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Beautiful SA

Country information

Beautiful South Africa

Sunny South Africa is on every passionate travelers list. The author T.V. Bulpin describes SA in the title of his book: South Africa: "Land of Beauty and Splendour". The diverstiy in landscape and culture (11 Official languages spoken) is what makes it such a wonderffull country. Mountains, oceans, forests, semi-arid areas tropical coastlines and beaches - all easily accessible. Game reserves, open spaces, friendly faces, food fusions from all over the world. It really is a country where there is something for every traveler to enjoy and fill thier wonderlust.

Cape Town is a top tourist destination full of cultural expression, with the Cape Winelands at its door step and numerous quaint and picturesque towns and outdoor adventures abound. Johannesburg is a world class African city, also with its share of culture and "big city life", the power-house of South Africa. 

What makes South Africa beautiful? 

Plettenberg Bay

Take a look at our Menu

What makes SA?

Wildlife Affordable Wine and Amazing Food Sunshine Colourful Personalities Art Music Wilderness Areas Beaches Forsest Family Holidays Braais Ocean Winelands Parties Mountains Rivers Ocean Game Reserves Freedom Beach Life Forests Watersport

One of many pristine beaches along the Garden Route

No country can rival South Africa as a travel destination. If you are considering a visit to South Africa, NOW IS THE TIME! You will love it. The most popular routes include Kruger National Park and the Garden Route, with plenty in between. Move Safaris will be focusing on specialised unique tours in South Africa that cover the popular points of interest, but we will also be focusing on adventures to less visited but just as exciting destinations. The mission is to put you in touch with South African culture, its people, food and lifestyle - all while having fun and under the guidance of a proffesional guide team catering for your needs on tour. Most travelers leave here with a tear in thier eye. Truth be told, South Africa really has it all.

South African art, music & culture links


Lesotho fashion - Unknown Union

Xhosa designer - Taking Xhosa tradition global


Kwaito: Mafikizolo; Bongo Muffin; Mandoza; Black South Easter; Fresh Dj; Malaika; Brenda Fassie; Mzekezeke; TKZ

Afro Pop: Johnny Clegg, Mango Groove, Zahara, Freshly Ground, Mirriam Makeba

Pop/Rock and the rest

Dezmund & the Tutu's; Zebra & Giraffe; Goldfish; Parlatones; aKing; Jesse Clegg; Just Jinger; Prime Circle; Watershed; The Plastics: Short Straw; Manuvah to Land; 

Jack Parouw; Goldfish

Ska: The Rudimentals

Jazz: Jonathan Butler;  Jimmy Dludlu; 

Miss South Africa beauty pageant

South African films:

Dirict 9, Tsotsi, Invictus, The Gods Must be Crazy, Cry the Beloved Country, The Bang Bang Club, Blood Diamond, and plenty more...

A country of diversity - Wild Coast above is contrast to different to the Western Cape below

Hermanus, Western Cape (On a cloudy day)

One of the Clifton beaches, Cape Town

Here are some of the reasons why you should visit South Africa right now!


South Africans are generally friendly people and welcome tourists & toursim

South Africa has a restaurant culture and our restaurants are of European standard

Your foreign currency will take you a long way

Wine, wine, wine, and more wine... The Cape Winelands include the longest wine route in the world and some of the best wines too

Incomparable wildlife sightings and experiences across the world, nowhere else will you see lions, elephants, zebras and giraffe, as well as a multitude of varied species of gazelle and antelope

Hi standard tourism infrustructure -  the best in Africa

For the shoppers: World class shopping centres and affordable shopping sprees! Good and safe taxi services




Wine tasting from R30 to R150 =   CHF 4.18 /  US $ 5  

Average restaurant spend for 2 people: 2 course meal with a good bottle of wine R300 =  CHF  19.31 /  US$ 20.10 / EURO 17,78

Good to excellent bottle of wine in shop R30 - R100 = CHF 1,93 - 6,44/ EURO 1,78 - 5,93

6 pack of beer R55-R60 = FCH 3,6 / US$ 3,69

Accommodation of good to excellent standard: B&B, guesthouse from R450 - R1200pppn FCH 28,96

Game drives and wildlife - you cannot experience a game drive anywhere else in the world, there are not enough animals elsewhere

