From the verdant sparkling waterways of the Okavango Delta to the arid expanse of the great Kalahari, Botswana is a land of great contrast. This precious, peaceful country offers a plethora of luxury accommodation as well as exhilarating mobile camping and tranquil house boat accommodation.
Occupying over 1.2 million square kilometres across the southern tip of the African continent, South Africa is a land of incredible contrast. The Atlantic Ocean lies to the West and is met by desert while the Indian Ocean to the East laps subtropical beaches and spectacular cliffs. At the southern point, these great oceans meet, this turbulent convergence results in nutritionally rich feeding grounds that sustain an abundance of marine life, including fish, seal, sea lion, penguin, whales, dolphin and sharks.
The winelands around Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl are verdant and green, punctuated with picturesque white Cape Dutch houses all set against a dramatic mountainous backdrop. The wine produced here is globally renowned and the restaurants that have sprung up in the area create dishes that are on a par with the excellent wine. A real mecca for foodies, there are wine tastings and cookery and sommelier courses to inspire and delight.
South Africa has endured a turbulent history, ownership of its fertile lands has been fiercely contested through the ages and bitter rivalries have ensued, the brutal and unjust apartheid regime made it a pariah state until Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990 and the first peaceful democratic elections in 1994. The transition to tolerance and peace was closely followed by the whole world and South Africa has since enjoyed playing host to millions of guests a year and has become one of the top travel destinations globally. Delving into South Africa’s colourful history with a KwaZulu Natal battle field tour or Robben Island visit certainly add context and intrigue to any South African holiday.
No trip to South Africa is complete without a visit to Cape Town, nestled at the foot of the iconic Table Mountain and looking out across the Atlantic, this picturesque, vibrant, sunny city is packed with galleries, restaurants and bars, scramble up Table Mountain to enjoy the panoramic views from the top or visit the penguins at Boulder’s Beach. There are scenic helicopter flights and marine boat safaris.
Hotels, lodges and camps come in all shapes and sizes, the hospitality and service is almost always impeccable and the infrastructure across the whole country is very good. The roads are well maintained and self-driving is popular, particularly along the famous Garden Route which is dotted with spectacular places to stay and offers breath-taking scenery.
With eleven official languages and a patchwork of diverse cultures, it is no wonder Mandela named South Africa ‘the rainbow nation’.