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Discover true natural beauty...
Destinations

The diverse natural beauty of South Africa

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Affordable

During these tough times, who doesn’t want an affordable holiday? In SA, you can even afford luxury and have spending money for shopping and other treats!

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Natural Beauty

South Africa’s scenic wonders are legendary. From Table Mountain to God’s Window, our mountains, forests, coasts and deserts will feast your eye and lift your spirit

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World-class facilities

Whether you opt for Afro-chic or authentic Africa, you’ll find it easy to get around, find a comfortable place to stay, have a great meal, connect.

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Adventure

South Africa is the adventure capital of the world. With over 130 adventures and counting, there is something for everyone from mountain walks to shark cage-diving!

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Good Weather

In sunny South Africa, our great weather invites you to enjoy the outdoors, play golf year-round and take advantage of the nearly 3000km coastline…

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Rainbow Nation

The Rainbow Nation celebrates all its African and immigrant cultures. Find out how friendly our people are whilst you try your tongue at 11 official languages!

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Diverse Experiences

Go almost anywhere in SA and experience the ultimate combo of nature, wildlife, culture, adventure, heritage and vibe – you’re spoilt for choice, so pack it in!

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Wildlife

Warning! Watching wildlife is addictive. First you start with the Big Five in so many ways, then whales, penguins, meerkats, wild dogs, birds, dung beetles…

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Freedom Struggle

Discover a nation’s struggle for freedom whilst following the footsteps of Mandela, Hector Pieterson and many other celebrated revolutionaries. It will touch and inspire you.

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Responsible Tourism

In SA you can travel with care as you explore our protected areas, contribute to social and conservation projects, buy recycle art and stay green.

Geography

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. It is bordered in the north by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and also wraps itself around two independent countries, the Lesotho and Swaziland.

Capitals

South Africa has 3 capitals: Cape Town (Legislative), Pretoria (Administrative and Bloemfontein (Judicial).

Political system

A well-known fact about South Africa is that since 1994 we have enjoyed democratic government, the apartheid policies of the past overthrown. Our constitution is regarded as an example to the world, and enshrines a wide scope of human rights protected by an independent judiciary. The country is headed by a State President, Jacob Zuma, of the African National Congress (ANC).

Economy

A lesser-known fact on South Africa is that it has achieved steady economic growth in gross domestic product (GDP) since the late 90s. The country, regarded as an emerging market, has a well developed financial sector and active stock exchange. Financial policies have focused on building solid macroeconomic structures. The country’s central bank is the Reserve Bank.

Tourism

Since the demise of apartheid, international tourist arrivals have surged, making tourism one of the fastest growing sectors. The tourism industry is well-established with an exciting sector of emerging entrepreneurs. The country is strong on adventure, sport, nature and wildlife travel and is a pioneer and global leader in responsible tourism.

Population

The South African population of more than 49m 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.

Currency

South Africa’s currency is the rand, which offers visitors great value for money. The rand comes in a range of coins (R1 = 100 cents) and note denominations of R10, R50, R100.

Climate

South Africa has a temperate climate and is known for its long sunny days, hence the title: ‘Sunny South Africa’. Most of the provinces have summer rainfall, except for the Western Cape (winter rainfall). Winter is from May to August; Spring from September to October; Summer from November to February and Autumn is from March to April.

Communications

South Africa has an exceptionally well-developed communications infrastructure. A number of cell-phone providers provide national coverage and there are well-established landline phone networks. Internet and Wi-Fi are easily accessible in most urban areas.

Provinces

There are 9 provinces in South Africa, namely: Eastern Cape, Free State, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal; Gauteng, North West, Northern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

National Symbols

The South African flag is a much-loved symbol of patriotism and other significant national emblems include: National bird: blue crane; National animal: the springbok; National fish: galjoen; National flower: protea and National tree: the yellowwood.