Most of all, what we South Africans love about SA ...

  a sense of   


                                                                                     come see for yourself

Reasons to Visit SA
Value for your bucks

Value for money, in comparison to other countries (converted to equivalent in foreign currency)

October 2018

1 US$ = ZAR 14.58

1 CHF = ZAR 14.56

1 EURO = ZAR 16,59

1 GBP = ZAR 18.72

Tours around South Africa

Epic South Africa

Explore the beauty of South Africa with Move Safaris on our 21 Day tour. This tour is designed to give you a good over all experience of South Africa. The tour is fully inclusive and packed with culture, wildlife, landscape experiences & activities. There is no other tour like it, and 5 % of the profits go to Saving The Survivors rhino project! See the programme here.

Want more of an adventure?

Take a self drive safari with Move Safaris. We provide you with everything you will need to guide yourself around around SA. Our experience and your freedom of travel

Trans Karoo Meander

Why fly from Cape Town to Johannesburg when you can drive through the Karoo?

The West

Kalahari , West Coast & Cape Town


Classic Camper Holidays - self drive in a VW oldie

National Symbols
Blue Crane
Augrabies National Park, Northern Cape

The 11 official languages of South Africa

Most South Africans (at least 98% of the population - 55 mil) speak 2 languages, some speak 3 - their 1st language and then English or Afrikaans or both. Some people speak or understand up to 3 diferent languages related to their 1st language depending their language group, be it Bantu or Nguni, with the European languages that make 5 languages! It is incredible to hear ones tour guide relate to people of different origin or country, all the way from Cape Town up to Victoria Falls or even Lake Malawi!

Afrikaans - Originally known as "Die Taal" (The Language), originated in South Africa, and was developed by the European settlers who arrived on our shores to farm for the Dutch East india Company and then later the British. One can hear the similarities in Afrikaans to Dutch, Flemish, German and little French. There are also some Khoi-Khoi influenced words, words with 'tjie" endings like "stoeletjie" meaning 'chair'. Afrikaans eventually succeeded Dutch as the main language, and still is widely spoken by multiple races.


Some langauge links on You Tube

Take a moment to watch video introduction to the Xhosa language

Listen to Mirriam Makeba - "The click song"

11 Languages

South African lingo

Howzit ?!: Howzit is a greeting meaning only "hallo" and can also mean "Hallo, how are you?"

Sometimes we say "Howzit going?" 

Depending on how averse a south African is to his/her multicultural society, he/she will also greet saying "Howzit boet!?" Boet means brother, from  the Afrikaans language. Like "Shap-shap", it is used across cultures.


Shap: pronounced sharp. This word comes from mixed African languages and understood throughout Southern Africa. It means: cool, ok, for sure, also used as a greeting - "Shap-shap!"

lekker: "That was a lekker braai!" ( That was a nice barbeque!) - meaning the occasion as well as the food.

We are having a lekker time! (We are enjoying ourselve's)

Just now / now now: "I will do it just now / now now." - meaning that whatever you asked me to do, I will do in the next 5 minutes or when ever I have the time to do it!

Braai: barbeque

Province & capital city names in different languages

Transvaal - Over the Vaal River

Gauteng - means "at the gold"

Johannesburg - names of the townplanners

eGoli - Place of gold

Pretoria - Tshwane

Mpumalanga - Place where the sun rises

(used to be part of old Transvaal)

Mbombela - (Nelspruit) - "a lot of people in a small place"

Orange Free State- After Netherlands


Northern Cape 


Limpopo - "strong gushing waterfalls"

Polokwane - (Pietersurg) -"place of safety"


KwaZulu Natal - Place of Zulu people


Eastern Cape

Bhisho - "buffalo" in Xhosa after the Buffalo River

Western Cape 

Cape Town - eKapa


North West - 

Mahikeng - Setswana - meaning "Place of Rocks"

A not too complicated run-down of who speaks what...

English- Europe of course

Bantu languages - origins 3000 BC Niger - Congo

Sotho - Tswana branch:


Northern Sotho - also known as Pedi or Pedi) spoken in Limpopo, Guateng,

Mpmalanga about 4,5 mil speakers


Sotho - Also the National language of Lesotho, spoken in Gauteng and

Orange Free State


Tswana - Northern parts of South Africa-  North West, Limpopo


Tsonga - Originally created in 1875 by Swiss missionaries in an attempt to make

one super language out of the east coast langauages, some of these were: Xigwamba,

XiNkuna, Xihlengwe, XiTembe, XiValoyi, XiNyembani, Xitswa, XiRonga, XiChopi.

