Is South Africa the right holiday destination for you?

Frank J. Prial, The New York Times
“Stellenbosch, South Africa — Coming back here after an absence of nine years is like meeting an old friend grown younger. The deep verdant valleys, the improbably beautiful mountains rising from the sea, the plants and flowers found nowhere else — all rest immutable. But in and around them, one senses a new spirit, an eagerness to meet the world, not with defiance and resentment but with the pride that comes from building a new nation.”

Joan Tarshis, Smoke Magazine
“My trip to South Africa profoundly changed my life. While I had once thought the continent was the place where Cape buffalo and the antelope played under clear, savannah skies, I discovered something more profound – about nature, about mankind, about myself.”

South Africa is one of the most diverse and enchanting countries in the world. Exotic combinations of landscapes, people, history and culture offer a larger-than-life experience for the traveller in search of a truly unique and inspiring experience.

South Africa’s vast landscape includes savannahs, snow-covered mountains, forests, tropical swamps, endless beaches, tranquil rivers and… bustling urban epicentres. South Africa is known for its abundant wildlife (and of course the famous “big five”) as well as its fantastic birding and eco-tourism possibilities.

CLIMATE
Many call it sunny South Africa, for good reason. Warm temperate conditions are typical of South Africa, making it a popular destination for sunshine-seekers.

South Africa is renowned for almost seven months of sunshine (give or take a few chilly spells). From May to August, temperatures drop. However, generally speaking, April and May are the most temperate months. June and July are the ideal holiday months.

Average Minimum and Maximum Temperatures 

 

Seasons
Summer(Nov-Feb)
Autumn (Mar-Apr)
Winter (May-Aug)
Spring (Sep-Oct)
Cape Town
14-25 °C
11-22 °C
6-17 s°C
13-20 °C
Port Elizabeth
15-24 °C
13-22 °C
8-19 °C
11-20 °C
Johannesburg
14-25 °C
7-21°C
5-17 °C
10-23 °C

South African Cuisine


For the more daring dinner, South Africa offers culinary challenges from crocodile sirloins to fried caterpillars to sheep heads. All three are reputed to be delicious. For the not-quite so brave, there are myriad indigenous delicacies such as biltong (dried, salted meat), bobotie (a much-improved version of Shepherd’s pie) and boerewors (hand-made farm sausages, grilled on an open flame).

Those who prefer to play it altogether safe will find that most eateries offer a familiar global menu – anything from hamburgers to sushi to pad thai to spaghetti bolognaise. And you can drink the water.

On a single street in a Johannesburg suburb, one finds Italian restaurants, two or three varieties of Chinese cookery, Japanese, Moroccan, French, Portuguese and Indian food, both Tandoor and Gujarati. It’s not much different in the other major centres, such as Cape Town or Durban. Restaurant guides that categorise eateries by national style list close to two dozen. There are varieties of biltong in every cafe, in big cities and little dorps.

Cape Town


Sosaties – from sesate (skewered meat) and sate (spicy sauce) – mutton chunks are marinated overnight in fried onions, chillies, garlic, curry leaves and tamarind juice, then threaded on skewers and either pan-fried or chucked on to a grill. The result is lean and gloriously tasty.

Shopping in South Africa


Thanks to the favourable exchange rate, South Africa is a shoppers Paradise. One great idea is jewellery made from the gold and precious stones that are mined in South Africa. Clothing is inexpensive too-a safari suit is a practical buy for your stay and will certainly create a stir when you wear it to the pub when you get back home. Hand-bags, wallets, belts, shoes and coats are crafted from the finest leathers. Butter-soft Ostrich and impala skins are highly popular, as are items in elephant and buffalo hide.

On the harbor front, the Victoria and Alfred waterfront has more than 240 shops selling everything from high fashion to curios. There are some huge shopping malls in and around Johannesburg. In Sandton Square and Sandton City, tourists can rub shoulders with the rich and the famous seeking out designer labels, jewellery and African art. Other upmarket malls in Johannesburg include Hyde Park.

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