THREE WAYS TO PLAN AND BOOK YOUR SOUTH AFRICA SAFARI WITH AFRICANMECCA

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Understand Safari Tier Ratings & Experiences In South Africa | Why Visit South Africa For Your Safari Vacation Or Holidays In Africa

 

SOUTH AFRICA EVENTS – FESTIVALS & SPORTS

South Africa has a celebration for every event, place, art form, food, drink and agricultural commodity. There’s the Ficksburg Cherry Festival, the National Arts Festival, countless mud-and-dust music festivals, the Hermanus Whale Festival, the Lambert’s Bay Kreeffees and more. Here is a short list of interesting festivals held in South Africa:

– Cape Town Jazz Festival – Website: www.capetownjazzfest.com
– “Prickly Pear” Festival – Website: www.nmbt.co.za
– Lambert’s Bay Kreeffees – Website: www.kreeffeeslambertsbaai.co.za
– Oppikoppi Easter Festival – Website: www.oppikoppi.co.za
– Tonteldoos Peach Festival – Website: www.dullstroom.co.za
– Sasol Scifest: Website – www.scifest.org.za
– Splashy Fen: Website – www.splashyfen.co.za
– Tulbagh Goes Dutch – Website: www.tulbaghtourism.org.za
– Prince Albert Town and Olive Festival – Website: www.patourism.co.za
– Pink Loerie Mardi Gras – Website www.pinkloerie.com
– Riebeek Kasteel Olive Festival – Website: www.riebeekvalley.info
– National Arts Festival – Website: www.nafest.co.za
– Knysna Oyster Festival – Website: www.oysterfestival.co.za
– Joy of Jazz – Website: www.joyofjazz.co.za
– Cellar Rats Wine Festival – Website: www.cellarrats.co.za
– Arts Alive – Website: www.artsalive.co.za
– Aardklop Arts Festival – Website: www.aardklop.co.za
– Woodstock – Website: www.woodstock.co.za
– Hermanus Whale Festival – Website: www.whalefestival.co.za
– Awesome Africa Music Festival – Website: www.awesomeafricafestival.co.za
– Knysna Gastronomica – Website: www.gastronomicakny.co.za
– Prince Albert Agricultural Show – Website: www.patourism.co.za
– Southern Cross Music Festival – Website: www.southerncrossmusic.co.za
– White Mountain Folk Festival – Website: www.whitemountain.co.za
– Ficksburg Cherry Festival – Website: www.cherryfestival.co.za
– Umdwebo Lifestyle Festival – Website: www.umdwebo.co.za
– Spier Summer Festival – Website: www.spierarts.co.za
– Rustler’s Valley New Year’s Gathering – Website: www.rustlers.co.za

Sports is the national religion. Transcending race, politics or language group, sport unites the country – and not just the male half of it. When a South African team wins, a cacophony of hooting, cheering, banging of dustbin lids, trumpeting on cow horns and fireworks reverberates across the largest cities. The national adrenaline goes into overdrive. Maybe even the GDP goes up. Just don’t look too cheerful on the Monday morning after a dismal sporting weekend! Sport, like no other South African institution, has shown it has the power to heal old wounds. When the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup on home turf in 1995, Nelson Mandela donned the No 6 shirt of the team’s captain – Francois Pienaar, a white Afrikaner – and the two embraced in a spontaneous gesture of racial reconciliation which melted hearts around the country. The major sports in which South Africa excels are the aristocratic British games of rugby and cricket. For over a century, the country has regularly fielded teams of world-beating class, playing chiefly against arch-foes England, Australia and New Zealand. Thirty years of apartheid isolation did some damage, yet despite many international disappointments, both teams have risen to the occasion since South Africa’s readmission to international sport in 1992, winning honors against the world’s toughest opposition. But it is football – or soccer, as it is universally called here – that has won the hearts of South Africa’s black majority. South Africa is by no means a giant in the world of soccer, but for many black South Africans, the country’s proudest sporting moment came when it won the African Nations Cup on home turf in 1996 – having failed to even qualify for the previous cup.

