Travelling In South Africa
The first time we went to South Africa, we walked across the Limpopo River from Botswana and picked up our rental car… but that’s another long, long story…. That’s probably not the way you’d want to enter the country, but I mention it to illustrate the point that it’s really a pretty easy country to travel in.
There is so much to see and do in South Africa… there are safaris, of course, but get down to the Cape region, and you will be awed by the richness of the plant diversity…. Plants I’ve never even heard of… but then I’m not really a gardener. A little inland, you find the great wine regions of Paarl and Stellenbosch.
The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park has the highest mountain range in Africa south of Kilimanjaro… you can explore there for rare animals and ancient rock art.
And then there is the coast…. more than 1,500 miles (2,500 km) of coast. It starts in the desert area of the border with Nambia on the Atlantic Ocean, wraps around the southern tip of Africa and all the way to the subtropical border shared with Mozambique on the Indian Ocean. There are beaches to sun on, beaches for surfers, and beaches for penguins.
And for entertainment and games there is Sun City, billed as “Africa’s Kingdom of Pleasure”.
South Africa does have a reputation for a high crime rate, but it is mostly restricted to the townships and not the tourist areas. Check with your government travel advisory pages for current information. You should always practice your travel safety precautions, but we always felt safe enough. We didn’t drive at night, but then we generally always try to have our hotel before it gets dark, no matter where we are.
After our walk across the border, the first thing we did was to drive straight to Kreuger National Park. On that trip it was a “do-it-yourself” safari. You can see the “Big Five” and all the other animals that you’ve always heard of in Kreuger. There are several National Parks in South Africa, and your safari experience can range from that do-it-yourself type of experience to the most luxurious safari camps.
The roads driving from Kreuger to Johannesburg are good. We really just used JoBurg, as the locals call it, as a transfer point. We did stop to visit a friend, then caught a flight to Cape Town. It’s a beautiful little city, and we wanted to see Table Mountain and get to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. And though the Cape of Good Hope doesn’t really mark the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, it was the landmark we wanted to visit.
We also drove the Wine Route through Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. You can grab a wine route map at most tourist information centers and at the wineries. Be careful about drinking and driving.
There is so much more in South Africa than just safaris…. You have to plan what part of the country you want to see.