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  • The Eastern Cape Guide | South Africa Travel | Rough Guides
    into the rest of South Africa the city is the transport hub of the Eastern Cape Jeffrey s Bay 75km to the west has a fabled reputation among surfers for its perfect waves Around an hour s drive inland are some of the province s most significant game reserves among them Addo Elephant National Park a Big Five reserve where sightings of elephants are virtually guaranteed Addo and the private reserves nearby are among the few game reserves in South Africa that are malaria free throughout the year The hinterland to the north takes in areas appropriated by English immigrants shipped out in the 1820s as ballast for a new British colony Here Grahamstown glories in its twin roles as the spiritual home of English speaking South Africa and host to Africa s biggest arts festival The northwest is dominated by the sparse beauty of the Karoo the thorny semi desert stretching across much of central South Africa The rugged Mountain Zebra National Park 200km north of Port Elizabeth is a stirring landscape of flat topped mountains and arid plains stretching for hundreds of kilometres A short step to the west Graaff Reinet is the quintessential eighteenth century Cape Dutch Karoo town The eastern part of the province largely the former Transkei is by far the least developed with rural Xhosa villages predominating East London the province s only other centre of any size serves well as a springboard for heading into the Transkei where the principal interest derives from political and cultural connections Steve Biko was born here and you can visit his grave in King William s Town to the west Further west is Fort Hare University which educated many contemporary African leaders The only established resorts in this section are in the Amatola Mountains notably Hogsback where indigenous forests and mossy coolness provide relief from the dry scrublands below Tucked into the northeastern corner of the province the Drakensberg range more commonly associated with KwaZulu Natal makes a steep ascent out of the Karoo and offers trout fishing and ancient San rock art The focus of the area is the remote lovely village of Rhodes Further east the Wild Coast region remains one of the least developed and most exciting regions in the country The poorest part of the poorest province the region is blessed with fabulously beautiful subtropical coast From here all the way to the KwaZulu Natal border dirt roads trundle down to the coast from the N2 to dozens of remote and indolent hillside resorts of which Port St Johns is the biggest and best known In the rugged goat chewed landscape inland Xhosa speakers live in mud and tin homesteads scraping a living herding stock and growing crops Most visitors pass as quickly as possible through Mthatha formerly Umtata the ugly former capital of the Transkei but if you re following in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela the Nelson Mandela Museum in the centre of Mthatha and Qunu his birthplace southwest of the

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/africa/south-africa/the-eastern-cape/ (2016-02-16)
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  • KwaZulu-Natal Guide | South Africa Travel | Rough Guides
    flyovers high rise offices towering over temples and curry houses overdeveloped beachfronts and everywhere an irrepressible fecundity To the north and south of Durban lie Africa s most developed beaches known as the North and South coasts stretching along the shore from the Eastern Cape border in the south to the Tugela River in the north this 250km ribbon of holiday homes is South Africa s busiest and least enticing coastal strip However north of the Tugela River you ll find some of the most pristine shores in the country Here along the Elephant Coast a patchwork of wetlands freshwater lakes wilderness and Zulu villages meets the sea at a virtually seamless stretch of sand that begins at the St Lucia Estuary and slips across the Mozambique border at Kosi Bay Apart from southern Lake St Lucia which is fairly developed in a low key fashion the Elephant Coast is one of the most isolated regions in the country rewarding visitors with South Africa s best snorkelling and scuba diving along the coral reefs off Sodwana Bay KwaZulu Natal s marine life is matched on land by its game reserves some of which are beaten only by the Kruger National Park and easily surpass the latter as the best place in the continent to see both black and white rhinos Concentrated in the north the reserves tend to be compact and feature some of the most stylish game lodge accommodation in the country Most famous and largest of the reserves is the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park trampled by a respectable cross section of wildlife that includes all of the Big Five Since the nineteenth century when missionaries were homing in on the region the Zulus have captured the popular imagination of the West and remain one of the province s major draws for tourists You ll find constant reminders of the old Zulu kingdom and its founder Shaka including an excellent reconstruction of the beehive hutted capital at Ondini and the more touristy Shakaland near Eshowe The interior north of the Tugela River was the heartland of the Zulu kingdom and witnessed gruesome battles between Boers and Zulus British and Zulus and finally Boers and British Today the area can be explored through Battlefield tours a memorable way of taking in some of South Africa s most turbulent history From the Midlands South Africa s highest peaks sweep west into the soaring Ukhahlamba Drakensberg range protected by a chain of KZN Wildlife reserves The area s restcamps are ideal bases for walking in the mountains or heading out for ambitious hikes with relatively little effort you can experience crystal rivers tumbling into marbled rock pools awe inspiring peaks and rock faces enriched by ancient San paintings KwaZulu Natal experiences considerable variations in climate from the occasional heavy winter snowstorms of the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg to the mellow sunny days and pleasant sea temperatures a couple of hundred kilometres away along the subtropical coastline which offers a temperate climate year round This makes

