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To Do List For Short Stays In South Africa

June 7, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

It is wise to arm yourself with at least a brief history of South Africa’s most famous and most revered man, Nelson Mandela, before visiting his country as nearly everywhere you go in the country there will be a reminder of the great man. His government focussed on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by attacking racism and fostering racial reconciliation. Time is always the enemy of travellers so this is a guide to Johannesburg, Kruger National Park, Durban and Cape Town.

The main centre at one of Johannesburg’s most popular suburbs Sandton is named Mandela Square as are bridges, parks, streets, houses, bays and many other infrastructures both in Joburg and around the country. Mandela spent a lot of his formative years in Joburg, attending University for his law degree and making a name for himself in political circles. He was an anti-apartheid revolutionary and the first black President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He spent 27 years in gaol mainly on Robben Island as a political prisoner.

Mandela Square

Soweto, packed with history is a great place to start an excursion. Drive, take a quad bike or cycle around the area visiting Hector Pieterson Museum, Mandela House, Vilakazi Street and even have drinks with the locals at the Shack.  A robust BBQ lunch at Chaf Pozi will allow you to watch bungy jumping from the huge Orlando towers. Infused with the history of the struggle against apartheid and abuzz with the energy of the city of gold, Soweto is a must-see for tourists who are looking for more that sun, sea and the big five.

Oh so Magestic

Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers an area of 19,485 square kilometres in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in northeastern South Africa, and extends 360 kilometres from north to south and 65 kilometres from east to west. From Joburg it is a one hour flight or a 4-5 hour drive to Hoedspruit to start a tour to Blyde River Canyon, Bourkes Luck Potholes and God’s window on the way to Hazyview where you can begin your mission to see the big five in a private game park or in the national park. Kapama River Lodge in Limpopo is a comfortable top class place to stay. Good luck finding the Leopard, in five visits they have all managed to allude my groups.

Oh so Magestic

Cosmopolitan Durban is South Africa’s third-largest city. Durban had a major makeover leading up to the 2010 World Cup, with a sleek new stadium and a restored waterfront. There are plans to extend the waterfront promenade right down the south coast.

Home to the largest concentration of people of Indian descent outside of India, Durban also boasts an Asian touch, with the marketplaces and streets of the Indian area replete with the sights, sounds and scents of the subcontinent. From Durban drive on a Midlands Meander covering a distance of around 80 kilometers between Pietermaritzburg and Mooiriver, This meander opens up a world of creative diversity, visitors can expect to meet up with weavers, woodcrafters, potters, leather workers, sculptors, artists, metalworkers, herb growers, box makers, beer brewers, cheese makers and musical instrument crafters. Also visit the area where Mandela was arrested and a sculpture marking 50 years since that occurred has been erected. This amazing sculpture is made up of 50 steel rods of between five and 10 metres high and when viewed from a certain angle, Mandela’s image come into focus.

Mandela sculpture

Make sure you have lunch or a night at the fabulous Fern Hill Hotel. Another property well worth a visit is the renowned Oyster Box Hotel at Umhlanga a 40 minute drive from Durban, the ambience, décor, service and food is extraordinary and of course so are the oysters.

It is a two and a half hour flight from Durban to Cape Town; a city which some see as the jewel in the crown and will certainly fill first timers and frequent visitors with a sense of exploration. Visit Table Mountain, check out the V & A Waterfront with its myriad of restaurants and shops, head to one of the glamourous wineries around Stellenbosch for lunch or go the other way to the Cape of Good Hope. A hop on hop off bus ride around this great city will give you a preview of the many activities to be found.

High Tea time at the Oyser Box

For more information:

Travel Africa               Chris Suchet-Pearson              

Inca Tours                   Hank Holtzhausen        

African Safari Co        Kerry Walters                

Written by John Savage

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