurant at a height of 197 meters; the 234 m high Sentech Tower. With its tower cage it is strongly reminiscent of the television tower in Stuttgart. There is a viewing platform, but it has also been closed to the public since 1982.
Houses of Parliament in Cape Town
The imposing Houses of Parliament is a mixture of Georgian and Victorian architecture. It was designed by British architect Harry Greaves and completed in 1885 when Parliament became the seat of British colonial expansion in Africa.
Macrorie House in Pietermaritzburg
The building with its beautiful Victorian facade was built in the middle of the 19th century and is now a museum.
Supreme Court in Bloemfontein
The Supreme Court on President Brand Street is the seat of the provincial jurisdiction. The interior of the building erected in 1909 is also very impressive. Both civil and criminal cases from all parts of the province are negotiated here.
Butterfly house in Willowtown/Pietermaritzburg
Specimens of countless butterfly species can be admired in the tropical greenhouse.
Johannesburg’s Sentech Tower
The second television tower is the 234 m high Sentech Tower. With its tower cage it is strongly reminiscent of the television tower in Stuttgart. There is a viewing platform, but it has also been closed to the public since 1982.
The Sugar Terminal on Durban Maydon Warf is one of the world’s largest sugar handling facilities. Up to half a million tons of raw sugar can be temporarily stored here. Around 600 tons of sugar are handled there every hour. The Sugar Terminal can be visited as part of a guided tour. Such tours always take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1.30 p.m.
Museums and galleries
Adler Museum of Medicine in Johannesburg
The exhibits in the museum in Hillbrow include an African herbarium and the practice of a medicine man. Overall, the Adler Museum gives an overview of the medical history of South Africa and a collection of traditional African remedies. The very interesting collection was housed in an interesting building designed by Sir Herbert Baker.
The Apartheid Museum, a little further outside the city center on the way to Soweto, should be a must for every visitor to Johannesburg. The story of South African apartheid is retold here in a very haunting way. It is particularly disturbing when the visitors are divided into whites and non-whites before entering the museum in order to get a sense of what was once sad normality in the country.
BAT Center in Durban
The BAT Center on Victoria Dam is a former warehouse that has been converted into a cultural center – with financial support from UNESCO. Components of this center are craft shops, artist studios and drum sessions, in which visitors are welcome to participate spontaneously. In addition to the lots of live music, the Trans African Express, a cultural restaurant with an Africa-wide menu, also inspires.
Campbell Museum in Durban
The museum, named after the sugar baron Sir Marshal Campbell, is based on a collection that his daughter Margaret put together in the course of her life as an anthropologist. The exhibits include ceramics, musical instruments, coats of arms, weapons and traditional costumes. The collection can be found in the former house of Sir Campbell, which was also enriched with beautiful furniture from the turn of the century.
District Six Museum Foundation in Cape Town
Central Methodist Mission Church
25A Buitenkant Street
Cape Town, 8001
PO Box 10178, Caledon Square, 7905
Tel.: 0027- (0) 21-461 8745
Fax: 0027- (0) 21-461 8745
Email : [email protected]
Echo Caves in the Molopong Valley
About 200 m of the kilometer-long stalactite caves in the dolomite rocks are accessible to visitors. Tools from the Stone and Iron Ages can be seen here.
This low building was erected in 1849. The People’s Council once held its meetings here. Since its completion, the First Raadsaal has served as a church, conference room, parliament building and even as a school for the residents of Bloemfontein and Free State. Today the building is a museum and shows exhibits related to the founding of Bloemfontein and the further history of the town.
Hector Peterson Museum
This interesting and sad museum in Soweto was created in honor of Hector Peterson, a boy who was shot dead when he was only 16 years old. He died when unrest broke out in what was then the township against the introduction of Afrikaans as a compulsory language in all schools.
Johannesburg Art Gallery
Collection of international paintings and sculptures, for example by van Gogh, Auguste Rodin and Claude Monet, and works by South African artists.
KwaMuhle Museum in Durban
The KwaMuhle Museum is dedicated to coming to terms with apartheid in South Africa. A common thread is drawn from the historical development of Durbans to the inhumane racial segregation and the modern city.
Theaters and opera houses
Newtown Cultural Precinct, Newtown
Tel. 0027- (0) 11-8321641
Exquisite theater and guest concerts by well-known musicians. In addition, the theater is characterized by its socially critical commitment.
The Natal Playhouse is the first theater complex in the province and at the same time one of the most beautiful. It was initially designed in the Tudor style, but renovated and renewed in 1986. Aside from the normal theater operations, the Natal Playhouse also caters to children. The Theater Cats come into play here, putting together programs for children between 6 and 12 on one weekend a month. All in all, the Playhouse offers ballet, opera and comedy performances.
Observatory Theater on Signal Hill with observatory in Bloemfontein
After this building on Naval Hill had been used as an observatory for a long time, it was renovated and converted into a small theater, where especially humorous performances are shown
Sand Du Plessis Theater in Bloemfontein
Completed in 1985 for R60 million, it is one of the most impressive theaters in the country. Works of art complete the magnificent décor of the building.
Churches, mosques, synagogues
Emmanuel Cathedral in Durban
Built in 1902 in neo-Gothic style, Durban Cathedral has wonderful cross stations which structure the side walls. These were a gift from the French Empress Eugenie. She wanted to commemorate the death of her son Louis Napoléon, who died in 1879.
Great Synagogue in Cape Town
The synagogue is located next to the Holocaust Center. It was designed by the Scottish architects Parker and Forsyth; construction was completed in 1905. The dome and the two towers make the synagogue reminiscent of Central European baroque churches.
Groote Kerk in Cape Town
This church was built in 1799, making it one of the oldest in South Africa. With the pulpit, Anton Anreith and Jacob Graaf created a true masterpiece.