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/africa/south-africa/kwazulu-natal/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Free State Guide | South Africa Travel | Rough Guides
    flank of the Free State the traditional heartland of conservative Afrikanerdom which lies landlocked at the centre of the country If you re driving from Johannesburg to Eastern or Western Cape the Eastern Highlands which sweep up to the subcontinent s highest peaks in the Lesotho Drakensberg are worth the detour Bloemfontein the capital is only worth visiting if you are passing through but once there you ll find very good guesthouses restaurants and museums Closer to Johannesburg the riverside town of Parys is a pleasant rural escape that long ago was ground zero for a massive meteorite impact The highlight of the Eastern Highlands is the Golden Gate Highlands National Park designated as such for the beauty of the Maloti Mountains with their stripy red sandstone outcrops Southeast of Golden Gate you can drive to the Sentinel car park access point for hikes up to the highest plateaus of the Drakensberg via the interesting Basotho Cultural Village West of Golden Gate is Clarens by far the nicest of the string of towns along the Lesotho border In the rest of the province flat farmlands roll away into kilometres of bright yellow sunflowers and mauve and pink petalled cosmos with maize and wheat fields glowing under immense blue skies Brief history Intriguing though it sounds the name Free State applies to former redneck country For nearly 150 years the only free people in the Free State were its white settlers who in 1854 were granted independence from Britain in a territory between the Orange and Vaal rivers where they created a Boer Republic called the Orange Free State The Orange part of the name came from the royal Dutch House of Orange The system of government in the republic inspired by the US Constitution was highly democratic if you were

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/africa/south-africa/free-state/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Gauteng Guide | South Africa Travel | Rough Guides
    the Magaliesberg Mountains to the east and the gold rich Witwatersrand to the south and west the area is dominated by the huge conurbation incorporating Johannesburg Pretoria and a host of industrial towns and townships that surround them Although lacking the spectacular natural attractions of the Cape Province or Mpumalanga Gauteng has a subtle physical power Startling outcrops of rock known as koppies with intriguing and often lucrative geology are found in the sprawling suburbs and grassy plains of deep red earth that fringe the cities The older parts of Johannesburg and Pretoria are gloriously green in summer both are among the most tree rich cities on Earth and Johannesburg home to ten million of them is proudly described by locals as the world s largest man made forest The ubiquitous jacaranda trees blossom in late spring turning the suburbs purple Gauteng is dominated by Johannesburg whose origins lie in the exploitation of gold Gauteng means Place of Gold in Sotho Although it has grown rapidly since the discovery of gold in 1886 to become the richest metropolis in Africa it is a hectic city home to extreme contrasts of wealth and poverty The city has a reputation among both visitors and South Africans as a place to avoid but those who acquire a taste for Jo burg something you can do in just a few days are seduced by its energy and vibrancy unmatched by any other city in South Africa A highly cosmopolitan city and the most Africanized in the country Jo burg boasts South Africa s most famous townships its most active and diverse cultural life some of its best restaurants and the most progressive nightlife Some 50km north lies dignified Pretoria the country s administrative capital Historically an Afrikaner stronghold today it s a cosmopolitan mix