The Swiss called it Thonga. There are about 13 mil native speakers today -across


Venda - Sppoken in Northern Limpopo, related to Western Shona, Shona is spoken in

Zimbabwe. About 1,6 mil speakers in SA.

Nguni branch:

Xhosa - the langauage of clicks and intonation, a series of rising or falling intonations

change the

meaning of consonants and vowels. Spoke by roughy 7.5 mil in SA. The language of

Nelson Mandela.

Zulu - Spoken by 10 mil people in SA, the most widely spoken native language, 24% of

the population and understood by over 50%. Herad mostly in kwa Zulu-Natal, and

parts of neighbouring provinces. The language of current President Jacob Zuma.

Swazi (Swati) - The officail language of Swaziland, also taught in some schools in Mpumalanga

Province, SA. About3 mil speakers


Ndebele - Spoken in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West, it is diferent to the Ndebele of Zimbabwe.

The Provinces


Prior to 1994 there were only 4 provinces, Traansvaal, Orange Free State and the Cape.

KwaZulu Natal

Home to the Zulu,s and Zulu Land. Characterised by lush green rolling hills,the Drakensburg

Mountain, subtropical coastline, rocky coves and endless beaches. Also unique to this area

is the experience of bush, the big 5 and the beach and marine environments all together,

kind of like an African jungle on the beach. Witnessing massive turtles arriving in summer

and the hatclings swimming into the ocean is a privelidge. 


Beautiful places include: 

iSimangeliso Wetland Park - Africas largest estuarine system, SA's first World Heritage Site, 

declared in 1999 a  a 332 000 hectare park

The Elephant Coast- Home to the largest tuskers in the world! (elephants with the biggest tusks)

The Drakensburg Mountain - Also a World Heritage Site, stretching over 200 km long. It forms

the provincial boundary between KZN (KwaZulu Natal) and The Orange Free State, as well as

the international border between SA and Lesotho. A Hikers paradise.

The Battlefields- historical locations of battles fought between the English and the Zulu's, the

Boers and the Zulu's and the Boers and the English...Sjoo! a lot of fighting!

Durban city - A large city, best known for its tropical beaches and warm ocean and safe swimming,

along with its beach side prominade. A vibrant place with a dominant Zulu language, also the

highest concentration of Indian people and therefore the best curries in SA!

Weather - Winters are dry - June to August. Warm days, ooler evenings, but generally warm.  

Summers are hot with rain but still good to travel.

Eastern Cape Province 

Home to the Xhosa people and and late President Nelson Mandela as well as Thabo Mbeki

and many of the freedom fighters like Steve Biko. EP also held the former "homelands" under

Apartheid- the Transkei and the Ciskei. As with all the provinces there are vast tracts of

untouched wilderness areas where you could literally get lost. Also green along the coast

and well known for its East Cape Thicket vegetation which is impenatrable in some areas

like The Great Fish River Conservancy and the Addo Elephant National Park area. The

Eastern Cape is below KZN, it is very hilly and difficult to navigate.

Attractions here are the Xhosa villages, The Wild Coast, Addo elephant NP. Eastern Cape

has part of the famous Garden Route, the drive between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth

(where i grew up) along the coast. Characterised by forest, mountains, waterfalls, deep

georges and riversThe Titsikamma Forest is one of only remaining indigeanous forests

where South Africas hardwoods are protected. Historical towns Grahamstown., Graaf

Reinette, the biggest city is Port Elizabeth. Part of the Karoo falls in ECape.

There is a lot of English history, this is where the Frontier Wars were fought- the English and

the Xhosa's along the Buffalo and Fish Rivers. The poor 1820 Settlers arrived here not

knowing what they would be facing, fierce Xhosa's and crop destroying elephants.

Weather - Winter, can be cold, especially at night but generally the days are warm.

Summers are warm and it does rain. PE has enough wind to energise the earth.


