Situated at the southern edge of the African continent, South Africa is bounded by ocean on three sides, with an interior that has a wonderful assortment of habitats, from lush tropical forests to arid deserts, from mountains to the open savannah of the bushveld. Our camp,Rocktail, is situated on the east coast in Maputaland.
Founded as a way station between Europe and the Indies, the Cape Colony grew and expanded to become the beautiful coastal city of today. Sitting as it does at the foot of Table Mountain, Cape Town is a place of picturesque neighborhoods, fertile valleys, challenging peaks and wild ocean. When Sir Frances Drake first looked on Table Mountain and rounded the Cape in 1580, he christened it "The Fairest Cape" that he has seen in all his travels. Still today it is impossible to resist the beauty of this watery playground. The natural beauty of the area sits comfortably alongside the long and sometimes troubled history of the The Mother City. However it is impossible to miss the optimism for the future and the genuine hospitality of its people.
Stretching east from Cape Town the wine growing areas of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschoek, beckon. Wine has been produced in the Cape region for over three hundred years and the depth and breadth of that experience is evident in every sip. Lose yourself in a day of wine tasting and rambling through the quaint country villages with their antique stores and fruit stands and you will leave with memories that will last a lifetime.
Maputaland, situated on KwaZulu-Natal’s north-eastern seaboard, is a diverse region of forested dunes, wetlands, sandy beaches, woodlands and warm seas.
In the beautiful rolling hill country of KwaZulu-Natal, lies the area known as the battlefields. This is an area steeped in history and in the difficult birth of the nation that has today become South Africa. Here you can tour Isandhlwana, where the great Zulu army of Cetshwayo handed the British army its worst defeat to date in 1879. Just down the road at Roarke's Drift you can visit the place where a small contingent of British soldiers bravely held off several impis of the Zulu army for two days in a church that became a makeshift hospital fortified with anything they could find.
Finally in Ulundi you relive the Zulu surrender as this great nation was defeated in battle. Whether you are a scholar of the period or just have an interest in the history of the time you will not come away from this place untouched by the bravery and commitment of both sides in this epic struggle.
Africa's bewitching seaside playground in the sun, Durban has from its earliest days possessed a special charm...a certain mystique that adds 'something extra' to the meeting of warm Indian Ocean, radiant golden sands and lush sub-tropical greenery. The creation of Durban Metro beckons visitors to this sublime paradise with yet another bonus...the addition of three invaluable elements to our ever- evolving, ever-widening portfolio of irresistible attractions. To offer the broadest possible spectrum of unforgettable experiences, we've brought to your holiday doorstep the magnificent environment and cultural wonders of the Valley of a Thousand Hills, long and tranquil beaches of The South and up-market ambience of the historic and culturally rich Umhlanga.
Durban Metro is where the proud Zulu nation meets East and West...a wealth of influences to entertain and enthrall with traditional warrior dancers, mystic fire-walkers and colonial heritage. Sample the unique vibrancy of township life, the finest curries outside India and a calendar filled with thrilling, spectacular events.
Sophisticated and cosmopolitan, Durban Metro after dark is abuzz with elegant lounges, funky taverns and cosy inns...distinctive local theatre and live music...trendy clubs, pubs and discos. Rave 'till dawn and catch sunrise over the vast Indian Ocean horizon - this is nightlife in a modern, authentic African metropolis!
Definitely South Africa's most cosmopolitan city, Johannesburg is a huge mix of everything African. Founded after the discovery of gold in the area in 1886, Johannesburg quickly grew into the most important financial center in South Africa. Today Johannesburg is the economic engine that powers not just South Africa but the entire continent. This vibrant city has attracted people from all over Africa and the world to come and seek their fortune and while you may only use the city as a stopover or a place to begin your adventure, it is well worth a little exploration.
Johannesburg is unusual as most large cities go since it thrived in an area that had no plentiful water. Most large cities around the world and especially in Africa were founded close to water. Johannesburg was founded close to one of the world's largest sources of gold and it prospered quickly and continues to do so. A melting pot of cultures, this city provides a huge variety of excellent restaurants as well as an opportunity to view modern Africa at its busiest.
Kruger National Park
Since it's founding in 1898 the Kruger National Park has been one of the great ecological wonders of the world. Today the park is over 4 million acres in size and is home to a vast number of plant and animal species. 507 bird species, 114 species of reptiles and 147 different types of mammal all call the park home. Kruger boasts some of the best and most accessible game viewing on the continent. With an array of accommodation ranging from camping sites to very comfortable lodges there is something to suit everyone's taste within the park. Paved main roads make game driving easy and comfortable and with most of the wildlife habituated to the presence of vehicles on the roads, game viewing is plentiful and varied.
Adjacent to the park are large private luxury reserves such as MalaMala, Londolozi and Singita. These lodges provide a truly unrivalled experience when it comes to game viewing. With large tracts of land and a very low density of visitors the opportunity to get close to wildlife is better than just about anywhere else. These lodges pamper the guest with every possible luxury, fine food, fine wine, knowledgeable and entertaining staff and superb accommodations. All of these properties are accessible by means of a one hour flight from Johannesburg and yet they seem a world away from the teaming metropolis. It's as if you stepped into another land. A wild place. A time long ago when Africa was the bush and man was the intruder.
South Africa has 10% of the world's known bird, fish and plant species and 5% of the world's mammal and reptile species; the third most biologically diverse country on Earth. This includes 243 mammal, 900 bird, 370 reptile and 220 fish species and more than 20 300 species of flowering plants.
The south-western Cape is home to the Cape Floral Kingdom, one of the world's six Plant Kingdoms. Some 8 000 plant species grow only here, making this one of the most significant concentrations of plant species on Earth.
The country's eastern edges are covered with savannah bushveld and woodland. This is the site of some of Africa's great conservation and wildlife stories, such as Kruger National Park, and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, where the great sea turtles haul themselves up onto the beaches to lay their eggs.
South Africa classically has quite well-defined seasons. On the east coast, the pristine dive sites of Maputaland are excellent for year-round diving and relaxing on the beach, while summer is the best time for viewing nesting marine turtles. Wildlife viewing in the national parks and private reserves is good all year round, but each season has its own nuance and special charm – there simply is not one ‘perfect time’ to visit. The botanical wonders of the south-western Cape come into their own in the winter rainy season.
Green Season - December to March
South Africa’s summer is hotter with higher rainfall and humidity (except for Cape Town which gets its rain in winter owing the more Mediterranean climate). Excellent photographic opportunities with excellent light, colour and subject matter.
Transition Season - April to May; November
In April and May, the climate is moderate; these and November portray the fascinating dynamics that take place during a change in season.
Dry Season - June to October
Winter in South Africa, this is the cool and drier time of the year – except for rains on the west coast. Temperatures begin rising in the spring – September / October.