Information, the Republic of South Africa

Information, the Republic of South Africa

South Africa with its population of approx. 56 million has a land size which is 5 times larger than Great Britain. Within the borders of this multi-faceted country lays hidden unlimited beautiful nature, magnificent mountains, a vibrant culture, a lush wine district, enormous farming land, an unlimited coast line, savannahs, desert etc. South Africa offers experiences for everyone and a trip to the so called rainbow nation, with its colourful people, leaves wonderful travel memories. The country’s transformative history has resulted in a melting pot with peoples originating from different historical times. Influences come from the diverse African tribes as well as Dutch, British, French and German colonialists. South Africa is a country in constant development and despite the enormous problems faced by the country such as unemployment, HIV/AIDS and crime, the “new South Africa” is one of the most inspiring and promising countries to visit.

Language: There are 11 official languages, Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, north sotho, south sotho, swati, tsonga, tswana, venda, xhosa, and zulu. Most people speak afrikaans (closely related to dutch) or English.

Religion: Christianity (with elements of traditional and local religions). Large groups of hindus, jews and muslims.

Capital city: Cape Town (legislativ), Pretoria (administrative), Bloemfontein (judical).

Below you find information about the cities and areas that are included in Upplev Sydafrika’s different travel packages:

The Western Cape
The Western Cape is a province of South Africa. It covers the southwestern part of the country, at the Cape of Good Hope, and has coastline on both the cold Atlantic Ocean in the west, and the warmer Indian Ocean on the southern coast. The capital is Cape Town. It is a region of majestic mountains, colourful patchworks of farmland set in lovely valleys, long beaches and, further inland, the wide-open landscape of the semidesert Karoo. Western Cape was established in 1994 by division of the former Cape Province.

Cape Town
Cape Town has a population of approx. 4 million (including the suburbs), the country’s second largetst city, and is seen as one of the world’s most beautiful towns. It is easy to fall in love with South Africa’s best known town with its grand nature, beautiful coastline, white beaches and cloud covered mountains. Cape Town is the mecca of attractions which offers a large variation of fantastic experiences – something which suites all of us! The city is beautifully situated at the foot of Table Mountain, its most famous landmark. There are plenty of nice restaurants, bars, night clubs, shops, etc. and confortable accommodation at different standards and prices. Read more about EXPERIENCE CAPE TOWN & CAPE PENINSULA.

Hermanus has a population of approx. 95,000 and is situated around 120 km from Cape Town. The town and its grand nature is located in the beautiful area of Walker Bay which is surrounded by the ocean, beautiful mountains and miles of white beaches. Hermanus has become known as the “Whale Watching Capital of South Africa”. During the whale season, from june to the beginning of December, one can experience the Southern Right Whale the Humpback Whale and the Bryde’s Whale. East of the town you will find some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, including the 21 km long Grotto Beach. The town offers a large range of accommodation of different standards and prices. There are many nice restaurants and it is teeming with small fascinating boutiques, galleries, and a number of markets, all within walking distance. Read more about EXPERIENCE HERMANUS.

Along the west coast, approx. two hours from Cape Town, is the charming small old fishing village, Paternoster situated.
The village, with its white washed fishermans cottages and the characteristic colorful blue and red painted wooden boats along the sandy beaches, has grown and become an increasingly popular destination in South Africa. Stroll along the long white beaches and have lunch at one of the charming fish- or gourmet restaurants. Visit galleries and buy your crayfish directly from the local fishermen in the village.

Franschhoek, Stellenbosch & Paarl
The town of Franschhoek (population approx. 15.000) – which in Afrikaans means the French hook – is well known for three quality things, you should be able to: eat well, drink well and sleep well. The city definitely lives up to its reputation, located in one of the world’s most beautiful wine valleys. For more than 300 years ago settled by the French Huguenots in the region, whose vineyards and food knowledge today has resulted in South Africa’s gastronomic capital. It was only when the French Huguenots arrived in South Africa, the winemaking took off and with their knowledge laid the foundation for today’s South African wine industry. Around the picturesque town you will find some of the absolute best vineyards in South Africa.

Stellenbosch (population approx. 200.000) with its Victorian and Dutch architecture and historic buildings stand out as a vibrant university town with many restaurants, bars, clubs and accommodation in different price categories. The area’s rich soil is essential for the production of fruits, vegetables and good wine. Surrounded by spectacular mountains, is the most famous wine region in South Africa and the climate make it ideal for wine production. Stellenbosch is the wine capital of South Africa who was first to promote the so-called “wine route” (1970). This is where many of the country’s most popular wineries are located.

