Lodging

Where to go in South Africa

 

SA is mainly known for its national parks.
First of all there is the Kruger National Park (+/- 450 km from Johannesburg) : it is the oldest and largest game reserve in the world and with the added attraction of having the Big 5.
 
On its western border lie a number of private reserves offering the chance - at a price - to conduct safaris in open vehicles with well-informed rangers. On the southern border lies Marloth Park, a wildlife sanctuary at the Crocodile River, a natural border with the KNP.
Buffalo, rhino and lion are confined to a smaller game reserve within Marloth, elephants can be seen playing in the river while other game like kudu, zebra, giraffe, blue wildebeest, nyala, impala, warthog, vervet monkeys,  roam freely between the units available for the visitors. As dangerous game is restricted you can take a walk along the river or ride a mountain bike on the dirt roads in Marloth Park.
 
But there are many more exceptional game reserves all over South Africa.
To name a few : Madikwe Game Reserve (next to the border with Botswana in the Northwest Province), Pilanesberg NP and the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve (named after the protea pland found thoughout the area) in the Gauteng and Mpumalanga Province.
 
On the east coast and more towards the interior - in Kwazulu-Natal - you can go to the Golden Gate Highlands NP, Simangaliso Wetland Park, Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park (renowned for rhino conservation), Tembe Elephant Reserve and Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park (a World  Heritage Site). Towards the west there is the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Frontier Park, the Karoo NP (the largest ecosystem in SA), Augrabies NP (with the waterfalls on the Orange River), the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and the Namaqua NP (best visited from early August to September).
 
And in the Western and Souther Cape you can find the Addo Elephant Park (home to 450 elephants), the Bontebok NP (a World Heritage Site), the Hoop Nature Reserve (with an abundance of marine life), the unique Table Mountain NP, the Tsitsikamma NP and last but not least the Wilderness NP (a hikers and bird-lovers paradise).
Another highlight of SA is the well known Garden Route, a popular stretch on the southeastern coast, a road that includes the towns of Mossel Bay, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg, Nature's Valley and George.
 
One of the attractions in the northeastern part of the country is Blyde River Canyon : a deeply carved canyon with breathtaking views and the charming gold mining town of Pilgrim's Rest, preserved as a living museum. The dramatic Drakensberg offers scenic drives like the Panorama Route, one of the highest and most scenic routes of SA and the Waterfalls tour.
 
For the city trippers there is Cape Town, also known as the Mother City, which has many outstanding attractions : Table Mountain, the Waterfront, Robben Island, Seal Island, the Cape of Good Hope, .. and of course the many wine routes through the Cape winelands.
Another interesting town is Durban, traditionally SA's most popular holiday town thanks to a subtropical climate and alluring beaches and year-round warm seas.
Johannesburg with its Zulu name Egoli (City of Gold) is the heart of SA's industrial and commercial life. Although it is a medium sized city it is offering some of the continent's best nightlife, hotels and shopping opportunities. A 90 minutes drive to the west takes you to SA's answer to Las Vegas : Sun City, a glitzy resort with casinos, cinemas, restaurants, a golf course and numerous hotels.
 
If you want to find out some more about South-Africa click here !

Where to go in Namibia

Namibia is the driest country south of the Sahara and has the oldest desert in the world.

But not only does one find here desolate coastal plains or the highest dunes in the world, Namibia has also many national parks rich with wildlife. 
 
The country has 20 national parks and game reserves ranging from 50 000 km² - Namib-Naukluft Park - to 25 hectares - Popa Falls game reserve. 
The best known park is Etosha NP in the north, best visited from May to September for game viewing.
 
The Namib-Naukluft is one of the largest wildlife reserves in Africa - its scenery includes gravel plains, mountain ranges, steep river gorges, the well-known sand dunes of the Namib Desert and the lagoons of Sandwich and Walvis.
 
The 3 main cities are Windhoek (the capital) and the coastal towns of Swakopmund and Walvisbaai.
 
