Situated at the southern tip of Africa, South Africa has a landmass of 1 233 404 km² edged on 3 sides by a nearly 3000km coastline washed by the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic and is about one eighth the size of the USA or 4.9 times bigger than the UK.
South Africa is famous for its sunshine. It’s a relatively dry country, with an average annual rainfall of about 464mm (compared to a world average of about 860mm). While the Western Cape gets most of its rainfall in winter, the rest of the country is generally a summer-rainfall region.
The South African population of more than 50m people is extremely diverse. Africans are in the majority, approx. 80% of the population, followed by the white population approx. 4,4m; the coloured population approx. 4, 2 million and the Indian/Asian population at approx. 1,2m.
While most of our wines (South African) are familiar, we have our very own viticultural cross - pinotage.
The Elephant Coast tourism hotspot, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, contains Africa's largest estuarine system.
The best time for observing the animals is the dry winter season May to September. Then the grass is low and bushes and trees don't have leaves, so that one can have an unobstructed view. Because it virtually doesn't rain in winter, the animals come to the waterholes to drink in the mornings and evenings and are more concentrated.
The only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace prize-winners is in Soweto. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu both have houses on Vilakazi Street in Soweto.
The world’s largest diamond was the Cullinan, found in South Africa in 1905. It weighed 3,106.75 carats uncut. It was cut into the Great Star of Africa, weighing 530.2 carats, the Lesser Star of Africa, which weighs 317.40 carats, and 104 other diamonds of nearly flawless color and clarity. They now form part of the British crown jewels.
We have more animal species than North & South America combined, or Europe and Asia combined.
The Madikwe Game Reserve is a part of the latest park developments in South Africa. It was opened in 1991 and comprises 750 km² of bushland north of the small town Groot-Marico up to the Botswana border.
Wild dogs are a specialty of Madikwe and due to their rarity and fascinating behavior, are a wonderful sight. They are also known as Cape hunting dogs or painted dogs because of their tricolored (black, white and tan) abstract coat.
Not only does Madikwe Game Reserve boast the 'Big Five' but it also has the 'Super 7'! This adds cheetah and wild dog to the traditional five; leopard, lion, buffalo, elephant and rhino.
The Kruger Park was first proclaimed in 1898 as the Sabie Game Reserve by the then president of the Transvaal Republic, Paul Kruger. He first proposed the need to protect the animals of the Lowveld in 1884, but his revolutionary vision took another 12 years to be realized when the area between the Sabie and Crocodile Rivers was set aside for restricted hunting. On 31 May 1926 the National Parks Act was proclaimed and with it the merging of the Sabie and Shingwedzi Game Reserves into the Kruger National Park as we know it today. Making it the second oldest National Park in the world. The first motorists entered the park in 1927 for a fee of one pound.
Now that the fences between the Kruger Park and the surrounding privately owned land have been dropped forming The Greater Kruger National Park a genuine big five safari experienced can be experienced at numerous privately owned game lodges that where once "outside" the Kruger Park.
The Pilanesberg is situated in a transition zone between the dry Kalahari Thornveld and Lowveld bush, animals, birds and vegetation are diverse with uncharacteristic overlapping of species from both zones. It is the only park in South Africa with both Impala and Springbok at home.
The creation of Pilanesberg National Park is considered as one of the most ambitious programmes of its kind to be undertaken anywhere in the world. Thanks to Operation Genesis in 1979 to re-introduce long-vanished species to the park involved the game-fencing of the reserve and was the largest relocation of wild animals at the time.
Pilanesberg is one of the largest volcanic complexes of its kind in the world. Only one of three alkaline ring volcano's in the world and ancient, even by geological time scales, this extinct volcano is the most perfect example of an alkaline ring complex. Its rare rock types and structure make it a unique geological feature.