Juma Mosque (also Gray Street Mosque) in Durban
The Juma Mosque on the corner of Queen Street and Gray Street is an imposing mosque from the 19th century. It can accommodate up to 5,000 worshipers, which makes it the largest mosque in the southern hemisphere. The Islamic house of worship – also known as the Gray Street Mosque – which was inaugurated in 1890, impresses with its walls decorated with Koran texts and can be experienced more closely as part of free guided tours, which also convey aspects of Islamic piety. Guided tours are always offered outside of prayer times on weekdays and on Saturday mornings. You can register by phone at the following number: 0027 – (0) 31 – 306 4858.
Hare Krishna Temple of Understanding in Durban
The International Society Krishna Consciousness built the so-called Temple of Understanding. You can find it in the north-west of Durban, just outside the city in Chatworth. The temple has been designed in a rather unusual construction and is surrounded by a moat. It is dominated by golden towers that can be seen from a distance. The ornate structure also includes a vegetarian restaurant.
Palm Tree Mosque in Cape Town
Unfortunately, the public is not allowed into this mosque. In the 18th century the building was erected as a private house. The former slave and imam Jan de Boughies moved into the ground floor of the house and converted the upper floor into a mosque.
St. George Cathedral in Cape Town
The cathedral was built in 1897 by Herbert Baker in the neo-Gothic style. It houses bishops’ tombs, several altars decorated with candles and the African Madonna, a black wooden statue of the Virgin Mary. Here, Bishop Desmond Tutu has often given his committed speeches against apartheid.
Twin-spire Church in Bloemfontein
The Twin-spire Church serves the Dutch Reformed Congregation of Bloemfontein and was completed in 1880. It stands on the site of a smaller church once used by the famous Rev. Andrew Murray. This is also where the last three presidents of the former Republic of the Orange Free State took their oath of office.
Big Hole in Kimberley
One of the largest archaeological digs in the world is located here.
Museum of Man with archaeological excavations at Sybrand Van Niekerk
. Rock paintings and other finds can be seen in the archaeological excavation site.
Makapasgat Cave In
1936, fossils of hominids were discovered here, so the cave was declared a National Monument.
This important archaeological site contains some of the oldest evidence of human use of fire.
The sandstone hill in the Vhembe National Reserve on Limpopo is one of the richest archaeological sites in Africa and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Durban University of Technology
The prestigious Durban University of Technology was established in 2002. This was done by merging the two institutions ML Sultan Technikon and Technikon Natal. There are currently around 20,000 students studying at the Technical University, which is divided between campuses in both Durban and Pietermaritzburg. The campuses in Durban are Brickfield Campus, City Campus, ML Sultan Campus, Ritson Campus and Steve Biko Campus.
Rand Afrikaans University
The particularly scenic Rand Afrikaans University was opened in 1975 and is designed in a very modern architectural style. The university has six faculties and 50 institutes and can offer up to 5,000 study places.
University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, Phuthaditjhaba
he State University of the Free State (Afrik. Universiteit van die Vrystaat and English University of the Free State) was established in 1904 and is currently attended by around 26,500 students. The languages of instruction are Afrikaans and English.
University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)
The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), established in 2004, was created by merging the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville. At the time, these two were the two largest educational institutions in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The UKZN, at which around 38,000 students are currently enrolled, is divided into four colleges: College of Humanities, College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, College of Health Sciences (German medicine and health sciences) and the College of Law and Management Studies (German law and economics). The university not only has campuses in Durban, but also in Pietermaritzburg, Westville and Pinetown.
Important sports facilities
Cape Town Stadium
In the Cape Town Stadium, also known as the Green Point Stadium and the African Renaissance Stadium, near the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and the city center, five group matches, an eighth, a quarter and a semi-final took place during the 2010 World Cup. The mega sports facility, which is also equipped with very good restaurants and 117 boxes and has a capacity for 68,000 spectators, replaced the old Green Point Stadium, which with its 18,000 seats would have been too small for the World Cup.
The new Cape Town Stadium, with its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, offers what is probably the most beautiful location of all ten stadiums for the World Cup, especially since it is connected to the 60 hectare Waterfront city park via Granger Bay Boulevard. The capacity of the six-story stadium will now be reduced from 68,000 to 55,000 after the World Cup and will in all likelihood be used as home ground by the two football clubs Ajax Cape Town and Santos FC.
Coca-Cola Stadium or Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg
(also often called Ellis Park Stadium)
A total of five group matches, a round of 16 and a quarter-finals were played in Johannesburg’s Coca-Cola Stadium as part of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The stadium, which was specially converted and expanded for the major sporting event, offers space for around 70,000 spectators. It was established in 1928 and for a long time was used exclusively as a rugby stadium. After the old stadium was demolished in 1982 and then rebuilt as a new rugby stadium, the final game of the 1995 Rugby World Cup took place here. For the 2010 soccer World Cup, the stadium, which is located in the middle of a large sports complex, did not have to be significantly rebuilt – unlike many other sports facilities in South Africa.
Free State Stadium (also Vodacom Park)
Bloemfontein was one of the nine venues for the long-awaited 2010 World Cup in South Africa, as officially confirmed by FIFA on March 17, 2006. The city thus joined the ranks of the giants, which also include Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. The game was then played in Bloems Free State Stadium, which, together with its surrounding sports complex, is the most important sports venue in the entire Free State province. The Free State Stadium, which otherwise serves as the home ground for the Bloemfontein Celtic (Premier Soccer League) football team, was extensively expanded for the upcoming major event, so that the original capacity has been increased from around 36,500 to 48,000 spectators. In addition, the floodlights were brought up to date, electronic scoreboards installed and the sound system significantly improved. In total, the city has received R221 million to bring unforgettable football experiences to domestic and foreign visitors.
