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South Africa Trip Recommendations
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Things to Do and See in South Africa
Southern Africa is home to much of the wildlife that Africa is known for all over the world. For example, Botswana is home to the largest populations of African elephants and African wild dogs on the continent. And because there are preserves for wild animals in all of the nations that make up Southern Africa, a safari is definitely in order when you visit any of these nations.
The region of Southern Africa is also very culturally diverse and historically rich. The art, historical, and cultural museums of South Africa and Botswana are well known to seasoned travelers as being among the best of sub-Saharan Africa. And the nightlife and cultural activities available in the cities of South Africa are known the world over. Here too, you’ll find some of the world’s finest safari game parks. Our excellent connections will help you secure the choicest accommodations that will provide you with the best possible travel experience.
Southern Africa Weather
Both South Africa and Botswana have sub-tropical climates. Botswana has the higher temperatures, while South Africa’s climate borders on temperate. Botswana, being landlocked and closer to the equator, only has two seasons. The dry season lasts from April to October; while the wet season lasts from November through March.
South Africa enjoys four complete seasons, though travelers from the Northern Hemisphere should note that these seasons occur opposite to their schedule in the north.
Namibia, along the Atlantic Coast and north of South Africa, is known for its desert climate, with extreme shifts in temperature between day and night, and more than three-hundred sunny days a year.
The climate of Zimbabwe fluctuates with the altitude of its topography and enjoys a dry season that lasts from April through September, while Mozambique’s climate is heavily influenced by its coastline along the Indian Ocean. Mozambique also has a wet season and a dry season that mirror Zimbabwe’s, but its average temperatures are far more temperate than its land-locked neighbor’s.
Southern Africa Transportation Options
As in most of Africa, transportation options dwindle as you move away from the population centers and larger cities. In South Africa, this distinction is somewhat less pronounced, with shared taxi service and bus service connecting most of the smaller towns to the larger urban areas, as well as a good train system connecting the big cities to each other. In fact, one of the world’s great rail vacations, the Blue Train, actually ends up in Johannesburg. There is also the Rovos Rail in South Africa, a vintage train that makes for a lovely vacation inclusion.
In Mozambique, the primary form of travel between towns is the chapa, which is a type of shared taxi or private bus service. Those wishing to travel with a little more safety and comfort are encouraged to hire a private car and driver when traveling outside the major populated areas.
In Botswana, transportation on the main roads between the population centers is usually accomplished by bus, combi (private mini-bus) or a combination of the two. While there are no train routes in the country, travelers wishing to venture beyond the main cities and roads are encouraged to hire a car and driver.
In Namibia, there are very few public transit options outside of the capital. A rail line transverses the country from North to South, but it tends to be unreliable and notoriously slow. Travelers to Namibia will most likely want to hire a car and driver, as most of the destinations worth visiting are located well off the beaten path anyway.
Many people who vacation in Southern Africa are there for a safari, and the most common form of transport for these trips is by bush plane, which cuts down the potential for long drive times by road, and provides an added bonus, where travelers get to see Africa from a bird’s eye view. TravelStore can arrange travel by bush plane during your stay, as well as private car and driver where required.
Hotels & Resorts in Southern Africa
In Botswana, most travelers visit the city of Gaborone, as it has a higher concentration of tourist activities and reasonable accommodations. The city boasts a five-star hotel, Lonrho Lansmore Masa Square, as well the Gaborone Sun luxury hotel and casino. The city is also home to the Lion Park Resort amusement park, and the Phakalane Golf Estate and hotel. Bear in mind that Gaborone is merely a gateway to Botswana’s exquisite safari lodges, especially those in the Okavanga Delta area.
In Namibia, the hotels are clustered in the capital of Windhoek, and accommodations can be difficult to find in other parts of the country. However, there are some some private game lodges offering unique experiences not found elsewhere on the African continent, which we can arrange for you.
In South Africa, accommodations can vary widely, depending on the part of the country you visit. Cape Town, Pretoria, and Johannesburg all offer visitors a similarly wide range of hotels, with varying levels of luxury along a range of prices much like you would find in the major cities of Europe and North America.
Once you venture beyond the bigger cities, accommodations can be harder to come by, with the exception of the resorts along the coast, in the mountains, and along the game preserves. Let TravelStore arrange your accommodations so you can take advantage of the best amenities possible.
Unique Adventures and Experiences in South Africa
Once you’ve exhausted your wildlife viewing, made the compulsory trip to Victoria Falls, sampled the wine and nightlife of metropolitan South Africa, you may be looking for something a little more unique to do or see in this quadrant of the second largest continent on the planet. Here are a few ideas worth checking out on your adventure.
Visit the shifting red sand dunes of Sossusvlei in Namibia’s Namib-Naukluft Park. Towering as much as a thousand feet or more over the hard, arid pan of Sossusvlei, the red sands shift with the winds, covering and uncovering the desert floor.
See the origins of humankind at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, less than an hour from Johannesburg in the Witwatersberg and Magaliesberg mountains. While there, you can see the four million year old human and hominid fossils found at Sterkfontein Caves.
In South Africa, visitors can spend the afternoon tasting the various wines that are produced in the country, with many of the area’s best vineyards concentrated in and around the city of Cape Town. The country’s wine making history dates all the way back to the mid-1600s, and a day spent sampling the wines of the region is the highlight of many traveler’s vacations. Today's South African wines are known worold-wide, and there's no better place to learn more about the best vintages than here.
Immerse Yourself in the Culture with Tauck South Africa
One example is Tauck’s 12-day South African tour, labeled “an elegant adventure”. This thorough tour provides an immersive experience into the South African way of life. Beyond the private game reserves, which are included on the tour, Tauck South Africa offers wine tasting, special presentations, luxury meals, and lectures with local experts. This tour takes travelers through Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kruger National Park, Lion Sands, Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge, and Victoria Falls. If you want to experience a unique perspective of South Africa, consider Tauck’s South African adventure for your vacation package.
Booking Your Southern Africa Adventure Couldn’t Be Easier
Our expertise and personal contacts will enhance your visit to South Africa or Botswana, no matter what time of year you choose to travel to the region. Search for current South Africa vacation offers above, or contact us today to arrange a Southern Africa vacation that’s perfectly customized to your desires.