From beautiful beaches to stunning cities, set your sights on a trip to South Africa
The French expression Mal D’Afrique is most commonly translated as the ‘Africa disease’. While sounding rather morbid this in fact affects most people who visit the continent. Those who do indeed travel to this land often become so infected by the charm, beauty and culture that they always long to return. South Africa and the adjacent islands in particular have seen an influx in tourism over the years with many falling in love with the diversity of culture, wildlife and natural scenery.
The ‘mother city’ of South Africa, Cape Town acts as a backdrop to the flat-topped Table Mountain. Juxtaposed by the sweep of the Atlantic Ocean, it is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The white, sandy beaches along a peaceful coastline frame the Cape Peninsula, which is famed for its unique floral kingdom, bountiful rivers, rugged landscapes and magnificent countryside. This outstanding beauty extends far into the renowned wine lands – an area of breath-taking tranquillity. The city’s charm can be found most prominent in the Cape Malay Bo-Kaap, one of the most visited areas, known widely for its cobbled streets and vibrantly coloured houses.
A journey to Port Elizabeth – set on the sweeping shores of Algoa Bay, boasts spectacular beaches and a wealth of historic sites. Follow in the footsteps of settlers who arrived in the 1820s and uncover a host of architectural gems. The city is also home to South Africa’s oldest bowling green and the famous Port Elizabeth Cricket Club. Nearby also, is the Addo Elephant Park, where more than 600 elephants roam free in their natural environment. The park has expanded significantly over the last few years and is now considered the third largest national park in South Africa. As well as the elephants, the park is also a conservation site to a wide range of fauna and flora.
Moving further round the coast there is the city of Durban home to the Juma Masjid Mosque, the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Architecturally stunning and atmospherically enticing, this city has plenty to offer. A compact and beautiful region, breathtaking scenery and wildlife can be easily found up the Sani Pass mountain road. For those who wish to travel further afield, one can experience Durban’s cultural beauty at the Shakaland Zulu Cultural Village or find incredible wildlife at the Tala Game Reserve, hidden in the hills of a quiet farming community.
The cultural aspects of South Africa can be discovered from Richards Bay, named after a British Rear Admiral who landed there in 1879. This port town acts as a gateway to Zululand, the home of one of Africa’s most fascinating tribal people. From here, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve is also easily accessible. One of the world’s finest, it boasts a vast and surprisingly diverse landscape and gives you the chance to spot the ‘Big Five’ – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and Cape buffalo.
To the east, the island of Madagascar is home to a rich and unique collection of plant and animal life which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The southerly French settlement of Fort Dauphin is set against a backdrop of soaring mountains and crystal-clear waters, and fringed by beautiful crescent-shaped beaches. The crumbling French colonial town enjoys one of the sunniest climates on the east coast. Travelling further from here would eventually take you to the island of ‘La Reunion,’ famed for its volcanic landscapes. The Piton de la Fournaise is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and acts as a striking contrast of the barren Plaine des Sables and lush forests and tropical wildlife. The island’s capital, St Denis, offers a sophisticated atmosphere and several interesting museums worth visiting.
Looking at the above it’s not hard to see how why people suffer from the Mal D’Afrique and why so many choose to return to this region of the world time and time again.
For further information please contact your local Baldwins Travel Group office www.baldwinstravel.co.uk #HolidayInspirations