South Africa

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South Africa Guide: Spend Less, Do More

Welcome to South Africa

South-Africa-Giraffe-safari-silhouette-sunsetSouth Africa is a unique and wonderful country to visit, and offers something for everyone to enjoy. From its rich and varied flora and wildlife to its thriving and eclectic towns and cities, the country is a constantly evolving and surprising place to visit. There are a variety of different hotels and hostels to stay in during a trip to South Africa, from luxury five-star hotels to lower budget options.

South-Africa-Drakensberg-National-ParkFrom the first Dutch traders landing at the southern tip of South Africa, the discovery of diamonds and gold, to the Boer War and apartheid, South Africa has had a captivating and absorbing history. Its diverse natural beauty and wildness is obvious as soon as you enter this remarkable country. For a unique experience, there are not many other destinations that can compete with its wildlife and range of terrain, from the gently sloping, fertile plains of the highveld and the savannah of the Eastern Transvaal to the Kalahari Desert and the tip of the Drakensberg Mountains. Most people travel to South Africa to experience safari, and here is where two of the world's best-known wildlife reserves, the Kruger and the Kalahari Gemsbok National Parks are found. The country abounds with reserves, farmlands and vineyards producing those unbeatable South African wines.

Top Things about South Africa

Kruger-Park-Leopard-crossing-the-roadThere are a number of reasons that tourists choose to visit the wonderful country of South Africa, with one of the main attractions being the huge range of nature holidays available. The national parks are particularly popular among tourists, as there are a number of sites of extreme natural beauty that offer an opportunity for visitors to see a diverse and spectacular range of wild animals. In the Mpumalanga region there are some of the most spectacular natural habitats in the entire world, including the Kruger National Park and Blyde River Canyon, which is one of the largest canyons anywhere in the world.

The coastal regions of South Africa offer an entirely different prospect to the inland areas, and there are some breathtakingly rugged cliff tops and uncrowded beaches along much of the southern tip. Jeffreys Bay is world renowned for its surfing community, and is a popular stop off for many tourists. There are a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in South Africa, including the Cradle of Humankind, which is a collection of cave sites that are of significant human historical interest. Vredefort Dome is another site of particular interest, as it is the oldest and largest crater from a meteorite impact.

Best Cities to Visit

Cape Town has often been described as being one of the most beautiful cities in the entire world. This is a statement that may seem over the top to those who have not been there, but understandable to those who have. It is located between the sea and Table Mountain, and is quite unique in every aspect. There are some accommodation options available with some fantastic views.

Johannesburg is the most likely place that someone will fly into from abroad, and is a lively and bustling city, with lots to offer tourists. The city was founded during the gold rush and there are lots of visible signs of the wealth of the area, including some extremely lavish and luxurious hotels. The city is the epicentre of much that goes on in South Africa, and is seen as the entertainment city for that reason.

Durban is a very popular tourist destination and is one of the busiest coastal cities in the whole of Africa. The city has a wide range of accommodation options available, and is the primary location for many South African holidaymakers due to the extensive beaches, great nightlife and busy shopping district.

Events

South-Africa-Pride-of-lions-drinking-from-riverThere are lots of events happening all over South Africa each year, some of which are world famous. The Hermanus Whale Festival is an annual festival, where onlookers can view the migratory whales as they travel up through Walker Bay. It is a spectacular sight, which can either be witnessed from high up on the cliffs or from a boat trip. A much more physically demanding event that takes place each year is the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, which is open to both professional and recreational cyclists. The route that is covered is a scenic route along a very testing and steep course, and is said to be one of the most rewarding rides anywhere in the continent. 

Local Cuisine

There are lots of unusual local delicacies across the country, with each province having its own traditional dishes. One such dish is morogo, which is a form of wild spinach that can either be served on its own or with potato. Pap is popular all over the country, which is made from cornmeal and can be made into a number of different dishes. Slapap is a runny porridge made for breakfast, stywepap is more of a doughy substance that is used as a replacement for rice, and krummelpap is much drier and is used as a couscous dish.

South Africa is renowned for its winemaking region to the north of Cape Town, and a trip to the vineyards can be very enjoyable. There are a number of beers available all over the country, produced by the major South African breweries and the local and microbreweries. 

Culture

South Africa is a very multicultural country that is made up of a number of people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. There are a number of rich local traditions in all areas of the country, and certain areas still live by their cultural traditions as part of their everyday lives. The larger cities are very modern and share many cultural and social habits with European countries. There are 11 recognised national languages in South Africa, which gives an indication as to the diversity in the population. Less than 10% of the nationals speak English as a first language, although most people in the cities speak it as a second language. One of the most commonly spoken languages is Afrikaans, which was originally derived from the Dutch settlers in the 17th Century.

South Africa Hotels

There are a wide range of hotels and hostels available throughout South Africa, and in the major cities there is always a good price range available. There are a variety of luxurious four and five-star hotels available in some excellent city locations, and the prices are lower than in many other countries. In the more rural areas the hotels are often, but not exclusively, two or three star hotels. It is advisable to conduct research before booking in these remote areas to ensure the availability and suitability for specific requirements. 

Getting around South Africa

Johannesburg to Durban: 5 h 49 min (567.6 km) via N3

Durban to East London: 7 h 55 min (657.5 km) via N2 and N2

East London to Port Elizabeth: 3 h 6 min (282.4 km) via N2

Port Elizabeth to George: 3 h 49 min (329.3 km) via N2 and N2

George to Cape Town: 4 h 22 min (428.1 km) via N2

Cape Town to Johannesburg: 13 h 12 min (1,397.5 km) via N1

Accommodation, driving and car rental

At Cheaperthanhotels and Cheaperthancars we have a wide range of car rental discounts at convenient locations and accommodation to meet all budgets and taste across South Africa. We really do believe that the less you spend, the more you will have to do when you get there.

Your Cheaperthanhotels Team