Western Cape

The highest concentration of Afrikaans speakers, and that of mixed race. There are also a lot

of Xhosa's in the WCape who come for job opportunities. The WCape also has its share of

mountains, grasslands and semi arid areas such as the Karoo beautiful beaches and forests.

Attractions are the West Coast, wich is arid and strikingly beautiful when the flowers are blooming in spring. Hermans, a lovely sea side holiday town which is one of the best land based whale watching areas in SA. Knysna is another up market holiday town, surrounded by the Knysna forest, famous for its Knysna Heads rock formations at the mouth of the Knysna Estuary. Storms River Mouth with the famous swing bridge, where you gain a sence of the the Garden Routes beauty, striking rocky cliffs topped with forest and a deep george meeting the rough ocean currents and crashing waves. Wilderness is also a holiday area with what feels like wilderness and beach surroundings, evergreen indigeanous forest and pristine coast line and important wetland areas. And just over one of the beautiful mountain passes, (as in the ECape part of the Garden Route) you find yourself in the Klein Karoo (Small Karoo) where the dry arid biomes begin. Here you find quaint and old towns dating back into early colonial times and earlier. Oudtshoorn is where you can crawl though the Cango Caves and ride on the back of an Ostrich. The Karoo is alos said to raise the best lamb in the world - I believe this is true, as I have tasted New Zealand lamb and it aint as good as ours!


Cape Town! The worlds most beautiful city and the no 1 visited in the world. Rightly so, with the main feature being Table Mountain and the city laid nout at its feet, pristine Blue Flag beaches and top class restaurants. What makes CT such a great place to stay is that its easy to get around and to the attractions. it has a wealth of top class restaurants and just about every type of cuisene you could imagine. There are some good cheap suhi spots in Sea Point. Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsula make up a big nature reserve, networked with walking trails, rock climbing routes and mountain streams and pools. (Dont walk in the reserve area alone)Excluding CT its self, is that in  1 to 3 hours  in any direction you will find yourself in nature reserves, quaint historical towns, beaches,rivers, mountains offering adventure activities like kayaking, rock climbing and hiking, surrounded by Fynbos and natural beauty. The Cape Floral Kingdom is 1 of 6 in the world and has the highest diversity of all 6 put together. And of course the Cape Winelands, Stellenbosch, Fraanschoek, Paarl, Worcester, Hermanus for wine tasting. Olive groves and cheeseries. Cape Town was where the British eventually established themselve's and it became the base from where they admisnistered the Cape Colony.

Northern Cape

The Northen Cape is largely unexplored by tourism and who knows why, maybe like other parts of SA, it has always been in the shadow of the big attractions like KNP, Cape Town and the Garden Route. Although this will change. The NC is the largest province, it is a vast and predominantly dry and arid landscape, and can be extremely hot in summer and ice cold on winter nights.


Putting those insignificant facts aside, the landscape is one of those that transforms you into that place where you feel the vastness of the universe swirling around you into the eternal spheres, the cool evening breeze whispering around your ears in the utter silence of the Karoo while you loose yourself in the mistery's of the night sky. The sunsets and evenings are spectacular. If you are a star-gazer, this is the place for you! Small towns and populations create minimal to no noise and light pollution. 


NC is well known for its flowers that abound all over in early spring. The Great Karoo is unique and comprises unique biomes and sensitive ecosystems, eco-tones and bio-diversity hot spots. The Kalahari desert starts in this province and strecthes up to Gabon, central Africa, making it the longest single stretch of sand in the world. 

Some of the attractions are Kgalagadi Trans Frontier National Park, Augrabies Falls National Park, Mokala NP, Namaqua NP, Richtersveld NP, Tankwa Karoo NP, The Big Hole in Kimberly where the diamond rush took place in the 1870's other historical towns are De Aar, Carnavon, Concordia. all the towns bare witness to some major historical events: Major railway stations and stop-overs for people travelling across the harsh interior, Hotels and bars that catered forthe Queen of England, minning, and hide outs for the gorilla style warfare of the Boers in the Boer War/ South Africa War of Independence. The great Orange River journeys through NC making its way to the Atlantic Ocean. It provides irrigation waters for commercial agriculture as well as lots of fun and adventure for water sports entusiasts.

