South Africa is a country of stark contrasts and stunning beauty. Scenic landscapes of the Drakensberg, unspoiled wildlife of the great parks, timeless communities of Swaziland: each hike is an opportunity to discover the many facets of the aptly named “rainbow nation”. South Africa, an untouched adventure playground and a paradise for trekking.
South Africa is characterized by a dazzling nature that borrows from all types of landscapes. Mountains, high plateaus, canyons, valleys, savannah, desert and beaches compete for the interest of the traveler. From the breathtaking cliff face of the amphitheater, an astonishing mountainous configuration, to
the wine estates of the Cape region, a kaleidoscope of sights and sensations suit hiking in South Africa. Men are not mistaken, who have occupied the place since the dawn of time, as evidenced by the archaeological sites and the cave paintings of the San people. Here, the fauna and flora have been preserved and the wildlife reserves for hiking offer all the diversity of African biodiversity. Multiple in its climate – desert on its Atlantic coast, Mediterranean course and tropical on its northern plateaus – South Africa is the cradle of nature in majesty.
The Drakensberg escarpment, a monumental paradise
Called “rampart of spears” by the Zulus and “mountains of dragons” by the Afrikaners, the Drakensberg escarpment, a gigantic spine that crosses South Africa from east to west, is an El Dorado for trekking. Alternating quartz walls and soft shale where erosion has deep gorges, these mountains are home, in
addition to endemic flora and fauna, to the remains of the San culture, hunter gatherers who lived there 20,000 years ago. . Thus, the manifestations of their beliefs and their daily life are painted on the rock. Little frequented, the Drakensberg is a massif with impressive geological formations. It culminates
at Thabana Ntlenyana, 3,482 meters, the highest peak in southern Africa, easily accessible for hiking on its stony plateau. From the top of the amphitheater, a formidable rampart 5 kilometers long and 1,000 meters high, the Tugela Falls plunge from the highlands of Lesotho into the green valleys below. From there, a hike leads to Mont-aux-Sources, at 3282 meters, from which flow the three great rivers of South Africa: Tugela, Elands and Orange. To the north of the range, the spectacular Blyde River Canyon meanders for 26 kilometers and displays its whimsical geomorphology, such as the eccentric “Three Rondavels”, colossal hut-shaped peaks. To make the Drakensberg a land where nature triumphs is undoubtedly to reach the quintessence of South Africa.
Nature Reserves and Game Parks in South Africa
In the parks of South Africa, you can approach the most common animals on the African continent, as well as the rarest: lions, buffaloes, elephants, leopards or wild dogs, springboks, white rhinos… Hiking here is synonymous with safari. In Kruger National Park, the largest of them, or in the game reserve of Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, it is everywhere in Africa that you will kiss while holding your breath.
A world at odds with the Western world, between two oceans, lush green plateaus, wild and vertiginous mountains dominating monumental valleys, paths traced in the sunny savannah, parks and nature reserves where the most remarkable animals of Africa, frolic, tropical forests, luxuriant vegetation, imposing vineyards, beautiful coasts… South Africa, much more than a variety of incredible landscapes, it is also remarkable ethnic groups such as the Zulus, descendants of the Bantus.
In these sumptuous decorations, imbued with the breath of the great outdoors, the explorations of the most beautiful parks, mainly on foot or on safari, make you feel the mystery and the strength of the impressive fauna that people. The hike is also an opportunity to encounter an extraordinary cultural mix in this captivating “rainbow nation”.
A whole world awaits you in Southern Africa. Only a moment to lose… Come and savor the fabulous diversity of this land where people and nature live in perfect harmony.
|Population||53 million persons.|
|Area||1 221 037 km².|
|Capital City||Tshwane (Old Pretoria) (administrative),|
Le Cap ((legislative.), Bloemfontein (judiciary).
|Town||Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Welkom.|
|High point||Mafadi (massif of Drakensberg, 3 450 m).|
|Desert||Makgadikgadi (great salt desert), Kalahari.|
|Lakes and River||Lake Saint Lucia, Orange river, Limpopo river,Vaal river|
|Languages||English (official), zoulou et afrikaans…|
|Compared to France, plus one hour of November to March same time, April to October. UTC/GMT: +2.|
Outh Africa is located at the southern tip of the African continent. Bordered by Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho, it is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.
The country is divided into three main regions: the Upper Veldt, a vast semiarid inland plateau, the Lower Veldt, made up of the three coastal plains, and the Kalahari Basin in the northeast, where the southern part of the desert is located. . . same name.
The mountainous region starts from the Cape of Good Hope and joins the valley of the Limpopo River (north-east). It is divided into three distinct ranges: Nuweveldberg, Stormberg and Drakensberg, which rises to over 3,400 m. In the east of the country, the coastline consists of plains and narrow hills while in the south there are ridges, capes and bays. The coast is an alternation of fine sandy beaches and rocky coves. It offers a great diversity of landscapes and climatic influences.
