Stay Africa - South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA

GENERAL INFORMATION:-

Situated at the southern tip of Africa, South Africa has a landmass of 1 233 404 km² edged on 3 sides by a nearly 3000km coastline washed by the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic. It is bordered in the north by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and also wraps itself around two independent countries, the Lesotho and Swaziland.

South Africa's immensely varied terrain supports a rich diversity of animals, birds, and plant-life and offers an incomparable range of experiences.

Whether you're in South Africa on safari or to enjoy the beaches, breathtaking drives, whale-watching or unspoiled wilderness, SA-Venues.com strives to help you experience the very best that the Country has to offer, including finding the ideal Cape Town accommodation or the perfect accommodation in South Africa for your holiday.

South Africa's 9 Provinces

Western Cape

The Western Cape's heady mix of mountains, vineyards, and oceans appeals to millions of visitors annually. More than any other province its attractions border on iconic and, as a result, the province is the most popular for foreign visitors. Certainly Cape Town's big 6 (now 7) attractions – Cape Point, Robben Island, Groot Constantia, Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch, V&A Waterfront, and now The City Walk – have become central to any stay in the Western Cape and the Mother City.

Eastern Cape

Scenic diversity is one of the most striking characteristics of the Eastern Cape, ranging from the lush, evergreen Tsitsikamma Forest to the rugged Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area, the southern slopes of the Drakensberg.

Whether you're in the mood for an informal seaside escape, an encounter with the "Big Five" on safari, or a choice of scintillating city diversions, you're sure to find what you're looking for in the Eastern Cape. Scenic diversity is one of the most striking characteristics of the region, ranging from the lush, evergreen Tsitsikamma Forest to the rugged Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area, the southern slopes of the Drakensberg and the arid Great Karoo.

KwaZulu-Natal

KwaZulu Natal's leisure options provide a multitude of choices to keep you endlessly entertained. From the city of Durban you can catch a shuttle to Margate, at the hub of the South Coast Golf Circuit. When you're not playing golf, fishing or lying on the beach, you can visit a crocodile farm, a nature reserve or follow an arts and crafts trail.

Gauteng

Stretching all the way from Pretoria in the north to Vereeniging in the south, Gauteng (Sotho for place of gold, although the ‘gaut’ is also thought to originate from the Dutch ‘goud’ for gold) was created by the ANC in 1994 after the country’s first all-race elections, uniting six regions, including part of the old Transvaal province, into what might be the smallest South African province, but serves as the gateway into Africa.

Mpumalanga

Formerly known as the Eastern Transvaal, Mpumalanga is one of South Africa's top tourist destinations. People are drawn to Mpumalanga by the magnificent scenery, by the fauna and flora and by the saga of the 1870s gold rush era and a wealth of fascinating tribal legends.

Aptly know as "Paradise Country", few regions in the world can match the extraordinary beauty of the Mpumalanga Lowveld and escarpment. Mountains, panoramic passes, valleys, rivers, waterfalls and forests characterise the landscape. This is also Big Game Country, the setting for dozens of sanctuaries teeming with wildlife and birds. Among them, the Kruger National Park is world renowned, as are several of the luxurious private reserves on its western boundary.

Limpopo

South Africa’s northernmost province, Limpopo, borders onto Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana, making it the ideal entrance to Africa. Named after the great Limpopo River that flows along its northern border, this province is rich in wildlife, spectacular scenery and a wealth of historical and cultural treasures.

The Great North Road from Pretoria was first carved by the creaking wheels of ox wagons. Today, when you follow the footsteps of the Voortrekkers, you'll travel on fast, safe roads and enjoy every modern amenity as you go.

North West Province

Apart from its enviable setting in the western Magaliesberg, there's always plenty to see and do in the popular holiday resort of Rustenburg. From there, less than half an hour's drive takes you to the glamorous Sun City Resort and its enormous range of leisure options.

Nearby, you have an excellent chance of spotting the "Big Five" at the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. History buffs will be fascinated by Mafikeng, and in particular its museum, which has exhibits relating to the Siege of Mafeking, the Barolong people and the Bushmen. The towns of Lichtenburg, Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom are of interest from a historical point of view.

