Every country in the world displays some diversity, but South Africa, stretching from the hippos in the Limpopo River to the penguins waddling on the Cape, takes some beating. It befits its position at the southern end of the world’s most epic continent, with more types of terrain than photographers can shake their zoom lens at. There’s the iconic Table Mountain and Cape Point, Private Lodge and National Park’s wildlife-stalked savannah.
The epicurean delights abound with sizzling Cape Malay dishes, or a braai (barbecue) in the wilderness – accompanied by a bottle of a fine wine produced by the oldest wine industry outside Europe.Of course, it's impossible for travelers to South Africa to remain oblivious to the fact that, despite the rise of the middle-class black population, racial inequality persists here.
Black and colored townships face problems such as a horrific HIV/AIDS rate and xenophobic tensions caused by economic refugees from nearby countries.Nonetheless, South Africans are some of the most upbeat, welcoming and humorous folk you’ll encounter anywhere, from farmers in the rural north who tell you to drive safely on those dirt roads, to township Khayelitsha kids who wish you molo (‘good morning’ in Xhosa).
Another point of unity in the diverse country is that, in malls and minibus taxis, bush pubs and shebeens, two popular topics of conversation are still the 2010 FIFA World Cup and recent political upheavals. As it turned out hosting football's mightiest tournament was as great a moment for South Africa as were its Rugby World Cup triumphs in 1995 and 2007.
Travel Alert: As with any large city or country anywhere in the world one has to be vigilant when traveling. No less in South Africa. Health & safety section for details.United States Consular Information and Advisory for Travelers to South Africa.
Full name: Republic of South Africa
Population: 50.5 million (UN, 2010)
Capitals: Pretoria (executive capital); Cape Town (legislative capital); Bloemfontein (judicial capital)
Largest city: Johannesburg
Area: 1.22 million sq km (470,693 sq miles)
Major languages: 11 official languages including English, Afrikaans, Sesotho, Setswana, Xhosa and Zulu
Major religion: Christianity, Islam, indigenous beliefs
Life expectancy: 52 years (men), 54 years (women)
Monetary unit: 1 Rand = 100 cents
Main exports: Gold, diamonds, metals and minerals, cars, machinery
International dialling code: +27
Late October to early November will see us there at the start of the South African summer. Over much of South Africa, we should enjoy sunny weather – often with afternoon thunderstorms that clear quickly. The Western Cape, with its Mediterranean climate will be the exception where it rains mostly during winter.
Cape Town Temp Range Hi 73F Low 60F
On Safari Temp Range Hi 84F Low 66F
European settlement in South Africa started in Cape Town, which is why it is still called the Mother City to this day. read more...