Moses Mabhida Stadium
This majestic soccer stadium was built on the occasion of the soccer world cup 2010 and completed in 2009. It has a total capacity of around 75,000 for the World Cup and is therefore the second largest of the football stadiums that were newly built for the major sporting event in South Africa. The stadium, which is very unusual in its shape, spreads out on a raised platform and forms the most important part of the new King’s Park sports center. It was named in honor of the communist politician Moses Mabhida (1923–1985). Most noticeable in the stadium architecture is the huge steel arch, which extends over a length of 104 meters over the entire stadium. Interesting is,
There is the option of taking a cable car to the highest point of the arch and enjoying a wonderful view over the city of Durban and the Indian Ocean from this viewing platform. However, you should have a head for heights for this adventure.
Soccer City Stadium
In June and July 2010, the stadium had the honor of hosting the opening and the final of the 2010 World Cup in addition to the four group matches, the round of 16 and the quarter-finals. The stadium, which was constructed in 1987, was rebuilt in 2009 for this purpose, based on traditional African design. Before this construction work, it had served as the home of the renowned South African club Kaizer Chiefs. The Soccer City Stadium is also historically very important, because Nelson Mandela also called for the first large mass rally after his release in the stadium, which is located directly next to the former Soweto township. In addition, the giant sports facility acted as the venue for the Africa Cup in 1996, which South Africa hosted and won.
Natural beauties and reserves
Augrabies Falls of the Orange
River in the northwest of the Gordoniadistrikt The river plunges 56 m deep into a 20 m wide gorge made of reddish granite. There is a large number of animal and plant species in the surrounding reserve
Durban Botanical Garden
The 20 hectare beautiful botanical garden of Durban used to serve the British colonial rulers to scientifically observe the importation of economic plants. It is therefore not surprising that the Botanical Garden, which has existed since 1849, is overflowing with flora from all parts of the world. This includes around 3,000 plants that are typical of Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal Province. There are also 300 tree species, including the oldest jacarandas in all of South Africa. The main attraction is and remains the imposing orchid house with almost 500 different orchid species.
Blyde River Canyon
South Africa’s only canyon is 20 miles long. Particularly worth seeing are the “Burke’s Luck Potholes”, rock formations created by erosion, and the “Three Rondavels”, huge cylindrical rocks.
Bridal Veil Falls and Lone Creek Falls south of Sabie
The water falls from a height of around 70 meters over several cascades into a pool.
Company Gardens in Cape Town
The gardens have developed into the green lung on the edge of Cape Town’s city center. They also house the Houses of Parliament, the SA National Art Gallery, the SA Museum and the Planetarium. The park is at the top of Adderley Street.
Doorndrai Dam Nature Reserve in the foothills of the Waterberg Mountains
Here populations of rare antelope species have been preserved. The termite mounds in the sandstone are also worth seeing.
Graaff-Reinet and Valley of Desolation and Camdeboo National Park
Graaff-Reinet, established in 1786, is located in the Karoo Heartland and is the fourth oldest city in South Africa. It was named after the governor of the Dutch East Indian Company, Cornelius Jacob van der Graaff and after his wife Cornelia, whose maiden name was Reinet. The old city is known for its architectural heritage, as the city has more national monuments – namely over 220 – than any other city in the country. A visit to the old town in particular is highly recommended. Once the largest center of the Cape Colony, it is now an important farm area where merino sheep, angora goats and other farm animals are kept. Tourists are likely to be more interested in the nearby Valley of Desolation, now part of the 15,000-acre Camdeboo National Park.
Hartbeespoort Dam and the Magaliesberg Mountains – 75 km from Johannesburg
The most important recreational area in the Gauteng area with its reservoir is located on the Magalies Mountains. Besides the aquarium with exotic fish and crocodiles, there is a zoo, a snake park and a nature reserve. The reservoir was built around 75 km from Jo’burg in 1923. Originally it was used for irrigation purposes, today the Hartbeesport Nature Reserve is a recreational area for the residents of Johannesburg and Pretoria. There are many weekend houses and hotel resorts, an aquarium and a zoo. Visitors can also take a hot air balloon ride here. The Magaliesberg can be reached easily with a cable car and from above you can enjoy the wonderful view over the mountain landscape and even as far as Johannesburg. Drive over the R512.
Harvey Wildflower Park in Linksfield/Johannesburg
There is a zoo and a botanical garden with exotic trees and over 4,000 species of roses.
Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve
The first animal sanctuaries in southern Africa, founded at the end of the 19th century with a total area of almost 1,000 km², were united in 1998 and are now home to the largest rhino population in the world.
Horseshoe Falls south of Sabie
The drizzle of the 15 meter high waterfall at an altitude of 1,700 m has created a rain forest.
At the extreme southern tip of the continent, the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, to the west of which is the Cape of Good Hope.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens on Table Mountain near Cape Town
The Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is home to around 4,500 native plant species on 528 hectares and is one of the seven best in the world. During the summer (December – March), sunset concerts are held on Sunday afternoons at 5.30 p.m. the music ranges from classical to jazz and folk to traditional African music.
Rhodes Drive, Newlands
Tel. 002721- (0) 21-799 88 0
Internet: www.nbi.ac.za Hours of Operation
: Daily 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (summer); 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (winter)
Klaserie, Timbavati, Sabi-Sand Reserve and Umbata Nature Reserve
These are private animal parks on the western border of the Kruger National Park
The lagoon is part of a national park.
Lake Funduzi in Venda
The spiritual sanctuary of the Venda (home of the Great Python, which is still revered as a god) may only be visited with special permission.
Lisbon Falls and Berlin Falls near Graskop
The Lisbon waterfalls are 92 m high and have several pools, the Berlin Falls are 80 m high with only one pool.
Mac Mac Falls
The twin falls are 56 meters deep and have natural pools.
Madikwe Game Reserve
The protected area on the border with Botswana was created in 1991.
Messina Nature Reserve
The reserve established in 1980 is home to baobabs, antelopes, giraffes and over 50 species of reptiles
Modjadji National Reserve
A large number of species of cycads (cycads) have been preserved in the park.
Mountain Zebra National Park
Although this national park is one of the smaller parks in South Africa, it is well worth seeing because of its unique and almost intimate atmosphere. It bears the name because it is home to the very rare and endangered mountain zebras, of which there are currently around 350 in the park. You can “conquer” the national park by car, but you can also hike through it, which gives you a closer look at the animal kingdom.