The Free State

With its wealth of historical and cultural attractions and excellent facilities, Bloemfontein is the ideal place to start a tour of the Free State. North of Winburg, the Willem Pretorius Game Reserveis the Free State's major provincial reserve, offering a wealth of wildlife, excellent fishing conditions, and a wide range of sports facilities.

Kroonstad has all you need for a relaxing break, including an excellent holiday resort. Loch Athlone, one of the major attractions of Bethlehem, is a magnet for anglers and those who enjoy pottering around in boats. No visit to the Free State is complete without following the renowned Highlands Route. Starting at Harrismith and ending at Zastron, the route is particularly notable for the Golden Gate National Park, beautiful mountain scenery and charming country towns. In the south-west, the Gariep Dam nature reserve offers an extensive range of leisure activities including water sports, tennis, bowling, horse-riding and golf.

The Northern Cape

Vast expanses of space and silence, drought and blazing summer sunshine. Across the arid landscape, the Orange River flows, at places in a sluggish tide, at others in a powerful explosion of sound and fury. Were it not for the river, much of the region may well have remained bleak and populated only by nomadic bands of Bushmen. Instead, prosperous towns and villages have risen from its banks, and large stretches of once-barren land have been transformed into fields of cotton, Lucerne, dates and grapes.

The wild and lonely western coastline is also one of the world's most prolific fishing grounds, providing yet another source of revenue. Wealth there is too, in copper, but to some, the greatest gift of all lies in the extravagant beauty of Namaqualand's wild flowers. The area is also notable for fine examples of Bushman art, abundant deposits of semi-precious stones, and friendly hospitality. Four major wildlife santuaries and a number of smaller reserves provide endless opportunities for getting back to nature.

Visa Requirements:-

Every person seeking to enter South Africa must be in possession of a valid passport for travel to South Africa and, where necessary, a visa. Enquiries can be directed to South African diplomatic representatives abroad or the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria. Visitors who intend travelling to South Africa's neighbouring countries and back into South Africa are advised to apply for multiple entry visas.

In terms of existing arrangements, passport holders of certain countries are exempt from visa requirements. Tourists must satisfy immigration officers that they have the means to support themselves during their stay, and that they are in possession of return or onward air tickets. They must also have valid international health certificates.

Visit the website of The South African Department of Home Affairs at http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/ for more info

Languages:-

There are 11 official languages including English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda and Zulu. View more information about each language at South African Languages including the origins of the language and where it is spoken in South Africa. Includes some "South Africanisms" and useful Xhosa and Zulu phrases.

English is spoken everywhere you go. English is the language of the cities, of commerce and banking, of government and official documents. All our road signs and official forms are in English and at any hotel, Bed and Breakfast or Guest House, the service staff will speak to you in English.

Security & Safety:-

As South Africa is a developing country, crime does exist, so we would advise you to take a few basic precautions. All valuables, passports, cameras, should be locked in the safe of your hotel. Valuables should be carried discreetly when walking in cities. Gold and other expensive items offered for sale by street vendors are likely to be fakes or stolen property. Do not participate in pavement games as they are operated by well organised gangs and money can be stolen while you are distracted.

Public transport is available in South Africa so there is no need to hitch-hike. Local residents will advise you on safe transport. If driving, do not pick up hitch-hikers and ensure that your car doors are locked at all times. The South African Police are easily recognised in their blue uniforms and by their white and blue patrol vehicles.

BANKING HOURS:
Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 15h30.
Saturday from 09h00 to 11h00.
Auto banks (ATM's, automated teller machines) are found in most towns and operate on a 24 hour basis.

TRAVELLERS CHEQUES:
Most international traveller's cheques are accepted provided they are in an acceptable currency and may be cashed at most banks. Many hotels and shops also provide this service.

Tipping is customary in South Africa. A guideline for visitors is the following: Porters R5 per item, taxis 10%, waiters and waitresses in restaurants 10-15%

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