Languages

South Africa is a multi-lingual country and there are 11 official languages including: English, Afrikaans, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga. Composed by Enoch Sontonga in 1899, the Xhosa hymn ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika is South Africa’s national anthem

Religions

Almost 80% of South Africa’s population is Christian. Other major religious groups include Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists. A minority don’t belong to any of the major religions. The Constitution guarantees freedom of worship.

Water

Tap water is potable. However, ensure that you take bottled water with you when travelling to remote rural areas and the bush.

Animals and Plants

South Africa has been declared one of the 18 megadiverse destinations in the world. As a pioneer and leader in responsible tourism, South Africa has numerous conservation projects to protect its natural heritage – travellers can support and take part in many of these projects. The country is home to the famous Big Five (rhino, elephant, lion, leopard and buffalo).

Electricity

The South African electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ. With a few exceptions (in deep rural areas) electricity is available almost everywhere.

Airports

The 3 major international airports in South Africa are: OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg), Cape Town International Airport and King Shaka International Airport (Durban) as well as 90 regional airports including the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) in Nelspruit.

Travel by Road and Rail

South Africa has an extensive road infrastructure including national highways and secondary roads. Speed limits are set at 120 kilometres on highways; 100 kilometres on secondary roads and 60 kilometres in urban areas. It is not advised to travel by train, except for luxury trains as the Rovos Rail, the Blue Train and the Shongololo Express. Please ensure you have an international drivers licence before you travel.

Entry requirements

South Africa requires a valid yellow fever certificate from all foreign visitors and citizens over 1 year of age travelling from an infected area or having been in transit through infected areas. For visa requirements, please contact your nearest South African diplomatic mission.

Health and safety

South Africa is well-known for its medical skill since Professor Christiaan Barnard performed the first successful heart transplant in 1967. There are many world-class private hospitals and medical centres around the country, especially in the urban centres. Most of South Africa is malaria-free, but always check with the game reserves you’re planning to visit and take precautions if necessary. Make sure you have the latest safety tips from the establishment where you will be staying and take common sense precautions as you would when travelling.

Remember to bring a high SPF sunblock, a cap/hat, some mosquito repellent if you travel to the game reserves, and a cortisone cream for annoying insect bites. Drugstores (Clicks, Dischem..) are available in most towns, where you will find all OTC and toiletries needed.

Top attractions

The Big Hole and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park The Big Hole in Kimberley is the world’s largest hand-dug excavation. Created by miners during the diamond rush of the 1870s, it has an estimated depth of 214m and a perimeter of 1.6km. Next to the Big Hole is the Kimberley Mine Museum, with a replica of the city from the diamond-rush days. Further north in the province, you will find South Africa’s second-largest national park, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which spills over into Botswana.

Main city

Kimberley, the City of Diamonds, came into existence with the diamond rush of the 1870s. It is the capital city of the Northern Cape and is steeped in history and culture. It is now a modern hub with malls, art galleries, restaurants and an active nightlife.

Overview

The Northern Cape, bordered by Namibia and Botswana, is the largest of South Africa’s nine provinces (it takes up about a third of the entire country) and is very sparsely populated. In some areas it is possible to drive for hours without coming across any people.

Its sparse desert landscape and spectacular open spaces are especially appreciated at night – with no light pollution, the night sky is ideal for astronomy enthusiasts.

The lure of the Northern Cape is definitely its natural attractions, which include the annual Namaqualand wildflower display in spring (late August/September), the spectacular Augrabies Falls and the winding oasis that is the Green Kalahari. Further north is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, home to the magnificent Kalahari lion.

Its rugged terrain also makes it ideal for 4×4 adventurers, while the Orange (Gariep) River is ideal for river-rafting enthusiasts.

The province is steeped in history and culture, so encourage your clients to take the time to explore some of its many unique museums, like the Windmill Museum in Loeriesfontein; or to go on a ghost tour in Kimberley.