The semi-desert is transformed into a sea of flowers every spring.
Natal Botanical Gardens in Pietermaritzburg
In the park, founded in 1870, you can also see rare and exotic plant species.
Naval Hill and Franklin Game Reserve
This hill in the middle of Bloemfontein has a wonderful flora and fauna. Giraffes as well as ostriches and antelopes live there. In addition, one can get an excellent view of Bloemfontein from the hill. Naval Hill also includes the Franklin Game Reserve, named after John Franklin, a South African senator in the 1930s. The city’s botanical garden and natural history museum are also in close proximity to Naval Hill.
Nylsvlei National Reserve
More than 400 species of birds live in the floodplain of the Nyl River between the bush savannah and the marshland.
Olifantshoek near Witsand
The approximately 100 m high sand mountains produce strange sounds here, especially in hot weather.
Pietersburg Nature Reserve
Zebras, giraffes, white rhinos and representatives of all South African antelope species live here.
Rustenberg Nature Reserve at Magaliesberg
Antelopes and rare birds of prey such as the black eagle live here.
Dinosaur Park on Mankelekele Mountain
Here you can see life-size replicas of dinosaurs that lived around 250 million years ago in what is now South Africa
Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve near Johannesburg
This small nature reserve is located south of Johannesburg and is easily accessible from the city. The Suikerbosrand ridge dominates the landscape; on the grassy plains there are antelopes, zebras, wildebeests, leopards and cheetahs. Via the N3 towards the south, then left on the R 550 towards Park.
Sudwala Caves in Mankelekele Mountain
From the extensive cave system with stalagmites and stalagmites, a stretch of around 600 m is accessible to visitors.
Table Mountain near Cape Town
From the top of the mountain range, which can be reached by cable car, one has a breathtaking view of the city and the sea. Table Mountain rises to a height of 1,087 meters on Tafelberg Road, where the lower cable car station is also to be found.
Tel 002721- (0) 21-4248181
Email: [email protected]
The Umhlanga Rocks on the North Coast are not very far from Durban. They are well worth a visit because of the good bathing opportunities, but also include a crocodile farm and an interesting research station for sharks. In this context, it is very attractive for many visitors to join one of the sharks board tours, the aim of which is to free sharks from shark nets.
Valley of 1000 Hills
The valley of the thousand hills in the west of Durban attracts with a gigantic view over endless hills and valleys. The whole scene becomes even more picturesque if one is lucky enough to hear the Zulus calling in the morning hours. The hills and valleys are broken up by smaller villages and Zulu settlements.
Wolkberg Wilderness Area
The Thabia Falls and the “Mohlapitse River Potholes” caves are particularly worth seeing.
South Africa: national parks
You can register in advance or get information at the following address:
South Africa National Parks
PO Box 787,
Phone: +27 (0) 12 428-9111,
The national parks of South Africa – with the exception of the Kruger National Park – in alphabetical order:
Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is certainly one of the most famous national parks in the world. It covers an area of around 19,486 km2 and extends in the north from Limpopo – the border river to Mozambique to the Crocodile River (crocodile river) in the south. The park was established by President Paul Kruger back in 1898 to protect the wilderness. It received its current name and status as a national park in 1926.
Around 150 different species of mammals, around 115 different species of reptiles and 500 species of birds live in the park. You can also find the so-called “Big Five” here, i.e. the elephant, black rhinoceros, African buffalo, lion and leopard. The most common animal in the park is the impala (a species of antelope) with around 150,000 specimens. Buffalo, giraffes and zebras can also be seen here.
Addo Elephant National Park
The Addo Elephant National Park covers an area of 1,640 km2. The park is located in the “Eastern Cape” province about 70 km northeast of Port Elizabeth – the largest city in the province. The park was established in 1931 to save the last surviving elephants. Today around 400 of these beautiful animals live here again. In addition to numerous animals, you can also admire the “Big Five” here, i.e. next to the elephant, the black rhinoceros, the African buffalo, the lion and the leopard.
Agulhas National Park
The park is located around 230 km east of Cape Town. It covers an area of 56.9 km2. Incidentally, Cape Agulhas is the southernmost place in South Africa and thus the entire continent. Educational and nature trails also introduce the layperson to the fauna and flora in this park. The climate can be described as Mediterranean with hot summers and cooler and rainy winters.
Augrabies Falls National Park
The park covers an area of 55.4 km2. It is located in the north of the Cape Province on Highway N14. In the park, the water masses of the Orange River plunge 56 m into the depth and form an impressive natural spectacle. The d Klipspringer are also impressive.
Bontebok National Park
The park is located approx. 6 km from Swellendam and approx. 240 km from Cape Town (Cape Town) in the Westcape Province (Western Cape). It covers an area of 27.8 km2 , making it the smallest national park in South Africa. The park was set up in 1931 to protect the last free-roaming great ibex. The western limit of the park is the idyllic Breede River. In the north you can see the Langeberg Mountains. The park can be easily reached via Highway N2.
Camdeboo National Park
The park covers an area of 145 km2. It is located in the Eastern Cape around the city of Graaff-Reinet. The semi-desert landscape of the South African Karoo, which was created around 100 million years ago, is one of the great natural wonders of this earth, into which the Camdeboo National Park provides a unique insight.
Most of the park is located between 740 and 1,480 m above sea level at the foot of the Sneeuberg mountain range, which is up to 2,500 m high. Only a small part of the park, however, are savanna areas. In a number of places, due to the erosion of the dolerite rock (a basalt rock), jagged pillars have formed, the most striking of which can be found in the Valley of Desolation, with heights of 90-120 m. It should be noted that in the park there is the Nqweba Dam (reservoir).
