About South Africa
South Africa is a nation of exceptional natural beauty with a rich cultural heritage. “A world in one country” with a rolling panorama of tropical forests, lush green pastures, craggy mountains, golden beaches, arid deserts and perhaps the most spectacular wildlife in the world. There are many private game reserves and national parks that offer an abundance of wildlife including the Big Five JOHANNESBURG Johannesburg, the gateway city for New Zealanders heading to South Africa and beyond is known as the “City of Gold”. This is South Africa’s largest city and remains its financial and commercial heart. There are vast and opulent shopping centres in Sandton (where most of the hotels are located and approx 30 minutes from the airport), Hyde Park, Rosebank and Fourways. Gold was discovered in Johannesburg in 1886 and so began the Gold Rush. Gold Reef City (8 kms south) provides a sense of what the city was like after prospectors poured into the area in the late 19th century. Here you will find rides, a Victorian Fun Fair, and reconstructions of a bank, brewery, pub and newspaper office. A tour of Soweto is an eye opener and a must if clients have time. SUN CITY Sun City is located two hours drive from Johannesburg and is a glittering international resort in the midst of the bush. There are four hotels to choose from including the Palace of the Lost City, the Cabanas, Sun City Hotel or The Cascades. The resort features a large entertainment complex and activities include swimming pools, Valley of the Waves (a large-scale wave making machine) beach, Gary Player Golf Club, the Lost City Golf Club, the Kwena Gardens Crocodile Sanctuary, Waterworld and Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Centre and excursions to the nearby Pilanesburg National Park (which protects over 500 sq kms of extinct volcanoes) and of course the hundreds of casino tables and slot machines. Annually the Valley of Waves closes for a short period to allow for maintenance, these dates are subject to change: 19 May-23 June 2006; 01 May–14 June 2007. Madikwe Game Reserve is one of the country’s largest reserves (760 sq km), located on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. The “Big Five” plus the endangered wild dog are present in this malaria-free reserve. Madikwe is the ideal self-drive destination, only a four hour drive from Johannesburg, or a 40 minute flight. An ideal combo is Sun City and Madikwe. PRETORIA South Africa’s administrative capital is 50 km north of Johannesburg. The colossal Voortrekker Monument built between 1939 and 1949 to commemorate the achievements of the Boers and the neo-fascist architecture of JG Strijdom Square are worth a stop. KRUGER NATIONAL PARK The world famous Kruger National Park offers some of the best game viewing in Africa. The park is a five hour drive from Johannesburg and is serviced by flights from Johannesburg (1 hour) and Cape Town to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP) near Nelspruit, and also Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport (HDS). Skukuza Airport is now for charter flights only. The park was established in 1898 to protect the wildlife in the Southern African Lowveld. It is nearly 2 million hectares, and is home to a large number of species (147 species of mammals, 507 bird species, 114 reptile species, 49 species of fish and 34 types of amphibians, plus 336 species of trees). Travellers can choose from escorted tours from Johannesburg, accommodation within the park itself or there are a number of private concession areas adjoining the park, that offer completely flexible safaris by 4WD off road and walking tours. Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve This 26,000 ha reserve snakes north from Graskop. Following the escarpment and meeting the Blyde River, it carves its way down to the lowveld. Blyde’s spectacular canyon runs for nearly 30 kms, and is one of South Africa’s highlights. Gold was discovered in 1873, and when it ran out Pilgrim’s Rest was sold to the government as a ready-made historical village (it is a national monument). DURBAN Durban is located in the province of Kwazulu-Natal and is a sub-tropical city with hot summers and mild winters. There is a string of famous beaches and surf, the Valley of 1000 with magnificent views, a Zulu Village, and the Drakensberg Mountain Range. In April 2004, the theme park uShaka Marine World opened and is divided into five areas (Treasure World, Sea World, Dolphin World, Beach World and Wet ‘n’ Wild World). It boasts one of the world’s largest aquariums, the biggest collection of sharks, a seal stadium, a dolphinarium, restaurants, shops and water activities. The Drakensberg range is a mountainous basalt escarpment forming the boundary of South Africa and Lesotho, with some awe-inspiring landscapes. In 2000, was granted World Heritage status and renamed the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park. For a game experience visit Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park on the North Coast of Kwazulu-Natal. It is well known for its rhino conservation and is also home to the “Big Five”. CAPE TOWN Cape Town is a leading destination and is known as “the fairest cape” for its spectacular scenery and sophistication. It is dominated by the 1086 metre high Table Mountain and surrounded by vineyards, beaches and hiking trails. The cableway up Table Mountain is well worth the ride (doesn’t operate in windy conditions, approx Rand 110 – NZ$30 return) and once at the top the views are magnificent. At the top you will find a souvenir shop, café and some easy walks to follow. Signal Hill & Noon Gun is also known as “Lion’s Rump’ as it is attached to Lion’s Head by a “spine” of hills. Signal Hill separates Sea Point from the City Bowl (the commercial heart of Cape Town). Great views from the 350m high summit, especially at night. At noon (Mon to Sat) a