Africa - Regions
The Western Cape
© South African Tourism
The Western Cape province is situated on the south-western
tip of the African continent. This is a region
of majestic mountains, well-watered valleys,
wide sandy beaches and breathtaking scenery.
Cape Town, the Mother City, established
in 1652, lies cradled at the foot of one of the world's most
famous landmarks, Table Mountain. Along
with Table Mountain, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and Cape
Point are some of the most popular tourist attractions
in the country.
A wonderland for botanists worldwide, the Western Cape is home
to the world's smallest floral kingdom, boasting
a greater diversity of plant species than any other place on earth.
For many, the Winelands, located within driving
distance of Cape Town, are considered the heart of the Cape. The
region consists of historical homesteads and vineyards nestled
below rugged mountain ranges.
Some say you haven't lived until you've experienced the Cape West
Coast. This stretch is home to the Swartland, with its dramatic
coastline, 5 million year old fossils,
rolling wheat lands, dairy farms, orange groves and vineyards,
historical mission stations and endless mountain ranges.
Whatever you're looking for, you're bound to find it here at the
Cape, one of the most magical places on the planet!
Just view our South Africa map above for specific
The Northern Cape
Follow the West Coast road north from Cape Town and enter a region
unlike any other in South Africa. The Northern Cape is
not for the faint hearted, with vast arid plains and extreme climatic
The largest of all the provinces, the
Northern Cape has the smallest population, and boasts the coldest
town in the country, Sutherland,
where temperatures plummet to minus 10 or lower in winter.
Famed world wide for its spectacular display of spring
flowers, the Northern Cape (see our Northern Cape
map above) is also home to several national parks and conservation
areas. These include Africa's first Trans-frontier
Park, the Kgalagadi, which provides unfenced
access to a variety of wildlife between South Africa and
Botswana. The Kgalagadi is one of the world's largest remaining
protected natural ecosystems with an area
of over 2 million hectares.
The Kalahari Desert area of the Northern Cape
is also home to the last remaining true San people (Bushmen), and
is rich in San rock engravings.
Visit the world's most famous diamond mines,
paddle the mighty Orange River, drive awesome
4x4 trails and be amazed by the cathedral in the
Whatever you choose, you will not regret your decision to go off
the tourist track.
The Southern Cape
© South African Tourism
More commonly known as the Overberg - "over
the mountain" - this is the most southerly region of Africa,
the Cape's most jealously guarded secret.
Many visitors to our shores miss out on this hidden beauty
because nobody told them it was there. Make sure you don't!
Here you'll find Cape Agulhas, the very southern-most
tip of the continent, where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet.
On the way you'll discover a garden of delight, with rare wild
flowers, orchards of fruit, wine estates and breweries, endless
fields of wheat, oats and barley, the nursery of the Southern
Right whales with the best land based whale watching in
the world, close encounters with the Great White Shark, country
hospitality, history and culture going back to the very first hunter-gatherers
who once inhabited these lands, architectural gems, conservation
projects… the list goes on.
Spend time here, explore on foot or horseback and you'll be well
The Garden Route
When you've seen the 250 kilometres of empty, unspoiled
sandy beaches washed by the warm Indian Ocean,
the many charming seaside resorts caressed by balmy breezes,
the deep river gorges, the lagoons, the strings of lovely
lakes and forested mountains, you'll understand why this
part of Africa is so often called a taste of Eden.
© South African Tourism
Stretching from Mossel Bay, where Bartholomew
Dias first made landfall in 1488, up the east coast to the Tsitsikamma
Mountains, the Paradise Coast has so much to offer, it's
not a case of what to do, but how to do it all.
Apart from an enormous range of activities, from relaxing in
the sun to the adrenalin rush of the highest bungee bridge
jump in the world, visiting the world-renowned Cango
Caves and ostrich farms of Oudtshoorn or
swinging through the forest along Tarzan's tree top trail, there's
a wealth of local artists producing anything and everything, from
making paper out of dung to carving the superb woods from the indigenous
Accommodation options likewise range from the simplest self-catering forest
cottage to the heights of absolute luxury, where
your every whim will be indulged.
The Eastern Cape
This is where the Garden Route leads
you, the province offering more than a million hectares of
malaria free game reserves, hundreds of kilometres of shining
beaches and the highest number of sunshine hours on South
Add to this the dramatic, rugged mountains and arid, open
plains of the Karoo heartland, lush indigenous forests, a
wealth of fascinating multi-ethnic history and the almost
untouched paradise of the Wild Coast, Nelson Mandela's birthplace
and today an eco-tourism hotspot, and you have everything
you need for a true African experience.
Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the east, and on the north
and west by the majestic Drakensberg, South Africa's highest
mountains, called "the barrier of spears" by the Zulus, KwaZulu-Natal does
Durban, South Africa's largest port and third
largest city offers superb hotels, a vibrant beachfront, art and
culture and many shopping centres.
A short journey up the coast brings you to wetland and marine
reserves, mangrove swamps and tropical coral reefs (see Dive
Further inland, experience traditional life in a Zulu
cultural village, visit the battlefields and relive
the history of the mighty Zulu nation - all while hearing the
spine chilling tales of rivers running with blood.
And let's not forget KwaZulu-Natal's famed National Parks and
reserve areas, among them Hluhluwe-Umfolozi, fourth
largest in the country and world-renowned for its rhino conservation
The Free State
© South African Tourism
The heart of South Africa, this is truly 'big sky' country.
From the scenic Eastern Highlands and Golden
Gate National Park, to its golden maize fields,
this is the ideal place to linger on a stopover between the
Cape and Johannesburg or KwaZulu-Natal.
One of the Free State's lesser known secrets is that Bloemfontein,
the provincial capital, was the birthplace of J.R.R. Tolkien,
author of Lord of the Rings.
Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West Province
From the City of Gold to natural wonders
and wildlife, there is something for everyone
in this region. Enjoy the extremes of Johannesburg's exclusive
upmarket suburbs and the throbbing life of the sprawling
townships of Soweto and Alexandra.
Descend into the depths of the deepest gold mines in
the world, or be blown away by the spectacular Palace
of the Lost City at the opulent Sun City casino
Go east to the hot Lowveld plains, and
spend time with the Big Five in the world-ranking Kruger
National Park, not only South Africa's largest reserve
but also now part of Africa's newest Trans-frontier Park,
jointly managed by South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
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