Golden Gate Highlands National Park
The Golden Gate Highlands National Park, together with the neighboring Qwa-Qwa National Park, covers a total area of 340 km2. The park was inaugurated in 1963 and has been enlarged again and again since then. It is located in the northeast of the Free State province, in the foothills of the Lesotho Maluti Mountains. The Free State province is located in the interior of South Africa and borders, for example, on Lesotho, it is still relatively untouched by the tourist flows.
The park gets its name from mushroom-shaped rock formations that are around 80 m high and glow yellowish-red in the light of the evening sun. In addition to other animals such as around 150 species of birds, you can find wildebeest, antelopes, springbok and blockbok, warthogs and zebras. But the park impresses less with its fauna than with its almost unique rock and sandstone formation, many caves, deep gorges – next to grassy mountain slopes.
Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park
The Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park covers an area of 960 km², which is mostly hilly. The park is located approximately 280 km north of Durban in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The park was founded in 1895 – but at that time it consisted of the two areas of Hluhluwe and Umfoloz, making it the oldest national park in Africa. In 1989 the two parks were closed. In the park you will find the African “Big Five” – elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, lion and leopard as well as cheetahs, wild dogs and giraffes, rhinos and nyalas..
Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park is an amalgamation of the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park/South Africa and the Gemsbok National Park/ Botswana. With the part in Botswana, it covers an area of 36,000 km². The park is located in the Kalahari Desert in the northeast of the country on the border with Namibia and Botswana. The park is separated from Botswana by the River Nossob. But the border can be crossed without any formalities, although it should be noted that the park may only be left via the country from which you entered the park.
The border crossing to Namibia, Mata Mata, has been reopened since 2007. The national park is particularly known for its numerous lions living here. In addition to the lions , the following animals can be found in the park, among others: African wild cats, wildebeests, oryx antelopes, whistling rats and jumping rats. You should be careful of the very poisonous Cape Cobra that occurs here.
Karoo National Park
The Karoo National Park covers an area of 320 km2. The park is located in the Western Cape Province near the city of Beaufort West. Of particular interest is that numerous fossils with an age of over 300 million years – from the Mesozoic era – have been found here.
At that time the entire Karoo was still covered by a large inland sea, in which sand and mud were deposited. In the period after the inland sea dried up, there was volcanic activity. Over the course of many millions of years, the soft sandstones weathered while the hard volcanic rock was largely preserved. This led to the distinctive cone and table mountains in the region. In the park you can admire wildebeest, kudu (= a species of antelope), springbok, klipspringer (= African antelope) and the leopard tortoise in the park.
The Karoo is a semi-desert landscape in the country’s high plateaus, which, with an area of around 500,000 km², takes up a little less than a third of the area of South Africa (around 1.22 million km²).
Knysna National Lake Area
The Knysna National Lake Area is dominated by its lagoon, which is connected to the Indian Ocean by the rock dormations of the Knysna Heads. The sandbanks and salt marshes that exist here are a habitat for many animal species due to the optimal food supply. The Knysna seahorse, which has its home here, is particularly prominent. In the vicinity of this very scenic area there are forests and beautiful beaches, which are among the most popular of the “Garden Route”, the center of which is Krysna. The park is located in the Western Cape Province in the south of the country by the ocean.
Knysna Town Knysna enjoys a laid-back lifestyle and has therefore attracted many artists whose work is exhibited in the galleries. You can also stroll and shop here.
Mapungubwe National Park
The Mapungubwe National Park covers an area of 280 km2. The park is located in the far northwest of the country on the border with Botswana and Zimbabwe at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe rivers. The park, which was built in 1947, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003.
The park was named after the ancient, submerged city of Mapungubwe Hill, where a highly developed African civilization was located between 900 AD and 1300. Archaeologists found the famous golden rhinoceros in this region as early as 1932. The park is characterized by sandstone formations and alluvial forests. White rhinos, elephants, giraffes, hyenas, leopards, lions, eland and oryx, among others, live in the park – in addition to a number of other antelope species. In addition, more than 400 species of birds have their habitat here.
Marakele National Park
The 450 km2 Marakele National Park is located around 250 km from Johannesburg – in the middle of the Waterberg Mountains, a relatively untouched and game-rich mountain range north of the city of Thabazimbi and south of the Lalapala River. It was inaugurated in 1944.
In the park grow the now rare yellowwood tree, cedar and the up to 5 m high cycad palm fern trees.
Here you can find numerous animals, such as white and black rhinos, buffalo, elephants, eland antelopes, hippos, giraffes, kudu (a type of antelope), waterbuck and many big cats. There are also numerous bird species, such as the endangered Cape Vulture, of which around 800 breeding pairs live in the park.
Mokala National Park
The Mokala National Park opened in June 2007. It covers an area of 200 km2. The park is located in the Northern Cape Province about 80 kilometers southwest of Kimberley. The name of the park comes from the Bantu language and means camel thorn tree. the name was chosen because these trees shape a large part of the landscape. The Mokala National Park was established where the Kalahari Desert merges into the Karoo Desert.
Between hills made of dolorite rock you can find savannahs and bushes, although the Kalahari dominates the landscape in the north of the park. In the area where the Vaal River meets the Orange River, many smaller rivers come together and create a unique wetland in which many and rare bird species live. You can also watch water buffalo here in the wild. Other animals that live here include giraffes, various buffalo and antelope species, rhinos and zebras.
Mountain Zebra National Park
The Mountain Zebra National Park covers an area of 284 km2; the park was established in 1937. It is located around 235 north of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province in the south of the country. The park was built especially to protect the very rare Cape Mountain Zebras. Various species of antelopes, wildebeest, the Cape buffalo – a subspecies of the Cape buffalo and black rhinoceros – also live here. As the buffalo are quite aggressive, hiking in the park is prohibited, so you can only do so with a car. be visited.
The climate here is warm and dry – with annual rainfall of less than 400 mm, which mainly falls at the beginning of the summer there. The nights during winter are usually very cold, so that there can even be snowfall on the heights.
