- Written by Dan
South Africa Travel Insights
Photo by Nick Gray
Travel advice covering the basics when preparing to travel to South Africa.
South African Airways flies from New York to Johannesburg with a one-hour refueling stop in Dakar, Senegal. Approximate flying time: 20 hours.
Trek Escapes, Canada's largest wholesale adventure company, partners with Drifters, the adventure travel leaders in South Africa. Amazing guides, specially adapted vehicles, and well thought out itineraries will get you where you need to be.
What to See
You would have to spend a couple of months in South Africa to see all that it has to offer, but here is a brief list that will lead you in the right direction:
Johannesburg: Yikes! The "crime capital of the world"—or so the myth goes. Yes, it can be dangerous, but it has lots to offer. An incredible half-day trip that should be on everyone's must-do list is the Apartheid Museum. Starting with tickets indicating "non-white" or "white," the museum uses artefacts, propaganda posters, newspapers, photography and film to powerfully illustrate the brutal history of apartheid and the release of Nelson Mandela. Follow up with a half-day trip to Soweto, the sprawling township southwest of the city where the struggle against apartheid took hold. The safest way to visit is with a tour operator: Mad Max tours is highly recommended.
Cape Town: The sweat pouring down your face after the two-hour hike up Table Mountain is all but washed away by the stunning views when you reach the top. Far below, Cape Town, the beaches, the harbour and Robben Island, the infamous prison where Nelson Mandela lived for 27 years, bask in the sun. Take the cable car down at the end of the day and head for the vibrant nightlife of this fantastic city. The next day do it all over again.
The Drakensberg: The Drakensberg mountain range towers over the rest of KwaZulu-Natal. This spectacular area includes the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park which UNESCO declared a World Heritage Site. It features 200 million-year-old geological formations as well as a wealth of Stone Age rock art, including over 35,000 individual paintings at 600 sites.
The term white rhino originated in South Africa where the Afrikaans language developed from the Dutch language. The Afrikaans word wijd, which means wide, referred to the width of the rhinoceros' mouth. Early English settlers in South Africa misinterpreted wijd as "white." So the other rhino, the one with the narrow pointed mouth, became the black rhino.