South Africa is a land of contrasts. On a broad scale, the country is defined by a rim of mountains and escarpments that run from the far north, along the eastern seaboard all the way to the southern tip, and then a short distance up the west coast. The popular tourist destinations are found along this chain of mountains and the green coastal belt that it creates.
The vast bowl of land that is encapsulated by this rim of mountains is arid, particularly in the north-western parts of the country. The horizons stretch forever, and at night you can almost touch the skies. It is sparsely populated, light in infrastructure, and rich in reward for the occasional tourist who is prepared to venture off the beaten track.
Wildlife conservation has always been the domain of national conservation bodies and some of the older national parks have been doing sterling work for over a century. Pleasingly, private enterprise has become increasingly involved over the last two or three decades, and South Africa now boasts a number of extremely well run private wildlife areas, some of considerable size. These lodges are some of the key attractions for the luxury traveller to the country.
In the southern hemisphere winter, the wildlife experience extends to whale watching when these leviathans come to nurture their young in the South Africa’s more temperate waters. Along the South African coastline there are long stretches where you will cross over your own footprints after a morning on the beach. There is nothing quite like this sense of solitude to revitalise a weary soul.
If it’s a city break that you are seeking, nothing in the country compares to Cape Town. And it is not just our opinion. Cape Town regularly makes it into international top 10 lists. With attractions like The V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain’s Cableway, Cape Point, the Winelands, the beaches, the city itself, and the craft and flea markets, it is easy to see why.
Cable and Grain’s set of tours and safaris offers a quick glimpse into a country of immense diversity. However, about a third of international tourists return to South Africa again and again. Our partner website, Nightjar Travel, provides comprehensive detail about all 9 provinces, 42 tourist regions, 220 towns and about 2 000 activities and attractions. It also hosts an online travel magazine that publishes about 20 feature articles a month and two or three shorter travel blogs per day. If you are one of these frequent returnees, you may want to have a look at their comprehensive self-drive tours section, which captures the best of the country in a set of customisable self-drive tours.