Paarl (population approx. 191.000) takes its name from the huge granite outcrop that stands proudly on the crest of Paarl Mountain. The town was founded in 1687, is the third oldest settlement in South Africa and has a rich cultural and historical heritage. The birth of Afrikaans as the world’s youngest language is celebrated by the iconic Afrikaans Language Monument that stands prominently on the southern slopes of Paarl Mountain. The town has many fine examples of Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and Cape Dutch buildings that compete for space with a wide variety of fine restaurants and coffee shops spread out along the twelve kilometre-long Main Street. Just outside Paarl is the Drakenstein Prison, where Nelson Mandela spent his last years of captivity and from which he completed his “long walk to freedom”. Paarl boasts true country hospitality, award winning wine farms and estates, and a plethora of accommodation to suit both your requirements and budget. Revel in beautiful fynbos-rich walks and hiking trails, cycle along superb mountain-biking trails or take a relaxing drive through the countryside to enjoy the spectacular scenery, followed by a leisurely lunch and fine wines from the region (sourse: Paarl tourism).


Garden Route
The Garden Route is one of the popular destinations in South Africa. Reaching from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth the section known as the Whale Route takes you to the shores where the Southern Right Whales visit annually to calve. The inland on Route 62 through the Little Karoo offers some of South Africa’s most breathtaking mountain passes. The green and scenic coastal Route runs from Mossel Bay in the west to Storms River Mouth in the east and is the most traditional of the Garden Route journeys. Garden Route has much to offer such as beautiful scenery, world class golf courses, beautiful endless white beaches, hiking trails, etc. The climate is mild with relatively high rainfall that naturally contributes to the greenery. Read more about EXPERIENCE GARDEN ROUTE & ROUTE 62.

Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers an area of 19,633 square kilometres (7,580 sq mi) and extends 360 kilometres (220 mi) from north to south and 65 kilometres (40 mi) from east to west. Areas of the park were first protected by the government of the South African Republic in 1898, and it became South Africa’s first national park in 1926. To the west and south of the Kruger National Park are the two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is Mozambique. It is now part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that links Kruger National Park with the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique. The park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, an area designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve (the “Biosphere”). The park has 9 main gates that allow entrance to the different camps (source: Wikipedia). At least 150 mammals species, 500 birds, 115 reptiles, 50 fish and 35 amphibians have been recorded in Kruger. Read more about SAFARI SOUTH AFRICA.

Travel info
Flight tickets: We help you arrange your own flight, which gives you a better chance to chose the travel times and departure. If you are early and flexible about your travel dates, you will be able to select very good prices.

Car rental and infrastructure: The infrastructure in Western Cape Province is very similar to that found in Europe. Hiring a car is affordable (left hand traffic is the rule) and an International driver’s license is accepted. Please note that at some gas stations, petrol should be paid for in cash (not credit card). Contact Upplev Sydafrika and we can assist in booking your rental car. Rent a car through Auto Europe.

Effective 1 June 2015, South African Authorities require that all children, under the age of 18, travelling to / from South Africa, be in possession of their original unabridged birth certificate reflecting both parents full names and surname. Children travelling with only one parent or other person or where one parent or both parents are deceased, must be in possession of an affidavit from the remaining parent/s or guardian, permitting the child to travel or copy of the deceased person’s death certificate when applicable.

Vaccinations: Information about vaccinations can be found at the the local clinics.

Currency and credit card: The currency is the South African Rand, ZAR: Currency Converter. Cash machines (ATM) are available in most towns. Most credit cards are accepted everywhere.

Time difference: GMT + 2.

Tips: It is standard practice to offer tips in restaurants (10%). It is even custom to give a tip of several rands to the driver, porter, traffic guard, and personnel at gas stations.

Mobile phone: Works in Western Cape Province!

Electricity: 220 volts, three holed socket. An adapter will be needed, which can easily be bought locally (the adapter will cost between R12–R35).

Security and safety: South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world and the gap between the rich and the poor is very big. It is relatively safe to go for walks around Cape Town but as is the case in many large cities, it is wise to use common sense and caution. Make sure that you leave your valuables at the hotel/accommodation. Avoid large and visible jewelry which can attract unnecessary attention.

Travel conditions: See HOW TO BOOK/TRAVEL TERMS.

Climate South Africa: South Africa has two climate zones. During the summer season (November-April) expect a fair amount of rain showers, especially in the east and along the Indian ocean. During this period the weather can be very warm and humid in this area. During the summer, the weather is warm and dry around the Cape Province. During the winter season (May-October), the weather is sunny and dry (generally mild weather) inland and on the east coast. In KwaZulu Natal and along the Indian Ocean, the temperature is between 20 C-30 C, while the temperature in the mountains towards Lesotho, can drop to zero. The weather in the Cape Province is very cool and rainy.

Climate Western Cape Province: The pleasant Mediterranean climate make the summers (November-April) often sunny and warm with the occasional thunderstorms. The warm days are “cooled down” by the colder weather from the Atlantic. The average temperature during the summer is 26 degrees C. During the winter (May-October) the weather is cool and it can rain a bit followed by sunny days. The average temperature during the winter is 14 degrees C.

Best period to travel: Depending on what is of interest to you, it could be worth identifying the right season for specific experiences. The whale season begins in June and ends in December. The high season and especially the so called “peak” season in December/January is very popular and requires early booking of accommodation, restaurants and certain excursions. Lower prices for accommodation and other expenses are on offer during the low season in May-August. The best period, weather wise is from February to April.