It is also home to the Richtersveld World Heritage Site, home to the Nama, a semi-nomadic group of people who have followed the same seasonal migratory pattern for thousands of years.

The Northern Cape’s capital, Kimberley, has air and rail links with most of the major cities in South Africa, which makes it easy to get there or travel around the province.

Free State

Top attractions

Vredefort Dome and the eastern Free State The Vredefort Dome is the impact site of a meteor that struck the Earth about two billion years ago, leaving a crater 300km in diameter. The Vredefort hills and crater are ideal for adventure seekers: climb and abseil its rock faces, or go rafting on the rapids of the Vaal River, which flows through it. In the eastern part of the province is an area of exceptional natural beauty with the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, where sandstone cliffs and waving grasslands greet visitors.

Main city

Bloemfontein The name means ‘fountain of flowers ’, and Bloemfontein is popularly known as the City of Roses because they grow so well here. Bloemfontein, the capital of the Free State province, was officially founded as a fort in 1846 by the British army. It is the birthplace of Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien.

Overview

The Free State’s appeal lies in its scenic beauty and natural attractions. This province is in the heart of South Africa – it borders six of the nine South African provinces, as well as the kingdom of Lesotho.

The Free State is South Africa’s breadbasket. Because of its good soil and climate, much of the land is taken up by agriculture – the area produces over 70% of the country’s grain.

But it also boasts astounding scenic beauty: wide, open plains and majestic mountains characterise this province.

The spectacular Drakensberg and Maluti mountain ranges are popular for adventure tourists, and the province boasts some of the best rock features in the world and is rich in San rock art.

A popular attraction is the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, which gets its name from the surrounding gold sandstone cliffs. Great for exploring on foot and home to hundreds of bird species, it’s an excellent site for birders.

The Free State is known for its great hospitality and sedate lifestyle, and is particularly appealing for those interested in exploring small-town South Africa.

But it is not all about sedate strolls and birdwatching; there’s more than enough to keep the adrenaline junkie occupied. There are plenty of opportunities for hiking, abseiling and canoeing (among others), while the Ash River – the only river in the country that has year-round high water levels – makes for excellent white-water rafting.

The Free State has an excellent road infrastructure and a variety of accommodation options. Bloemfontein’s airport, Bram Fischer International Airport, links to South Africa’s other major centres.

North West

Top attractions

Pilanesberg Game Reserve and Sun City A four-hour hot air balloon ride over the malaria-free Pilanesberg Game Reserve offers game viewing at its best. Here, 55 000ha of trees and grassland support a wildlife population that includes the Big Five. Close by is Sun City, a popular hotel and leisure centre with a water park and casino.

Main city

Mahikeng Mahikeng (formerly Mafeking and Mafikeng), the North West province’s capital city, and the adjacent town, Mmabatho, comprise a single urban area. Mahikeng was made famous by the Siege of Mafikeng during the South African War when the British resisted a superior Boer force for more than 200 days before being relieved by British troops, largely thanks to the efforts of Lord Robert Baden-Powell – who later founded the Boy Scout movement.

Overview

The North West province features premier wildlife destinations (the Pilanesberg Game Reserve and the Madikwe Game Reserve); parts of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites (the Vredefort Dome and the Taung Fossil Site, which is part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site); and the Sun City gaming and entertainment resort.

It is South Africa’s fourth-smallest province and is bordered by the country of Botswana to the north, and the South African provinces of the Northern Cape to the west, Gauteng to the east, Limpopo to the north-east, and Free State to the south.

Named South Africa’s ‘platinum province’ for its vast underground resources, North West also produces platinum, gold, diamonds and uranium. The Magaliesberg mountain range in the north-east extends for 130km from Pretoria (in Gauteng) to Rustenburg.

The province is home to the Hartbeespoort Dam, a popular weekend water-

sports and adventure hub, particularly as it is just an hour or so’s drive from the large cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The North West is a prime game-viewing destination and home of the well-known Madikwe Game Reserve and the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, as well as other smaller wildlife and nature reserves.

