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Holiday South Africa

Before you start planning you holiday to South Africa – don’t try and do too much on your
first visit and spend at least 2 nights in any one place otherwise your holiday will be spent
continuously checking into hotels – packing/unpacking and sat behind the wheel of a car.
One of the joys of travelling to South Africa is that it shares a time zone with most of
Europe. This means a comfortable night flight away without the unpleasant side effects
of jet lag! The weather is mostly warm and sunny and there is accommodation to suit
every mood and budget. This enormous and extremely diverse country is divided into
nine provinces with so much to see and do in each. The most popular are:

giants-castle-to-cathkin-peak Grant Pitcher

Western Cape

Western Cape is synonymous with the beautiful city of Cape Town that has the majestic
Table Mountain as its backdrop. Soak up the amazing scenery from the top of Table
Mountain, visit the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens nestled on the slopes of Table
Mountain, exhibiting more than 6000 indigenous plants. Morning or afternoon tour of
Robben Island (suggest you pre-book this tour in advance) – this World Heritage site is
famous for being the prison home of Nelson Mandela. No stay in Cape Town is complete
without a day tour of Cape Point – where the two oceans (Atlantic and Indian) meet having
driven along the dramatic coast line incorporating the Twelve Apostles, Chapman’s Peak
etc. Stop off and view the Jackass penguin colony at Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town.

From the hustle and bustle of this picturesque city head for the gourmet capital of South
Africa – the famous winelands of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl and enjoy travelling
around the many vineyards. A 2 night stay is recommended in this region, allowing you
time to appreciate delicious restaurants and amazing wines.

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Eastern Cape

From the wine district head East and start making your way along the Garden Route into
the Eastern Cape province. The actual Garden Route begins in Mossel Bay and ends at
the Tsitsikamma mountains. En route take a very scenic detour through to Oudtshoorn
– the ostrich farming region which also encompasses the famous Cango Caves adorned
with millennia old stalactites and stalagmites. Before flying out from Port Elizabeth
arriving at the this region offers very good game viewing for those who cannot take an
anti malaria course.

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KwaZulu Natal

Owing to its balmy weather year round Durban is a holiday haven for beach lovers and
surfers. This paradise extends to the north coast including Umhlanga Rocks, Umdhloti,
Ballito and St Lucia.

There is no where better than KwaZulu Natal to experience the customs and cultures
of the fiercely proud Zulu nation. Cultural centres, Battlefields and museums provide a
wealth of information for those with specialist interests in these areas. There are several
open area/living museums which demonstrate the Zulu way of live like DumaZula and Shakaland – witness their colourful houses and beaded attire and learn about Zulu crafts such as spear making and beer making and discover more about traditional beliefs, songs and dances.

Very few places on our planet can boast such dramatic scenery as that on display in the
Drakensberg Mountains (now proclaimed a World Heritage site) – an escarpment called
the Roof of Africa and famous for its topographical features such as the Amphitheatre,
Giants Castle, Cathedral Peak to name but a few! This is surely a photographer’s paradise
and as must to include on a holiday to South Africa. Hikers, riders, climbers and those
who prefer to explore this ruggedly stunning region at a gentle pace appreciate these
mountains for their beauty, solitude and some for the San (bushmen) rock art hidden deep
inside caves.

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Mpumalanga

South Africa is famous for its game reserves of which there are many – located in just
about every province but the most well known of all is the Kruger National Park.
Prior to experiencing the thrill of seeing game in its natural habitat, is to go on a full day
Panorama Tour which will provide visitors with spectacular vistas such as the Blyde
River Canyon (the only green canyon in the world), God’s Window, Bourkes Luck Potholes,
the 3 Rondavals, Lisbon Falls and visit the oldest gold mining town in the region and now
a living museum – Pilgrims Rest. Spend a night in the original hotel or pan for gold!!
On the Western borders of the National Park visitors will be spoilt for choice when it
comes to luxury lodges on private game reserves – most of them providing morning and
afternoon game drives in open 4x 4 vehicles, guided walks with a tracker after breakfast
and night game drives. The Kruger region has the greatest variety of animal species
on the African continent – see it for yourself!! Kapama Private Game Reserve offers
an Endangered Species programme and the chance to interact with elephants – what a
privilege.

Other specialist interests:

Trains

There are three different train journeys for the rail enthusiasts or for those wanting to get to various locations in a gentle fashion.

Blue Train

Take a little time out of your holiday and enjoy the luxury of the Blue Train as it travels between Pretoria and Cape Town or Pretoria and Durban – depending on how much time you have. Enjoy the ultimate experience in African rail travel with accommodation in luxury suites and fine dining under the guidance of your own butler!

Routes:

Pretoria/Cape Town/Pretoria

A 27 hour journey covering 16000kms of diverse and spectacular scenery with a stop-over in Kimberley on the southbound run and Matjiesfontein for an off-the-train excursion on the northbound trip.

Pretoria/Durban/Pretoria

Rovos Rail

Enjoy a totally unique experience aboard Rovos Rail, recapturing a by-gone era of steam.

For the real rail enthusiast it is important to know that wherever practical the trains may be drawn by any one of the five vintage steam locomotives. Where facilities no longer exist, diesel or electric locomotives will be used. However, Rovos Rail will endeavour to ensure that arrivals and departures in Pretoria are steam hauled.
Offering a selection of varied journeys ranging from 24 hours to 2 weeks this mode of old fashion luxury covers destinations from the Cape to Dar es Salaam, to exploring Victoria Falls and desert landscapes in Namibia, the cane fields of KwaZulu Natal to the Garden Route. Step aboard the loving restored wood paneled coaches – sit back and relax on five star cuisine and enthuse on some of the most incredible scenery imaginable as it unfolds through the windows. Recapture the romance and atmosphere of yesteryear as privileged travellers experienced the thrills and magic of Africa in an elegant fashion.

