South Africa - The Rainbow Nation

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For many of us, there is something primal about Africa. Something that seems to call out to our deep subconscious. A yearning to connect with a land that many have never seen yet have a feel for. So it’s no surprise when science tells us that all of the world’s humanity originated in Africa. By Kevin Mann.

Stretching from the Cape of Good Hope to Zimbabwe, and surrounded by the Atlantic and Indian oceans, South Africa is a beautiful and diverse country. There is so much to experience in the ‘Rainbow Nation’, a country with a fascinating political and truly amazing wildlife. It’s also a country of ‘world’s bests’, with Cape Town rated as one of the most desirable cities to visit, while the Kruger National Park is considered the world’s best game reserve. If you have a taste for wine, South Africa’s are of the highest quality, with the Cape boasting the oldest vineyards outside of Europe. And the people are cheerful and lively, a melting pot of cultures from Zulus and Koi San to European and Asian. South Africa is also a country with a great infrastructure making travel easy and comfortable; it feels like a slice of Europe on the African continent, but is surprisingly affordable. South Africa has an amazingly diverse landscape and there are many destinations worth seeing such as Pilanesberg Game reserve near the Botswana border, the Garden Route featuring the town of Kynsna in the Eastern Cape, the scenic Cape peninsula, Johannesburg and its surrounds and the Lowveld, home of the Kruger National Park. The Wild Coast is somewhat off the beaten track but well worth a visit if you have the time. From the Drakensberg Mountains, with peaks shrouded in mist that range from the Mozambique border down through Lesotho, to the open grasslands of Highveld, to the vast expanse of the Karoo desert, there is so much to see and experience in this part of Africa.

The Cape

It may sound like a cliché, but I believe that many which describe extraordinary scenery may have been inspired by the Cape of Good Hope. A perfect blend of man-made and natural structures, with a city resting between the ocean and the mountain, Cape Town looks like it was always meant to be here, and is as much a part of Africa as the wildlife and the pyramids. If you don’t go to the Cape during your lifetime then you will have missed seeing one the world’s true treasures. While here, a tour through the wine growing areas of Stellenbosch is essential. With tree lined avenues and Old Dutch homes set against a backdrop of granite cliff-mountains to world class vineyard and restaurants, a day visiting this region will pass in an instant. However, nothing can surpass the view from the top of Table Mountain. With a 360-degree aspect, you can stand at top of the bottom of Africa, and witness the convergence of the Indian and Atlantic oceans in the distance while the City of Cape Town nestles below. Finally, no trip to Cape Town would be complete without a stroll through one of Africa’s most popular tourist destinations, the V&A Waterfront, a collection of shops, restaurants and entertainment on the harbour. Here you will find street entertainers, you can board a ferry to Robben Island, Nelson Mandela’s prison home for 18 years, eat at restaurants with amazing views of the city and Table Mountain, and browse through every kind of shop imaginable. During the day and through into the night it is a hub of activity.


This is the gateway to Southern Africa, the country’s economic capital, and home to more than 10 million people. Most journeys to sub-Saharan Africa begin here. North of the city is the luxurious suburb of Sandton where you will find world-class accommodation and fine shopping malls including Sandton Centre, Mandela Square, and the African markets of Mayfair. While in this region of the Highveld, try to visit the world heritage site called the Cradle of Humankind, the largest deposit of hominid fossilised bones in the world ever discovered, and walk through the archaeological centre and caves located there. The bones were first identified in the 1920s as hominid, a word describing members of the human family tree, by an Australian posted at the University of Witwatersrand, Professor Raymond Dart. A recent discovery added another ancestor, Australopithecus Sediba, discovered by a nine-year old boy in 2008, and named in honour of Nelson Mandela/ Further north, nestled in the Magaliesberg Range is Hartbeespoort Dam, a weekend getaway destination for many living in Johannesburg, featuring a large lake and numerous wildlife reserves. Sun City is only a two hour drive from here, and showcases two Gary Player designed golf courses, a casino as well as the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. 

Kruger National Park

The jewel in South Africa’s crown has to be the Kruger National Park. There is no wildlife reserve anywhere that compares. It has the largest number of species of any National Park in Africa, and is administered with unsurpassed passion and authority. The park is a conglomerate of national park and private reserves but with no internal fencing, making it a vast expanse of open native bush ideally suited to wildlife. Most lodges within the park include top quality accommodation, game drives with knowledgeable guides and spotters as well as all meals. Once you have dined outdoors in the African veld set against a vivid orange sunset, you will be hard pressed not feel a primal stirring. If possible, approach the Kruger area via the Panorama route which meanders through the great escarpment of South Africa and includes stops who’s names hint at the majestic beauty of the area like ‘God’s Window’ where you can gaze across Kruger National park all the way to the Mozambique border. The third largest canyon in the world, Blyde River Canyon, is also situated on the northern rim of the escarpment. The route is dotted with rural African settlements, small towns such as Hazyview and Pilgrim’s Rest, with road side vendors selling everything from avocados to phone chargers.


For more information on South Africa holidays.


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Kevin Mann