Dunvegan Golf House, a self-catering home,  for your holiday accommodation rental near Cape Town

                                    

 

Dunvegan north view at sunset

                                                

 

South Africa

 

 

 


You'll discover that South Africa is so beautiful. Scenic glories range from the lush forests of the Garden Route, to the rolling sand dunes of the Kalahari. The magnificent Drakensberg Mountains offer some awe-inspiring panoramas, while in contrast there is the gorgeous countryside of the wine lands. The escape to the wilderness of the bush is an antidote to the pressures of urban life, while the vast prairies in the center of the country provide a wonderful feeling of space and freedom.



Wildlife and Animal Watching   [up]

More and more people are attracted by the nature and game reserves of South Africa. The most popular one is, of course, the Kruger National Park. Next to the Kruger Park you will find 21 national and more than 200 provincial parks. Most of the "public" and "private" nature conservation areas are developed for the tourist and offer accommodation and recreational facilities.

 
South Africa's wildlife sanctuaries fall into three main categories: nature parks, private and national game reserves. Nature parks are not so much noted for their wildlife as their scenic beauty, walking and hiking trails. The majority of private reserves are located on the western border of the Kruger National Park and there are others in northern KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. If you're really planning a safari and hope to enjoy the true wildlife experience, it's best to contact a wildlife tour organizer based in South Africa.

The country is one of the best places in Africa for seeing the "Big Five" - elephant, lion, rhino (black and white), leopard and buffalo, in addition to cheetah, giraffe, zebra, numerous antelope types, hippo and crocodile. South Africa also has one of the greatest diversities of bird species in the world. From May to August, the grass is short and game is easily spotted. From August through to mid-October - the last months of the dry season in most of the country - game tends to concentrate near waterholes, which make them ideal viewing areas.

National Parks and Game Reserves

With the greatest concentration of mammals in the world, the Kruger National Park is a must for all safari-enthusiasts. Kruger is host to about 8,000 elephant, 2,500 white rhino, 300 black rhino, 20,000 buffalo, 2,000 lion, 900 leopard, 250 cheetah, 4,600 giraffe, and 30,000 zebra. In addition there are over 500 species of birds. If you do visit the park allow about 2 days for a visit and remember that anti-malaria precautions are necessary.

The park caters to about 700,000 visitors a year, yet because of its size (it's as big as Wales) and its infrastructure, it creates an impression of unspoilt wilderness, particularly in the less frequented northern section. The southern part of Kruger is in Mpumalanga's lowveld and the northern part in Northern Province. To the north Kruger shares borders with Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou National Park while to the east it adjoins wildlife areas of Mozambique.

The Ndumo Game Reserve lies towards the northern border with Mozambique, and about 470 km north of Durban. Ndumo boasts an abundance of birds, over 60% of the 800 species found in South Africa have been recorded here, with tropical migrants from East Africa as well as many storks, flamingos and pelicans. There are large numbers of hippo and crocodile although the lush vegetation makes it difficult to spot animals like buffalo and nyala.

A visit to the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park - located 280 km north of Durban - is definitely worthwhile, even for those who have already seen Kruger, as the hilly topography and lush vegetation is quite different and there's a good chance of seeing rhino. Hluhluwe and Umfolozi (joined in 1992) were set up to save the rhino from extinction in 1895. Umfolozi was the first park in South Africa to offer wilderness trails - between March and November the park can be explored on foot (or horseback) in small groups on three-day safaris, accompanied by experienced rangers.

 
Situated on the Eastern Cape, 25 kms south west of Cradock, The malaria free Mountain Zebra National Park is a sanctuary for the rare Cape Mountain Zebra. The park consists of grasslands and the arid Great Karoo. The Addo Elephant National Park is the most concentrated elephant reserve in Africa, located on the Easter Cape, 70 km north of Port Elizabeth. Some 300 elephants are the main attraction. Also Cape buffalo, rare black rhino, warthog, eland, kudu and various other antelope species may be seen.

Other reserves and parks that should be included in your itinerary are the Tembe Elephant Park, The Elephant and Rhino Reserve, The Perinet Reserve and the Sabi Sands Game Reserve.

Whale Watching

The renowned, safari-enthusiasts "Big Five" are expanded to the "Big Six" in the Cape, as whales are the big attraction for the public, especially along the south coast of Mossel Bay up to False Bay.

The most famous whale-mecca is Hermanus, an unspoilt holiday haven, about 100 km from Cape Town. In Hermanus a "Whale Caller" shouts "whale in sight" to alert the tourists. A great viewpoint is the Harbour Museum, from where you can watch the "Southern Right Whale". Listen carefully, and it is even possible to hear a "whale conversation". All nature fans entranced by this coastal belt, where the rugged cliffs offer a wonderful sighting of the ocean and the whales. Binoculars are an absolute must. The best time for whale watching is from August to the beginning of January.