From the opulence of the five-star Palace of the Lost City hotel in Sun City to boutique hotels, quaint guest houses, self-catering establishments, holiday cottages and chalets, the North West is well equipped with accommodation options.

Gauteng

Top attractions

Apartheid Museum and the Cradle of Humankind The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg documents South Africa’s Freedom Struggle during the days of apartheid. Set on 7ha of landscaped grounds, the museum has over 20 exhibition areas that include film footage, text panels and artefacts. About an hour’s drive from Johannesburg is the Cradle of Humankind, which is renowned for its extraordinary fossil record of early human ancestors.

Main city

Johannesburg The capital of Gauteng was built on the discovery of gold in 1886. It is now a vibrant megacity (the greater Johannesburg area is home to about 10-million people) that is the economic powerhouse of the country.

Overview

Gauteng is an urban playground – think large shopping malls, bars, hotels, casinos and a vibrant cultural and entertainment scene. It is South Africa’s economic powerhouse, and is fast-paced, high-tech and ever changing.

Gauteng is the smallest of South Africa’s nine provinces, but also the most densely populated and the fastest growing – not too surprising, really, as Gauteng means ‘place of gold’ (gold has been intertwined with the province’s history ever since its discovery in the Johannesburg area in 1886).

It is a province of contrasts – old and new, contemporary and traditional, dense cities and wide-open grasslands, all co-existing.

Although dominated by urban areas, there are a number of great natural attractions, like the Dinokeng Game Reserve, Gauteng’s only Big Five nature reserve; the Pretoria National Botanical Garden; and the Magaliesberg mountains.

Gauteng is also home to the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, which contains some of the most important palaeoanthropological sites in the world. Here, scientists have discovered important fossils that tell us much about the predecessors of modern humans.

Most of Gauteng is on the Highveld, a high-altitude grassland; its spectacular Highveld thunderstorms are legendary.

There’s plenty for you to do in Gauteng, whether you favour a night on the town, a game drive or some great shopping. Immerse yourself in Gauteng’s cultural scene – there are museums, galleries, theatres, historical sites, cultural hubs and a number of music festivals.

Gauteng boasts a world-class infrastructure and a large range of accommodation, from the ultra-luxurious to budget options.

Eastern Cape

Top attractions

Addo Elephant National Park and the Wild Coast This is the only reserve in the world that is home to the Big Seven – elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, great white sharks and southern right whales. The 164 000ha park, near Port Elizabeth, is rated as one of the best places in Africa to see elephants up close. Further up the coast is an area known as the Wild Coast, a coastal area of exceptional natural beauty.

Main city

Port Elizabeth Know as the Friendly City, the Windy City, or simply PE, Port Elizabeth was founded as a town in 1820 to house British settlers. It is the second-oldest city and the fifth largest in South Africa. Life here revolves around the ocean. The city caters for everyone, and is known as a great family vacation centre.

Overview

South Africa’s ‘wild’ province, the Eastern Cape features expanses of untouched beach, bush and forest. It is an area with some enticing attractions – pristine beaches, abundant wildlife and spectacular scenery.

Its natural diversity is impressive: the Eastern Cape incorporates parts of all seven ecological zones that occur in South Africa. It also features all three of the country’s biodiversity regions, which is further enhanced by its 820km of untamed coastline.

This ensures an assortment of plant and animal species, including the Big Five, abundant birdlife and rich marine life (including 27 species of whales and dolphins).

The province offers something for everyone: for the adrenaline addict there’s tubing down the Storm’s River Gorge, skydiving in Grahamstown and taking the plunge off the Bloukrans Bridge on the world’s highest commercially operated bridge bungee; outdoor enthusiasts can try spot the Big Seven or enjoy pristine beaches.

The province is steeped in history – it is the birthplace of Nelson Mandela and a number of other great political activists – and was one of the centres at the forefront of the fight for democracy in South Africa.

