South Africa is a great location for internships and study abroad. IGS students have mainly shown interest in shark research projects on the southern coast. Commerce and business in the city of Cape Town proper is also a draw for students. Animal conservation is a third area of interest conducted primarily in game parks. There may also be an opportunity to work with aquariums. Excursions should include at least one game reserve like Sabi Sand. For those in search of big city nightlife, popping up to Johannesburg will do the trick.

South Africa is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometers of coastline with Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe to the north. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world’s 24th-most populous nation. About 80%of South Africans are of Bantu ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa’s largest communities of Whites, Asian (Indian), and multiracial ancestry. South Africa is a multi-ethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions.

ATTRACTIONS

 

Cape Town is one of the planet’s most stunning cities, and the oldest urban area in South Africa. The city is a major destination for tourists known for its abundant wildlife and diverse botanical wonders. Hike to the peak of flat-topped Table Mountain for a spectacular view of the Mother city. The city has several notable cultural attractions. Cape Town is noted for its architectural heritage, with the highest density of Cape Dutch style buildings in the world. The magnificent 36 hectare Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden contains protected natural forest along with a variety of animals and birds and a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled at the eastern foot of Table Mountain. It was the first botanical garden in the world. The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, built on top of part of the docks of the Port of Cape Town, is the city’s most visited tourist attraction. It is also one of the city’s most popular shopping venues, with several hundred shops and the Two Oceans Aquarium. The Cape Town region is characterized by an extensive coastline, rugged mountain ranges, coastal plains, inland valleys and semi-desert fringes. Strolling along the waterfront boardwalk, visitors might see whales spouting from the harbor. Heaviside’s dolphins are endemic to the area and can be seen from the coast north of Cape Town. Penguins waddle along the golden beaches in False Bay. Surfing is popular amongst tourists. West of Wynberg lies Constantia which, in addition to being a wealthy neighborhood, is a notable wine-growing region within the City of Cape Town, and attracts tourists for its well-known wine farms and Cape Dutch architecture. The Cape Winelands and in particular the towns of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek are popular day trips from the city for sightseeing and wine tasting. Cape Town is a popular international tourist destination in South Africa this is due to its mild climate, natural setting, and well-developed infrastructure.

Johannesburg is the largest and most populous city in South Africa and one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world. It is the provincial capital and largest city of Gauteng, which is the wealthiest province in South Africa. The city is commonly interpreted as the modern day El Dorado due to the extremely large gold deposit found along the Witwatersrand. Johannesburg is home to prominent cultural landmarks, and numerous museums, theaters, galleries and libraries. Most visitors to Soweto see the Mandela Museum, which is located in the former home of Nelson Mandela. The nearby Museum Africa covers the history of the city of Johannesburg, as well as housing a large collection of rock art. Johannesburg is also a home to some of Africa’s tallest structures and the Johannesburg city skyline has most of the tallest buildings on the continent and contains most international organizations. Visitors can get a feeling for the layout of the city by visiting the Carlton Center, which has an observation deck on the 50th floor, it is the highest office building in Africa and affords sweeping vistas of the city and surrounds. Also a large draw for tourists is Gold Reef City, a theme park which offers a depiction of mining life at the turn of the nineteenth century, including an underground mine tour, water rides, roller coasters and the famous Gold Reef City Casino. It is also the site of the Apartheid Museum. Shopping is often popular with tourists, as the city offers a range of venues and experiences, from numerous upmarket shopping malls, to various markets and flea markets. Johannesburg and environs offer various options to visitors wishing to view wildlife. The Johannesburg Zoo is one of the largest in South Africa. Parks and gardens in Johannesburg are maintained by Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo. City Parks is also responsible for planting the city’s many green trees, making Johannesburg one of the ‘greenest’ cities in the world. The fact that Johannesburg is not near a large navigable body of water most of city’s attractions centered on the ground.

