South Africa is being promoted as ‘a world in one country’, and rightly so, a car is a must for exploring the rich geographic and cultural diversity the country has to offer. Car hire is available at the main airports and can be arranged as soon as you touchdown.
From Cape Town, the spectacular cliff-hugging Chapman’s Peak drive takes you out to the apex of the Cape Point reserve, and you can return home via quaint Houtbay and Simonstown or spend the day driving the wine routes of Stellenbosch and Constantia.
The Garden Route runs parallel to the coastline, 200 kilometers east of Cape Town and features picturesque lakes, mountains, tall indigenous forests, lazy rivers and golden beaches. The lagoon area of Knysna and glitz of Pletttenburg bay are popular among the locals.
Kwazulu Natal, further north, is steeped in the colorful and proud history of Shaka’s great Zulu nation. Among the pastures and sugar cane fields of this province are the remains of great battles such as Blood River and Rorke’s drift. St. Lucia lagoon wetlands, further north, is a World Heritage site.
A day trip to Sun City entertainment complex, near Johannesburg, is worthwhile simply to marvel at the ornately detailed Lost City Palace. To see elephant, buffalo, zebra, lion, leopard, giraffe and more you’ll almost certainly need a car. The Kruger National Park, in the east of the country, is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Unless you’re visiting from the neighboring African countries, the only realistic way of reaching South Africa is by air. Many airlines fly to Johannesburg from Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia. There are several flights a day to the UK. Cape Town’s international airport is getting busier, though it doesn’t exactly rate as a world class airport, and receives limited direct flights; usually you have to connect locally. Durban also receives a few international flights, from Europe and the Indian sub-continent.