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SOUTH AFRICA - TRAVEL, LODGING & ACCOMMODATION GUIDE

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa
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Around About Cars, Car Hire/Rental, Cape Town
We offer you brilliant value for money, not to mention reliable and personal service. To ensure you have a wonderful holiday we will provide you with all the information you need. 
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Sailing in Cape Town, South AfricaCape Town: See the wonder of Table Mountain from out in Table Bay
While there are incredible views from most points around the city, one of the best ways to view this famous flat-topped mountain is from out on the water, while enjoying a cruise on one of the many sailing boats and catamarans that head out into Table Bay from the V&A Waterfront... read more
South Africa Travel Guide:
A Guide to South Africa's Winelands
A Wine Drenched Tour Along The Red Route of Paarl, South Africa
Addo Elephant National Park Guide
Adventure along the South African Coast
Breede River Valley Guide
Cape Town, South Africa, City of Beauty and History
Drakensberg Travel Guide
Durban Travel Guide
East London Guide
Eastern Cape Travel Guide
Garden Route Guide
Gauteng Province, South Africa Guide
George Travel Guide
Grahamstown Guide
Greater St Lucia Wetland Park (iSimangaliso Wetland Park), KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Hermanus Travel Guide
Hluhluwe - Elephant Coast - KwaZulu-Natal
Johannesburg Travel Information
Karoo Travel Guide
Knysna Travel Guide
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park - A Guide    by Stephanie Bayliss
Kruger National Park Guide
Limpopo Province Guide
Mossel Bay Guide
North West Province Guide
Overberg (Whale Route) Guide
Port Elizabeth Guide
Pretoria (Tshwane) Information
Sandton, Gauteng, Travel Guide
South Africa's Singing Ambassadors - The Drakensberg Boys' Choir. They Will Rock You!
The Elephant Coast of KwaZulu-Natal
The Garden Route
The Mighty Drakensberg Mountains
The Wild Wild Coast 
Touring South Africa
Umhlanga Guide
South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa, is a country located at the southern tip of the African continent. It borders the countries of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho (an independent enclave entirely surrounded by South African territory). South Africa is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

South Africa has experienced a significantly different history from other nations in Africa as a result of two facts. Firstly, early immigration from Europe that started shortly after the Dutch East India Company founded a station at (what was to become) Cape Town in 1652. Early and later European interest followed from the second fact, the strategic importance of the Cape Sea Route. The closure of the Suez Canal during the Six Day War exemplifies its significance.

The country's relatively developed infrastructure made its mineral wealth available and important to Western interests, particularly throughout the late nineteenth century; then, with international competition and rivalry during the Cold War. South Africa is an ethnically diverse nation. It has the largest white, Indian, and racially-mixed communities in Africa. Black South Africans, who speak nine officially-recognized languages and many more dialects, account for slightly less than 80% of the population.

Racial strife between the white minority and the black majority has played a large part in the country's history and politics, culminating in apartheid, which was instituted in 1948 by the National Party (although segregation existed prior to that date).  The laws that defined apartheid began to be repealed or abolished by the National Party in 1990 after a long and sometimes violent struggle (including economic sanctions from the international community) by the Black majority as well as many White, Coloured, and Indian South Africans.

Two philosophies originated in South Africa: ubuntu (the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity); and Gandhi's notion of "passive resistance" (satyagraha), developed while he lived in South Africa.

Regular elections have been held for almost a century; however, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. The economy of South Africa is the largest and best developed on the continent, with modern infrastructure common throughout the country. 

South Africa is often referred to as "The Rainbow Nation", a term coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and later adopted by then-President Nelson Mandela. Mandela used the term "Rainbow Nation" as a metaphor to describe the country's newly-developing multicultural diversity in the wake of segregationist apartheid ideology. The country's socially progressive policies are rare in Africa. By 2007, the country had joined Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and Canada in legalising same-sex marriage.

South Africa was the host country for the recent FIFA World Cup 2010.

South African Wines

South Africa is also famed for its excellent wines and when visiting the Western Cape, Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek are definite must-see destinations. Winelands, Paarl and Stellenbosch Directory This is an essential and complete directory to accommodation, restaurants and wine tasting in the Paarl and Stellenbosch area. Enjoy marvellous scenery and delicious cuisine, along with a glass of the best wines available.

Adventure along the South African Coast

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South Africa is considered the adventure capital of the world and presents a veritable treasure trove of activities for the nine million tourists it attracts each year. In recent years, its numerous coastal adventure activities have taken off in a big way.