The Orange Free State

The Boer Republic. and the grasslands and savannah of South Africa. Lying high up in the Drakensberg shares boundaries with Lesotho, North West, Northen Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Mpumalanga and Gauteng,it has some amazing scenery. it also has two of South Africas big rivers flowing on its boundries; the Orange River and the Vaal River. Home to the beautiful Golden Gate National Park and some of the highest densities of dinosaur fossils in the world. It was the granted to the Boers by the English as a 'free independant state'. It is still refered to as the Free State or Fry Staat. 


Gauteng is the smallest of the provinces. It is home to Pretoria / Tshwane- meaning the Apies River which runs through the city)- the administrative capital and Johannesburg / eGoli -seSotho, meaning place of gold, the financial capital. Each city with their fair share of historical buildings from South Africa's early days under Calonialism, The Union and The Republic. Johannesburg has the Apartheid museum, Soweto, Nelson Mandela's and Mahatma Ghandis house museums. Johannesburg is the financial hub of South Africa and has become the central meeting point for Africa. It has been termed a 'world class African city'. The two cities are a melting pot of different races and cultures. The tempo in Johannesburg is fast, Pretoria is a bit more chilled out. There are some fantastic night time jaunts where you can really experience a complete mix of South Africa's cultures socialising together. BEST visited with a South African friend in a group and never alone. Guateng is on the Highveld, and is therfore cold in winter, but the sun still shines, summers however are consistently warm with a rain season. The weather is extremely predictable and you can bet on a braai every summers evening.



A strong mix of Bantu influences makes Limpopo a very interseting province. As with the whole of South Africa it also has a good mix of game reserves, national parks, private game lodges and Horse Riding Safari Lodges. Game breeding and hunting lodges. Limpopo is still considered to by fairly wild, with a dominance of the wildlife industry and plenty African bush in between, its a recipe for roaming wildlife, much like the St Lucia / iSimangaliso Wetland Park area's. The locals have regular encounters with wildlife on a daily basis. This is the land of Baobab trees in South Africa. Limpopo forms part of the iconic Kruger National Park. Limpopo is of major agricultural importance, making huge contributions to SA's fresh produce markets - 75% of South Africa's mangoes, 65% of its papayas, 36% of its tea, 25% of its citrus, bananas, and litchis, 60% of its avocados, 60% of its tomatoes, 285.000 tons of potatoes, and 35% of its oranges.

Attractions are The Waterberg Biosphere, Mapungubwe World Heritage Site and NP, KNP, Marakele NP,  numerous cultural centres and exhibitions.

Three distinct climatic regions can be identified in the province. These are the: 

  • Lowveld (arid and semi-arid) regions.

  • Middle veldt, highveld, semi-arid region. 

  • Escarpment region having sub-humid climate with rainfall in excess of 700 mm per annum.


Formally known as Eastern Transvaal, Mpumalanga is considered to be one of the most geographically diverse and unbelievably beautiful places in South Africa. Termed "The place where the sun rises", Mpumalanga lies in the east of South Africa, north of KwaZulu-Natal and bordering Swaziland and Mozambique. In the northeast, the land rises towards mountain peaks and then terminates in an immense escarpment. In some places, this escarpment plunges hundreds of metres down to the low-lying area known as the Lowveld. Attractions are KNP, The Blyde River Canyon - the most tree'd canyon in the world. It is also end journey of the Great Rift Valley of East Africa, in this area is point of interest called Bourkes Luck Potholes- a geological point of interest with a stroy connected to the Gold Rush prospectors and the Voortrekkers at the confluence of the Blyde and Treur Rivers. Fly fishing in Dullstroom, Gods Window- Is a view point on the Panorama Route, located on the edge of the escarpment, you literally stand on the cliff edges plunging over 700 metres down to the lowveld. The other Panorama Route highlights are Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels, the Mac Mac Falls and the Blyde River Canyon. Pilgrems Rest is a monument town, in its original state since the Gold Rush of 18  . Belfast, yes, named after Belfast, is the highest town in SA at 1990m. The oldest portiono f railway is also in the area.

Some of the defining moments of South African history have happened in Mpumalanga.

Events like the beginnings of oxygen producing plants, ancient tribes roaming the lands, the legends of King Solomon’s mines and Queen Sheba. Tracks mark the land caused by the Voortrekkers who forged their way up the country, the Boer War that followed the trek, and the gold rush that consumed the area. Clashes of culture and ideology during apartheid, its eradication. All of these iconic events took place in Mpumalanga. Needless to say, Mpumalanga is steeped in history.