Soccer is intensely followed, and the quality of the local game keeps improving – as is demonstrated by the increasing number of South African players-in-exile among the glamorous European clubs. The national team, nicknamed Bafana Bafana, which means “The Boys”, is extraordinarily erratic, beating giants, then succumbing to minnows. Local teams, organized in a national league plus a plethora of knock-out cups, are followed with the same passion as in many other countries, by paint-daubed, costumed, whistling and cheering fans. Mercifully, the country has been spared the specter of football hooliganism. The list of South African sporting achievements goes wider than the “big three” sports, however. In a country of magnificent golf courses, for example, it is not surprising that South Africa has bred some world-beating stars, from Bobby Locke in the post-World War Two period to Gary Player – who walked away with more international trophies than arch-rival Jack Nicklaus – to new stars Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman and others. South Africa has also bred world champions among swimmers, athletes, surfers, boxers, tennis players and more. South Africa is the home of world-class sporting facilities capable of accommodating tens of thousands of spectators in comfort, such as the picturesque Newlands grounds, nestled at the foot of Cape Town’s mountains, and the energy-charged Wanderers Cricket Grounds in Johannesburg. There are world-renowned rugby stadiums such as Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld, home fortress of the feared Blue Bulls team; Johannesburg’s Ellis Park, where the 1995 World Cup final was staged, and Durban’s Kings Park, home of one of the best local sides, the Sharks. The 2010 Fifa World Cup added a host of new outstanding stadiums to that list.

American-style sports are somewhat rarer. Baseball has a small amateur following, but is a long way from displacing cricket. Basketball, completely unknown here 12 years ago, has recently become more popular, particularly amongst black youths impressed by infrequent glimpses of US basketball stars on local television. Basketball is now offered as a sport at many schools. American-style football is unknown although a few recycled South African rugby players have enjoyed modest success on the gridiron in the twilight of their careers. If you prefer to play sports yourself rather than lounge in front of a television set, South Africa is a breathtaking destination; in fact the trickiest part will be making a choice. The tiny village of Jeffrey’s Bay on the south-eastern coast, for example, has the misfortune of being one of the few scenically dull stretches along an otherwise spectacular coast. But Jeffrey’s Bay just happens to be a year-round host to the “perfect wave”, which is why it draws surfing champions from around the world. The even more remote Sodwana Bay in Zululand is home to the world’s southern-most coral reef, and a paradise for snorkeling and scuba diving.

South Africa offers some of the world’s toughest endurance races, including the Comrades Marathon (raced between coastal Durban and mountainous Pietermaritzburg) and the Two Oceans Marathon, which wends its way amidst the mountains around Cape Town. Both races draw tens of thousands of competitors from all over the world, every year. There are several back-breaking canoe marathons, of which the king is the Dusi in Kwa-Zulu Natal, with its tortuous rapids, rocky hills and a myriad other discomforts. The mountains offer hiking, rock climbing and hang gliding. Bring binoculars; the birds are magnificent. Those parts of the great outdoors that are slightly flatter will allow you, for example, to ride bicycles, motorbikes or 4x4s through miles of mud and dirt. There is fishing and sailing, hot air ballooning and gliding, horse riding, bungee jumping over large ravines, and big game hunting. In short: th ere’s every form of summer sport you can expect from a country with a surfeit of sunshine and wide open space. For those here on business and unlikely to stray far from the cities, there are plenty of fine places to walk, run or cycle. First prize is to do your exercising in the early evening among Cape Town’s magnificent forests and mountains. Durban offers the opportunity to run unimpeded along miles of golden beaches. And even in the concrete jungle itself, Johannesburg, you’ll find plenty of joggers and cyclists to keep you company in the parks.

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