Table Mountain.  The Table Mountain is a well-known natural feature of Cape Town and South Africa’s most famous landmark. Stand at the V&A Waterfront and view the Table Mountain’s iconic flat top that looms over you. Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city. Reaching the top of the mountain can be achieved either by using the cableway or hiking to the top. The new cable cars give a faster journey to the summit, and rotate through 360 degrees during the ascent or descent, giving a panoramic view over the city. The top cable station offers viewpoints, curio shops, a restaurant and walking trails of various lengths. Hiking on Table Mountain is popular among locals and tourists, and a number of trails of varying difficulty are available. Rock climbing is a very popular pastime, the main climbs are located on cliffs but only traditional climbing is allowed. Commercial groups also offer abseiling from the upper cable station. The slopes of Table Mountain have many jeep tracks that allow mountain biking. The route to the Block House is a popular route for bike riding. Table Mountain is unusual in having several large cave systems that have developed in sandstone. The rocks on the mountain are over 600,000,000 years old making Table Mountain one of the oldest mountains in the world.

TRAVEL ADVENTURE

In addition to stunning scenery, chaotic cities, stunning scenery, breathtaking mountain ranges, amazing historical sights and delicious food, South Africa provide abundant opportunities for wildlife adventure. The largest game reserve in South Africa, the Kruger National Park is larger than Israel. It is one of the oldest game reserve and one of the largest national parks in the world that offers visitors a true African safari experience. The park lies in the north-east of South Africa, in the eastern parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. Kruger National Park is one of the world’s most famous safari parks, offers visitors the chance to see the “Big Five”: lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, and rhino, as well as an astounding diversity of other wildlife. You are most likely to come across with so many species living in the park includes, 147 mammals, 507 birds, 114 reptiles, 34 amphibians and 49 fish. Kruger supports packs of the endangered African wild dog, of which there are thought to be only about 400 in the whole of South Africa. The park has nine main gates allowing entrance to the different camps. There are over 20 rest camps, nearly 20 private game lodges and a handful of bush camping grounds, spread out across nearly 20,000 square km located directly in the park. The park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere an area designated by the UNESCO as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve (the “Biosphere”). There are nine different wilderness trails some are overnight and they last several days in areas of wilderness virtually untouched by humans. There are no set trails in the wilderness areas; a visitor walks along paths made by animals or seeks out new routes through the bush. It offers an almost indescribable wildlife experience making face to face with big five. Its remoteness, seclusion, unpredictable and endless wilderness gives you a feeling of peace and tranquillity. There are webcams set up to observe the wildlife and protection when there is a threat of poachers in the area. There are different activities to choose from in Kruger National Park game drives and walking trails, are popular. And if you like cycling, take a mountain bike safari ride from Olifants Rest Camp. Visitors can explore Kruger on the large network of sealed roads; organize a walking safari; or soar over the vast grasslands for a number of days, gallery forests, and river systems in a hot air balloon.

Robben Island is an island in Table Bay, west of the coast of Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa. The island was used by the South African government as a prison for political prisoners and convicted criminals, where people were isolated, banished and exiled to for nearly 400 years. It was also used as a leper colony, an animal quarantine station, a military base, a post office, a grazing ground, a mental hospital, and an outpost. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, most well known as the place where Nelson Mandela served 18 of his 27 jail years before the fall of apartheid. With the end of apartheid, the island has become a popular destination with global tourists. It is managed by Robben Island Museum (RIM); which operates the site as a living museum. Every year thousands of visitors take a tour of the various historical sites on the island includes the island graveyard, the disused lime quarry, Robert Sobukwe’s house, the Bluestone quarry, the army and navy bunkers, and the maximum security prison including Nelson Mandela’s cell. Many of the guides are former inmates of the prison. The penguins are easy to see close up in their natural habitat, an important breeding area for the species. Dusky dolphins live along the same coast and can occasionally be seen from the ferry to Robben Island. There may be 25,000 rabbits on the island. Humans are hunting and culling the rabbits to reduce their number.