North  West Province

Much of the province consists of flat areas of scattered trees and grassland. The Magaliesberg mountain range in the northeast extends about 130 km (about 80 miles) from Pretoria to Rustenburg. The Vaal River flows along the southern border of the province. Temperatures range from 17° to 31° C (62° to 88° F) in the summer and from 3° to 21° C (37° to 70° F) in the winter. Annual rainfall totals about 360 mm (about 14 in), with almost all of it falling during the summer months, between October and April.Mafikeng, formerly Mafeking, serves as the provincial capital. Other significant towns include Brits, Klerksdorp,Lichtenburg,Potchefstroom, Rustenburg and Sun City.

Important historical sites in the province include Mafikeng, the traditional capital of the Barolong people, where a British garrison was placed under siege by Afrikaners during the Boer War (1899-1902); Lotlamoreng Cultural Village near Mafikeng, which re-creates a traditional African village; and Boekenhoutfontein, the farm of Paul Kruger, who was the last president of the South African Republic (a state created by Afrikaners in what is now north-eastern South Africa), from 1883 to 1902. The province has several national parks. The largest, Pilanesberg Game Reserve, is located in the crater of an extinct volcano.

The mainstay of the economy of North West Province is mining, gold, mined at Orkney and Klerksdorp; uranium, mined at Klerksdorp; platinum, mined at Rustenburg and Brits; and diamonds, mined at Lichtenburg, Christiana, and Bloemhof. The northern and western parts of the province have many sheep farms and cattle and game ranches. The eastern and southern parts are crop-growing regions that produce maize (corn), sunflowers, tobacco, cotton, and citrus fruits. The entertainment and casino complex at Sun City and Lost City also contributes to the provincial economy.


Lesotho is a landlocked country within the borders of SA. It his home to the Basotho people. It lies on the western side of the Drakensberg Mountain surrounded by the Orange Free State, kwaZulu Natal, and the Eastern Cape. It is known as the "Kingdom in the sky" as the whole lie of the land is above 1000m above sea level.

Lesotho still has traits of a monarchy. It is a poor country. Traditional herdsman still care for their livestock as in years gone by. A trip to visit these traditional homesteads using Basotho ponies as pack mules is a popular excursion. 

Leotho is beautiful and ascending up this mountainous country does feel like you are leaving the world that you know. 


Swaziland is also landlocked by SA. It is said to be the only true monarchy left in Africa. the northern parts of the country are mountainous. The northern border lies in close proximity to the Kruger National Park, and makes a wonderful destination after visiting KNP,  on the east its neighbour is Mozambique. The remaining borders are surrounded by SA. 

Swaziland has always had good trade with SA. The GDP contributions are canning, botteling, forrestry, mining. Under Apartheid, Swaziland used to be a playground for South Africans who enjoyed gambling casinos and inter-racial relationships. Now that SA has relaxed its rules, this income for Swaziland has died down. 

Swaziland has some fantastic nature reserves like Malalotja, in the north eastern mountainous regions, which offer spectacular views and hiking trails. Heading south one finds the collection of Swazilands Big 5 National parks

The Provinces


A brief history of South Africa

The San people were the first known people to traverse modern day South

Africa,they were followed by the Khoikhoi and Bantu-speaking

tribes - the latter as a result of the pressure of the slave in northern and

central Africa causing a southward migration.

The Dutch East India Company brought the first European

settlers to the Cape of Good Hope in 1652, creating a colony that by the

end of the 18th century numbered only about 15000. The colony was initialy

intended to be a half-way stop and refreshment station for ships navigating

the spice route. These settlers became known as the Boers or

Afrikaners, their language was Dutch and later developed into a new

language called Afrikaans.