Wine and Wine Routes   [up]

 
Many people are becoming more knowledgeable about both South African white wines, with their fresh fruity elegance and the reds, full-bodied with a distinct bouquet. White wines lead the market. Popular grapes are Chenin Blanc, Cape Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Leading red varieties are Cinsaut, Pinotage, Pinot Noir, Shiraz and at the top of the league, Cabernet Sauvignon, which merits being laid down for at least 10 years.

A popular way of discovering the joys of South African wines is on a day trip from Cape Town - either self-drive or on an organized excursion by a local travel organizer. Devotees of the grape however can spend several days - weeks if they wish - finding out about the subtle differences between the various types, as there are so many estates to visit. In all, there are 13 wine routes to explore - and 2,000 varieties of wine to sample!

All the main vineyard areas are in the Western Cape and lie within a relatively concentrated area no further than 100 miles from Cape Town, broadly in an easterly direction. The drier and hotter Klein Karoo, Olifants River and lower Orange River regions lie further to the east and north and do not benefit from the same Mediterranean climate.



Activities for the Adventurous   [up]

South Africa is a great destination for lovers of the Great Outdoors, not only for those going on safari but also for adventure enthusiasts. Many South African activity organizers can arrange some of the most exhilarating trips, from scuba diving to surfing and from white-water rafting to whale watching.

 
Surfing

South Africa has some of the best and the least crowded surfing beaches in the world, allowing experienced and inexperienced surfers alike to find "their" beach. For beginners, Algoa Bay and Silvic Bay near Port Elizabeth have relatively light waves while breakers of up to three meters pound the beaches of the west coast near Cape Town. However, the water temperature of the Atlantic does not exceed 18 C.! The Indian Ocean in contrast reaches temperatures of 24C. This is where Durban, the centre of surfing, is situated. From October to April perfect winds prevail.

The best months for surfing are from October to April. During this time you can expect winds around strength six on the Beaufort scale. During the month of December you can expect a lull in wind intensity. Average temperatures in Cape Town range from 16C in August to 28C degrees in January and in Port Elizabeth from 19C to 25C.

Cape Town offers the most concentrated choice of surfing spots in South Africa. There are almost 48 spots within an hour's drive of the city. The largest concentration is on the western side of the Peninsula facing the Atlantic Ocean. The breaks on the peninsula itself range from the harbor wall to the north, down the Atlantic seaboard, around Cape Point (about 65km from the city), up the east side to the seaside resort of Muizenberg and beyond, and along the 40km beach that stretches all the way from Muizenberg to Gordon's Bay.

 
Diving

South Africa boasts a wealth of colorful, underwater fauna and flora with a phenomenal variety of 2,000 different species of fish. Close encounters with whales and dolphins are possible. The southernmost coral reef in the world is on the KwaZulu-Natal coastal belt. Places of special interest are the various ship-wrecks which lie off Cape Point (Cape of Good Hope).

The main types of scuba diving and snorkeling in South Africa include Tropical Reef Diving, Wreck Diving, Cape Diving and for the more adventurous diver - Shark Diving. The latter involves you being lowered in a cage and seeing the sharks close up. Sharks migrate through False Bay, at the Cape, from June to August, and ragged-tooth sharks move into the Durban (KwaZulu-Natal) area from October to January.

Scuba divers need special equipment and training before taking the plunge. An alternative way of seeing the rich marine life of the underwater world is snorkeling - all you need is a pair of flippers, a snorkel and a mask.

 
White Water Rafting and Canoeing

Canoe trips and river rafting, called "Koofing" in Afrikaans, are gaining popularity. Experience is not necessary and children can participate as well. These activities may involve camping overnight in the open, under Africa's magnificent starry sky.

They can be as challenging as you choose, depending on the river. Some, like the Doring in the Cape, are fast-flowing and steep. Others, including the Orange River, are less demanding, though still offering their share of thrills and spills. You need to be fairly fit to cope with the really wild rivers, but most swimmers can deal with the more gentle conditions. And if you've time to look at the scenery - you'll find it as breathtaking as the rafting.



Places of Interest   [up]

Don't feel stuck in a rut when you're staying in a city or town - in South Africa there's plenty of urban adventure just around the corner. Indeed you're missing out if you ignore the vibrant variety of multi-ethnic experiences waiting for you on your doorstep. Coastal cities are beginning to realize the potential of their harborfronts as ideal tourist destinations, re-introducing some fascinating waterfront activities and drawing scores of shops, restaurants, art and craft dealers, musicians and many other attractions.