Namaqua National Park
The park covers an area of 1,047 km2 and was established in 1988. It is located in the Northern Cape Province, which was created as a result of the division of the old Cape Province in 1994. A large number of succulents, sap-rich plants that are adapted to special soil and climatic conditions, grow in the park. In total, around 3,500 species of plants, 150 species of birds, 50 species of mammals and around 30 species of reptiles grow in the park. Leopards, jackals and porcupines are particularly noteworthy. Since the park is located in the winter rain region there (summer time in Germany), most of the rain falls in June, July and August.
Pilanesberg National Park
The Pilanesberg National Park covers an area of 550 km2 and is in close proximity to the amusement park “Sun City”. The park is located about 150 km northwest of Johannesburg. Opened in 1979, the park is home to the “Big Five” – buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino. In total, there are over 100 species of mammals, more than 350 species of birds, around 65 species of reptiles and around 20 different species of amphibians.
With a diameter of around 25 km, the Pilanesberg is one of the largest “single volcanoes” of its kind in the world.
Travelers and visitors will be interested to know that the “Pilanesberg International Airport” is located on the south-eastern edge of the park.
Richtersveld National Park
This national park, founded in 1991, is 5,000 km2 the third largest national park in South Africa. It is located in the north-west of the country in the Northern Cape Province on the border with Namibia. Succulents in particular grow here – while the so-called “half-man” is a special feature, as this up to 4 m high plant is reminiscent of a human head due to its thick and fleshy trunk with few leaves as a tree crown. The Orange River runs along the border with Namibia. The region is known as Namaqua because of its indigenous people – the Namas. Small reptiles, numerous bird species, antelopes, mountain zebras, klipspringer, leopards, lions, baboons, springboks and ibex live in the still very pristine, lonely and touristic little developed park. The climate in the park is very is extreme,
Due to the nature of the path, the park can only be accessed with off-road vehicles.
Royal Natal National Park
The Royal Natal National Park covers an area of 80 km2. The park was established in 1916 in the South African Drakensberg in the province of KwaZulu-Natal and offers a wonderful insight into the rugged mountain world of the Drakensberg, which is also called the “roof of South Africa”. Here, high vertical rock faces, waterfalls or refreshing torrents dominate the landscape.
Very impressive and a real challenge for extreme climbers is the approx. 5 km long steep rock face of the “Amphitheater” with the 3,282 m high Mont-aux-Sources (mountain of sources) as the highest point. The name suggests the Tugela River, which has its source here and flows into the valley through a series of waterfalls. One of the most impressive of these is the fall of the Tugela, which overcomes around 950 m in 5 steps in the Tugela Falls.
More than 2,000 types of plants grow in the park, including 72 types of ferns, including the giant tree ferns typical of the Drakensberg. However, if you want to see lots of exciting tires, you will be less satisfied here. There are, however, among others: mountain reedbucks, eland antelopes, wildebeests, baboons or zebras.
For those who want to hike the park, there are over 80 kilometers of well-developed hiking trails available, some of which are also very suitable for families with children.
ISimangaliso Wetland Park
The ISimangaliso Wetland Park covers an area of 3,280 km2 and is located on the east coast of the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The entrance to the park is near the small town of St. Lucia. The park got its name from the Zulu word Mangliso, which translated means miracle. In 1999 the park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
In the north of the park are the Mkuze swamps and in the west you can find dry thorn savannas. Lake St. Lucia, located in the center of the park, is the largest lake in the Republic of South Africa with an area of 360 km². This lake is fed by several rivers, but it is not a freshwater lake, but an approximately 60 kilometer long lagoon with different levels of salinity, which flows into the sea south of St. Lucia. On the approximately 200 km long coast there are wooded dunes which are among the highest in the world.
Crocodiles and hippos live in the soup or wetlands, and their populations are the largest in the republic. Buffalo, monkeys, leopards and rhinos can also be observed in the rather dry savannahs.
The well over 500 species of birds include various types of herons, kingfishers, flamingos, ibises, king fishers, spoonbills, pelicans, saddle storks, turacos as well as ospreys and crowned eagles.
From St. Lucia trips to the sea for whale watching are offered, but trips to the lake to watch the hippos are also popular. Many birds and numerous amphibians live here.
Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve
The Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is a nature reserve – but not a national park in the strict sense – located south of Johannesburg in the Gauteng province. The reserve covers an area of around 133 km2. It was declared a nature reserve in 1974. The reserve was named after the “Transvaal Suikerbos” (sugar bush). This plant belongs to the silver tree family, the king protea being the heraldic flower of South Africa. The reserve is higher than 1,545 m and reaches its greatest height with the 1,917 m high Sugar Summit.
The flora and fauna of the grasslands of the African highlands grow and live in the region – especially the rocky Witwatersrand. There are around 25 large animal species, around 200 species of birds and around 750 plant species. Among the large animals, antelopes, wildebeests, hyenas and zebras are mentioned.
Table Mountain National Park
The Table Mountain National Park (Table Mountain) is located on the south-western tip of Africa and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park with an area of 250 km2 – plus 10 km 2 of sea and coastal strip of the peninsula – extends on a narrow headland or peninsula with valleys, bays and beaches and is bordered by the Atlantic in the west and False Bay in the east. In the park, Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope are two well-known sights in Europe. It only opened on August 10, 1998.
The park has a diverse and often unique fauna and flora. It should be mentioned that 22 different snake species live here, ten of which are poisonous: for example the Cape cobra, the puff adder or the boomslang.
Tankwa Karoo National Park
The Tankwa Karoo National Park with an area of 800 km2 is located in one of the driest areas of South Africa. It is located in the Northern Cape Province on the border with the Western Cape Province. In 1986 the area was declared a national park. The following mammals can be found here: the African wildcat, the aardwolf, meerkat, the black-backed jackal, leopard, the great kudu (a species of antelope), baboons, springboks and porcupines.
