An Overview of South Africa for Travelers

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Cape Town

An Overview of South Africa for Travelers

The Republic of South Africa was once the home to apartheid. A movement and a man, Nelson Mandela, changed that. Here is an overview of the country for travelers.

An Overview of South Africa for Travelers

As recently as 1991, apartheid was the rule of law in South Africa. The term means separate and effectively divided the country along racial lines in practically every element of society.

The Portuguese were the first to land in South Africa in 1488, but didn’t claim a colony. The Dutch East India Company arrived in 1652, with Dutch and Germans moving to the country. These whites became the Afrikaners and eventual dominate class of South Africa. In 1779, the British moved in on the proceedings and the Afrikaners moved north. Known as the Great Trek, this shift put the Afrikaners in conflict with Zulu tribes and warriors. The Zulus won most of the conflicts following their legendary leader, Shaka. In 1828, Shaka was assassinated and momentum turned.

Diamonds were discovered in 1870 and gold in 1886. Europeans immigrated like mad to the area. The British eventually took the Afrikaners land, but more or less gave it back to them when they were put in charge of the newly created Union of South Africa in 1910.

Although native blacks had no power, apartheid didn’t officially begin until 1948. In 1912, black groups formed the eventual African National Congress. The ANC became a problem and eventually was banned. One of its leaders, Nelson Mandela, was jailed and became a national symbol of the fight against apartheid.

In February of 1990, the ruling white party gave up the ghost on apartheid. The ANC was recognized as a legal political group and Nelson Mandela was freed after nearly 30 years in prison. He was eventually elected President in 1994.

The transition from white to black leadership has not been without its problems. Crime and economic problems crippled the country for years. Johannesburg was a wild, wild west city at night with rape and other crimes being common. The country has recently seen better times, but it is still rough going for most people.

Modern day South Africa covers an area of roughly 470,462 square miles. The capital is Johannesburg. The country has diverse geographic elements, but a moderate climate.

The people of South Africa are known as “South Africans.” Totally population is just over 46 million, with 79 percent black, 9.6 percent white, 8.9 percent colored and 2.5 percent Asian. The primary languages are English and Afrikaans. Life expectancy is a relatively low 50 years for men and 52 years for women.

Following 80 years of apartheid, it is hardly surprising that South Africa has had its problems. That being said, the country is much more stable than it was 10 years ago. It is also a beautiful land as most guidebooks will show you.

Johannesburg

Jo’burg, as it’s known, is the largest city in South Africa, its busy bustling streets lack real beauty. But you’ll be rewarded with wonderful experiences of the real South Africa and the climate is glorious.

Transport: how to get there and around:
There is an international airport in Johannesburg which serves domestic as well as international destinations. There is also a bus service that connects with nearby countries.

Weather:
The climate in South Africa has great regional variations. Generally hot though it depends on altitude. Summer tends to be very hot in the low lands; upper lands are pleasantly warm but subject to rain and mist. Winters are mild all over the country except at the highest altitudes which are subject to frosts and occasional snowfalls.

Accommodation: Luxury to budget stays:
The internet can offer some of the best information on the cost, range and location of hotels in Johannesburg. Find here the best price for your hotel in South Africa

Attractions & Events:
*To experience the rich cultures of South Africa that were oppressed for so long, be in Johannesburg throughout September and October for the Arts Alive Festival.
*In April the National Exhibition Centre holds the Rand Easter Show.
*September brings the Jazz Festival and also the Gay Pride march is on the last Saturday of the month.

Johannesburg Map & Hotels:

Cape Town

Cape Town is relaxed and laid back, especially in comparison to Johannesburg. The stunning Table Mountain overlooks the city of beautiful landscapes and beaches. It’s a welcoming place, too, with a vibrant cultural life especially for music.

Transport: how to get there and around
Cape Town International airport has many direct flights from around the world. The city has a main train station where you can board both trains and buses. For help getting around town, ‘Rikki’ transporters, Taxis and buses are available.

Weather
The best time to visit is during the summer months December to March. It can be around 26 C in the city but this is cooled off a by the Cape Doctor – also known as the wind!

Accommodation: Luxury to budget stays
The internet can offer some of the best information on the cost, range and location of hotels in Cape Town .Find here the best price for your hotel in South Africa

Hotels Cape Town: Popularity

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Taj Cape Town

★★★★★

-9%

111101

View Hotel

President Hotel

★★★★

-35%

8957

View Hotel

Lagoon Beach Hotel & Spa

★★★★

-10%

7366

View Hotel

Hotel Verde Cape Town International Airport

★★★★

-50%

17487

View Hotel

The Glen Boutique Hotel & Spa

★★★★★

-31%

12787

View Hotel

Attractions & Events
*The Cape Town Arts Festival is an outdoor event during the summer month of January.

*The Good Food and Wine Festival is held in June.

*There are a few events taking place in December. In the Company’s Garden you can experience Carols by Candlelight. A more flamboyant event with outrageous costumes is the Cape Town Queer Event.

Cape Town Map & Hotels:

Durban

Durban is a modern city with a lively night scene and plenty to keep you entertained from taverns, discos, theatres and clubs. The proud Zulu culture can be felt throughout Durban which boasts tropical beaches and jungle.

Transport: how to get there and around
International and domestic flights are served by Durban International Airport. You can reach the main South African cities with by train such as Cape Town and Johannesburg. Rickshaws, Taxi’s and minibuses will get you around the city itself.

Weather
Overall the climate is fairly mild all year round. During May and October there is more chance of rain and the winters bring an evening chill.

Accommodation: Luxury to budget stays
The internet can offer some of the best information on the cost, range and location of hotels in Durban.

Attractions & Events
*Durban has a literature festival in March at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
*Natal holds a Marathon in June which goes through the valley of a thousand hills.
*The Centre for Creative Arts holds the International Film Festival in June.

 

Tours & Activities:

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