Southern Africa is usually defined as those countries south of the Zambezi River, which include: Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia and of course South Africa. Very closely associated with South Africa are Swaziland and Lesotho.
The Character of Southern African Travel
The key advantage of travel in Southern Africa, and perhaps most acutely in South Africa itself, is diversity. North of the Zambezi, in East Africa, travel and tourism revolve around mountaineering, defined by Mount Kilimanjaro, and beach and bush, with a few under-marketed side possibilities that tend to get very little traffic. Southern Africa, however, offers a rich diversity of travel options, from the deep culture of the Cape region of South Africa to the desert landscape of Namibia and the tropical, culture rich tableau of Mozambique. The travel infrastructure across the region is highly developed, the countries generally speaking are politically stable with excellent banking, communications and hospitality industries that all help to take the guesswork out of travel.
Zambia does not have quite the diversity of opportunity that is available further south, but what it does have is a handful of superb national parks that offer some of the best preserved and most interesting opportunities for eco-travel. A migration north of travel entrepreneurs from Zimbabwe and South Africa has tended to injected some of the sophistication of the south into Zambia, which has positioned it to be one of the most exciting African Travel destinations in the region. Zambia is also, of course, a co-owner of Victoria Falls, the crossroads of north/south African travel and the center of the venture and adrenalin sport in Africa. Look out for South Luangwa National Park, Kafue National Park and Isangano National Park.
Zimbabwe has suffered a troubled reputation in recent years, but on the whole the safety of travel in this superb country has not been affected. Zimbabwe offers a mixed bag of travel opportunities from a selection of highly rated national parks, a well preserved and documented cultural history, a variety of festivals and events and a diversity of unique African landscapes. This has always been recognized as a supremely pleasant country, with friendly people, a generally low crime environment and a functional and connected infrastructure. The nation is in rapid evolution, however, and in many respects is on the cutting edge of millennial Africa in the modern age. Zimbabwe is a destination not to be excluded from any African travel itinerary.
Mozambique is a Lusitanian, or Portuguese speaking country, with one of the longest colonial histories in southern Africa. Mozambique is also one of the most interesting and rewarding countries and destinations in the region. It is geographically diverse and culturally unique. Perhaps the most obvious attribute the Mozambique has to offer is its long tropical coastline that offers all the usual pleasures of an Indian Ocean beach destination, but also the depth of culture that Portuguese maritime history has implanted. Mozambique is also partnered with South Africa and Zimbabwe in the TranFrontier national park structure that has opened up vast areas to development as eco and wildlife preserves. These include the Limpopo and Gorongosa National Parks, both among the best in the region, if not the continent. Look out also for a dynamic urban culture and nightlife both in Maputo and Beira.
Botswana is a little mono-dimensional in terms of its tourist appeal, having mainly wildlife destinations to offer, although these are without doubt among the jewels in the crown of African eco-travel destinations. Consider the Okavango Delta, a unique habitat formed by the dispersal of the Kavango River into the deserts of the Kalahari to form an inland delta. Here a lush African wetland habitat supports animal and birdlife on a level hardly seen elsewhere in Africa. Botswana also offers a superbly configured tourist industry with many opportunities to get under the skin of this amazing natural heritage. Look out also for Makgadikgadi Pan structure, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Chobe National Park and Moremi National Park.
Nambia is an unusual destination. It occupies the dry western quadrant of Southern Africa and is characterized by varied desert landscapes and the cold but atmospheric Atlantic seaboard. The territory was at one time a German overseas territory, and then a South African quasi colony, which has left a multi-layered and unique historic legacy that is visible and accessible in many unexpected places. In terms of wildlife destinations, Namibia hosts one iconic name, and that is Etosha National Park, another of the great African wildlife sanctuaries. Look out also for the Skeleton Coast National Park, the Namib-Naukluft National Park, both landscape orientated destinations, but very much work a visit. Namibia has a great road and communication infrastructure, probably one of the best in the region.
It is here that it all comes together in one spectacular destination. It is hard to describe the opportunities available in South Africa in a single paragraph, but perhaps the easiest way to try is to say that everything and more can be achieved in South Africa, no matter what your travel preference. From world class national parks to fine wine and cuisine, from spectacular mountaineering to some of the best beach destination on the continent, and of course an almost unbelievable calendar of festivals, cultural events and arts that defy any attempt at definition. South Africa is Africa for beginners, but it is also Africa for the connoisseur. South Africa is the original Rainbow Nation. Without doubt the most sophisticated, highly developed, safe and diverse travel destination in Africa. Get in touch with us today and let us enthrall you with the possibilities in this spectacular travel destination.