South African Ambassador
What do you think would be most rewarding and stimulating for visitors from Southeast Asia and Indonesia?
Diverse experiences of the ultimate combination of nature, wildlife, culture, adventure, heritage and vibe. We can guarantee that you’re spoilt for choice. In South Africa, you can enjoy world-class luxury facilities, whether you opt for Afro-chic or authentic Africa. Great weather invites you to enjoy the outdoors, play golf all year round and take advantage of the nearly 3,000 kilometres of coastline.
What length of stay would you recommend for visitors to truly experience South Africa?
With the world class facilities South Africa offers, the fact that you’ll find it easy to get around, and the ease with which you can connect between major cities and regional towns, for a well-deserved holiday with all the thrills and fun, I would advised two weeks.
For a two week trip, you can: enjoy stunning views across Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain; explore the Cape Peninsula and the Winelands on two full day private escorted tours; search for the Big Five on a luxury safari in a private game reserve; view the incredible natural wonder of Victoria Falls; take a tour around Soweto and the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg to learn more about South Africa’s history.
What other destinations would you recommend?
South Africa is blessed with spectacular scenery and natural landscapes – soaring mountain peaks and passes, dense and ancient forests, miles of unspoiled coastline, rivers to soothe or thrill you, and rolling flower fields and grasslands of every hue. Places to be still, places to inspire you, places to explore or to simply revel in the joyous gift of nature.
uKhahlamba-Drakensberg houses a treasure trove of an estimated 35,000 examples of San rock paintings, is home to protected plant and animal species, and contains a high-altitude, RAMSARaccredited wetland system. There are many mountain ranges, none more impressive than KwaZulu-Natal’s 200km-long uKhahlamba-Drakensberg escarpment. Magnificent marine life. Whether you visit South Africa’s whale-watching capital Hermanus or choose a scenic spot along the Garden Route or Wild Coast, seeing these marine giants in their natural environment wither from land or a boat is an experience that you won’t want to miss. From June until November, southern right whales are highly visible along the Cape south coast, making this the perfect time of year for a whale-watching trip.
Cultural encounters. Whether you spend a day in a Zulu village or a city township; a week in a Xhosa household or escape to a typical South African farm, you’ll find South Africans are friendly and their day-to-day lifestyles and customs accessible. Short or long stay – you’re welcome!
Wine tasting. With wine regions stretching from the western to the far northern Cape and the edge of the Karoo you can almost taste your way around South Africa. Sample at well-known estates or seek out little-known gems – our Port and Brandy routes are renowned too. Where there’s fabulous wine, great food is never far behind. Oenophiles, gastronomes and sybarites – don’t miss our winelands.
What about other cultural aspects–can you recommend any particular festivals and events?
Relax and enjoy the lifestyle, South Africa has a lively cultural life and many opportunities to meet the locals, be it at a jazz festival, in nightclubs or at our premier horse race. For those who want a more relaxed holiday, there are plenty of places to wind down and be pampered.
Kaapse Klopse, Cape Town. The streets of Cape Town come alive on January 2, when the Cape Minstrels celebrate Tweede Nuwe Jaar (Second New Year) in style wearing brightly coloured outfits, sporting umbrellas and singing traditional songs.
Grahamstown National Arts Festival. In July, this student town comes to life during the National Arts Festival – a celebration of song, dance and creativity.
Namaqualand daisies in spring. The annual blooming is a major event on the Northern Cape’s calendar. In springtime millions of wild daisies sprout after the first rains, a sight to behold.
The Sardine Run. A race of a different kind! Thousands upon thousands of silvery sardines make their way to the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal, followed closely by sharks and dolphins
Knysna Oyster Festival. We South Africans just love our food festivals and one of the major highlights is the Knysna Oyster Festival along the Garden Route (March).
The Soweto Derby. This yearly clash between Kaiser Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at Soccer City is legendary and soccer fans around the country just love the event.
What is there for the discerning gourmand in terms of sampling South African cuisine?
South African foods have their origins in the indigenous, colonial, and immigrant societies that, over many centuries, have made this part of the world their home.
Biltong, a kind of beef jerky, and beskuit, dried biscuits or rusks, can be traced to the Afrikaans-speaking pioneers who trekked away from the Cape during the 1830s and 1840s and who needed food that was durable and portable.
Malay cooks, who arrived in the Cape colony as slaves from the mid-17th century onwards, created what is arguably one of South Africa’s most popular meat dishes in the form of bobotie (a spiced mince dish topped with an egg custard and baked).
Durban in Kwa-Zulu Natal is renowned for its curries. This is a legacy of the 1860s when indentured Indian labourers were brought to this part of the world, with many of their descendants still settled here. And a visit to Durban without tasting a bunny chow (a half loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with curry) is almost unthinkable.
Township cuisine features dishes like shisa nyama (braaied meat), chakalaka (hot pickle), and mngqusho (samp and beans).
Boerewors, a coiled sausage usually made of beef and pork and spiced with coriander, is another iconic South African food with as many regional and cultural variations as there are braai (barbecue) fires on which to sizzle it. In fact, cooking over the coals of an open fire is something that unites all cultural groups in this country.
Other iconic South African foods retain a strong sense of place. The Western Cape is the place to sample dishes like smoorsnoek (a kind of kedgeree made from snoek, a line fish common in Cape waters) and waterblommetjiebredie (a stew of lamb and flowers of an indigenous pondweed).
What about adventure tourism?
Adventure Tourism in South Africa means take your adrenalin glands on a joyride, whether it’s bungee jumping off the world’s highest bridge swing, racing ostriches in the Karoo or paragliding off Table Mountain.
Scad diving has just been added to the adventure menu at the Orlando Cooling Towers Adventure Centre in Soweto. There’s also cage diving with great white sharks or hot air ballooning over the Magaliesberg mountains or stargazing in Sutherland.
In Mpumalanga, Big Five Safaris are available and there are numerous activities on offer in Graskop, Hazyview and Sabie, including abseiling the world’s largest green canyon, quad biking in the forests and canoeing on the rivers.
There is lots of choice in the Western Cape – go diving with great white sharks in Gansbaai, mountain-biking in the Cedarberg or hiking up Table Mountain.
KwaZulu-Natal offers fun in the sun (virtually all year round) with superb adventures such as canopy tours in Karkloof, swimming with tiger sharks at Aliwal Shoal and a range of activities in the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site.
The Northern Cape offers 4×4 trails in the Richtersveld, extreme activities at the Augrabies Falls and shipwreck diving along the desolate coastline. For those visiting Gauteng you can bridge swing at the Orlando Cooling Towers, sand board down a mine dump or go caving at the Cradle of Humankind.
Limpopo is known for its challenging Ivory Route 4×4 trail and numerous outdoor activities in the bush, while the Free State is home to the Golden Gate Highlands National Park (great hikes and walks) with pony trekking safaris in the Maluti Mountains on offer close by.