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Discover the Diversity of South Africa Outside of the Traditional Safari Route

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A vacation in South Africa mostly conjures up visions of being on an African safari in the midst of exotic wild animals. In reality, this country located on the southernmost tip of the African continent is a land with varied topography, great natural beauty, and cultural diversity.

South Africa

The moniker “rainbow nation” was coined to describe the country’s multicultural diversity. It boasts of countless ethnic groups and no fewer than 11 official languages. A rural easy-going atmosphere exists side-by-side with world-class infrastructure, giving it a unique vibe and spirit.

Lazing and relaxing on beautiful beaches. Visiting vineyards for a taste of African wine. Hanging out in the city in world-class art galleries and restaurants. These are some slices of the South African experience and on a holiday in South Africa, you can have one, or all of these experiences.

It, of course, goes without saying that if you have the extra time, a visit to Africa is never complete without going on an African safari. 

However, if time is limited, we advise you to simply experience the other facets of South Africa.  It is said that no matter where you go in Africa, you will get to see some wildlife in their natural habitat.

It could be enough to inspire you to return and rub shoulders with more exotic wildlife on either a Kenya safari or Masai Mara safari.

Fortunately, South Africa’s seasons are the reverse of those in the northern hemisphere. Whether you want to escape from the chilly Winter or the humid Summers, you can plan your trip accordingly.

The diverse cultural and natural heritage in South Africa will transform a trip into the experience of a lifetime.

Cape Town: ‘The Mother City’

This affectionate nickname for Cape Town imbibes a homeliness that welcomes almost every traveller. This city, with the iconic Table Top mountain as a backdrop, will spoil you for choice in its offering of tourist attractions and activities. Let’s start with the Table Top – the panoramic natural beauty viewed from atop this mountain is breath-taking.

If you’re looking for the layers of the city, apartheid landmarks like the Slave Lodge and other historical landmarks will narrate the region’s fascinating history.  The wild beauty of the Cape of Good Hope, a narrow peninsula jutting out into the ocean at the south-western tip of the continent of Africa, will fill you with adventure. Then there are the pristine beaches at Hout Bay and a cruise to catch a glimpse of the rare Cape Fur Seals, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

At a stone’s throw from Cape Town is the famous Victoria and Alfred Waterfront offering sweeping views of the ocean, city bowl and mountain peaks.

Boulders Beach, a sheltered cove of soft white sand and massive granite boulders, is the only protected colony of African penguins in the world. Imagine a selfie with these exotic creatures – a picture that will stir the envy of every Facebook friend.

A short drive from Cape Town brings you to the picturesque Vineyard region with its elaborate wine tasting sessions. At the end of destination Cape Town, you will be left with no doubt that it deserves to be ranked consistently as one of the planet’s most beautiful cities. Of course, setting out on the road you will realize that there are many memorable and exotic destinations awaiting you. Let’s check them out.

Knysna – Mystic lagoon

The Garden Route, South Africa’s most famous stretch of lush coastline, boasts the region’s best beaches, mountains, forests and beautiful seaside towns.

The minute you set foot in Knysna with its exquisitely beautiful lagoon and ancient forests, you know at once that you are a part of a piece of paradise.  A cruise on the lagoon with a backdrop of the setting sun will be enthralling, to say the least.

Oudtshoorn – ‘The Feather Capital of the World’

This town, in the Western Cape province of South Africa, is home to the world’s largest ostrich population. You can meet this magnificent bird in the Ostrich farm.

Visiting the nearby Cheetah Ranch and Crocodile Enclosure will bring you up close with the fastest and the most ancient predators on the very same day. In Oudtshoorn, the visual treats keep coming.

The spectacular underground limestone formations, in a wide variety of colours in the Cango Caves, are a sight to behold.

Johannesburg – For every history buff

Often called Joburg, this city is the urbane and vibrant heart of South Africa.  At the same time, you’ll find historical landmarks of the region’s troubled past in every corner. However, Joburg balances out its past with a colourful and vibrant present! Before you can blink, you will find yourself in the world-class resort and entertainment destination of Johannesburg. (Also Read: Get the Craziest Nighlife experience in South Africa.)

Sun City – A man-made wonder

This is one destination that we have all seen at some point on our televisions, usually hosting a world-class event. But nothing could have prepared you for the lavish opulence of this grand resort. Located in the heart of an ancient volcano, it will redefine luxury and grandeur for you. The magnificence of Palace of the Lost City, the casual elegance of the Cascades and the thrills of the Valley of Waves will make you feel like you are part of a fairy-tale.

Pilanesberg National Park – A doze of African Wildlife

This trip may not be a traditional African safari holiday, but you cannot be in Africa and not walk into a game park.

A quick 2-hour drive from Johannesburg will take you to the popular Pilanesberg National Park. From your open safari vehicle, you will have the chance to sight the Big African 5, mainly, the Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Buffalos and Rhinos.

At the Lion Park, an eco-tourism destination, you can learn more about the endangered Wild Dog, the rare White Lion and Cheetah.

This one-day safari will surely be enough to make you plan a full-fledged African Safari in the very near future. (Also read: Africa – The land of Untamed Wilderness).

Victoria Falls – The Smoke that Thunders

Since nature, and not wildlife, is the theme of your holiday, you possibly cannot miss a sight that is sure to become a highlight of your trip.

The Victoria Falls located on the Zambezi River is no ordinary waterfall. Known as the greatest curtain of falling water in the world, this spectacle will stay with you long after the holiday. We are sure you simply cannot wait to take-off on this incredible South African ride.

Figuring how to fit it all into those 10 odd days you can afford to take off from work can seem challenging.

With our experience and expertise in holiday planning, we at Thomas Cook have designed unique packages that ensure sure you get a taste of this South African diversity in the time you can spare.

South African Extravaganza/ South African Highlights with Helicopter Ride – 9 Nights, 10 Days

Over these 10 days, Thomas Cook will ensure that you get a taste of the region’s exotic natural beauty, rare animal sightings, thrilling adventure and opulent luxury.

Choosing from one of these packages also comes with the thrill of a helicopter ride. Soaking in the panoramic view of this region from that vantage point will be one rocking experience.

South African Delights – 9 Nights, 10 Days / Grand Bargain South Africa – 8 Nights, 9 Days

In case you simply don’t have the stomach for a nail-biting helicopter ride, there are holiday packages that will allow you to experience this country in all its beauty.

Opting for the longer one (9 nights, 10 days) will give you the chance to take in a few extra attractions in route and at a slower pace.

South African Extravaganza with Victoria Falls – 11 Nights, 12 Days/Grand Bargain South Africa with Victoria Falls – 10 Nights, 11 Days

Are you the adventurous sort who seeks both the ground and aerial thrills? Is the Victoria Falls the main item on your South African sightseeing list? Check out these packages – curated just for you. These packages are longer, however, the extra few days will seem more than worth-your-while when you will be on the breath-taking Zambezi River cruise. (Recommended read: Wildlife Safaris in South Africa).

This is a mere snapshot of these incredible South African packages. Each of them has been customized to include a variety of different attractions giving you the best that this region offers. Rest assured. No matter which one you choose, Thomas Cook will make sure you come back with a treasure trove of priceless memories. Visit the Thomas Cook to decide which package is best for you and take-off on a South African holiday that will have every color of the rainbow.

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