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South Africa

South Africa boasts amazing views, beautiful waterfalls and historical sites and museums.

In South Africa you can see animals in their natural habitat. [©Jupiter Images, 2010]
©Jupiter Images, 2010
In South Africa you can see animals in their natural habitat.

South Africa

South Africa is a true tourist's gem, enticing travelers from all over the world with its natural and cultural beauty as well as its rich history that dates back to the beginnings of humankind. Visitors to South Africa can enjoy the sparkling waters along the nation's coastline as well as the views from its rising peaks. While many tourists come to South Africa to enjoy the country's attractions and beauty, globally minded tourists recognize the far-reaching implications of their visits to South Africa, as the tourism industry provides a significant boost to the South African economy.

South African Natural Attractions

South Africa is abundant with natural attractions ranging from waterfalls to long stretches of beaches. One of the most popular attractions is Tugela Falls, located within the Drakensberg Mountains. This waterfall is the second-highest in the world, boasting a 3,110 foot drop over three different tiers. Other waterfall attractions in South Africa include Berlin Falls, Lisbon Falls, Howick Falls and Mac Mac Falls.

Blythe River Canyon is one of the world's largest canyons. Formed by the Blythe River, the area has a remarkable biodiversity and offers whitewater rafting and other water sports.

The South African coastline includes some of the cleanest and safest waters in the world. In fact, South Africa is home to 19 Blue Flag beaches. Blue Flag, a program operated by the Foundation for Environmental Education, promotes the sustainable development of beaches along with environmental protection, safety and education. Along the Eastern Cape, visitors can stroll along Dolphin Beach, Hobie Beach, Humewood Beach, Kellys Beach, Kings Beach and Wells Estate. Beaches along the Western Cape tend to be quieter, offering excellent opportunities for long, relaxing walks.

World Heritage Sites

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee cites the following eight sites in South Africa as having cultural and natural importance:

  • Robben Island lays witness to the triumph over oppression and racism, as its buildings once housed political prisoners.
  • iSimangaliso Wetland Park gives visitors the chance to explore one of the largest estuaries in Africa, complete with coral reefs and 521 bird species.
  • The Taung Skull Fossil Site contains fossilized evidence of human evolution dating back 3.5 million years.
  • uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park features one the largest concentrations of rock art paintings in the world and provides a habitat for threatened species.
  • Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape includes the stone palace remains of a civilization that lasted 400 years.
  • Cape Floral Region is classified as one of 18 biodiversity hotspots worldwide and houses approximately 3 percent of the world's plant species.
  • Vredefort Dome, located southwest of Johannesburg, reveals a scarred landscape from the impact of a meteor that landed more than 2 billion years ago.
  • Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape seeks to preserve the lifestyle of the semi-nomadic Nama people that have lived in South Africa for 2,000 years.

 

South African Wildlife

South African National Parks manages 21 national parks that give visitors a chance to see African animals in their natural habitat. Addo National Park is a sanctuary for 450 elephants and may provide the best opportunity to see these magnificent beasts up close. Kruger National Park is one of South Africa's renowned parks and holds the title of the largest wildlife area in South Africa. Tourists can enjoy one of many safari adventure opportunities, including a romantic wedding safari, a luxury fly-in safari, a spirit of adventure safari or a luxury game safari.

South African Museums

South Africa's more than 300 museums offer travelers a taste of South Africa's rich cultural and social history. Visitors to Cape Town can explore the Iziko South African Museum, which provides glimpses into South Africa's natural, cultural and artistic history. The Robben Island Museum gives visitors the chance to tour the prison that housed Nelson Mandela and Robert Sobukwe. A tour of Maropeng, located within the so-called Cradle of Humankind, walks visitors through the history of human evolution.

South African Tourism

Tourism provides a glimmer of hope to South Africa's economy and citizens. In fact, reports suggest that tourism is set to become the single-largest contributor to Southern African GDP, as well as the most significant source of new jobs. Ecotourism is set to have the greatest impact on the citizens and environment of South Africa. CC Africa is South Africa's largest ecotourism group, providing mobile safaris, lodging, large tours and destination management. While CC Africa provides sustainable employment to 3,000 people, it also created the Africa Foundation to educate tourists and lodge guests about local projects designed to enhance the quality of life in South Africa. Guests support these endeavors through their mere presence in Africa but may opt to participate in projects such as building schools.

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