Diving With Sharks - Without a Cage!

Sounds unbelievable, right? But you can have this once-in-a-lifetime experience in South Africa. The Shark Park in the Aliwal Marine Protected Area allows you to get up close and personal with Blacktip, Tiger and Dusky Sharks without a cage impeding your one-on-one! Several underwater expedition companies conduct cage less shark diving sessions for tourists - a not-to-be-missed opportunity to see shark species such as Hammerheads, Lemon Sharks, and Caribbean Reef Sharks. 

Cape Town and Mossel Bay are just some of the places where you can indulge in this breathtaking experience.

Paragliding

If a rendezvous with sharks is a little too 'out there' for you, why not try paragliding? This exhilarating experience does not really require any 'experience'. You will be flown under the supervision of expert pilots who will prepare you for your flight. For a 40-minute flight from places such as Porterville and Franschhoek, you can expect to pay around R950 (US$ 135). A 4-hour cross country flight will cost around R1400 (US$ 200), not a bad deal for some stunning aerial views of South Africa. For a little extra, your tour operator will also arrange for a pick up and drop off at your hotel, with water, sunscreen and refreshments thrown in. For about R200 (US$ 28), your tour operator will also capture your views (and you in air!) through in-flight digital photography equipment. A typical paragliding flight starts from the mountains of Cape Town, takes you over areas like Table Mountain and Camps Bay and ends with a smooth landing in South Africa's magnificent vineyards and beaches.

Kitesurfing

In recent years, kitesurfing has taken off in a big way across the world; South Africa's hot summers and endless beaches make for ideal kitesurfing conditions. If you're nervous but still want to have a go at it, you're in luck. Many adventure activity companies in South Africa have beachfront kitesurfing schools that train beginners and provide all the necessary equipment.

Kayaking the Cape of Storms

Kayaking is a fine way to explore the stunning natural beauty of the country. You don't need prior experience; in fact anyone older than 10 years can indulge in this sport. Under the guidance of expert professionals, kayaking in South Africa is an exhilarating experience. Your chances of spotting whales and penguins are pretty high!

4x4 Trails

4x4 trails in South Africa offer exciting opportunities to explore mountain ranges (Nuweveld Mountain Range), passes and national parks (Richtersveld National Park). It takes an average of four days to traverse South Africa's 4x4 trails which can range from 240 km to 750 km. A popular trail is the Diamond Coast route from Dwarskersbos to Lambert's Bay and Hondeklipbaai, terminating at Port Nolloth. The trail is moderately difficult to cover but has a fascinating array of flora and fauna.

Skydiving

Want a bigger adrenalin rush? Skydiving is just the thing for you! Sure enough, South Africa has plenty of options on this front as well. An aircraft takes you up to around 10,000 ft (giving you awesome views of the cities, bays and peninsulas) above a drop zone from where you can jump out of the plane with or without an instructor at a dizzying 120 mph. During the 45 seconds or so until your parachute touches down, you can marvel at natural wonders such as the West Coast, Robben Island, Cape Town and Table Mountain.

Storms River

Storms River, a small hamlet tucked away north of Plettenberg Bay, near Tsitsikamma Forest is special in terms of the sheer number of adventure options it offers. Take the Canopy Tour where you glide through the forest from tree to tree, while being suspended from steel cables. Storms River is also your one-stop destination for a plethora of activities such as hiking, abseiling, bridge swing, and river rafting.

Other activities

The world's highest point for bungi jumping is located in Tsitsikamma Forest Market, along the N2 Highway, about 40 km east of Plettenberg Bay. Strapped into a full body harness and guided by bungi experts, you plunge down 200 m to the Bloukrans River.

Mountain biking, always a popular adventure sport, is even more special in South Africa with innumerable challenging trails to explore. Some noteworthy trails are at Cape Peninsula National Park, Harkerville Forests, KwaZulu-Natal, Port Elizabeth, and the De Hoop National Park, close to Swellendam.

Gigantic waves and warm waters make for some unforgettable surfing in South Africa. With over 100 surf-spots scattered throughout the country, you are spoilt for choice!

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Touring South Africa   by AlterSage

There are so many different fantastic ways of touring South Africa that it can be very difficult to choose just one for your holiday.