Tsitsikamma National Park
Established in 1964, the Tsitsikamma National Park covers an area of around 640 km2 and extends as an 80 km long coastal strip between Nature’s Valley and the mouth of the Storms River. The park is located in the western part of the Eastern Cape Province. Here the visitor can expect a largely untouched and intact landscape. Because of the relatively high rainfall of approx. 1,200 mm annually, many streams and rivers come from the Tsitsikamma Mountains. Hence the name Tsitsikamma – from the language of the Khoi (Hottentots) – which means “water-rich area”.
The 800 year old yellowwood trees are among the unique flora of the park. Many species of birds, monkeys and smaller antelope species live in the park, including the cliff jumper. You can also watch dolphins and whales off the coast.
The park is home to the two most popular hiking trails in the Republic of South Africa – the Otter and Tsitsikamma Trail
Vaalbos National Park.
The park was closed in 2007
West Coast National Park
The West Coast National Park covers a total of 363 km2. It is located about 120 km north of Cape Town on the R27 in the Western Cape Province – and extends on both sides of the 25 km long and 60 km2 large Langebaan lagoon, which is part of the park. The park was established in 1985 as one of the few nature reserves on this coast of South Africa. One of the main reasons for establishing this national park was to protect this wetland, where, by the way, Khoikhoi (short: Khoi) and San used to live.
For those interested in history, it should be mentioned that on November 4, 1497 – here in St. Helena Bay – the Portuguese Vasco da Gama (1469-1524) landed with his ships on the way to India. In addition, the oldest footprints of a homo sapiens were found in the park in 1998 and can now be viewed in a museum in Cape Town.
Numerous migratory birds from Europe overwinter here from September to March. In addition to the countless seagulls, flamingos, cape boobies, cormorants, black oystercatchers, crescent sandpipers and white pelicans live here. In or on the lagoon you can find seals and African penguins, among others, and the larger mammals, for example, the great male, the eland, the kudu (a type of antelope), the hartebeest, oryx, springbok, white-tailed wildebeest and zebras live here.
Wilderness National Park
The Wilderness National Park with an area of only 26 km2 stretches from the coast of the Indian Ocean at the mouth of the Touw River to the Goukamma Nature Reserve in the Western Cape Province. The park forms an ecologically unique area of rivers, lagoons, salt water lakes and marshland, making it a paradise of peace and relaxation for the visitor. About 250 species of birds live in the park, including migratory birds from Europe that “fled” here before winter. Nature trails run along rivers and lakes or through dense forest. The park is located on the so-called Garden Route, which extends from Hermanus in the Western Cape Province to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province.
South Africa: UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Cradle of Humankind – The sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans and Kromdraai and the surrounding area (1999, 2005)
In this prehistoric site, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999 (expanded in 2005), an ape skull approx. 2 to 3 million years old was discovered. The find belongs to the Australopithecus africanus.
The “Cradle of Humankind” (cradle of humanity) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The caves are about 25 km northwest of Johannesburg and are famous for numerous hominid finds, which are among the oldest in the world.
The skeleton of the Australopithecus africanus found here is the oldest surviving skeleton of a prehistoric man. It is estimated that the Australopithecus africanus lived 3 to 2 million years ago. 40% of all hominid fossil finds worldwide were made during the last 50 years in these dolomite caves, which spread over this approximately 47,000 hectare area. There aren’t many tourist facilities on site yet, but you can tour the Sterkfontein Caves, or visit the Rhino an Lion Game Reserve and the Kromdraai Wonder Cave.
Via the R47 or M5 heading west, then on the N14 to the R563, after a few kilometers on the R563 take the junction to the Sterkfontein Caves.
Robben Island (1999)
For decades, critics of the apartheid regime were held captive on the flat island of Robben Island, which is just six square meters in size, off the Cape Town waterfront.
Nelson Mandela also had to spend almost 20 years of his life there. The island then became the focus of international protest. From the Nelson Mandela Gateway you can cross over to the island and get to know Robben Island and its history.
The Maximum Security Prison on Robben Island can be visited today. Visitors are given a guided tour through the famous B-wing including Nelson Mandela’s cell. Afterwards it is possible to explore the building on your own. Robben Island was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999.
Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park (1999)
The Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park is the oldest protected area in Africa and covers an area of around 2,500 km². In the wetland lies the largest lake in South Africa, Lake St. Lucia, which is separated from the Indian Ocean by 180 meters high dunes overgrown with jungle.
Over 500 species of birds and numerous other rare animal species live here, including leatherback turtles, crocodiles and hippos. The wetland became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999
Mapungubwe cultural landscape (2003)
The excavation site Mapungubwe is near Musina in the northern province in the country triangle – Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa. In 1933, during excavations, royal tombs and ruins of a city were found there.
Valuable finds include a wood rhino coated with gold, porcelain, ivory and gold. It is believed that there was trade with the east coast of Africa at the time. The cultural landscape was entered on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2003 , and it also has the status of a national park
Richtersveld cultural landscape (2007)
The Richtersveld National Park in the north-west of the country. The area of the park is 1624 km². The park is bounded by the border river Orange to Namibia. The park is home to leopards, small African antelopes, mountain zebras, baboons, springboks, rheboke, smaller reptiles and various species of birds. Many plants that grow here are endemic (grow only here), due to the dry, hot climate in summer, succulents grow here preferentially. The indigenous people – the Nama – have permission to continue to lead their lives in and around the park. The Richtersveld cultural landscape was entered on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2007
Drakensberg Nature Park (Qathlamba) (2000)
The Drakensberg Nature Park is located between Johannesburg and Durban.
The Drakensberg is a 250 km long massif with numerous peaks and peaks. The landscape is rich in vegetation as it rains very often. The area is the drinking water reservoir for many areas of the country. The ‘amphitheater’ is a rock formation of the Drakensberg, it is a few kilometers wide and about 1000 m high.
The main attractions of the mountain range on the border with Lesotho include Mont-aux-Source in the north, Cathedral Peak, Cathkin Peak, Campagne Castle, Giant’s Castle Game Reserve as well as the Oliviershoek Pass, the Sani Pass and the Van Reenen’s Pass.