As early as 1795 the settlers tried to establish an independent republic,

they occupied the Cape Colony and soon after, Britain took possession in 1815,and brought another 5000 settlers. In an attempt to be free of British rule, scouts were sent out to find suitable lands, 12000 Afrikaners made the “Great Trek” north and east into un-explored African tribal territory, where they established the republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.(these inside modern day SA)

With the discovery of diamonds in 1867 and gold nine years later, an influx of “outlanders” flowed into the republics and spurred Cape Colony prime minister Cecil John Rhodes to plot annexation. He tried to spur an “outlander” rebellion, to which an armed party lead by Leander Starr Jameson would ride to the rescue, the plan failed in 1895, resulting in Rhodes' resignation. What British expansionists called the “inevitable” war with the Boers broke out on Oct. 11, 1899. The Boers were defeated in 1902 and in 1910 the Union of South Africa was formed, Composed of four provinces, the two former republics, and the old Cape and Natal colonies, Louis Botha, a Boer, became the first prime minister.

Organized political activity among Africans started with the establishment of the African National Congress in 1912.


Jan Christiaan Smuts brought the nation into World War II on the Allied side against Nationalist opposition, and South Africa became a charter member of the United Nations in 1945, but he refused to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Apartheid—racial separation—dominated domestic politics as the Nationalists gained power and imposed greater restrictions on Bantus (black Africans), Asians, and Coloreds (in South Africa the term meant any nonwhite person). Black voters were removed from the voter rolls in 1936. Over the next half-century, the nonwhite population of South Africa was forced out of designated white areas. The Group Areas Acts of 1950 and 1986 forced about 1.5 million Africans to move from cities to rural townships. South Africa declared itself a republic in 1961 and severed its ties with the Commonwealth, which strongly objected to the country's racist policies. The white supremacist National Party, which had first come to power in 1948, would continue its rule for the next three decades.In 1960, 70 black protesters were killed during a peaceful demonstration in Sharpesville. The African National Congress (ANC), the principal antiapartheid organization, was banned that year, and in 1964 its leader, Nelson Mandela, was sentenced to life imprisonment. Black protests against apartheid grew stronger and more violent. In 1976, an uprising in the black township of Soweto spread to other black townships and left 600 dead. Beginning in the 1960s, international opposition to apartheid intensified. The UN imposed sanctions, and many countries divested their South African holdings.Apartheid's grip on South Africa began to give way when F. W. de Klerk replaced P. W. Botha as president in 1989. De Klerk removed the ban on the ANC and released its leader, Nelson Mandela, after 27 years of imprisonment. The Inkatha Freedom Party, a black opposition group led by Mangosuthu Buthelezi,  frequently clashed with the ANC during this period. 


In 1991, a multiracial forum led by de Klerk and Mandela, the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA), began working on a new constitution. In 1993, an interim constitution was passed, which dismantled apartheid and provided for a multiracial democracy with majority rule. The peaceful transition of South Africa from one of the world's most repressive societies into a democracy is one of the 20th century's most remarkable success stories. Mandela and de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. The 1994 election, the country's first multiracial one, resulted in a massive victory for Mandela and his ANC. The new government included six ministers from the National Party and three from the Inkatha Freedom Party. A new national constitution was approved and adopted in May 1996.In 1997 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, chaired by Desmond Tutu, began hearings regarding human rights violations between 1960 and 1993. The commission promised amnesty to those who confessed their crimes under the apartheid system. In 1998, F. W. de Klerk, P.W. Botha, and leaders of the ANC appeared before the commission, and the nation continued to grapple with its enlightened but often painful and divisive process of national recovery.


Nelson Mandela, whose term as president cemented his reputation as one of the world's most farsighted and magnanimous statesmen, retired in 1999. On June 2, 1999, Thabo Mbeki, the pragmatic deputy president and leader of the ANC, was elected president in a landslide, having already assumed many of Mandela's governing responsibilities.In his first term, Mbeki wrestled with a slumping economy and a skyrocketing crime rate. South Africa, the country with the highest number of HIV-positive people in the world (6.5 million in 2005), has been hampered in fighting the epidemic by its president's highly controversial views. Mbeki has denied the link between HIV and AIDS and claimed that the West has exaggerated the epidemic to boost drug profits. The international community as well as most South African leaders, including Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, have condemned Mbeki's stance. In 2006, 60 international scientists called the government's policies “disastrous and pseudo-scientific.”As expected, on April 15, 2004, the African National Congress won South Africa's general election in a landslide, taking about 70% of the vote, and Thabo Mbeki was sworn in for a second term.In Dec. 2007, African National Committee delegates chose Jacob Zuma as their leader, ousting Mbeki, who had been in control of the party for the last ten years. Zuma was acquitted of rape charges in 2006. In late December, prosecutors reopened corruption charges against Zuma and ordered him to face trial for "various counts of racketeering, money laundering, corruption, and fraud." He was accused of accepting more than $440,000 in bribes in exchange for helping a friend, Schabir Shaik, secure $5 billion in an arms deal and other government contracts. Zuma's lawyers accused Mbeki of trying to sabotage Zuma's political career. A High Court judge dismissed the corruption charges against Zuma in September 2008, saying the government mishandled the prosecution. The judge also criticized President Mbeki for attempting to influence the prosecution of Zuma.