cannon is fired from the lower slopes, traditionally this allowed the burghers in the town below to check their watches. The renowned Victoria & Alfred Waterfront (commonly known as the V&A or Waterfront) is packed with restaurants, bars and shops and is open daily until 9pm. Best location for accommodation is near the V&A Waterfront. Robben Island, a UN World Heritage Site is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, and your guide on the island will be a former inmate. Bookings are essential for the 2½ guided tour. Nelson Mandela Gateway departure point beside the Clock Tower at the V&A, is where ferry departs from. A standard tour includes being guided through the old prison, as well as a 45 minute bus ride around the island with commentary. NB: Tours to Robben Island must be booked direct in Cape Town (due to weather conditions), Adventure World can not book this tour. The Greenmarket Square market is a great place to pick up some crafts and souvenirs. Operates Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 4pm. Be wary of pick pocketers. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, located on the eastern side of Table Mountain overlooking Fale Bay, is a 36 ha landscaped section which merges with the 492 ha vegetation cloaking the mountain slopes. You can actually walk from the top of Table Mountain to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. The gardens are almost exclusively devoted to indigenous plants, and include a fragrance garden, a Braille Trail and a section of plants used for traditional medicines and by healers. The Cape Peninsula is a 75 km promontory where tourists visit the meeting of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, although the true divide is at Cape Agulhas. The oldest building in SA is the Castle of Good Hope, shaped like a 5-point star, it dates from around 1657. You can walk up from the restaurant to the lighthouse or take the funicular railway (at a cost). Chapman’s Peak Drive reopened in 2003 after R150 million of safety work. Even with a R20 toll this 5km road links Hout Bay with Noordhoek, and is one of the most spectacular stretches of coastal road in the world and a thrilling drive. Simon’s Town, a naval town and base since colonial times. This attractive Victorian town has a pretty harbour, some great art gallery shops and is near Boulders Beach. At Boulders Beach (3km from Simon’s Town) you will find a protected penguin colony, home to around 3000 African penguins. WINELANDS REGION The Winelands Region is within an hour’s drive of Cape Town, and is where you will find the small villages of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek and a great place to spend a couple of days sampling the wine and food. Picturesque Stellenbosch is the second oldest town in South Africa and the restored historical houses of Dorp Street are worth a visit, as are the Stellenryck Wine Museum and Oude Meester Brandy Museum. The third oldest town of Paarl is where the famous granite dome rocks are located. Well-known wineries such as KWV Emporium (known for its port, sherries and brandy) and Nederburg Wines are just outside Paarl. Franschhoek village has a number of fine restaurants, galleries and boutiques and is an excellent base to explore nearby Stellenbosch and Paarl. The 5-star Le Quartier Francais country inn offers luxurious country-style accommodation in the heart of Franschhoek. THE GARDEN ROUTE The Garden Route stretches from Slangriver at Heidelberg to the Tsitsikamma forest and Storms River in the east. It is a picturesque area with golden beaches, indigenous forests with giant yellowwood trees, lakes and rivers. This is an ideal self-drive destination and the towns of Knysna, George and the stunning Plettenberg Bay are well worth a visit. Cango Caves, Outeniqua range, Knysna National Lake Area, Cape Seal and Oudtshoorn’s ostrich farms are just some of the many things to see and do along the way. Oudtshoorn is all about ostriches, and bills itself as the “ostrich capital of the world” for good reason. The surrounding area is home to ostrich farms where you can purchase eggs, feathers and biltong (dried meat). If you have time, visit one of the ostrich show farms for a tour. The Cango Caves were discovered in 1780 and were officially opened to tourists in 1891. A one hour tour departs on the hour and begin in the cathedral-like Van Zyl’s Hall and ends approximately 600m further into the cave in the African Drum Room. The tour covers the largest chambers of the cave system, and is relatively easy walking, including a reasonable number of stairs. Mossel Bay has some attractive historic and sandstone buildings and offers a number of activities, from boat trips to Seal Island, to diving and snorkelling. Knysna is located on the edge of a lagoon surrounded by forests and is one of the jewels of the Garden Route. The newly opened 6-star Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa is a world-class country estate featuring an 18-hole championship golf course and is situated on Knysna’s Eastern Head overlooking the Indian Ocean. Pezula Estate has achieved international recognition in 2005 as the “Most Environmentally Aware Development in the world” as well as the “Best Development in South Africa” and more recently “Best Resort/Hotel Spa”. The resort town of Plettenberg Bay offers a rare combination of mountains, white sand and crystal-blue water. Tsitsikamma National Park protects 82kms of coast between Plettenberg Bay and Humansdorp. A variety of flora can be found here from evergreen forests of stinkwood and yellowwood to ferns, orchids and proteas. Jeffrey’s Bay is South Africa’s foremost centre of surfing and surf culture. Between June and September boardies from around the world flock here to ride the waves such as the Supertubes. In July it hosts the Billabong Pro and in August the Pro Junior competitions. The 5 day/4 night