Travelers are rewarded with good value and excellent accommodation in South Africa, including many B&Bs, guest houses and even accommodation in private lodges and game reserves.

 
Cape Town

Cape Town - known as the "Mother City" because it was here the Dutch established the first European settlement in 1652 - is one of the world's most beautiful cities. It is set on a sweeping bay with Table Mountain as a dramatic backdrop.

As well as its splendid beaches, Cape Town has many tourist attractions. The majestic Table Mountain backdrop makes Cape Town one of the most appealing cities in the world. Table Mountain is a World Heritage Site. Towering 300 metres above sea level, the summit can be reached by a revolving cable car. Once at the top, you are rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views over the city. There's a restaurant serving meals and refreshments and walking trails lined with fynbos plants. On the eastern slopes of Table Mountain are the famous Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens boasting over 5,000 species of indigenous plants - a great place for a picnic.

 
Durban

Durban is known as the place "where the fun never sets", a vibrant, cosmopolitan city, boasting wide, sandy beaches, a plethora of cultural attractions, great nightlife and a year-round sunny climate.

Built around the busiest port in Africa, Durban presents a fascinating fusion of European, Indian and indigenous Zulu influences. Visitors will be drawn first to the Marine Parade seafront, with its "Golden Mile" international hotels, wide range of restaurants, paddling pools, curio sellers, rickshaws - and splendid beaches offering the chance to surf, swim or simply soak up the sun. The bustle of an African market can be discovered at Warwick Junction, where you can find the unusual ingredients of local cuisine like okra and wild spinach. You can also find out the secrets of traditional herbal medicine from a "sangoma" or African healer.

Johannesburg and Pretoria

Born due to the discovery of gold, Johannesburg has grown from a dusty mining town to become the commercial and industrial heart of South Africa. One exciting tourist attraction is the Newtown Cultural Precinct, part of an ambitious urban reclamation project. Situated on President Street between Chinatown, the Oriental Plaza and Diagonal Street, warehouses and other buildings have been renovated to present a microcosm of South African culture. The Workers' Museum features an extensive photographic collection. On Saturdays the square becomes the venue for the Johannesburg Market.

 
Johannesburg has a unique attraction - mine dancing, based on the home-spun entertainment of the thousands of Africans employed by the gold mines. To while away their free time, they would sing and dance to their traditional music, which has a rich historical and cultural background. Incongruously, dancers and musicians perform in miners' hard hats and gumboots!

Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, is a modern city built on the wealth of the Cullinan Diamond Mines. Known as Jacaranda City because of the profusion of mauve-blossomed trees that line its avenues, it is noted for its exquisite gardens, historic buildings, monuments and museums. The grand Union Buildings overlooking the city, are a testament to bygone eras of colonial power, the apartheid years and the freedom struggle. It was on the steps of the Union Buildings that South Africa's first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, addressed the nation on his inauguration.

Kimberley

Kimberley, the scene of a frenetic diamond rush when deposits of the precious gems were found on a farm in 1871, is known as the "City of Diamonds". Situated on the highveld at 1,198m above sea level, the capital of Northern Cape province remains an important hub for the diamond industry as well as a center for agriculture. However the past is recalled with the Big Hole and Kimberley Mine Museum. The 800 meter deep hole, dug out by shovel and pickaxe, is the result of the frenzied excavations by prospectors - some of whom struck it rich, while others suffered the deep disappointment of dashed dreams. The museum houses 'the Eureka', the first diamond discovered and '616', at 616 carats the world's largest diamond.

 
Port Elizabeth

Located on Algoa Bay, with its safe diving beaches, and recording more sunshine hours than any other coastal city, Port Elizabeth is an ideal family resort. Known as the "Friendly City", here there's the chance to indulge in a whole range of watersports - windsurfing, surfing, canoeing, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing to name but a few.

Western Cape

Flanked by the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, this province boasts almost 1,000 kilometres of unspoilt beaches, incredible scenic beauty, and year-round moderate weather. The tapestry of cultural diversity is evident in the variety of cuisine, architecture, arts and crafts, museums and historical landmarks.

 
The Garden Route along this section is South Africa's most famous holiday itinerary, running between Storms River in the east and Mossel Bay in the west. The route runs parallel to a fantastic, lush Indian Ocean coastline of lakes, mountains, indigenous forests, amber-coloured rivers, towering cliffs and long, golden sandy beaches and bays. Holiday resorts are dotted along the way. The town of Knysna is a must see on the Garden Route as it offers breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean and the Knysna Lagoon. Plettenberg Bay, about 195 km from Port Elizabeth also boasts an idyllic setting. During the main season this is certainly the most popular holiday resort on the Garden Route, renowned for its white sandy beaches. Early Portuguese explorers called Plettenberg Bay "Bahia Formosa" (Beautiful Bay).