 At the heart of the picturesque Cango Valleie, lie the spectacular underground wonder, The Cango Caves, located in Precambrian limestone at the foothills of the Swartberg range near the town of Oudtshoorn, in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The principal cave is one of the country’s finest, best known, and most popular tourist caves and attracts many visitors from overseas. Although the extensive system of tunnels and chambers go on for over 4 km, only about a quarter of this is open to visitors, who may proceed into the cave only in groups supervised by an experienced, knowledgeable and accredited Cave Guides. Cave paintings and artifacts indicate that the caves were in use throughout prehistory over a long period during the Middle and Later Stone Ages. After the second chamber discovered in 1792. The caves soon became a popular place to visit. Tours are conducted at regular intervals on most days – there is a “Standard Tour” which takes an hour and an “Adventure Tour” which takes an hour and a half. The “Adventure Tour” consists of crawling through narrow passages and climbing up steep rock formations guided by small lights. The caves contain halls and limestone formations as well as small passages on the Adventure Tour. There is an interesting assault course at the end of the route that includes a steep ladder, a small hole and some crawling, the smallest passage that tourists will have to pass through is just under 15 cm to exit.

 

THE PEOPLE

The culture of South Africa is known for its ethnic and cultural diversity. The South African majority still has a substantial number of rural inhabitants who lead largely impoverished lives. It is among these people, however, that cultural traditions survive most strongly.

In general, all racial and ethnic groups in South Africa have long-standing beliefs concerning gender roles, and most are based on the premise that women are less deserving of power than men. Most African traditional social organisations are male centered and male dominated. In the 20th century, economic and political developments presented South African women with both new obstacles and new opportunities to wield influence. Women have had to guarantee the day-to-day survival of their families and to carry out financial and legal transactions that otherwise would have been reserved for men.

Housing & Commute
Cost
Visa
Safety
Languages

The majority of people use Minibus Taxis as the main mode of transport especially in urban areas of South Africa. This is due to their availability and affordability to the public. BRT has been implemented in some South African cities in an attempt to provide more formalized and safer public transport services but still under development. Air travel is the best way to get around South Africa there are many domestic airlines giving travellers a healthy number of options. South Africa has many major ports that allow ships and boats to pass through, some carrying passengers and some carrying petroleum tankers.

The cost of living in South Africa is lower than in most European, Asian and North American countries. South Africa has one of the least expensive transport systems in the world. Renting or buying a house is also very affordable but it cost significantly higher in the city center. Food prices on groceries in South Africa are fairly cheap because most fruits, vegetables and meat are locally produced so the prices are kept low but imported goods are priced slightly higher. Essential costs depend to a large extent on the lifestyle you choose.

The rand (sign: R; code: ZAR) is the official currency of South Africa.

The South African government determines who may and may not enter their country. Visitors to South Africa must obtain a visa unless they come from one of the visa-exempt countries, in which case they get what is called a “Port of Entry Visa”. While visitors from non-visa-exemp countries must require a valid visa. Citizens of Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Iran, Lebanon, the State of Palestine, Belarus, Georgia and Cuba will be able to visit South Africa visa-free. All visitors must hold a passport valid for 1 month after departure. According to the amended South African Immigration Act 13 of 2002, foreign nationals overstaying the expiry of their South African visas will be determined “undesirable” and, consequently, face being banned from the Republic for a period of up to 5 years.

Crimes in South Africa are very common. The country has a high record of kidnappings, murders, assaults, rapes, gang violence, robberies and other violent crimes. Because of its high rates of rape and outrageous sexual assaults, South Africa is being referred as “rape capital of the world”. The high risk of the country enable everybody to be vigilant, take the necessary precautions, always be alert and never venture into high risk areas. If you are new to the cointry it is advised to avoid all the unsafe locations and communities.

South Africa has 11 official languages: Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, English, Northern Sotho, Tswana, Southern Sotho, Tsonga, Swazi, Venda, and Southern Ndebele. The country also recognises several unofficial languages, including Fanagalo, Khoe, Lobedu, Nama, Northern Ndebele, Phuthi, and South African Sign Language. White South Africans may also speak European languages, including Italian, Portuguese, German, and Greek, while some Indian South Africans speak Indian languages, such as Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. French is spoken in South Africa by migrants from Francophone Africa.