SOUTH AFRICA A WORLD IN ONE COUNTRY
Even before the recent passing of Nelson Mandela, South Africans were often asked what the man meant to them. Every response, though personal and poignant, can be captured in one line: “He is the person who saved this country.”
And what a country it is: wildlife and wilderness; relaxation and refinement; rural rhythms and urban beats; luxurious lodges and on-the-edge adventure; laid-back lounging. All of this is set against one of the most breathtaking topographies on the planet, rimmed by the pounding surf and sublime seascapes of 2800 kilometres of coastline.
Africa’s Big Apple
To understand Johannesburg, you have to think in four dimensions—the first three are height, depth, and width. It is one of the highest cities in the world, built on the deepest mines in the world, and it spreads out in every direction, devouring open land at an alarming pace. The fourth dimension is time. It is a dynamic place that changes at a rate most visitors cannot quite seem to understand, and the inhabitants of this frenetic city are constantly on the move. Vast in size and in human ambition, “Jo’burg” or “Jozi” or “E’Goli” (City of Gold) is built on gold, and the relentless pursuit of wealth has imbued it with a pulsing energy.
From Despair to Democracy
Much of the country’s antiapartheid struggle was played out in the dusty black townships ringing the city. A tour of the South Western Township of Soweto, the largest township, will give you a feel for the new South Africa.
Enter the modernist concrete structure of the Apartheid Museum and you start a journey that grows in intensity, as the history of South African racial segregation and resulting political turmoil is played out.
Finally, at the new home of the highest court in the land, Constitution Hill, take a moment to commemorate South Africa’s decade of democracy and regeneration.
South Africa’s Heart
The Game Reserves
Bordering Kruger National Park, the large Sabi Sands Conservation Area is home to some of Southern Africa’s best-known private reserves, luxurious safari lodges, and the best wildlife-viewing on the continent. The area is routinely selected by safari connoisseurs as their destination of choice. As there is no fencing between the various private reserves within the greater Sabi Sands area, all share the same wealth of birds and animals.
Exeter Private Game Reserve offers exclusive safari accommodation in elegant Leadwood Lodge, unique River Lodge, and eclectic Dulini Lodge.
Londolozi Private Game Reserve describes itself as “unashamedly exclusive,” offering a five-star plus experience in the bush.
Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is located at the southern end of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and was one of the first reserves to link ecotourism, conservation, and community.
Singita Private Game Reserve boasts a superb Sand River location in the heart of the game rich Sabi Sands Reserve.
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve is the kind of place where your game ranger will happily sit up until late, trading stories in the bar. Congenial, informal, and oh, so South African.
Diamonds, Wine, and So Much More…
It has been said that if you visit only one place in South Africa, make it Cape Town. Sheltered beneath the familiar shape of Table Mountain, this historic city presides over a coastline of unsurpassed beauty, of mountains edging the sea, miles of beaches, and 18th century wineries napping under giant oaks. Modern South Africa was born here and few cities in the world possess its beauty and style.
A stroll through the city center reveals Cape Town’s three centuries as the sea link between Europe and the East. Elegant Cape Dutch buildings with their whitewashed gables surround imposing monuments to Britain’s imperial legacy. In the Bo-Kaap neighborhood the call to prayer echoes from minarets while the sweet tang of Malay curry wafts through the cobbled streets. And everywhere, whether you are eating outdoors at one of the country’s best restaurants or sipping wine atop Table Mountain, you sense – correctly – that this is South Africa’s most urbane, civilized city.
Watch the transformation of a rough stone into a glittering diamond at Jewel Africa. Shop the open stalls at Greenmarket Square. Walk along eclectic Long Street and find surprising treasures in its second hand bookstores, music stores, and antique shops. Take in the sights, sounds, and scents of the Cape Malay Quarter or recall tradition and sip the “best tea in the world” at the distinguished Mount Nelson Hotel. Tour the National Botanical Garden of Kirstenbosch. Enjoy a full day tour of the Cape Peninsula or the Winelands. Visit Robben Island Museum, once the prison where Nelson Mandela spent most of the twenty-seven years he was incarcerated.
Yet, what you will ultimately remember about Cape Town is the sheer grandeur of its setting – Table Mountain rising above the city, the sweep of the bay, and mountains cascading into the sea. You will likely spend more time marvelling at the views than anything else.
Call your Tripzter Travel consultant today. Life’s a trip. Take one. Live one… in South Africa! Anywhere else is tame by comparison.
Here’s to the vagabond in each of us!