For more information, why not browse our on-line Bookstore 




Practical Information for the Traveler   [up]

Passports and Visas

Citizens from the EU, the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada do not require a visa for a visit for up to 90 days in the country. All travelers must have a return ticket and should make sure their passport is valid for six months after the intended date of return.

How to Get There

Many international airlines including South African Airways operate non-stop flights between many European and North American cities to Johannesburg or Cape Town. Examples of flight times to Johannesburg are; New York 17.5 hours, Paris, London and Frankfurt 11 hours, Perth 9 hours. Once you're in South Africa domestic flights connect all the key destinations. Driving is on the left and the roads are rarely congested outside the main cities, making self-drive holidays so easy and pleasurable.

Currency and Money

The currency is the Rand, which is divided into 100 cents. Current exchange rates (March 2001) are as follows: US$1 = SAR 8; 1Euro = SAR 7; 1 = SAR 11; Major international credit cards such as American Express, Diners, MasterCard and Visa are accepted. However use may be restricted in small towns and country areas and in some retail shops. Automatic teller machines (ATMs) are situated outside most banks in towns and cities and operate 24 hours a day.

Value Added Tax

14%, included in prices of goods and services. Foreigners may claim VAT refunds at departure points upon leaving South Africa

Road Travel

Traffic drives on the left-hand side of the road. Maximum speed limit on highways is 120km/hour, 80km/hour on freeways, and 60km/hour in urban areas. Foreign drivers' licences are valid in South Africa, provided that they include a photograph of the driver.

Car Rental

We suggest you try the following car rental companies;


What to Bring

During the South African summer (November to February) light-weight clothing is the norm. In winter a jumper or jacket may be needed, particularly in the evenings. A few places may require guests to wear a jacket and tie or cocktail dresses in the evening - but in most cases the dress-code is 'smart casual' - a shirt and slacks.

Try to wear neutral colors - brown, beige or khaki - on game drives to help blend in with the background. Also in game reserves, put on long-sleeved shirts and trousers in the evenings to reduce the chances of mosquito bites.

Binoculars, camera or camcorder are pretty much essential tools of the "safari trade" - and pack plenty of spare film and batteries. You will increase your enjoyment if you bring with you brochures and books on South African flora and fauna.

Languages

South Africa has 11 official languages. English is spoken throughout the land and German, French and Italian are also spoken at some of the main hotels.

Climate

South Africa's seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere, with midwinter in June and July and midsummer in December and January. On the highveld in the interior, there is sunshine the year round. Summers are hot and thundery; winters bright dry and cold at night.

Cape Town and the southernmost part of Western Cape has a Mediterranean-type climate, with mild, changeable winters, when most of the rainfall occurs, and a warm to hot summer. Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal coast enjoys a sub-tropical climate, again with plenty of sunshine year round. Summers are hot, thundery and humid at sea level. June and July, when the humidity is low, are ideal months to visit Durban and the coast.

Health

No vaccination certificates are required for visitors coming from the EU, the US, Australia, Canada or New Zealand but anti-malaria precautions are necessary especially if traveling to the following areas: Eastern lowveld of Mpumalanga and Northern Province, the Kruger National Park and the game reserves in KwaZulu-Natal. Consult your doctor or your Pharmacist for appropriate medication.

The bilharzia parasite is present in streams, rivers, lakes and dams in some of the northern and eastern parts of the country, so visitors should not drink from or bathe in these waters. The Eastern Cape is bilharzia free. It is safe to drink the tap water throughout South Africa, and health regulations control the hygiene of street food vendors. While South Africa boasts excellent medical facilities, visitors should ensure they take out insurance to cover the cost of treatment should the need arise.

Enjoy your trip!

 


Explore Our Site....
[Home page] [Contact Us] [About us] [Enquiry Form]
 [Property Review] [Amenities] [Virtual Tour] [House Layout] [Directions
[Estate Description] [Erinvale] [Golf Courses] [Attractions] [Tourist info] [Bookstore]  
 [Rates] [Availability] [Special offers] [BOOK YOUR HOLIDAY HOME NOW!] [Wine Estates]
[Directions] [Maps] [Guest Book] [Related Sites

INTERNET EXPLORER USERS    Bookmark Us!BOOKMARK OUR SITE. 

NETSCAPE USERS PRESS CTRL D

VISIT OUR ADVERTISERS:

12 CDs for the Price of 1!

VistaPrint.com

In Association with Amazon.com

Accommodation Search Engine

   2001  Dunvegan Golf House. All rights reserved. Revised: 17 Nov 2002 . Policies