Under pressure from leaders the African National Congress (ANC), Mbeki announced he would step down just days after Zuma was cleared. While party leader's cited Mbeki's alleged interference in the corruption case against Zuma, Mbeki's resignation culminated several years of bitter infighting between Zuma and Mbeki, which led to discord in the ANC. On Sep. 25, Parliament elected Kgalema Motlanthe, a labor leader who was imprisoned during apartheid, as president. Zuma must be a member of Parliament before he can be elected president. Parliamentary elections are expected in early 2009.On his first day as president, Motlanthe acted to move beyond Mbeki's resistance to using modern and effective methods, such as antirretroviral medicines, to tackle its AIDS crisis by replacing South Africa's health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who has suggested that garlic, lemon juice, and beetroot could cure AIDS, with Barbara Hogan. "The era of denialism is over," she said. More than 5.7 million South Africans are HIV-positive, the highest number of any country in the world.In November, about 6,400 dissident members of the ANC held a convention in Johannesburg and decided to form a new party that will challenge the leadership of the ANC. The delegates, many of whom supported former president Mbeki, expressed dissatisfaction with the leadership of the party, calling it corrupt, authoritarian, and "rotting." In December, the new party, the Congress of the People (COPE), selected former defense minister Mosiuoa Lekota as its president.


South African's Supreme Court reinstated corruption charges against Zuma in January 2009, saying that a lower court had "overstepped" its authority in dismissing the charges. However, the country's prosecuting authority dropped all charges against Zuma in April, about two weeks before national elections, citing “intolerable abuse” by investigators who were loyal to former president Mbeki.In April's general election, the ruling party, the African National Congress, won overwhelming support, taking 65.9% of the vote, just shy of a two-thirds majority, which is required to change the constitution. Parliament elected Zuma president in May.In Dec. 2012, Zuma was again elected leader of the African National Congress, which stands him in good stead for the 2014 presidential elections. Many considered this a significant victory for Jacob Zuma, achieved in spite of criticism for his goverment's handling of the wage protests in Marikana in which 34 people were brutally killed by police.


Nelson Mandela died at age 95. He had been in ill health for several months after battling a lung infection. South Africans and people all over the world mourned his death but at the same time celebrated his remarkable life.


The ANC took 62.2% of the vote in May 2014 elections, handing Zuma a second term as president. The opposition Democratic Alliance placed second, 22.2%. Despite its landslide victory, the ANC has seen its popularity diminish in recent years due to allegations of corruption, growing income inequality, and disenchantment with Zuma. 

Today there is a renewed drive to ilimunate corruption and to steer South Africa toward political, economical and social well being.


Country stats:

Size 471,008 sq mi (1,219,912 sq km)Population (2014 est.): 48,375,645 (growth rate: –0.48%); birth rate: 18.94/1000; infant mortality rate: 41.61/1000; life expectancy: 49.56; density per sq mi: 109.8 South Africa, on the continent's southern tip, is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and by the Indian Ocean on the south and east. Its neighbors are Namibia in the northwest, Zimbabwe and Botswana in the north, and Mozambique and Swaziland in the northeast. The kingdom of Lesotho forms an enclave within the southeast part of South Africa, which occupies an area nearly three times that of California.The southernmost point of Africa is Cape Agulhas, located in the Western Cape Province about 100 mi (161 km) southeast of the Cape of Good Hope.


some info sourced from 'InfoPlease'

South Africa Itineraries:

Epic South Africa 21 days 

South Africa Rainbow tour 17 days 

The West - Kalahari, West Coast & Cape Town

Trans Karoo Meander

Self Drive Tours

Private Tours

SA Statistics
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