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Best Places to Visit

Cape Town, with its natural beauty, bustling city atmosphere and beautiful beaches, is one of the star attractions on South Africa holidays. There is a broad range of restaurants and bars to be explored along with the colourful district of Bo-Kaap. Visitors will find great shops, botanical gardens and the likes of Clifton Beach and Camps Bay.

For visitors wanting to learn about the history of South Africa, Robben Island off Cape Town's coast, is a must-visit. From the 17th to 20th century, it was a place of imprisonment, but today, it"s a UNESCO World Heritage site. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years incarcerated here during apartheid as a political prisoner. The former prison is now a museum dedicated to the history of apartheid.

Just east of Cape Town are the Winelands. Along with some wonderfully preserved Dutch architecture dating back to the 17th century, the region is known for its wine tours, with the towns of Stellenbosch, Wellington and Paarl all known for their amazing wine. There are also some great restaurants throughout the towns so that visitors can enjoy a meal with their wine.

Knysna, on the Garden Route, is one of the best places to visit in South Africa. There are many activities to enjoy here, as the lagoon is perfect for water sports. The surrounding forests are great places for strolls and there are plenty of nice bars and restaurants to enjoy on an evening.

South Africa has plenty of wildlife to see, and Kruger National Park is the second oldest wildlife park in Africa. Established in 1898, it offers some of the most amazing safari experiences, hosting hippos, cheetahs, crocodiles, giraffes, lions, rhinos and elephants. It's even possible to stay in the park, with a range of accommodation options, from camping to cottages.

Hermanus on the Western Cape is a major tourist destination. One of the main reasons for its popularity is that it"s the best place in the world to spot whales, particularly the Southern right whale. The town is a popular resort with a pleasant, small town vibe throughout the year.

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Need to know

Language

South Africa has 11 official languages, including Afrikaans, Zulu, Swazi and English. Although only about ten per cent of the population speaks English as a mother tongue, around 60 per cent are fluent. In the tourist industry, English is widely spoken.

Currency

The official currency is the South African rand (R). R1 is made up of 100 cents. Converting euros, pounds sterling or US dollars can be done at any bank. The same goes for travellers' cheques. Banks can be found throughout South Africa, including in small towns and rural areas. ATMs are available across the country and accept major cards such as Maestro and Visa. It's also possible to get cash out at the checkouts of big stores. Credit cards are widely accepted in restaurants, hotels and large shops.

Visas

Tourists from the EU and the UK do not need a visa to enter South Africa for up to 90 days. All that is required is a valid passport and proof of a return flight. Nationals of many other nations are granted a visa-free stay of up to 30 days, while those visitors needing a visa should arrange this via a South African embassy prior to travel. Check your individual visa situation before booking holidays to South Africa.

Climate

South Africa’s climate ranges from desert in the north-west to sub-tropical in the east. The rainy season takes place in the summer (October to January). The exception is the Western Cape. Here rain tends to fall during the winter (June to August). Summer across the country tends to be hot and humid with temperatures of around 30°C. Winter is cooler, with temperatures of around 26°C, and considerably drier.

Main Airports

There are a whole host of international airports in South Africa. The three major ones are OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, Cape Town International Airport and Durban International Airport, with most international flights landing at one of these three key air hubs. The majority of flights from the UK land in Cape Town, although Johannesburg's airport is the country's primary air gateway.

Flight Options

There are daily direct flights from London- Heathrow to Cape Town, with a handful of large carriers serving this route. There are also flights from London-Heathrow to Johannesburg, where travellers can then pass onto Cape Town. The average direct flight time from London to Johannesburg is around 11 hours.

Travel Advice

It can be cheaper to land in Johannesburg and then continue onto Cape Town. Remember to book both flights at the same time, as this can save money. There isn't really a low season in South Africa, as with each season different types of holiday are offered. However, July and August tend to see flight fares rise, so booking in the shoulder months of June and September is best.

Other Transport Options

Many cruise lines offer Cape Town as a stop or final destination. It's also possible to enter South Africa by car from neighbouring Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe. There is a charge to pass over the border and not all border checkpoints are open 24 hours.

Kaart

Température moyenne (°C)

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  • 26

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  • 23

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Précipitations (mm)

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  • 100

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  • 10

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  • 3

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  • 28

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Feiten

  1. De Karoo regio in de West-Kaap van Zuid-Afrika is dé plaats om fossielen van dinosauriërs te vinden. Er wordt wel geschat dat 80 procent van de gevonden zoogdierfossielen uit deze regio afkomstig zijn.
  2. Rotstekeningen uit de Blombosgrot in Heidelberg zijn waarschijnlijk meer dan 75.000 jaar oud.
  3. De Tafelberg torent 1086 meter boven zeeniveau uit en kijkt uit over Kaapstad. De berg ziet er maar van één kant plat uit en je kunt er de hoogste abseil ter wereld maken van 112 m.

Feiten

  1. De Karoo regio in de West-Kaap van Zuid-Afrika is dé plaats om fossielen van dinosauriërs te vinden. Er wordt wel geschat dat 80 procent van de gevonden zoogdierfossielen uit deze regio afkomstig zijn.
  2. Rotstekeningen uit de Blombosgrot in Heidelberg zijn waarschijnlijk meer dan 75.000 jaar oud.
  3. De Tafelberg torent 1086 meter boven zeeniveau uit en kijkt uit over Kaapstad. De berg ziet er maar van één kant plat uit en je kunt er de hoogste abseil ter wereld maken van 112 m.

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