The nature park was declared both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a World Heritage Site in 2000
Cape Floral Protected Region (2004, 2015)
The Cape Floral protected region is located in the Cape Province and consists of 8 protected areas.
The area is 55.3 km².
Kape Floral probably has the greatest diversity of plants in the world, there are over 7,000 species of ferns and flowering plants, half of which are endemic (only grows in this area). The area is extremely important for science because the plants often have special properties that were otherwise not observed, such as B. Resistance to fire.
The protected region of Cape Floral was entered on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004, not least because of its abundance of flora, and in 2015 it was expanded to include a total area of more than 1 million hectares.
Vredefort Dome (2005)
The Vredefort crater is located in the north about 120 kilometers southwest of Johannesburg. The crater is one of the largest impact craters on earth with a diameter of about 50 km.
The crater was much larger and deeper after the impact of a meteorite about 2 million years ago. In the middle of the crater there is a “hill” that was also created by the impact. In the event of an impact, a shock wave and a wind speed of several hundred km/h occurs.
The explosion is many times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb . Meteorites of this size penetrated the atmosphere at a speed of approx. 25 km/s, a meteorite only needed approx. 30 seconds from penetration into the earth’s atmosphere to impact, with temperatures of several 1000 °C and a pressure of over 100,000 bar.
Vredefort Dome became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains (2018)
The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains lie in northeastern South Africa and are the best preserved succession of volcanic and sedimentary rocks.
The origin goes back to the fact that 3.6 to 3.25 billion years ago the first continents had formed. In the mountains there are particularly well-preserved traces of meteorite impacts, which appeared shortly after the end of the so-called Great Bombardment 4.6 to 3.8 billion years ago.
The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018.
Adventure South Africa
Adventure South Africa – planning tips for attractive routes
South Africa is an attractive long-haul travel destination with a thousand faces. Whether lively metropolises, barren desert landscapes or species-rich marshland: In the south of the continent, diversity is on the agenda. The decision for a route is difficult given the numerous sights. Information and tips for structured planning.
Sights and inspiration
The most significant sights in South Africa include Cape Town, Table Mountain, the Amathole Mountains and of course the cradle of mankind. The latter was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 and is a must for culture lovers and all travelers who want to follow in the footsteps of human evolution. But also the city of Durban, the Drakensberg Mountains with its numerous caves and gorges and the Namaqualand region with the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape are worth a visit. There are also the waterfalls of Witwatersrand, Wild Coast, and the Addo Elephant National Park.
The list of special features in South Africa is far from complete. In order to find out which sights can be reconciled with each other during a trip, it is first necessary to get an overview of potential routes. Offers for organized tours through South Africacan be viewed on the website of the tour operator Explorer Fernreisen. The company specializes in long-distance travel and presents various routes for self-drive with rental cars as well as bus tours or safaris with a travel companion. The travel experts have also put together some inspiration for the undecided online. Such travel offers and selected information from experienced professionals help with planning and make it easier to choose the South African highlights between Kruger National Park and Johannesburg that suit personal preferences.
Route for beginners: from Cape Town to the north
Those who want to drive their rental vehicle themselves and thus be independent, but have never been to Africa before, are well advised to take a trip along the Indian Ocean. Good roads and a simple route make it easier to get ahead.
Travel time and duration: less is more!
South Africa can be visited all year round, so vacationers can plan flexibly. With regard to the length of stay, a realistic assessment of what is feasible is important. Many tourists spend too little time on site and pack an excess of stops into their trip. In order to be able to experience the country intensively, however, there needs to be free space for the unexpected. Newcomers who want to visit Cape Town as well as various national parks and coastal regions in ten days must expect leisure stress. When in doubt, it is better to plan less. If there is still time at the end, there is always another destination. Five suggested routes for inspiration:
- Cape Town with the Western Cape: Cape Town is the capital of the Western Cape Province, also known as the Western Cape. Millions of tourists come to Cape Town every year to explore the beautiful destination. Not only the Cape of Good Hope beckons. There is also plenty on offer for wine lovers. The wine region around Franschhoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch is equally a center of attraction and is home to some of the most beautiful wineries ever. Blogger Katrin was there and reported on her blog “Viel Unterwegs” from her experiences in the winelands of South Africa. In addition, the West Coast National Park is one of the main excursion destinations.
- Cape Town/Northern Cape: If Cape Town is on the list of indispensable destinations for the upcoming trip to Africa, the Northern Cape should not be underestimated. The province in the northwest of the country is rarely visited by European tourists, although it is rich in attractions. For example, fans of astronomy are in the right place in Sutherland. The Sutherland Astronomical Observatory can be visited there, and information on day and night tours is availableon its website. Thanks to minimal air pollution, Sutherland visitors can enjoy a magical starry sky in the dark.
- Two-week Garden Route: This route is one of the most popular in the country and is well suited for beginners. Along the national road N2 you can discover the former Tsitsikamma National Park, the idyllic town of Swellendam and Plettenberg Bay. The proximity to the sea makes the tour an unforgettable experience with countless postcard motifs.
- Panorama Route: The Panorama Route is suitable for trips between one and three weeks and can be traveled as far as you like. It is ideal for visiting Kruger National Park, the spectacular Blyde River Canyon and Lowveld. As the name suggests, there is no shortage of fascinating panoramas. It never gets boring for the eye.
Tips on flights, rental cars and accommodation
Flights should be booked at least six months before departure. At this time, tickets for long-distance travel are often the cheapest. Direct flights are more expensive, but also allow the fastest way to get there. Expect around twelve hours. The selection is limited to a few airlines. However, routes with a stopover can be found in the portfolio of some airlines. Accommodation in national parks must also be booked at least six months before the start of the journey. If you want to be on the safe side, book twelve months in advance. Comparison portals such as booking.com or agoda.com help with price comparisons. A comparison between car rental companies and independent comparison portals for rental cars is also worthwhile. It is not uncommon for car rental companies to cost more to rent a vehicle.