South Africa:Travel,Places,Road Show3:49 PM
Beyond The Roaring Lions
South Africa is a land of adventure,culture,beauty and wildlife.Before the South Africa Road Show,I had an impression of South Africa as the Jungle Safari in the open,nothing more nothing less.I can visualize,me walking with lions side by side and scared pretending not to be scared.I often dreamt of South Africa as a big beautiful Jurassic Park with the Dinosaurs replaced by the Big 7 species of animals running in the wild while I take out my camera and feel the excitement run through my spine.
While Interacting with folks at South Africa Road Show,Le Meridian Delhi I realized that there is so much more to Africa than the wilderness.The South Africa we know,is different from South Africa today.Just as France isn't just Paris,Africa isn't just Safaris.Africa has evolved beautifully,in ways you would not have imagined.In ways you are yet to discover.
I met Sherry from the Tourism Board,another great lady who has her own blog on her personal experiences.She shared her world's highest commercial bungee jump experience with me almost making me feel envy of the life across the border.Till now,I had an impression of the Bungees = New Zealand,but when I got to know that the world's highest bridge jump is situated right there in South Africa,I was happily Surprised.
An Interview with Kai Schulz from Canopy Tours,South Africa
A Canopy Tour takes you on an unforgettable adventure as you slide from one platform to the next along a series of steel cables set amongst magnificent natural surroundings.The scenery high up within the forest canopy is spectacular. Enjoy the view from above while taking in waterfalls and spotting birdlife amongst the surrounding trees.Recently Vidya Balan had been to South Africa on her honeymoon,and canopy tours was one of her favourite experience.To know more,watch video
Important Facts You Need To Know
Image Source: Bollylocations.com
1)Population of 49 million beautiful warm people
2)11 Official Languages
3)Home to deserts,mountains,escarpments,plateaus,grasslands,wetlands,and UNESCO World Heritage Sites
4)South Africa,largest Exporter of Fruit
5)It has the longest wine route in the world
6)South Africa is GMT +2 time zone
7)Weather generally warm and sunny
8)Currency is Rand = 100 Cents
1 Rand = Rs 5.95
1 Rand =0.11 $
Notes come in R10,R20,R50,R100,R200 and coins R1,R2,R5,10,20,50 cents
9)Visa and Mastercard acceptable everywhere,and credit cards essential for car hire
10)Driving is on left hand side of road
Wearing seat belts is compulsory,talking on mobile phones while driving prohibited
11)Non residents can drive with a driving license that's valid in their own country,provided it bears a photograph and a signature of the holder and is in English.Alternatively,an international driving license in required.
South Africa Tourism Board Video
In the World - Highest,Largest and More
1)Tsitsikamma-the place of ancient forests,exquisite coastlines and the highest commercial bungee jump in the world
2)The Vredefort Dome,a UNESCO World Heritage Site,is the site of the largest and most ancient visible meteorite impact on earth,the scars of which can be seen even today
3)Vilakazi Street in Soweto is the only street in the world to have housed two Nobel Peace Prize Winners - former President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
4)Durban's uShaka Marine World is the 5th largest aquarium in the world
5)The Spectacular Blyde River Canyon may not be the biggest,but it is the world's only green canyon
6)Kimberley is where you'll find the largest man-made hole in the world-not surprising when you learn they were digging for diamonds
7)The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is one of the largest protected eco-systems in the world.The park is bigger than Switzerland or Taiwan
8)The lost city Resort Hotel at Sun city is the largest Theme resort hotel in the world
9)Hermanus is the only town on the planet with the official whale crier
Planning South Africa - How To
1)How To Reach
Mumbai - Johannesburg roundtrip is around 38k by Ethihad airways.Mumbai - Johannesburg and Durban by South Africa Airways is around 44k roundtrip.There are plenty of planes of different carriers flying in and out to Johannesburg from different cities in India
VFS has listed the visa process as under
3)On a Backpacker's Budget
5 Days - Cape Town . Johannesburg
Long Street Backpackers Hostel,Cape Town
Consistently voted as Africa's best hostel and featured in world's top ten hostels to stay,Long Street Backpackers is a great way to party and live.The hostel also helps visitors book tours, safaris and overland trips — especially popular are the day tours of the winelands and the Cape Peninsula.Cost Rs 550 per night or pound 7 per night
Very close to JNB Airport,and a clean and nice youth hostel
Rs 900 per night
Mbizi Backpackers Lodge ,Johannesburg
Situated only 15 minutes away from Johannesburg's OR Tambo Airport, Mbizi Backpackers Lodge offers relaxing 'home-away-from-home' accommodation for all travellers with Spacious and vibrantly decorated rooms.They also organise Bazbus and Kruger Park Safari's.
