This country is perhaps most famous for its former president, Nelson Mandela, and for hosting the 2010 FIFA world cup, but also often bearing the stereotype of being a country with unstable government and poor living conditions throughout the country. Contrary to that belief, South Africa in fact, does have modern technology and well-developed infrastructure in certain major cities such as Cape Town and Johannesburg, though income inequality prevails and other parts of South Africa are unfortunately still in poverty. This is inevitably due to the apartheid that occurred between 1948 and 1991 where racial discrimination and segregation was rife because of white supremacy. Nonetheless, South Africa is still a beautiful country to visit, especially for adventure-lovers who do not mind cage-diving with sharks, or for the cultural enthusiasts itching to possess some African crafts and curios from the local flea markets in Cape Town, and even fossil enthusiasts who may want to visit the Karoo region in the Western Cape where an estimated 80% of mamillian dinosaur fossils were found.
As the southernmost country in Africa, it is bounded by the Atlantic, Indian and Southern oceans, and is home to numerous scenic locations such as the gorgeous Libson falls and Three Rondavels, as well as many UNESCO world heritage sites. Situated in one of such sites is the Kruger National Park. This park spans 2 million-hectares and is South Africa’s largest protected reserve, famous for its significant number of Big 5 species. The ‘Big 5’ is a term used to denote the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt in South Africa; the lion, rhinoceros, elephant, leopard, and buffalo. On the game drive safari, you will have the opportunity to search for animals while traversing through the bush, using the narrow dirt roads which will take you past water holes, across rivers, through open plains of grassland, thick woodland bush and even down dried river beds. This will be your chance to look out for any animal tracks or even any of the Big 5 themselves, of course with the help of a qualified and experienced game ranger and local shangaan tracker in a land rover.
The Sudwala Caves, which are the world’s oldest caves, is another popular tourist destination in South Africa. In the nineteenth century, the caves were used by Somquba, the brother of the Swazi heir apparent, as a fortress and many battles were fought at the entrance to the cave in a power struggle for the Swazi throne. Inside the caves is an ancient seabed with sculptures of nature and creatively-illuminated colossal chambers. There are several speleothem structures (cave formations), such as the “Screaming Monster”, which were formed 2000 million years ago.
Interestingly, South Africa has the highest number of recognised official languages in the world; 11 in total, and is known for its cultural diversity which led many to refer to it as ‘Rainbow Nation’. Its cultural diversity is expressed in many ways, one of which is through their cuisine. One should not visit South Africa without trying their Braaivleis, meat that is roasted over an open wood or charcoal fire, which is popular at social gatherings, or their Pap, a porridge made with corn meal, which is sometimes eaten as a breakfast item. There are also numerous indigenous groups in the country, the largest group being the Zulu people of South Africa with a population of approximately 11 million. They are believed to have emigrated from the Central African Lakes around the 15th century and have since lived in KwaZulu-Natal, a coastal South African province.