by Guest Blogger, Standford Legodi
Sure, you may live in South Africa and may take the odd trip from one province to another province to visit family or attend functions etc, but have you ever taken the time to explore what SA really has to offer?
It’s not for nothing that website Awesomesa.co.za (South Africa – A world in One Country) describes South Africa as a “world in one” and also as a “country in two worlds”. South Africa is home to fine flora, the big five, endless stretches of sandy beaches, abundant mountain ranges, deserts, a buzzing nightlife, bustling townships and trendy shopping malls that rival the worlds best.
Here’s a quick guide of interesting places and spaces to visit around Mzansi, which you might like to explore…
Cape Town and Cape Peninsula
Cape Town is South Africa’s second largest city after Johannesburg in terms of its economy and population. Known for its spectacular beaches and scenery, let’s not forget famous Table Mountain, the Mother City is also home to unique fynbos plant species indigineous to these parts of the world.
The Garden Route
The Garden Route is situated 280km outside Cape Town and is known as “South Africa’s Eden”. This place is filled with wonderful indigenous flowers, making it a perfect getaway for the flower and nature enthusiasts.
Jozi, eGoli, Gauteng, Maboneng, The City of Gold… South Africa’s largest city is known as many different things in as many languages. Joburg is the pulsating economic heartbeat of South Africa. This place is home to many other treasures, besides the elusive gold, that started the gold rush and propelled the city to becoming the richest city in Africa. Explore the history of Johannesburg which is intrinsically linked to that of South Africa in the many museums around the city. Take in art from the many art galleries and also participate in the many cultural, musical and street festivals that are hosted annually. Or shop up a storm from some of the world’s top leading international brands in the many shopping malls around the city.
Kruger National Park
Sprawled across nearly 2-million hectares of land, the Kruger National park is situated in the lowveld of the country, and it stretches along the three provinces of Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Gauteng all with their own separate entrances that offer unique things to witness . This reserve is hailed as a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques. It’s also home to a high concentration of animal species which include the big five and also an extensive eco-system that plays home to all these species. The Kruger National Park offers an abundance of accommodation, thanks to its various campsites, lodges and rest camps.
The largest city in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Province, Durban boasts beautiful sandy beaches, warm Indian Ocean waters and a subtropical climate, which ensures that it enjoys warm weather thoughout the year. Part of it’s charm is that it’s a port city that relies not only on its harbour to make money but many other industries which are unrelated to the sea, one such is sugar cane. Durban has a rich history that involves both the Zulus, the largest population group found in this region, and the Anglo-Boers, who battled for control of some of the land during the famed Anglo- Zulu-Boer War of 1879 in Isandlwana. Apart from the above, Durban also has a large Indian community whom call Durban their home. A must visit is uShaka Marine World which boasts a number of underwater species and the refurbished promenade along the beach front.
Located in the North West Province and situated just two hours from Gautengs’s two powerhouse Metropolitan cities of Pretoria and Joburg. Sun City is a perfect mix of adventure meets fantasy in the heart of the wild African bush. A vibrant entertainment zone awaits you here, filled with fun amusement park rides, watersports and activities that rival some of the world’s best. If you’re more into “adult” activities, then worry not, as gambling and gaming facilities await you here, Sun City also boasts two award-winning Gary Player Golf Courses and Safari game drives to the neighbouring Pilanesburg Nature Reserve.
Standing almost 3000 meters above sea level, at their highest point the Drakensberg mountains, also known as the Ukhahlamba Mountains, derive their name from the Afrikaaner name Drakensberge which stand for ‘dragons mountains’. They are a huge monolithic shield that separate South Africa from its landlocked neighbour, The Kingdom of Lesotho. The Drakensberg Mountains stretch almost 200km wide through four neighbouring provinces, starting in the Kwazulu-Natal Province, stretching along to the Eastern Cape and passing the bordering Kingdom of Lesotho into the Free State Province and Mpumalanga where they are known as the Strydpoort Mountains.
At first glance, this province seems to offer nothing but desolate open spaces, but dig a little deeper and its secrets are soon revealed. You’ll find that all of Limpopo’s five regions (Vhembe, Capricorn, Waterberg, Mopani and Sekhukhune) have one thing in common and that is a lush green savannah, some of it steeped rich in South African mythical tales of magic, witchcraft and healing powers. Whether these fantasies are true or not, one thing is for sure: Limpopo has seen its fair share of battles, wars and conflicts throughout its history.
Declared a National Monument in 1986, Pilgrims Rest pays homage to an era long gone by. That of a time where prospecting for gold, mining and the rush for gold was an all consuming pre-occupation and a way to quick riches. A time where striking it lucky meant you could leave for the newly established and booming Witwatersrand mining city of Joburg, in the then Transvaal and take your place among the Randlords of the time. Experience a little rush of that era by visiting the many museums, monuments and historic sites which are all situated in this little town which is ideal because of its location just a stone throw away from Joburg.
The capital city of the Northern Cape Province, Kimberley, lies 110km from the confluence of the Vaal and Orange rivers. Although this city is best known for being the largest producer of diamonds during the gold and diamond rush of the 1800s, it’s also the place known for its contribution to the formation of the Johannesburg. One other thing that is least known about this part of the country is that it used to house the first ever South African stock exchange. Tour this area and learn a lot about its many wonders and its contribution to the Republic of South Africa.
It’s clear that Mzansi is suited to any type of holiday you have in mind, thanks to its wonderful weather, friendly people and varying landscapes that dot the country. Depending on what you like, you can easily find the perfect getaway for your dream holiday right here. Holidaying in Mzansi has its own unique advantages, one of them being that you can go away for the weekend and be back in time for work on Monday morning. So, whether you’re looking for a relaxing holiday or an adventure-packed getaway, you can easily find it right here.
- Awesomesa.co.za, South Africa – A world in One Country. 2014.08.08 www.Awesomesa.co.za
- The Best of South Africa – Top ten places to Visit. 2014.08.08 http://www.southafrica.net/za/en/landing/visitor-home
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal or other professional advice. Hippo Comparative Services (Pty) Ltd does not accept any responsibility for any act, omission, loss, damage or the consequences thereof by the dependence by any person upon the contents of the article.