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/africa/south-africa/gauteng/ (2016-02-16)
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  • North West Province Guide | South Africa Travel | Rough Guides
    curiously rewarding to do so The old fashioned hospitality of the myriad little dorps scattered throughout the region and the tranquillity of the endless stretches of grassland and fields of mielies sweetcorn make a refreshing change after hectic Johannesburg and Pretoria North West Province extends west from Gauteng to the Botswana border and the Kalahari Desert Along the province s eastern flank essentially separating it from Gauteng loom the Magaliesberg mountains one hundred times older than the Himalayas and dotted with holiday resorts for nature starved Jo burgers The N4 from Pretoria cuts through the mountains to the main town of the northeastern part of the province Rustenburg gateway to the windswept Kgaswane Mountain Reserve where you can hike high enough to gaze down onto the shimmering plains beneath Groot Marico further west along the N4 is a friendly dorp with powerful home brews and laidback people to share them with Further to the west lies the provincial capital of Mafikeng famed for its siege during the second Anglo Boer War while near the Botswana border Madikwe Game Reserve is one of South Africa s undiscovered wildlife gems a massive Big Five park which sees remarkably few visitors and boasts some superb game lodges Brief history San hunter gatherers were the province s first inhabitants they were displaced 500 1000 years ago by cattle herding Iron Age peoples from the north who pitched their first settlements on low ground near watercourses These settlements developed into stone walled towns on hilltops and by 1820 the largest Karechuenya near Madikwe was estimated to have more inhabitants than Cape Town By the nineteenth century the dominance of the Rolong Taung Tlhaping and Tlokwa clans was established European observers classified them all as Tswana but it s unclear whether these people regarded themselves as very different from people further east classified as Sotho The outbreak of intense inter clan violence in the early 1800s was due to displacements caused by the expansion of white trekboers and the growing availability of firearms Victory went to those who made alliances with the new arrivals whether Griqua from the Northern Cape or Afrikaners from further south However the clans victories were short lived and their Griqua and Afrikaner allies soon evicted them from their land and forced them into service Various mini states were formed until in 1860 they were all amalgamated to form the South African Republic ZAR with Pretoria as its capital The first Anglo Boer War 1877 81 left most of the province unaffected Of far greater impact was the second Anglo Boer War 1899 1902 As well as the celebrated siege of Mafikeng where British and Tswana forces held out for 217 days against Afrikaner troops there were protracted skirmishes up and down the Vaal River After the British victory both Afrikaner and Tswana had their lands torched and many were thrown into concentration camps The Union Treaty of 1910 left the province as the western part of the Transvaal firmly in Afrikaner

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/africa/south-africa/north-west-province/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Mpumalanga Guide | South Africa Travel | Rough Guides
    to its Siswati and Zulu speaking residents extends east from Gauteng to Mozambique and Swaziland To many visitors the province is synonymous with the Kruger National Park the real draw of South Africa s east flank and one of Africa s best game parks Kruger occupies most of Mpumalanga s and Limpopo Province s borders with Mozambique and covers over 20 000 square kilometres an area the size of Israel or El Salvador Unashamedly populist Kruger is the easiest African game park to drive around on your own with many well run restcamps for accommodation On its western border lie a number of private reserves offering the chance at a price to escape the Kruger crush with well informed rangers conducting safaris in open vehicles Apart from the irresistible magnet of big game country Mpumalanga also has some spectacular scenery in the mountainous area known as the Escarpment usually passed through en route to Kruger The most famous viewpoints God s Window Bourke s Luck Potholes and Three Rondavels are along the lip of the Escarpment which can be seen on a 156km drive from the lowveld known as the Panorama Route The views of Blyde River Canyon are most famous of all and while you can t drive into the canyon there are some fabulous hiking and river rafting opportunities in this area None of the Escarpment towns merits exploration but they are fine as night stops Jammed between the mountains and Kruger are the former African Bantustans created under apartheid Lebowa for Sotho speakers and Gazankulu for Shangaan and Tsonga speaking people Mozambique is a short hop away there is daily transport to Maputo and you ll see cars with Mozambique number plates especially in Nelspruit the modern capital of Mpumalanga taking advantage of the superior medical care

