#SouthAfrica – the Land of Wide Open Spaces

ATCNEWS IS TAKING A LOOK AT SOME OF SOUTH AFRICA’S TOURISM OFFERINGS AND WHAT AWAITS VISITORS ONCE BORDERS HAVE REOPENED

(Posted 10th July 2020)

The impact of COVID-19 has seen the entire global community experience unprecedented travel restrictions. However, as travel bans begin to ease, there is no doubt that South Africa has all it takes for that much-needed getaway.

South Africa’s diverse and pristine landscapes — ranging from rolling grasslands, tree-dotted bushveld, magnificent mountain ranges and unspoiled coastlines — are perfect for fulfilling any traveller’s desire for remote and wide-open spaces.

These enriching experiences vary from exclusive safaris in hundreds of private reserves and national parks and serene wineland escapes; to mountaineering and hiking adventures either inland or on the coast:

STELLENBOSCH WINELANDS. Stellenbosch is a picturesque town in the Western Cape province, surrounded by mountainous nature reserves and home to the world-renowned vineyards of the Cape Winelands. The region has produced many award-winning wines over the years and is a haven for wine enthusiasts. The Western Cape itself contains quaint small towns, hip boutiques, restaurants and art galleries, offering visitors something new and exciting daily. Some of South Africa’s iconic landmarks such as The Castle of Good Hope, Table Mountain and Robben Island, where the late Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years, are found in this part of the country.

[For more information: www.winetourscapetown.com]

LEOPARD ROCK.Nestled in the world-renowned Oribi Gorge Valley in Port Shepstone, in the rolling hills of the province of KwaZulu-Natal’s south coast, this rustic rock shelf is the ultimate test of courage. We recommend having your picture snapped while perched on the edge of the ledge and enjoying the panoramic views of the Umzimkhulu River Gorge in the valley below.

[For more information visit: https://www.leopardrockc.co.za]

HOLE IN THE WALL. An iconic rock archway in the small Wild Coast town of Coffee Bay in the Eastern Cape province, Hole In The Wall is one of only two places in the world where a fresh waterfall crashes into the ocean. Here, you can marvel at the huge detached cliff with a giant opening carved through its centre, flanked by the warm Indian Ocean waters — definitely worth a dip.

[For more information: www.holeinthewall.co.za]

Click here for images of Hole in the Wall

THE PANORAMA ROUTE. This scenic journey through the Graskop region of Mpumalanga province is marked by winding roads, breath-taking views and wide escarpments. Mpumalanga is Zulu for “a place where the sun rises”. The Graskop area is the gateway to the spectacular Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world and home to God’s Window, which allows one to see as far as neighbouring Mozambique weather permitting. In the same vicinity one finds The Three Rondavels, gigantic rock peaks often described as ‘a rural village designed by the gods’. Driving further north into the province leads one directly into Kruger National Park, world-renowned for sightings of the Big 5 and various other mammals as well as bird species.

[For more information: www.sa-venues.com/attractionsmpl/mpumalanga_panorama.htm and www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/]

Click here for images of the Panorama Route and Kruger National Park

PILANESBERG NATIONAL PARKis in the North West province and is the fourth largest game reserve in South Africa covering around 55,000 hectares. One way to enjoy this wildlife wonderland is through a hot air balloon, which gives a birds-eye view of the scenery as well as the reserve’s rich fauna and flora. While you’re in the North West province, pop in at The Cradle of Humankind, where fossils of some of the earliest known life forms on Earth have been found.

[For more information: www.pilanesbergnationalpark.org and www.maropeng.co.za]

Click here for images of Pilanesberg National Park

KGALAGADI TRANSFRONTIER PARK. The remote Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park hosts few visitors at any given time, making it the quintessential site for travellers looking for a cosy getaway. With limited self-catering accommodation scattered throughout the park, it is the perfect location for a truly authentic one-on-one experience with Mother Nature.While in the Northern Cape, you might also want to visit the mighty Augrabies Falls where in the rainy season, powerful flows of water are unleashed from rocky surroundings. It is one of the best places on earth to capture a Boomerang video.

[For more information: www.sanparks.org/parks/kgalagadi/tourism/accommodation.php]

Click here for images of Kgalagadi National Park

GOLDEN GATE HIGHLANDS NATIONAL PARK. Serenity is exemplified by a slow drive through the Free State province’s quiet, mountain-wrapped roads. The reserve is nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains and is a hiker and horseback rider’s dream. In winter, Clarens is the centre of South Africa’s winter sports activities where visitors get to enjoy snowboarding and skiing. Enjoy some locally-brewed gin and beer, or pick up some handmade pieces at the local craft markets.

[For more information: www.sanparks.org/parks/golden_gate/]

Click here for images of the Golden Gate Highlands National Park

VENDA SACRED FOREST WALK. The Venda people are one of South Africa’s most cultural groups, found mainly in the evergreen and subtropical valleys of the Limpopo province. Deeply rooted in their traditional ways, an encounter with Venda people is bound to leave one feeling spiritually richer. It is for this reason that the Venda Sacred Forest Walk comes highly recommended. Described as a spiritual retreat like no other, this seven-day fully guided walk through Venda’s Thathe Vondo Forest offers spectacular views of rock formations, natural pools, a hilltop sacred lake, rural villages and a “forbidden forest” where the Venda royal family is buried. It is forbidden to set foot in this forest without first performing a few rituals to be granted special permission to enter.

[For more information: www.whereitallbegan.co.za/journeys/venda-sacred-forest-walk]

NIROX SCULPTURE PARK. The NIROX Sculpture Park is set on 20 hectares of landscaped gardens and waterways in the Cradle of Humankind, a World Heritage Site. It is the perfect hiatus from the buzz of nearby Johannesburg and for winding down in nature, while appreciating the captivating sculptures displayed throughout the park.

[For more information: www.niroxarts.com]

Click here for images of the Nirox Sculpture Park

A survey by online travel website Tourlane revealed South Africa as the most-preferred post COVID-19 destination for many avid travellers. And, it’s no wonder because South Africa boasts spectacular and unique experiences that will remain etched in your memory for a lifetime.

Whilst South Africa’s regional and international borders remain closed, the country’s biggest priority is ensuring that when we are ready to share our wonderful destination with the world again, we do so in a safe and responsible manner.

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