Like South Africa’s other provinces, the Eastern Cape has an excellent infrastructure, with good roads and plenty of accommodation.

Limpopo

Top attractions

Mapungubwe and the northern Kruger The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mapungubwe is tucked into the far north-west corner of the province, next to the Limpopo River that borders with Botswana and Zimbabwe. Here are the remains of an ancient African kingdom that traded gold and ivory with people from the East. In the eastern corner of this province is the northern region of the Kruger National Park, South Africa’s premier game reserve. This part of the park has a unique character and is famous for its beautiful baobab trees, birdlife and large herds of elephant and buffalo.

Main city

Polokwane Polokwane, Limpopo’s capital city, in the centre of the province, is the commercial, administrative and agricultural hub of the region. It has wide streets, colourful flowering trees, shopping malls, offices and fast-flowing traffic on the way to and from the Zimbabwean border.

Overview

In recent times Limpopo has taken its rightful place as a sought-after tourist destination with big game, brilliant birding, untamed bush landscapes, a marvellous ancient African kingdom, places of myth and legend, and as the northern gateway to Kruger National Park.

It is South Africa’s northernmost province and one of its wildest (wildest in terms of immense untamed landscapes).

Because of its malaria-free game parks, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mapungubwe (possibly Southern Africa’s first-ever kingdom), its cultural heritage steeped in myth and legend, and its fascinating mountain ranges, it is now a drawcard for travellers who are seeking roads less travelled.

Limpopo is now home to one of South Africa’s most popular and malaria-free Big Five destinations – the Waterberg, a high plateau in the west of the province surrounded by bushveld that is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Limpopo is also known for its rich cultural heritage. You’ll find woodcarvers, potters, intricate beadwork, legends and myths, and even a Rain Queen, the hereditary female ruler of the Modjadji people, who is held to have the power to make rain.

The southern slopes of the far northern Soutpansberg mountains have a subtropical climate with lush farms growing macadamia nuts and avocados, although higher up you’ll find more typical mountain scenery with gorges, waterfalls and hillsides, where more than 550 species of trees flourish. Because of its unique ecosystems, the area is designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Kwazulu Natal

Top attractions

Bush, beaches, mountains Choose one of Durban’s popular beaches with amenities galore plus superb surfing, or make your way north or south along the coast. Sodwana Bay is a diving and fishing mecca. Inland, you’ll find the impressive Drakensberg mountains, which offer numerous recreational amenities for fly-fishers, hikers, horse-riders and holidaymakers, while in the northern part of the province there are several world-class game reserves.

Main city

Durban The laid-back but busy city of Durban is South Africa’s third-largest city. It’s Africa’s largest port, one of South Africa’s favourite seaside destinations (‘Durbs’ to the locals), and an exciting mix of urban Zulu culture, a huge Indian population and English-speaking South Africans.

Overview

South Africa’s third-smallest province, KwaZulu-Natal is also one of its most exciting – it has a wealth of scenic and cultural attractions that include the country’s most developed beaches south and north of Durban, as well as isolated, almost untouched beaches; world-famous game reserves; two UNESCO World Heritage Sites; and some of the South Africa’s most famous historic battlefields.

The richly diverse province stretches along the warm Indian Ocean from Port Edward in the south to Swaziland and Mozambique in the north. The coast has a subtropical climate all year round.

In the west of the province you’ll find South Africa’s most magnificent mountains, the Drakensberg, in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site. Inland, the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands offer a lush, green countryside brimming

with historical little towns, attractive country hotels and irresistible craft routes.

KwaZulu-Natal is also where battles that captured the world’s attention took place in the 1800s and early 1900s, when Boers and Brits battled Zulus, and Boers battled Brits.

In the interior, north of Durban, among other smaller game parks and superb private Big Five game reserves, is the iconic Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, your best chance of spotting black and white rhino.

Further north up the coast is the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its ecosystems that brim with game and marine life.