Rs 1000 per night
Blue Sky Mining Backpackers & Lodge ,Durban
Around 900 per night
4)Transport in South Africa
Standard bus lines is Baz Bus (www.bazbus.com), which caters almost exclusively to backpackers and other travellers. It offers hop-on, hop-off fares and door-to-door service between Cape Town and Jo’burg via the Northern Drakensberg, Durban and the Garden Route.
For more information on transport in South Africa read: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/south-africa/transport/getting-around#ixzz2KH3sDl3x
South Africa Provinces
The rugged province of Eastern cape offers pristine coastline and is a Big7 destination(lion,leopard,rhino,elephant,buffalo,South Right Whale,Great White Shark)
Addo Elephant National Park,Shamwari Game Reserve and birthplace of former president Nalsen Mandela
a)Highest Bridge Jump in the world - Bloukrans
b)Hike the Otter Trail(or Dolphin Trail)
c)Take a 4*4 into the valley
d)Visit Port Elizabeth('Friendly City') for the blue flag beaches
e)East London for coastal fun
f)Visit Grahamstown(Studenttown) for National Arts Festival(July)
g)Jeffrey's Bay for Surfing
This is the 'Zulu Kingdom' and has one of the largest Indian communities outside of India and a strong British Heritage
a)Local Holidays with Sun,Sea and Sand - Durban
b)Visit the Big 5 game reserves and iSimangaliso Wetlands Park
c)uKhahlamba Drakensberk Park one of the highest mountain ranges in Africa
A exotic lunar landscape brought to life with unique flora and fauna and colorful culture to match.That's the magic of northern cape
a)Visit the Diamond Capital of the world 'The Big Hole'
b)For cultural experience ,discover the san,known as Africa's First People
c)Visit the Namaqualand for endless flowers spread across beautiful landscape
d)Combine flower safari to Augrabies Fall National park,one of Africa's Largest Waterfall
4)The Free State
Known as 'Breadbasket of South Africa' is known for fascinating history and landsvapres
a)Spectacular Gardens at Bloemfontein
b)Celebrate with cocktails at Naval Hill Lookout Point
c)Enjoy Franklin Nature Reserve
d)Head off to Arty Clarens
e)Explore the cultural village Basotho,and stop over at Golden Gate National park
f)Enjoy white water rafting at Vaal and Gariep rivers
g)Visit the Vredefort Dome which is home to world's oldest Meterorite impact
Best known for its rich tribal cultures and wild territories where Big 5 roam free.
a)Visit the legendary Rain Queen,the site of an African kingdom
b)Ancient 'Upside-down trees'(baobabs)
c)Perfect stepping stone for Krugar National Park
d)Enjoy the Mythical stories of Limpopo
e)For bird lovers,visit Nylsvley Nature Reserve
Famous for vast mineral wealth,also known as 'Platinum Province'.Sun City is the Africa's most famous conference,casino and entertainment complex
a)Big 5 viewing at Madikwe Game Reserve with the Magaliesburg mountain range providing outdoor activities.
b)Enjoy hot air balloon ride over Pilanesberg
Johannesberg,'the place of gold' is the commercial heart of south Africa.The urban hubs fir Gauteng is for everyone providing jazz joints,concerts,clubs,world class sporting and shopping.
Around Gauteng is The Cradle - The old mining town of Cullinan
and Vaal River
The home to world's largest green canyon,Mpumalanga is also known as 'the place where the sun rises' among locals.
a)Visit the Blyde River Canyon
b)Visit Kruger National Park
c)Enjoy at exclusive Sabi Sand Reserve
Cape Town is the heart if this beautiful province and a major cosmopolitan hub
a)Take a trip to Robben Island(where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned)
b)Soar to the top of Table Mountain in Ariel Cableway
c)Enjoy Wine Tasting Sojourn to the wetlands
d)Venture out and discover West Coast National Park
e)Go whale watching in Overberg
f)Enjoy Gourmet Safari along the garden route
g)Visit V&A waterfront in Cape Town if you love to shop
Need help on South Africa?
Ping me.I might just give an idea on how tos :).Hopefully I get to go soon,but if not,do not forget to share your South African stories right here on my blog.Looking forward.