Sunbathing and bathing: In the Western Cape Province you will find some of the country’s finest beaches. The water temperature is seldom over 17 degrees C.

Flight tickets: Travelstart
Car rental: Auto Europe
Weather update in Western Cape peninsula:

History Of South Africa In Review

1488 Bartholomeus Diaz rounded Cape & landed in Mossel Bay.

1498 Vasco Da Gama rounds the Cape.

1503 António de Saldanha was a Castilian-Portuguese 16th century captain. He was the first European to set anchor in what is now called Table Bay, and made the first recorded ascent of Table Mountain.

1606 John Chapman 1st Mate of the “Consent” investigated Chapman’s Peak.

1652 Jan van Riebeeck arrives at the Cape (Dromedaris; Reijger and Goede Hoop) at the future Cape Town on 6 April and fortified the site as a way station for the VOC trade route between the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, the Dutch East India Company.

1655 1st Vines planted.

1658 1st slaves arrive on “Amersfoort”.

1659 1st wine made.

1662 Jan van Riebeeck departed.

1666 Started building the castle. Completed 1679.

1672 1st Brandy distilled.

1679 Simon van der Stel 1st Governor.

1688 Huguenot’s arrive.

1699-1707 Willem Adriaan van der Stel 2nd Governor.

1700 Trek Boer movement begins.

1711 Constantia Wine became famous in Europe.

1713 Smallpox epidemic.

17511771 Ryk Tulbagh Governor.

1795 1st British occupation. Battle of Muizenberg 5-7 August.

1803 Cape returns to Batavian Republic.

1806 2nd British occupation. Battle of Blouberg 8th January.

1807 Abolition of slave trade in British Colonies.

1834 Slavery is abolished 1st December.

1835 Great Trek Started.

1838 Slaves emancipated.

1862 Preferential Tariff’s & Export market collapsed.

1866 1st Diamond discovered in Hope Town.

1867 Diamond mining starts in Kimberly.

1876 Die Patriot 1st Afrikaans newspaper.

1880 1st Anglo Boer War starts.

1881 War ends, Boer victory.

1885 Vineyards destroyed by Phylloxera.

1886 Gold discovered in Johannesburg.

1897 Nkosi Sikelela (composed by Enoch Satonga).

1899 2nd Anglo Boer War starts.

1902 2nd Anglo Boer war ends (British Victory).

1910 Union of South Africa. Dominion of British Empire.

1912 ANC formed.

1913 1st native land act. Resettling blacks to traditional tribal areas.

1914 1st World war.

1918 World War ends. KWV formed to protect wine growers interests.

1922 Chapman’s Peak Drive Completed.

1925 Afrikaans becomes official language.

1926 Union of SA becomes member of the commonwealth.

1939 2nd World War starts.

1945 2nd World War ends.

1948 National Party wins election.

1949 Prohibition of mixed marriages.

1950 Group areas act (based on 1913 act) Suppression of Communism act.

1953 Bantu Education Act & Separate Amenities Act.

1955 Coloureds removed from voters roll.

1957 SA Navy takes over from Royal Navy.

1960 Sharpeville massacre.

1961 SA becomes a republic & forced to leave commonwealth. Albert Luthuli receives Nobel Peace Prize.

1963 Nelson Mandela imprisoned.

1966 HF Verwoerd assassinated & District Six declared a white area.

1971 1st wine route (Stellenbosch).

1975 Afrikaans Taal Monument.

1976 Soweto riots.

1977 Steve Biko dies in detention.

1983 Tri-Cameral parliament.

1984 Bishop Desmond Tutu receives Nobel Peace Prize.

1986 Influx control & Pass laws abolished.

1989 FW de Klerk becomes state president.

1990 Nelson Mandela released. ANC, PAC & SAPC unbanned.

1993 FW de Klerk & Nelson Mandela receive Nobel Peace Prize.

1994 1st democratic elections (27/04).

1995 SA host rugby world cup. Mandela wears Springbok jersey. TRC – truth & reconciliation commission Est.

1999 Thabo Mbeki becomes president 14th June to September 2008.

2008 Kgalema Motlanthe took over presidency until May 2009.

2009 General Election May. Jacob Zuma becomes president. DA (Democratic Alliance) Won The Western Cape with an overall majority From the ANC with Hellen Zille as premier.

2010 World Soccer Cup a major success acclaimed by FIFA.

2011 SA followed the world economic trend decline.

2012 There are signs of recovery with a decline in crime statistics.

Cape Town (legislative)
Pretoria (executive)
Bloemfontein (judicial)

Ca 53 million

1 219 912 km²

President: Jacob Zuma

11 official languages:
afrikaans, english, ndebele, pedi, sotho, swazi, tsonga, tswana, venda, xhosa, zulu.

FAMILY TRIPS - Read more!
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GOURMET TRIPS - Read more!