Explore the Major Cities
Jet-setters of all ages and from all countries love to back-pack from city to city, staying in each for a week or more. It can prove to be a truly fantastic way of exploring South Africa. This is especially true if you are fond of "retail-therapy" since there are beautiful, safe shopping centres in every city. Some of the large shopping centres in South Africa have gained international acclaim, for example: The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town was the very first five star shopping centre to be built in a fully functional harbour. The Randburg Waterfront is also famed for being the only inland waterfront shopping centre in the world.

  • Cape Town is called the "Mother City" for many reasons. This was the first 'modern' city to be founded on the South of the African continent. The city also has a tremendous nurturing power when it comes to creative talent. Many of South Africa's most famous creative names are from Cape Town. Among the most well known are Pieter Dirk Uys (actor and political satirist) and Beezy Bailey (artist).
  • Johannesburg - a city with many names - is an urban hub of activity, nightlife and dynamic business. If you want something done in South Africa, go to "Jozie". The City was founded in the gold rush that gave South Africa's economy one of its initial sparks. The atmosphere of commerce still gives the "City of Gold" its unique vibe and energetic spirit.
  • Durban is famed for its beaches and eastern cuisine. If you want a taste of the east, try taking a traditional Indian rickshaw along the beachfront and stopping along the way for some of the finest curry, bobotie and bredie in the world!
  • Pretoria is not really a major tourist destination unless you have a fascination with South Africa's political history. This was the high seat of the apartheid bureaucracy. Many famous buildings and statues are found throughout the city and there is a copious volume of information available on the transformation of this country. 
Roughing It
The exact opposite of the South African shopping spree would have to be backpacking. This is the most popular form of travel for students since it brings you into contact with all the ordinary people of South Africa, making it a valuable learning experience as well as a great opportunity for some pretty wild parties!

Backpacking is also ideal for nature lovers since you can get up close and personal with Mother Nature if you opt to travel with a tent!

Every major city in South Africa is chock-full of back-packers' lodges and simple bed & breakfast accommodation. There are strict laws regarding safety and hygiene so it is rare to have an unpleasant experience at any established lodge. Clean rooms, simple fare and interesting people are the things you should expect from a backpackers' lodge. Never the less it is always a good idea to let word-of-mouth guide your decision on where to stay. What better recommendation could you have than the good experiences of a fellow traveller?

Packaged Tours
These are a hassle free way of discovering the beautiful and diverse country of South Africa. It's also great if you have only a small amount of time to devote to travelling. Everything you could possibly want is laid out for you and you get to devote every waking moment to experiencing the magnificent scenery and fantastic wildlife. There are also township tours in all major cities. These guided tours allow you to experience life in the townships safely as a group. You even get to visit a genuine shebeen.

Packaged tours can be simple and easy or quite adventurous, depending on what your interests are. For those in need of an escape from city life, there are many straight-forward safari tours with great food and accommodation provided. For the adventurous, activities could range from white-water rafting to diving with sharks (from the safety of a big, metal cage of course)! Overland 4x4 drives are a great way to let out some city-born frustration and get close to nature at the same time. 4x4 adventures are run by ecologically sensitive companies and wildlife is strictly respected at all times. Ecologically sensitive areas are out of bounds for any self-respecting 4x4 tour!

One at a time
There are many other options available and the best way to find out more is to explore websites of companies that offer different options. Perhaps the best idea is not to choose at all but rather to enjoy each style of travel, one at a time! South Africa is a friendly place and you will be welcomed year after year after year.

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About the Author - Excape Tours and Travel is a fully fledged inbound tour operator specializing in personalised African safaris and travel itineraries of South Africa to suit your specific needs and preferences.
Central & Little Karoo - Eastern Cape - Garden Route - Overberg/Whale Route)
- Free State - Gauteng - Kruger National Park - Kwazulu-Natal - Limpopo (Northern Province)
- Mpumalanga - Northern Cape Province - Swartland - Cederberg
Western Cape - Cape Town & Surrounds
- Western Cape Breede River Valley - Western Cape Wine Route
Angola - Botswana - Burkina Faso - Cameroon - Congo - Eritrea - Ethiopia - Gabon - Gambia
Ghana - Ivory Coast - Kenya - Lesotho - Madagascar - Malawi - Mauritius - Mozambique
Namibia - Nigeria - Senegal - Seychelles - South Africa - Swaziland - Tanzania -
Tunisia - Uganda - Zambia - Zanzibar - Zimbabwe
Cape Town car hire - South Africa car rental

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