South Africa

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About

  • Located at the southern tip of Africa
  • Bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho
  • Has a wide range of varying landscapes
  • Has 11 official languages; Afrikaas, Southern Ndebele, Xhosa, Zulu, Swazi, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda and English
  • Majority of people do speak English as a second language
  • Has three capital cities, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Pretoria
  • Cape Town houses the country’s Parliament
  • Pretoria is the administrative capital, the definitive capitol of the country
  • Johannesburg is the largest and most vital city as it is the economic heart of the country

 

 

HISTORY

  • The very tip has been home to the Khoisan (the collective name for the Hottentot (Koi) and Bushmen (San) tribes for thousands of years
  • 1652, the first permanent European settlement was built
  • 1795, Britain took control
  • There have been two major wars between natives and the British, one in 1880 and the other in 1899
  • 1910, The Union of South Africa was established
  • 1961, after consolidating the Boer Republics and the British colonies, the Republic of South Africa was formed
  • 1994, the first fully democratic election was held


FACTS

    • Second largest exporter of fruit in the world
    • Home to the longest wine route in the world
    • South Africa is home to a penguin colony, which thrives due to the cold Antarctic currents on the west coast
    • South Africa is rated third in the world for supplying safe, drinkable tap water
    • Has the cheapest electricity in the world
    • The only country in the world to voluntarily discard its nuclear weapons program
    • The Tugela Falls in the second highest waterfall in the work, rising 2,789 feet
    • Blyde River Canyon is the third largest in the world
    • South Africa is the world’s leader in production of macadamia nuts
    • Mining nearly 90% of the world’s platinum, 80% of manganese, 73% of chrome, 45% of the vanadium and 41% of gold, South Africa is the world’s leader in mining and minerals
    • The sole producer of the Mercedes Benz C Class, right-hand drive
    • GM Motors in South Africa is the only site outside of the US that builds the Hummer H3
    • The world’s largest known diamond was the Cullinan Diamond, found in 1905 weighing in at 3,106.75 carats uncut
    • South Africa is home to the fastest land animals in the world, the cheetah (speeds up to 101 km per hour), the wildebeest and the lion
    • The best fossils of early dinosaurs have been found in the Karoo Region
    • South Africa has the highest commercial bungee jump in the world, 710 feet high

Avg. Costs

Camps Bay and Lion Head

  • An average sit-down lunch  will cost between R80 and R140 per person
  • A average 12 inch pizza costs between R35 to R55
  • Travelers can expect to pay between R7 to R18 for a cold beer
  • To buy three McDonald’s Burgers (hamburger, cheese burger and chicken burger) you will pay R18

 

Click here to see The Economist’s Big Mac Index.  It is arguably the world’s most accurate financial indicator to be based on a fast-food item.

Currency

Information is coming soon.

Safety

Nyala Antelopes

  • One of the highest ranked crime rates in the world; however if one is vigilant in using common sense and good travel security practices a safe trip can definitely be enjoyed
  • Never accept offers from friendly strangers
  • Do no wear jewelry or expensive watches
  • Instead of wearing a fanny pack (tummy bag), consider a money belt under your shirt/clothing
  • A decoy wallet has proven to be effective as well to keep your belongings safe
  • Leave Passports and extra valuables locked in a safe while on day trips
  • Some townships can be very safe, while others can prove to be very dangerous; always go with an experienced guide when available
  • Be aware that while driving in South Africa, if pulled over by a police officer, when you shown a foreign Driver’s License, the officer will often ask for you to pay a bribe, usually around R200 – R600; one should not argue with the police as it could result in being escorted to the station, where most if not all of the other officers are apart of the scam

 

Click here to see Canadian Government Travel Reports and Warnings on http://www.voyage.gc.ca/.  Travel Reports offer information on safety and security, local laws and customs, entry requirements, health conditions and other important travel issues.

Climate

Table Mountain and Cape Town

  • South Africa ranges from desert conditions to sub-tropical climates
  • Summer is the rainy season for most of the country, except in the Western Cape, where the rainy season is in the winter
  • Winter temperatures average around 0°C
  • Summers can be very hot, exceeding 35°C in places

Places to See

Vineyards

Mokala National Park

  • A reserve established in the Plooysburg area, in the Northern Cape in June, 2007
  • Spans 26,485 hectares of land
  • Mokala is the Setswana name for the camel thorn, a tree common in that area
  • Currently, there are 70km of roadways within the park

View Map

Table Mountain in Cape Town

  • A flat-topped mountain overlooking the city of Cape Town
  • Featured on the city’s flag
  • Believed to be one of the oldest mountains in the world
  • Home to over 1,500 species of plants
  • Great for hiking

View Map

Drakensburg Mountains

  • Rising 3,482 meters, it is the highest mountain range in South Africa
  • In Zulu, it is referred to as uKhahlamba (“barrier of spears”)
  • In Sesotho it is called Maluti

View Map

Apartheid Museum

  • Located in Johannesburg
  • Dedicated to illustrating apartheid and 20th century history

View Map

Notten’s Bush Camp

  • Located within the heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in Mpumalanga, which means “the land of the rising sun” in the locally spoken language, Shangaan
  • Notten’s Bush Camp is an exclusive and private safari lodge personally run by the Notten family
  • The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is a remarkable natural sanctuary known for its exceptionally high concentration of animal and bird life
  • Safaris are led by experienced rangers in open-top land rovers, offering an adventurous discovery of the region’s prolific wildlife, including Big 5 game viewing

Etiquette

Communication Etiquette:
• South Africa is very divers so greetings vary amongst the different places
– With foreigners many South Africans shake hands while maintaining eye contact and smiling
– Some women may not shake hands
– Often times greetings are a time for discussions and exchanging pleasantries
• Like to maintain a non-confrontational relationship
– Best not to b e confrontational as well

Business Etiquette:
• South Africans do not need a long standing relationship in order to do business
– If your not a well known company in the area a formal introduction may give you access to those who will be making the decisions
– Networking is critical for long-term business
– Most businessmen are looking for a position that is long-term
• Appointments are necessary and should be made as far in advance as possible
– Very difficult to arrange meetings with top executives on short notice
– Initial meeting is used to establish a personal rapport and to make a judgment call as to your associate is trustworthy
• Mutual trust must be present before negotiating
– Women do not normally attain senior positions
– It is important not to interrupt a South African while they are speaking
• The dress etiquette is conservative for initial encounters
– It is becoming more informal recently
– Men – Dark colored business suits
– Women – Elegant business suits or dresses

Contributions (1)

  • [email protected] says...

    If you are planning to visit table mountain. Make sure you go when the mountain is clear, most of the time the mountain is covered with a “table top” of clouds. I found most often the mornings would be cloud free and by lunch the clouds would start to form around the mountains. While you will still enjoy your experience but it does not compare to the view you will get when you go on a clear day.

    Posted on Thursday, October 25th 2012 at 4:56 pm

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