Winelands and the Garden Route self-drive itinerary on page 32 of the brochure from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth is a great way to experience this route. PORT ELIZABETH Located on the Eastern Cape’s picturesque coastline with a population of over 1 million, Port Elizabeth is a major transport hub. The nightlife is reputedly very good in PE (as it is known by the locals). Many travellers fly into PE and pick up a rental car to explore the surrounding areas before heading down the Garden Route to Cape Town. Kwandwe Game Reserve is located along 30 km of privately owned river frontage, surrounded by 20,000 hectares of exclusive, malaria-free wilderness, and is home to the Big Five. Accommodation options are Kwandwe Lodge, Ecca Lodge and Uplands Homestead. Activities include game drives in open game viewing vehicles, guided river-walking and canoeing, bush sundowners and picnics, fishing, rhino tracking, visits to hides and historical tours. Only a two-hour drive from Port Elizabeth or a 30 minute flight direct into the Reserve. The ideal place to begin your self-drive itinerary from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town. Shamwari Game Reserve is an award winning private game reserve that is also malaria free. It is only a one hour drive from Port Elizabeth and has a choice of accommodation. World renowned for its efforts in conservation and wildlife research, the Big Five are present here. Game drives are made in open-top landrovers with personal rangers, and there is also a traditional cultural village on the reserve. Addo Elephant National Park was established in 1931 with only seven elephants. Today there are over 300 elephants, buffalo, rhino and antelopes, across 120,000 hectares. There are private concessions situated in the area offering superb facilities. The area is also malaria free making it an ideal destination for families. Located 72 kms north of Port Elizabeth. KIMBERLEY The capital of the Northern Province and diamond capital of the world – synonymous with names like Cecil John Rhodes, Ernest Oppenheimer and De Beers. Diamonds were discovered in the Kimberley region in 1869. The Kimberley Mine Museum is one of the finest open-air museums in the world. The Big Hole is 800m deep covering an area close to 15.5 ha and is the largest hole in the world dug entirely by manual labour. At one time as many as 30,000 diggers were scrambling around it digging for wealth. On one side of the province is the Kalahari Desert where vast expanses of space and silence can be found – also the best place for stargazing. At the other end is the Great Karoo with more endless open-spaces and strange shaped mountain ranges. BLOEMFONTEIN The country’s judicial capital has a number of lovely Victorian buildings, gardens and leafy suburbs. The name Bloemfontein means “Fountain of Flowers”. The nearby Orange River and Gariep Dam are where the locals flock for watersports. The Kalahari is divided into two regions – the arid semi-desert and the irrigated fertile region along the banks of the Orange River. JRR Tolkein, author of “Lord of the Rings”, was born in Bloemfontein in 1892, and moved to England at age 5. LESOTHO (pronounced le-soo-too) Dubbed the “Kingdom in the Sky” Lesotho is a very mountainous kingdom, roughly the size of Belgium, and is surrounded by South Africa. The capital city is Maseru. The country has a population of 2.1 million citizens known as the Basotho people. The whole country is over 1000 metres high with great ranges reaching 3000 metres. Hiking is what most travellers come for, and they should be prepared for changeable weather dropping to very low temperatures. A Visa is required to enter Lesotho. SWAZILAND The smallest country in the southern hemisphere, it is surrounded by South Africa. The capital, Mbabane (pronounced mm-bah-ban) is set in the Dlangeni Hills, adjacent to the Ezulwini Valley, where most of the attractions can be found. The country has some good hiking areas, like the Malolotja National Reserve and trails.
Capitals: Pretoria (Administrative) Cape Town (Legislative) Bloemfontein (Judicial) Official Language: 11 official languages. English is the standard language of administration. Religion: Christianity Population: 44.8 million Visa: New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa for a stay up to 90 days. Travellers will be issued a free entry permit on arrival. Passports must be valid for at least six months after arrival date. See Travcour website www.travcour.co.nz Government: Democracy Electricity: 220/230V AC at 50 cycles per second. Pretoria 250V, Port Elizabeth 220/250V. Plugs have three large round pins. Currency: South African Rand Credit Cards & ATMâ€™s: Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. ATMâ€™s can be found in all cities. Tipping & Bargaining: Tipping is mandatory, due to low wages. Around 10% to 15% is the norm. With the exception of the occasional curio stand; bargaining isnâ€™t expected. Email & Internet Access: Widely available. The Big Five: Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo & Elephant. Endangered Species: Black Rhino, Wild Dog, Roan Antelope, Wattled Crane, and Blue Swallow. Winter Specials: Many hotels and tour operators offer discounted rates in the winter months of May to September. Contact Adventure World.
The country enjoys a sunny climate. The cooler winter months are July and August whilst it is hottest between the summer months of December and February. In general the months of April to June and August to October are good times to visit. Wildflowers are best seen in springtime.
per person, twin share
specific travel dates apply
6 nights accommodation, most meals, sightseeing and game activities, entrance fees and transportation.
per person, twin share
specific travel dates apply
15 nights accommodation, some meals, transportation and sightseeing with a local English speaking guide.