South African Attractions
South Africa is 5 times larger than Britain, and about as large as Holland, Belgium, Italy, France and former West Germany combined. It stretches from the Limpopo River in the north to the Cape Agulhas in the south (about 2000 km or 1240 miles); from Namaqualand along the western seaboard to subtropical KwaZulu-Natal on the humid Indian Ocean coast (1500 km or 932 miles). This represents a total land area of 1.219 million square km (471 000 square miles). Click here to see a map of South Africa, as well as more information about the structure of this country.
South Africa offers a melange of the African experience with the comfort of a westernized nation. It could be considered "Africa without the hassle". It is an extraordinarily beautiful country; boasting a pleasant climate, magnificent scenery, unspoiled beaches, and a sophisticated infrastructure. South Africa has a first-rate road system, good air-links between most cities, and good telephone communications. Hotels are inexpensive and offer quality accommodation.
The recent political changes in South Africa have helped return the country to the tourist map, and offers new experiences at reasonable prices. The rand is bought cheaply on international foreign exchanges, and allows visitors to live at high standards for little cost.
One of the main attractions is the Kruger National Park, among the largest game reserves in the world. There is approximately 6.6 million hectares (16.3 million acres) of land under protection in South Africa. Other well known parks include the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park (which is in fact larger than the KNP) in the north western part of South Africa and part of Botswana, the Addo/Zuurberg in the Eastern Cape, and the Karoo National Park in the Western Cape.
The Karoo and Western Cape yield a huge variety of fossils of dinosaurs and early mammals. Some of the earliest species of mankind have been found in the Northern and North West Province. The Drakensberg mountain range separates the narrow coastal range from the plateau of the interior.
South Africa has only a handful of major cities, a little over 20 smaller cities and hundreds of towns, villages and hamlets. Some of these smaller towns still have the appearance of wild frontier settlements, others are old and quaint. The cities differ sharply in character; being modeled by the location, economic activity and predominant culture
The largest by far is actually a conglomeration of cities crowding the smallest province, Gauteng. Johannesburg, the core, Pretoria (some 50km / 31 miles north), the new Midrand between them, Vereeniging, Randburg, Soweto are now one huge metropolis accommodating nearly 8 million people.
Many believe Cape Town to be the loveliest city, which lies in the lap of Table Mountain. Almost 350 years old, Cape Town and her suburbs have spread around the Cape Peninsula and is called home by more than 800,000 people of many races.
Lush green and tropical surroundings, warm weather and refreshing blue seas; these are phrases that perfectly describe the KwaZulu-Natal province. Durban is one of the most popular vacation areas of the country.
The Free State is a vast, open plateau in the center of the country that offers a different beauty. This plateau, golden in colour, has countless humble farms and wide open spaces. Bloemfontein is the capital.