The climate is pleasant and conducive to travel all year round
- It is almost continental in all hiking and trekking areas. Located in the southern hemisphere, this region has reversed the seasons compared to ours.
- Austral winter: between June and September, cool, especially around Johannesburg and the highlands.
- Austral summer: between October and May, moderately hot to torrid, in the center and north-west of the country.
- The climate is Mediterranean around Cape Town, pleasant all year round, humid in the southern winter, windy in the southern summer.
|Cape Town||14-25 °C||11-22 °C||6-17 °C||13-20 °C|
|Johannesburg||14-25 °C||7-21 °C||5-17 °C||10-23 °C|
|Durban||19-27 °C||17-25 °C||11-22 °C||15-23 °C|
Despite being the second largest economy in Africa (behind Nigeria), the country remains unable to achieve a dramatic reduction in extreme poverty. Agriculture, which reached 20% of GDP in the 1930s, now represents only about 3% of GDP. The country exports corn, sugar, tobacco, peanuts, wool. Mining is
very important (1/3 of GDP), South Africa is the largest gold producer in the world; its basement is particularly rich: platinum, silver, diamond, …. Food processing is one of the first industrial activities; automotive manufacturing and transportation equipment is considerable. South Africa has major
commercial banks and a stock exchange in Johannesburg. The country is experiencing very good tourism development, this sector now represents 7% of GDP and employs 3% of the active population.
South Africa is relatively sparsely populated, with an overall density of 36 people per km2. The population, 75% black, comes from different ethnic groups, occupying South Africa for sometimes millennia: Bushmen, Hottentots, Sothos, Swazis, Xhosas and Zulus. The Afrikaners or Boers, descendants of Dutch, German or French settlers, represent 8.4%.
The mixed population is growing steadily and represents 8.8%. Asians, mostly descendants of Indian immigrants, make up 3% of the population. The Zulus, partly settled, represent the largest group with 20% of the total population. They speak Zulu, which is the most used language in the country. Most Zulus claim to be Christians, but they retain their pre-colonial beliefs of ancestor worship in the form of an amalgamation with Christianity.
In 1488, the European history of South Africa began when the Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias reached the Cape of Storms (Cape of Good Hope), followed in 1497 by Vasco de Gama, who skirted the Natal coast.
The final settlement of Europeans in South Africa dates back to 1652 with the establishment, on behalf of the Dutch East India Company, of a supply station in Cape Town run by the Dutchman Jan van Riebeek. Five years later, several employees of the company are authorized to settle permanently in Cape Town
while slaves are deported from Batavia and Madagascar to compensate for the lack of labor on site. In 1688, two hundred French Huguenots joined the eight hundred administrators of the trading post and founded the Franschhoek, “the corner of the French”.
After several negotiations and battles, the Dutch definitively gave way to the British in 1806 and began their great migration across the country, it is the Great Trek, strewn with tragedies and battles. Two independent Boer republics were founded and recognized by Britain: the South African Transvaal Republic
(1852) and the Orange Free State (1854). In addition, the black population was organized and founded, in 1912, an Africanist political party, the African National Congress (ANC). Thirty years later, in 1948, the new Prime Minister, Daniel François Malan, implemented the policy of apartheid, which resulted in the massacre and deportation of thousands of South Africans. It was not until 1960, following the Sharpeville massacre and then the banning of the ANC and African nationalist movements, that the United Nations and the international community condemned the policy of apartheid. In response to these positions,
the Prime Minister reinforced his policy and in 1963 condemned Nelson Mandela, one of the leaders of Umkhonto we Sizwe, as well as other leaders of the ANC, to life imprisonment for terrorism. It was not until 1990 that new South African President Frederik de Klerk legalized the ANC, the South African
Communist Party, all black movements, and freed Nelson Mandela.
In June 1991, the government abolished the last laws on apartheid and began a process of constitutional transition (Codesa) which culminated on April 27th 1994 in the first multiracial elections in the country’s history. These are won by the ANC and Nelson Mandela becomes the first black president of the country.
From 1999 to 2008, the country was presided over by Thabo Mbeki. His record is mixed following the economic and social difficulties that emerged during his second term, linked to a serious shortage of electricity and the deterioration of infrastructure. On September 21st 2008, following the decision of his party (the ANC) to withdraw his mandate, Thabo Mbeki resigned from Parliament, which elected Kgalema Motlanthe to end his mandate until the general elections of 2009.
Following the April 22, 2009 elections won by the ANC, Jacob Zuma, former vice-president from 1999 to 2005, becomes the new president of the Republic It is renewed