Lying at the tip of Africa, South Africa is a country of huge variety, from desert to sub-tropical areas. Almost all of the country has summer rain. The Western Cape however has a Mediterranean climate with winter rainfall. Although variable, the climate makes South Africa a year-round destination, with exciting attractions for all seasons.
South Afirca’s population of 54 million+ is centred around the major cities of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban.
Our shores are lapped by the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, and South Africa is bordered by Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland.
Having had a tumultuous history, since 1994 South Africa has been a true democracy.
|Electricity:||220 Volts at 50 cycles per second. Round Type M adaptor (readily available in South Africa)|
|Currency:||South African Rand (ZAR)|
|Time Zone:||GMT +2|
|Major airports:||OR Tambo International (Johannesburg), Cape Town International, King Shaka International (Durban)|
|Driving:||Driving is done on the left-hand side of the road|
|Medical:||World class medical facilities are available|
|Water:||South Africa is one of the few countries where tap water is safe to drink. However because the change may cause an adverse reaction so as a precaution we would suggest you drink bottled water. Alcohol may only be purchased by over 18’s|
|Passports:||Passports must be valid for 6 months after your visit, and must have at least 2 consecutive blank pages. If you are travelling with children please let us know and we will advise of the current requirements in respect of birth certificates, etc.|
|Credit Cards:||Most major credit cards are accepted|
|Smoking:||This is not permitted in public places|
|Tipping:||Waiters and taxi drivers generally expect 10-15% of the bill, while porters are paid anything upwards of R8 per bag and car park attendants R5.|
|VAT:||Value added tax is currently 14%, and is levied on most goods and services. Visitors may claim a refund on purchases over R250.|
CAPE TOWN AND THE CAPE PENINSULA
The Cape was home to the local Khoi and San people prior to the arrival of Europeans. First of all were the Portuguese explorers in the 15th Century, who had no interest in settling here.‘The Mother City’ as such was founded by the Dutch in the middle 17th Century, and started out purely as a settlement to supply passing ships. After some years as a Dutch colony, the British took control in the 19th century. As a result both Dutch and English influences are very still apparent in statues and architecture around Cape Town. Also stamping their mark the slaves from the East brought religious and culinary traditions to Cape Town. In addition they have played a major role in shaping the city, adding another exciting facet to our heritage. Finally the more recent arrival of Xhosa people from the Eastern Cape brought further cultural diversity. All in all the population numbers almost 4 million people.
What to see
Cape Town has consistently been rated one of the most beautiful cities in the world, boasting such sites as Table Mountain one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, internationally renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Robben Island where our beloved late leader Nelson Mandela was incarcerated, the shopper’s paradise of The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Point at the tip of the peninsula, Chapman’s Peak Drive considered one of the most spectacular roads in the world, the penguin colony and so much more.As a result we have a growing number of visitors, who play a major role in contributing to the area’s fiscus.
The Mediterranean climate of the Western Cape makes this a perfect wine-growing area, and some of the farms date back hundreds of years. The most established of the wine producing regions are almost on our doorstep, the furthest not more than an hour’s drive away. Ringed by mountains, the better known regions include Stellenbosch founded by early Dutch settlers, Franschhoek established by French Huguenots, along with Paarl and Constantia, all areas of great beauty.
The old towns, like Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, were established around the wine industry and have many historic buildings giving a fascinating glimpse of days gone by, and well worth a visit.
Wine tasting can be done at many of the wine farms. In addition some estates offer wine-pairings with either cheese, chocolate, olives or more, as well as cellar tours. The choice is huge.Taste wine at a centuries old farm house, or in an ultra modern setting..The area also offers many other activities to cater for all interests.
This area is so named, not for traditional gardens, but for the lush vegetation of the area. Bounded by the mountains on one side and the sea on the other, ancient forests and greenery abound here. The route itself runs 300km from Riversdale to Storms River, but we take tours from Cape Town right up to Port Elizabeth. From here many guests catch flights on to their next destination, or stop over for a safari at Addo Elephant Park or one of the other private game reserves.
To reach the Garden Route from Cape Town we travel through the Karoo, an ancient arid area, in stark contrast to the journey ahead. This is the region of ostrich farms and the Cango Caves. The night is spent in one of the small Karoo towns so typical of the region. Experience the country hospitality found in these parts.
The Garden Route itself encompasses Mossel Bay, Wilderness , Knysna and the Knysna Heads, the Tsitsikamma forest, Storms River Mouth, and more. This area is known for its various animal sanctuaries and rehabilitation centres, all of which welcome visitors.