Southern Africa

Last week I wrote about how first time visitors to Africa are generally interested in one of two trips 1)  a trip to South Africa and/or Zimbabwe that combines wildlife, coastal landscapes, culture, cities, and natural wonders of the world or 2)  East Africa – Tanzania and/or Kenya.  Last week, we discussed East Africa, so today’s email focuses on #1.  These emails are just snippets of info to whet your appetite for all things Africa travel so we hope you can join us tonight for more details.

South Africa

From the wilderness of Kruger National Park to the bustling city of Cape Town and the sprawling countryside of Cape Winelands to the Cape coast’s powdery beaches, South Africa is a destination ideal for the discerning traveler in search of relaxation, adventure or exploration.
Speaking of Cape Winelands, we will be focusing on African wines tonight which I think is a nice touch!  

Cape Town is a fascinating city to visit, both physically and culturally.  The dramatic background of Table Mountain and being surrounded by the sea makes Cape Town one of the most beautiful cities in the world. 

It also has a difficult past due to apartheid which ended 30 years ago, but its effects can still be seen. To truly understand this past, one must follow the steps of Nelson Mandela through this city including Robben Island where he was imprisoned for 18 of the 27 years he served for his role in opposing South Africa’s apartheid system.  We can learn so much from the mistakes of the past.
Outside of Cape Town, some of the top activities in South Africa include:
  • Kruger National Park
  • Johannesburg
  • Madikwe/Marataba/ Welgevonden malaria free game reserves

In general, South Africa is known for wine and culture, whales, Kruger National Park, penguins, history, and Big 5 game which includes lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and African buffalo.  You can also cage dive with a great white shark if you want, but I think I’ll pass!!!

There’s no bad time to go to South Africa, but in general, peak season is November through April while high season for viewing game is June through October.  South Africa is ideal for foodies, culture lovers, families, animal lovers, and as mentioned previously, first-timers to Africa.


Zimbabwe is home to one of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders, Victoria Falls.  It is also home to the co-founder of Hills of Africa, Sandy, who will be leading our Africa discussions this evening!

It is rightfully known as one of Africa’s most rewarding game viewing destinations and home to one of the largest concentrations of elephants in the world.

As Zimbabwe’s largest and arguably best national park, Hwange National Park is an incredibly diverse wilderness. Visitors on a Zimbabwe safari vacation can witness large herds of buffalo, one of the most significant populations of wild dogs in Africa, 400 species of bird, and various fierce predators. Hwange is so dense with wildlife referred to by many as “Noah’s Ark.”
The top destinations in Zimbabwe include:
  • Victoria Falls
  • Hwange National Park
  • Mana Pools National Park
  • Matobo National Park
  • Gonarezhou National Park
  • Matusadona National Park

Zimbabwe is generally at its best in May to October when temperatures are mild and the weather is dry. April and May provide the most dramatic views of Victoria Falls, but August to December are best for white-water rafting at the falls.  Zimbabwe is full of adventures for thrill seekers which does not include this girl.  I’ll opt for gazing while in Africa …


Speaking of gazing, a favorite past time in southern Africa is a sundowner which is essentially a happy hour in the African bush at sunset.  Whether you choose a cocktail (gin and tonic is the go-to) or a nice glass of wine, it is nice to end your day on safari relaxing as the sun sets on the horizon.  Your guide will know the best place to take you and will set up an area for you to enjoy your sundowner.