The province has an excellent infrastructure, with good roads, fine accommodation and a wide selection of restaurants. Its main airport is King Shaka International Airport, about 35km north of Durban.

Table Mountain

Top attractions

Table Mountain and Robben Island Table Mountain is Cape Town’s most famous landmark. A cable car trip to the top of the mountain is the perfect way to orientate yourself on your first trip to the city. On a clear day at the top you should be able to see Robben Island in Table Bay, the place where former president Nelson Mandela was once held prisoner. Many visitors visit both these attractions in a day.

Main city

Cape Town South Africa’s second-largest city (after Johannesburg) and very popular with international travellers, Cape Town is renowned for its scenic beauty. With an international airport and busy port, the city is a bustling metropolitan area.

Overview

The Western Cape extends from the Cape of Good Hope 400km north and 500km east. It is South Africa’s fourth-largest province and bounded by the Northern and Eastern Cape.

It is best known for Cape Town, South Africa’s ‘Mother City’, a popular travel destination with its iconic Table Mountain and beautiful beaches, among many other attractions.

The Western Cape is home to the West Coast National Park, famous for birds and spring flowers (in late August and September) and the Cederberg, an area of contrast where 71 000ha of rugged mountains are offset in spring by carpets of yellow, orange, blue and purple flowers.

Along the province’s eastern coastline lies the picturesque Garden Route, which stretches several hundred kilometres from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. This is one of the country’s most popular routes.

The wine-growing areas of Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington, Franschhoek, Ceres, Worcester, Bonnievale and Robertson are popular attractions, where a Mediterranean climate favours the production of superb wines.

The province is also renowned for its fresh seafood, from line fish to lobster, snoek and hake.

Cape Town International Airport is the second busiest in the country, after OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

From the waterfront hotels of Cape Town to campsites in national parks, guest houses, B&Bs and luxury apartments, a variety of accommodation options are available to suit all tastes.

Mpumalanga

Top attractions

Kruger National Park and scenic beauty

The Kruger National Park crosses the border of both Limpopo and Mpumalanga. It’s South Africa’s premier national park and is exceptionally well set up for tourists. You can expect good roads and an excellent choice of accommodation to suit all pockets. It is also the locale of the famous Panorama Route, which takes you through some of the most scenic landscapes to be found in the country.

Main city

Mbombela (Nelspruit)

Mpumalanga’s capital city (previously called Nelspruit) started life in the 1890s as a hub for gold diggers, farmers and traders. It’s now a thriving commercial and farming centre (look out for tropical fruit that grows here in abundance) and a shopping centre for residents of neighbouring Swaziland and Mozambique.

Overview

This scenically beautiful province, which means ‘the land of the rising sun’ in the local siSwati and Zulu languages, is best known for its wildlife, adventure and history.
Mpumalanga is home to the Kruger National Park, one of the oldest, largest and most famous game reserves in the world. It is also where you’ll find the Sabi Sand Reserve, South Africa’s most prestigious private game reserve.

Expect dramatic scenery: there are more waterfalls here than anywhere else in the country; mountains that cocoon Earth’s oldest life forms; the oldest dolomite caves in the world; colourful culture; an exciting gold-rush past; friendly little towns; and adventure activities galore.

The province, which stretches east from Gauteng to the neighbouring countries of Swaziland and Mozambique, is home to the scenic Panorama Route that traces the course of the powerful Blyde River and takes in some spectacular natural attractions, as well the historic village of Pilgrim’s Rest, where you can relive the gold rush of the 1870s (and even pan for gold if you have time).

Accommodation ranges from charming, affordable B&Bs to guest farms, country hotels and luxury game lodges. Mpumalanga has excellent infrastructure with good roads that make self-drive easy, and lots of attractive small towns with restaurants and curio shops.

It’s also South Africa’s top adventure centre, where you can go river rafting, abseiling, climbing, quad biking, horse riding and mountain biking.