Northern Namibia is the most densely populated part of the country and is also the cultural heartland. It is the traditional home of the Ovamba.  
 
Striking out to the east is the strange panhandle of Namibia : the Caprivi strip.  It is a more tropical area and has the highest rainfall in the country. Most of this area is protected and because of the variety of habitat the wildlife there is very rich.
 
In the Northwest part of Namibia one finds rock paintings in Twyfelfontein and in the Spitzkoppe mountains, spectacular rock formations and a petrified forest nearby Khorixas, Himba villages, ….
 
And of course everyone has already heard about the Skeleton Coast along the Atlantic Ocean and its famous ship wrecks. 
 
Down South is the Namib Desert and the coastal towns of Swakopmund and Walvisbaai. Another 60 km to the south is the heart of the Namib : Sossusvlei. The brick-red dunes provide spectacular opportunities for photography and are one of the prime tourist attractions. Among the highlights there are Dune 45, Dead Vlei, Sesriem Canyon,  Solitaire - a small settlement but a common stopover on the road to/from Sossusvlei, ...
 
All the way down south lies the world’s second biggest canyon : Fish River Canyon. There you also find the town of Lüderitz and a few ‘real ghost towns’ like Kolmanskop.
 
 Accommodation is available in and nearby all the parks and sites : from international standard hotels to lodges, tented camps, guest farms and houses, campsites and rest camps.
 
To find out more about  Namibia click here.

Where to go in Botswana/Zimbabwe

Botswana’s prime attraction is its abundant bird and wildlife, this country offers a truly wild safari experience.

At any time of the year visitors can count on sunny clear blue skies with very few consistently cloudy days however in the Kalahari temperatures below freezing are normal at night time in July and August. 
 
Botswana is known all over the world for its environmental treasure : the Okavango Delta. The unique delta draws an immense concentration of wildlife.  The majority of the estimated 200,000 large mammals in and around the delta are not year-round residents. They leave with the summer rains to find renewed fields of grass to graze on and trees to browse, then make their way back as winter approaches.
The delta also includes over 400 species of birds and is home to 71 fish species.
 
Other remarkable features of Botswana include the Kalahari Desert, Chobe NP,  the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, the Nata Bird Sanctuary, ….
 
The Kalahari Desert is the largest continuous stretch of sand in the world. Apart from the nomadic San or Bushmen, collectively known as Basarwa, the region remained untouched. 
 
Chobe National Park, in northwest Botswana, has one of the largest concentrations of game in Africa. By size, it is the third largest park of the country - after the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Gemsbok National Park - and is also the most diverse. Chobe NP is also the country's first national park.
 
Gaborone, the country’s capital, is a fast growing city and has all the facilities of a modern city. More to the north is Francistown, one of the oldest towns of Botswana and the site of Africa’s first gold rush. Francistown is called the capital of the North.
 
Almost all the tourists entering the Okavango do so through Maun, situated at the gateway to the Delta and Moremi Game Reserve. Maun is the tourism capital of Botswana and the tribal capital of the Botswana people.
 
The main cities in Botswana are linked with good tar roads but 4WD drive is necessary for secondary road travel and in almost all the national parks and game reserves.
 
A trip to Southern Africa would not be complete without visiting the Seventh Natural Wonder of the World : the Victoria Falls. While it is not the highest, nor the widest, it is claimed to be the largest waterfall in the world. Victoria Falls is in Zimbabwe but can also be visited whilst based in Livingstone/Zambia which is just across the Victoria Falls Bridge. 
The Falls are spectacular any time of the year and there are many activities to be enjoyed : from fine dining to riding the rapids, from bungee-jumping to a helicopter joy ride over the falls, from abseiling to elephant-back walks, ….Victoria Falls is a place to be seen, heard, tasted and touched !!
 
To find out more about the fantastic places you can go to in Botswana and neighbouring  Zimbabwe, click here.