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Travel Africa South Africa Welcome to South Africa

Welcome to South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa, Table bay hotel with table mountain in background

South Africa is one of the various African countries, in terms of geographic territory ranging from undulating hills and fertile plains, savannahs in Eastern Transvaal to the Kalahari Desert and Mountains Drakensberg peaks. Adventure options are varied, but the emphasis is on safari tourism. In addition two of the most popular reserves in the world - the Kalahari Gemsbok and Kruger National Parks - South African territory also include a dozen regional parks and smaller reserves.

Contrary to stereotypes that everyone has in mind when it comes to an African country, South Africa is not a country devastated by poverty and unstable government. Although rural areas remain among the poorest and most primitive in the world, the country begins to progress, although the return after 46 years of apartheid is slow. South Africa has a well developed infrastructure and all the technology and modern facilities. Although corruption is a common thing, the government generally has a positive approach to democratic institutions and human rights.

Shadowed by Table Mountain and surrounded by the Atlantic, the capital of Cape Town is one of the most picturesque cities. Growing areas as you can taste wines and the Green Trail, explore forests, lagoons and gorges. Wild Coast beaches are isolated, rocky shores and traditional villages, and within the continent are the "Big Five" - lion, elephant, buffalo African, leopard and rhino.

The main attractions

• Stroll through the main center of Cape Town, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, a restored old Victorian harbor which offers free entertainment and a variety of shops, museums, taverns and restaurants.

• Explore relics of colonial government, with headquarters in Cape Town Government Avenue, with beautiful old buildings and museums - Parliament Building, Groote Kerk, the National Museum, National Gallery, House and Garden Company Bertram, centuries old.

• See the largest colony of penguins on Boulders Beach Simon's Town. Penguins, was on a portion of protected beach and visitors can admire them from a bridge.

• In South Africa there are almost 24,000 species of flowers. Many of them you can see the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, created by Cecil Rhodes in 1895, on the lower slopes of Table Mountain.

• Venture Addo Elephant National Park to go on the trail herds of elephants, rhinos and antelope. Nearby reserves are excellent and include Shamwari, which offers accommodation plus elephants, lions, leopards and rhinos.

• Visit the only place in the world where hippos, crocodiles and sharks sharing the same lagoon at Aquatic Park Greater St Lucia, surrounded by huge sand dunes, beaches and tropical reefs.

• Visit, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park, which stretches from the rocky hills to thick forests and open savannah. It contains 86 mammals and 425 species of birds. Here are more rhinos than anywhere in the world.

• Search the big five animals, from famous National Park Ktuger a large reserve and one of the best destinations in Africa.

• You can go hiking, climbing and you can ride in the Drakensberg Mountain, a chain of rocky peaks that reach up to 3.000m height, fresh springs, and ancient trees yellowed but also caves with bushman art examples.

• In Kimberley will find the largest hole dug by man and Mining Museum, with models of the city, from the time of Diamond Rush. At De Beers Hall Museum you can see polished and rough diamonds.

• Learn about the history of apartheid in the new museum from Johannesburg.

• Explore the 13 wine-growing areas of South Africa, following the route vineyards.

• Take the Route 62 through the valley of Breed and charming villages Tulbagh, Worcester, Wellington and Ceres, all old buildings, interesting museums, beautiful scenery, vineyards and orchards with fruit trees.

• From June to September, Hermanus is the best place where you can watch whales. In Walker Bay, is held each year Whale Festival.

• You can do bungee jumping from one of the highest places - the bridge over the river Blaukrans in Western Cape. At 216m high, jump is twice higher than the river Zambezi, near Victoria Falls.

• Take the ferry to Robben Island from Table Bay prison, where you can see colonies of penguins, seals and fish, which is hunting ground for sharks.


Daily food is characterized by the presence of Africans mainly of meat, starch and fried vegetables. Lettuce is very rare. Usual food for breakfast is porridge oats, which in from inland cities and is often hard (stywe pap or putu pap). This porridge is also consumed with meat or sausage, grilled. Hunting meat has always been an alternative, since hunting is at hand.

Popular dishes are sosaties (Bucaram meat marinade, similar to kebab shisha), blaze, beskuit (dry biscuits in the oven) and biltong (dried meat strips, treated with salt, pepper and spices).


Bushmen were the first inhabitants from South Africa. Dutch East India Company brought the first European settlers at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652, creating a colony in the late eighteenth century which has approximately 15,000 people. Name Roers or Afrikaners and Dutch speaking a dialect Africans, people have tried to set up an independent republic since 1795. In 1815, Britain took over the colony, bringing to 5,000 people. An Anglican government and the abolition of slavery in 1833 led to the migration of 12,000 Afrikaners north and east, in African tribal territories. They founded the Transvaal and Orange Free State Member.

The discovery of diamonds in 1867 and gold nine years later, led to a wave arriving in the colony of strangers. Inevitably, the Boer War broke out in 1899. Boers defeat led to the creation of the Union of South Africa, which included four provinces. Prime Minister became a Boer, Louis Botha. In 1945, South Africa became a member of the United Nations, but refused to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Apartheid dominate domestic politics and nationalists gained power and imposed restrictions Bantu black people, Asians and people of any color other than white skin. Constituency of black people was removed from the list in 1936. Over the next 50 years, any color other than white population was driven out of urban areas to villages, being burdened by poverty and repressive laws.

South Africa was declared a Republic in 1961. The white National Party led the country in the next 30 years. In 1960, 70 black people protesters were killed during a peaceful demonstration in Sharpesville. That same year, African National Congress was banned and the leaders of anti-apartheid, Nelson Mandela, were imprisoned for life. Black protests became stronger and more violent. In 1976, a revolt in the city Swot spread to other cities in the black people, leaving 600 dead. Since the 1960s, international revolt against apartheid intensified, and the United Nations imposed sanctions.

Apartheid power weakened in 1989 with change management and release of Nelson Mandela after 27 years in prison. In 1991, Mandela, along with De Klerk, managed to create a constitution and state transition to democracy is one of the most remarkable success stories of the twentieth century. In 1993, both Mandela and de Klerk's, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1994, Mandela won the elections for the presidency of the country, and in 1997 began hearings on violations of human rights between 1960 and 1993. In May 2008, around the city of Johannesburg anti-immigration violence erupted, resulting in the loss of 60 lives. President Mbeki was criticized for the lack of reaction during the attacks.

Useful information

Usual common form of greeting is shaking hands, even for children. Related people and close friends are welcome with a kiss on the lips (except men). At separation is said Totsiens (Goodbye).

Capital: Pretoria, Cape Town (legislative capital)
Local Time: GMT +2
Main languages spoken: the 11 official languages including English, Afrikaans, Sesotho, Setswana, Xhosa and Zulu.