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/africa/south-africa/mpumalanga/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Limpopo Guide | South Africa Travel | Rough Guides
    country Culturally Limpopo also stands out seven of South Africa s eleven official languages are spoken here and you stand a good chance of meeting people from the majority of the country s ethnic groupings while travelling around the province The region is also well endowed with a remarkable and ever increasing number of wildlife and nature reserves housing the country s highest population of rhinos and a multitude of elegant species of antelope and ensuring that there is brilliant game viewing to be had The eastern side of the province is lowveld dominated by the 70km wide strip of Kruger National Park abutting the Mozambique border This part of Limpopo is covered along with Kruger itself in the preceding chapter The principal attractions of the rest of the province lie in its three wild and distinctive mountain escarpments The best known of these is the Drakensberg Escarpment making the descent from highveld to lowveld through lush forests in the Letaba to the west of Kruger Polokwane the provincial capital lies west of the Drakensberg along the N1 while further to the west lies the sedate Waterberg massif a region dedicated to wildlife conservation and offering malaria free Big Five game viewing In the north parallel to the Limpopo River and bisected by the N1 are the subtropical Soutpansberg Mountains and the intriguing and still very independently minded Venda region a homeland during the apartheid era to the east North of the Soutpansberg are wide plains dominated by surreal baobab trees much in evidence along the N1 as it leads to the only border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe at Beitbridge Hugging the border to the west stifling hot Mapungubwe National Park provides a fascinating insight into what is now recognized as Africa s earliest kingdom The N1 is by South African standards fast and easy if often busy It s a toll road with five toll stops along the way from Johannesburg to the border with Zimbabwe costing roughly R20 each time As regards public transport SA Roadlink City to City and Translux buses ply the N1 between Johannesburg and the Musina border post stopping at Polokwane and Makhado Translux also runs buses between Tzaneen and Johannesburg via Polokwane In addition these and other routes are covered by minibus taxis from any moderately sized town the best way to find out where they re going and when they depart is to enquire at the taxi rank Brief history The first black Africans arrived in South Africa across the Limpopo River some time before 300 AD The various movements and migrations and of course trading ensured a fluidity in the people who established themselves here and the historical and cultural ties to the north are as you might expect stronger in this region than in other parts of South Africa Traditional arts and crafts such as pottery and woodcarving are still an important part of life and witchcraft is still encountered in many places The arrival of the Voortrekkers

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/africa/south-africa/limpopo/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Map of South Africa | South Africa Regions | Rough Guides
    in its diversity The more African eastern flank of the country contrasts with the colonial influenced Western Cape both of which border a sparse but exhilarating interior Cape Town often features highly on visitor s travel plans and rightly so Offering everything from a visit to the National Gallery to a swim with penguins at Boulders Beach South Africa s most beautiful city has a lot to offer Being the size of France and Spain combined there is something in South Africa for every visitor Use our map of South Africa to help plan your visit whether you wish to relax in the picturesque Garden Route towns of the Western Cape come face to face with big game in the Kruger National Park or trace the footsteps of Nelson Mandela Find out more about South Africa Interactive South Africa Map Regions of South Africa Click the links below to find out about your chosen region 1 Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula 2 The Northern Cape 3 The Western Cape 4 KwaZulu Natal 5 Free State 6 Gauteng 7 North West Province 8 Mpumalanga 9 Limpopo Related Ebooks Rough Guides Snapshot South Africa Johannesburg and Pretoria View Guide Rough Guides

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/maps/africa/south-africa/ (2016-02-16)
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