Shongololo Express

Click here for further information / routes / dates.

With the introduction of trains into Africa the indigenous people likened them to a Shongololo – a millipede This train began its life in 1995 and provides a unique touring experience for its passengers. Leave your car and worries behind and enjoy living aboard a fully serviced hotel train visiting 7 fascinating and vastly diverse countries in complete comfort. The various itineraries offer visitors a wide choice of land excursions and specialised activities along all the routes as the train carries its own fleet of air-conditioned activity vehicles and professional tour guides. Many of the excursions are included and for the more adventurous there are optional extra activities to choose from.

Shongololo Express operates four fabulous Adventure Tours that traverse great stretches of southern Africa from Cape Town to Victoria Falls and from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. Shongololo Express travels to seven countries on the southern African continent:
South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia.

Discover Africa on the Shongololo Express

Battlefields

Approx. 3 hours drive from Durban is the battlefield site of Rorke’s Drift where in 1879 100 British soldiers held off an army of 4,000 Zulus – an action which led to 11 Victoria Crosses being awarded for bravery – the most ever presented for a single battle. Close by is the Isandlwana Battlefield where earlier 25,000 Zulu warriors inflicted a major defeat on the British army and where Lieutenants Melville and Coghill lost their lives saving the Queen’s Colour of their regiment. The area of KwaZulu Natal is also known for its many Anglo/Boer battle sites – i.e. Battle of Blood River, Battle of Talana, Battle of Colenso, Battle of Spionkop, Battle of Ladysmith. Tours are generally pre-booked through the hotels in groups or private tours can also be arranged

Whale watching – Hermanus – July to November

Hermanus, approx. an hours drive from Cape Town is one of the best places to watch the enormous Southern Wright Whales – the season being July to November. Walker Bay boasts the only whale-crier in the world – alerting visitors of whale presence in its waters.

Sun City

Sun City provides varying categories of accommodation for those who want to gamble, see a show or enjoy a short family break. Facilities include a man-made beach with wave pool, several championships golf courses, water sports and all within a short drive of the Pilansberg Game Reserve. This Big 5 reserve lies in the crater of an ancient volcano and one of the ways to game view other than by vehicle or on foot is by hot air balloon.

Gourmet dining and quality wines.

Spend at least 2 days in  the winelands region encompassing Stellenbosch & Franschhoek. Driving into Franschhoek you will notice that most of the farms still bear their original French names and are usually complete with a spectacular Cape Dutch homestead, towering oaks and luscious vineyards. There are a variety of cellars, from small boutique wineries that cater for those in search of something unique, and large cellars that offer organized tours and conducted tastings.

Stellenbosch

Of all the towns founded in the Cape during the period of control by the Dutch East India Company, Stellenbosch is one of the best preserved. It is the second oldest town in South Africa after Cape Town and is situated 11 metres above sea level on the banks of the Eerste River. Stellenbosch has become known as ‘the town of oaks’, these trees being abundant. Some of the oaks have been proclaimed national monuments. Commander Simon van der Stel, governor of the Cape at the time, established a new agricultural settlement here in 1679. The town, founded in 1685, was named after him.

The Gourmet Capital

Eight of South Africa’s “Top 100” restaurants are in Franschhoek – the gourmet capital of the country. Leading chefs create everything from world-class cuisine to light meals using the freshest produce of the valley, complemented by the wonderful local wines. Linger a while and savour the hospitality, ambience and variety of the many great restaurants.

New regulations for children travelling to and from South Africa

Important announcement
New regulations relating to children who travel to and from South Africa will come into effect 01 June 2015. These new regulations were promulgated in terms of the South African Immigration Amendment Act of 2010 and define children as persons under the age of 18.

  • In terms of the new regulations, when parents are travelling with a child they need to produce an unabridged birth certificate that shows the names of both parents. In cases where the certificate is in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation issued by a competent authority in the country concerned.
  • When a child travels with only one parent, additional documents should include an affidavit in which the absent parent gives consent for the child to travel, a court order granting full parental responsibilities or legal guardianship of the child, or the death certificate of the absent parent. The affidavit should be no more than three months old, from date of travel.
  • In the case of a child travelling with a person other than a parent, the unabridged birth certificate must be supplemented by affidavits from the parents or legal guardians confirming that the child may travel with that person, copies of identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian, and the contract details of the parents or legal guardian.
  • Similarly, a child travelling as an unaccompanied minor would have to produce not only the unabridged birth certificate, but also proof of consent from both parents, or legal guardian and contact details, plus documentation should include a letter stating the person’s contact details and residential address and contact details where the child will be residing plus a copy of his or her identity document, passport or residence permit.
  • All documents must either be original or certified as true copies of the original by a competent authority. Documents not in English must be accompanied by a sworn translation.

For more information also visit the Department of Home Affairs South Africa website: www.dha.gov.za/

For customers resident in the UK you can also request further information by contacting the South African High Commission.

Tel: +44 20 7839 5198

Email: nkanyanab@dirco.gov.za

 

Or in person at South Africa House.

 

Details for the South African Consulator information can be found at the following website URL: www.southafricahouseuk.com/

South Africa Images, more in Gallery

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