Timothy Tye's Travel Encyclopedia
South Africa Travel Tips

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View of the mountains of South Africa from LesothoView of the mountains of South Africa from Lesotho
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sanipass_drakensberge_01.jpg
authorshipTom Adams
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South Africa is the country at the southern tip of the African continent. It shares a common border with Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland, and surrounds the small state of Lesotho. The country has a 2,798-km (1,739-mile) coastline from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean.

South Africa is renowned as the world's largest producer of gold. Cape Town is the administrative capital of South Africa while Pretoria is where Parliament is located. Johannesburg is the largest city as well as business centre of the country. South Africa has a population of 49 million, comprising 79% Black, 9% White, 9% Coloured, and 2% Asian.

South Africa is most infamous for its policy of legally institutionalised segregation called apartheid. Apartheid was in the making since the Pretoria Convention in 1881, and became a system of legal racial segregation enforced by the National Party government between 1948 and 1994. Under apartheid, while all the people in South Africa were grouped as black, white, coloured and Indian, the whites ruled at the gross disadvantage of the other groups, which were discriminated against.

False Bay, South AfricaFalse Bay, South Africa
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:False_bay.jpg
authorshipTjeerd Wiersma
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As a tourist destination, South Africa is renowned for its wines, not to mention as the world's biggest producer of gold. South Africa is also a good place to view African wildlife.

Visitors to South Africa is often dismayed to find two worlds in one: a First World nation justaposed against a Third World, such was the effect of the decades to enforced segregation. It has well-developed cities as well as the poorest of slums, and the massive gap between the have's and the have-not's result in high crime rate and high security pravalent in all its major cities.

Fast Facts about South Africa

  • Official Name: Republic of South Africa
  • Capital: Pretoria (1,500,000)
  • Population of South Africa: 44,187,637
  • Languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsongo, Tswana, Vanda, Xhosa, Zulu (all official)
  • Currency: Rand
  • Religions: Christian (68%), others
  • Size: 1,221,040 sq km (471,443 sq miles)
  • Region: Africa

Preparing Money for your trip to South Africa

The currency used in South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR).

Planning your visit to South Africa

By Plane
There are 10 international airports in South Africa. The two major ones are the Cape Town International Airport and the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Some visitors also arrive at the Durban International Airport.

By Road
It is possible to enter South Africa by road, from Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Swaziland.

Ukalamba Drakensberge, South AfricaUkalamba Drakensberge, South Africa
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ukalamba_Drakensberge_2.JPG
authorshipLukas Kaffer
photo licensing

By Train
Train travel in South Africa covers the whole range from the basic to the luxurious. As foreigners, you should opt for either the mid-range, such as the Bushveld Train Safaris (www.boon.co.za) and the Shongololo Express (www.shongololo.com), or the luxuries, such as the Blue Train (www.bluetrain.co.za) and Rovos Rail (www.rovos.co.za), for better comfort and security.

Driving
Due to high crime rate in South Africa, visitors are advised to always keep their car doors locked and windows wound up, especially when stopping at the traffic lights. They should never pick up hitchhikers, or leave valuables in the car. Cars should always be locked when it is left unattended. Always park in busy, well-lit places and avoid going to remote areas at night. One should also avoid confrontations with aggressive road users.

Robbers often place obstacles on the road to stop cars. When you see large stones or other objects on the road, carefully drive around them without stopping.

On top of all, South Africa has a high rate accident rate, so visitors are urged to consider the options before deciding to drive.

Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve, South AfricaGrootvadersbosch Nature Reserve, South Africa
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grootvadersbosch_Nature_Reserve_PICT3779_Kopie.jpg
authorshipWinfried Bruenken
photo licensing

Principal Cities of South Africa

  1. Bloemfontein
    Judicial capital of South Africa.
  2. Cape Town
    Second biggest city in South Africa, famous for its Table Mountain.
  3. Durban
    Third biggest city in South Africa, is also the main port of the country.
  4. Johannesburg
    The biggest city in South Africa, the industrial and economy heart of the country.
  5. Kimberley
    City famous for its diamond mining past.
  6. Port Elizabeth
    Major city referred to as Africa's watersports capital.
  7. Pretoria
    De facto national capital of South Africa.


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