About South Africa

South Africa’s most scenic routes and mountain passes

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With almost 2800km of often lush, windswept coastline that runs along both the Atlantic and Indian oceans, the snow-capped mountain peaks of the Drakensberg mountain range, and the stark, barren beauty of the Karoo desert lands – the hundreds of scenic drives that slice and meander across South Africa are a traveller’s delight.

So get your road-maps out, pack some padkos (that’s Afrikaans for snacks) and hit the road! Here are some of the more popular routes you can explore.

 

George, the ‘capital’ of the Garden Route

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Garden Route that takes explorers along the coastline roughly between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. The spectacular Outeniqua mountain range frames this coastal establishment.

George lies within the Cape Floral Kingdom, which is World Heritage site because it is one of the richest in flora and fauna species in the world for its size – a delight for birders and nature lovers.

While today the small town of George is the commercial hub of the Garden Route, back in the late 1700s it was a timber outpost for the Dutch East India Company. George is located in the most densely forested area of South Africa, and there was a surge of development that saw a desperate need for a continuous feed of high quality timber for construction, as well as woodcrafts such as furniture-making and building wagons. Many woodcutters and their families flocked to the forest settlements in the area, where stinkwood, ironwood and yellowwood still grow.

 

Coral gardens and shark alleys – SA’s best dive sites

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South Africa’s coastlines are a dream destination for international divers looking for a variety of underwater adventures. With the warm Agulhas current from the Indian Ocean flowing down the eastern side of the southern-most point of the continent, and the cold Benguela current of the Atlantic Ocean on flowing up from the Antarctic, South Africa has all manner of dive sites to be explored.

Here are some of the most popular places to dive in the country.

Sodwana Bay

Located close to St Lucia on the east coast of South Africa, Sodwana Bay has a 50km reef that attracts close to 40 000 divers a year. Famously, the reefs have been named for how far they are situated from Jesser Point, which is a launch site – they are referred to as 2 Mile, 5 Mile, 7 Mile and 9 Mile. Diving conditions are warm, with the minimum temperature being 20 degrees Celsius in August and September each year.

 

Vuvuzela – the sound of the African spirit

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In 2010, when South Africa became the first African country to host the FIFA World Cup, it left a legacy of a people united by sport for the whole continent. On the sidelines, another legacy all together emerged: that of the vuvuzela.

The sound of the vuvuzela became synonymous with African football in 2010. So popular did this plastic horn with its monotone trumpeting sound become that for months it was heard across the world – at the annual hotdog eating competition on Coney Island, at a Hollywood awards show, rock festivals and comic conventions.

 
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