South Africa Facts
South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is a country located in Southern Africa. It has 2,798 kilometres of coastline that stretches along the South Atlantic and Indian oceans. To the north lie the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe; to the east are Mozambique and Swaziland; and within it lies Lesotho, an enclave surrounded by South African territory.
Capital: Pretoria (executive); Bloemfontein (judicial); Cape Town (legislative)
Religion: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, traditional African religions and Judaism.
currency:: South African Rand
Population: Approx. 54 million
Official Language: There are eleven official languages of South Africa: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.
wildlife: The famed African Big 5 out in the wild – African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and White/Black rhinoceros. At the Rehabilitation Centre alone you will find lions, Bengal tigers, white lions and cheetahs. Frequent visitors also include Impala, African Fish Eagle, leopards, Woodlands Kingfisher; hippopotamus; spotted eagle owl; black-backed jackal; Burchell’s Zebra; Chacma baboon; African elephant and many species of birds. Onsite is a reptile and elephant sanctuary, assuring you will get a chance to see a lot of the wildlife South Africa has to offer.
Camp Locations: Sidbury, Eastern Cape
Further Travelling Opportunities
As part of the package all volunteers are sent out for excursions in the weekend. You will either be travelling to Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth or any other nearby destination with accommodation and transport to and from the destination provided for. Alternatively, why not join the Garden Route Tour following your volunteering experience? A 6 day trip will take you from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town. Along the way you will visit the Red Location Museum in Port Elizabeth; go for a surf lesson or horse ride in Jeffrey’s Bay; visit Tsitsikamma National Park; go for a boat ride along the Knysna heads; visit the Oudtshoorn Crocodile Ranch and depending on the weather, either take a cable cart ride to Table Mountain or trip to Cape Point or visit to Robben Island and a whole lot of activities in between.
The Lonely Planet has a great article on South Africa: away from Cape Town, for those of you that wish to explore more of this country before or after your program:
Every country in the world displays some diversity, but South Africa takes some beating.
If you’ve seen the popular cities – Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban – and want to head away from the well-worn track then Lonely Planet Magazine has three suggestions:
Drakensberg Mountains – The vertiginous cliffs, deep valleys and hidden ravines of The Drakensberg (‘The Berg’) mountains are a picturesque backdrop for gentle day hikes. This range, bordering the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, is also a living museum, with examples of well-preserved rock art, some works being thousands of years old.
Stay at Montusi Mountain Lodge, a luxurious base for exploring The Berg, comprising 14 individual thatched-roof garden suites with sumptuous beds and private patios with panoramic views.
Mango Airlines, South African Airlink and British Airways fly between Cape Town and Durban, the closest airport. From here you will need a rental car (try Avis or Europcar) for the 140-mile drive to Bergville, one of the gateways to The Berg.
Elephant Coast – This stretch of natural beauty runs up to the border with Mozambique in the north. It’s a relatively untamed area of deserted beaches, wetlands and rivers, and Africa’s largest estuary. It’s not unknown to see hippos strolling down the streets of St Lucia, the area’s gateway town.
Bed down at the Serene Estate Guesthouse which combines high-concept architecture and minimalist Dutch design in a peaceful garden setting. Birds and other wildlife can be spotted from the room’s private terraces.
Mango Airlines, South African Airlink and British Airways fly between Cape Town and Durban, St Lucia is a 150-mile drive northeast.
Kruger National Park – The best place in the country to view wildlife, Kruger consists of huge tracts of bushveld (sub-tropical woodland), interrupted by open savannah and rushing rivers. Look out for the ‘Big Five’ – the lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros – plus cheetahs, giraffes and hippos.
The park’s ‘Olifants Restcamp’ offers bluff-top views of elephants and hippos as they drink from the river of the same name. Book at the Kruger Park website.
Airlink has daily flights between Cape Town and the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, in the park’s southern section near Nelspruit – from here you’ll need a rental car. Alternatively, local tour companies offer road transport to Kruger.
Click here to find out more.