South Africa Tours

Vineyards & Urban Chic

Embrace a wealth of diversity on your South Africa tours!

It could be the vast empty spaces in the Karoo and Little Karoo, the scorched plains of the Kalahari Desert, or a bustling city like Johannesburg.

You might like to discover the dramatic Kruger National Park – and we recommend a more exclusive experience than your typical South African safari in one of the surrounding private game reserves.

Nestled in the shadow of Table Mountain, cosmopolitan Cape Town is an enclave of European chic at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. This urban haven is a gateway to the stark and beautiful Cape Peninsula, which is home to the Boulder’s Beach penguin colony.

Behind the mountain lie the dappled vineyards and gastronomic delights of the Cape Winelands and further east is the renowned Garden Route itinerary, where sheer river canyons cut through darkly forested mountains down to a tumultuous coast.

While it is possible to fly everywhere, the country is a great self-drive destination and we encourage you to include at least some self-drive elements in your South African safari.

 Map

 South African History

South Africa has a fascinating history dating back to the aboriginal San and Khoikhoi peoples. It is little wonder that the country boasts eight World Heritage sites.

Formerly a British Colony, South Africa (or the Republiek van Suid-Afrika, as it is known in Afrikaans), was declared a union in 1910 before becoming a Republic in 1961.

European settlers arrived in the 15th century and the country swelled into one with many unique ethnicities. This once fuelled its apartheid past when the country was separated by color and the white minority ruled.

When the apartheid laws were abolished, the first democratic elections took place in 1994 and Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa.

Diamonds and golds were discovered in the 19th century, which led the country to have a prominent and lucrative mining industry that you can see on your South Africa tours even today

 Culture of South Africa

Have you ever wondered why South Africa is known as the Rainbow Nation? That’s because it is one of the world’s top multicultural countries. There are immigrants from Europe, India, China, not to mention many indigenous groups.

South Africa has eleven official languages, including are English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Setswana, South Sotho, North Sotho, Tsonga, SiSwati, Venda and Ndebele. Because of this, a special slang language, called funigalore, was developed in the culturally diverse mines, which combines them together!

The majority of South African people are Christian (68%), 2% are Muslim and 1.5% are Hindu. Today, there is still a significant proportion of beliefs that are traditional and animist – about 28.5%.

With its media portrayal heavy on its apartheid past, you may believe that it is not safe to go on South Africa tours. Crime does occur, but as much as anywhere else in the world and you can avoid challenging situations by exercising caution as usual, such as avoiding certain riskier areas at night.

Top South Africa Travel Tips – Culture:

  • South Africa is popular for woodcarvings, handmade articles, ostrich leather goods, paintings and pottery and a wide, diverse selection exists from area to area.
  • You can also purchase amazing 18th and 19th-century antique furniture, copper and silverware.

 South Africa's Cuisine

Generally most of the dishes in South Africa are prepared in European style.

You will find most meals are extremely tasty and consist of generous portions! Although hotels and camps do serve more traditional South African fare, they also cater for the continental taste.

Are you visiting in July? Then don’t miss the famous annual Pick N Pay Oyster Festival in Knysna. Near to the Garden Route, this is a major attraction and a wonderful day out – not just for foodies but also sports lovers and for the whole family.

Do try some of the world’s best wines on one of our South Africa tours. We recommend dry white wines such as Buitenverwachting Blanc de Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc, Hamilton Russell Chardonnay, Thelema Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc. Good red wines are Zandvliet Shiraz, Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon, Meerlust Merlot, Beyerskloof Pinotage.

Top South Africa Travel Tips – Cuisine:

  • It is advisable to make reservations at restaurants. It is not usual to choose a table but to wait at the entrance until one is seated. In most restaurants, smoking is not allowed.
  • All wine connoisseurs and lovers should purchase the John Platter Wine Guide as it classifies rates and describes each South African wine in detail.
  • South African drinking water is one of the world’s purest and can generally be consumed without hesitation. The Department for Water Management and Forestry has recently announced that the drinking water quality complies with standards of the World Health Organisation (WHO). In some areas of South Africa drinking water is especially rich in minerals. The slightly brown colouring of South African water, which results from humic acid, is completely harmless and does not influence its quality at all. Water from streams and rivers should, however, not be consumed. Near residential areas the water can contain pathogens, whilst water from mountain streams can usually be consumed without hesitation.

 Climate in South Africa

As South Africa is such a vast country, the climate varies from area to area.

The criteria for deciding when to visit South Africa depends more on issues such as opening times of national parks or when South African schools break for holidays, as many South Africans like traveling in their own country.

The best time for your South African safari is in early spring (August to October).

Southern right whales can be seen off the coast from June to the end of October, whilst humpback whales can be seen from August to December.

Holiday-makers stream out of the cities from mid-December to late January and resorts and national parks are heavily booked during these times.

Seasons

  • Summer: October – February
  • Autumn: February – April
  • Winter: May – July
  • Spring: August – October

 Self-Drive in South Africa

Everyone drives on the left in South Africa and the motor vehicles are built accordingly.

The maximum speed on the motorways is 120 km, the right lane is for overtaking, but pay attention on three lane motorways – everyone overtakes from all sides!

Being caught speeding is an expensive exercise! The maximum speed in national parks is 30-40km per hour.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is forbidden in South Africa, with a zero tolerance from the authorities.

As a motorist, if you are stopped by a policeman or traffic officer during one of our South Africa tours, request to see his/her South African Police Service Identification card and make a note of the officer’s name and number.

Be aware that if you are issued with a citation for any traffic violation, you are not permitted to pay over any amount of cash directly to the officer. Fines for a traffic violation may only be paid at a Magistrate’s Court or Traffic Department where the official receipt will be issued.

If you are denied these rights, report the matter immediately to the nearest Police Station and/or your Enchanting Travels Trip Coordinator.

 

The Enchanting Travels team look forward to welcoming you on one of our tailor-made South Africa tours.

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