I thought you might find the “wild side” of South Africa interesting, as it is so very different from your beautiful, charming and peaceful Cotswolds, so put together some short, but hopefully interesting information.
Known as the Rainbow Nation because of its cultural diversity, South Africa is also known as a “world in one country” as it has one of the world’s greatest diversity of plant and animal species contained within one country and ever-changing scenery across it’s 1.224.690 square kilometer land area. From the magnificent Cape coastline and endless stretches of pristine beaches, the scenery changes as you journey through the provinces (counties) and head towards the mountainous regions of the hinterland and on to the arid regions of the Karoo, before heading further north towards Mpumalanga and the Northern Province.
Here you will encounter a wealth of game parks and nature reserves that are home to a myriad wild animals that are an integral part of Africa. As the scenery changes, so too does the climate. From the warm, sunny days and cool evenings of the coastal towns, you enter into a world of extreme heat and very dry conditions. There is nothing more satisfying than observing animals in their natural habitat. I am not in favour of animals being kept cooped up in a zoo, but do understand that, for millions of people around the world, this is the only way they will get to see a wild animal up close. But to see the king of the beasts in his natural habitat - all his glory and surrounded by his pride of lionesses and cubs - is a sight to behold.
Transporting you into an unknown world are the mighty herds of elephant, armour-plated rhino, magnificent buck with impressive spiraling antlers; loping giraffe; graceful, sleek cheetah the fastest land animal on earth - pyjama-clad zebra, massive hippo; expansive mouths open in a permanent yawn, ferocious crocodile and that most dangerous of wild animals, the buffalo. There are literally thousands of other animal species to be found throughout South Africa.
A safari can be custom-built to suit you. You can “rough it” and spend your days trailing on foot and falling gratefully into a tent as night falls, or you might prefer a furnished safari tent, bungalow, or treetop cabin or you could book into one of the many luxurious accommodations. Days are long in summer sunrise is at about 4.45am and sunset at 8.45pm. There are day and night trails and safaris and educational safaris. You may find it interesting to accompany game rangers and wildlife veterinarians as they dart, examine, record and release wild animals.
South Africa treasures its wildlife and works tirelessly towards keeping game disease-free. Tours in and around South Africa are as diverse as the country itself. Some on offer are flower, bird, wildlife, adventure, fishing, hunting, historical buildings, art, crafters, forest, hiking, wine route, cheese, fauna and flora, penguin and whale, to name but a few. If you are adventurous, you can go shark cage diving and wreck diving, or mountain climbing or if you’re a romantic, board a yacht for a sunset champagne tour or charter a boat and head out towards one of the many seal colonies!
The part of our country that most resembles the Cotswolds, is the part I wrote about in my last article on the Garden Route. But there is also a very scenically beautiful region up north in Mpumalanga - particularly a town called Pilgrim’s Rest - which is reminiscent of your region. Let’s do an exchange you come over here and lose yourself in Africa and I’ll visit your lovely countryside!
Best wishes from a very sunny South Africa (although it’s supposed to be mid-winter, it is 24ºC).