Finally! Your Freedom to Travel...

Game On in South Africa

 My “bucket list” for international travel includes countries like England, Germany, Italy, and Greece…pretty standard tourist destinations. It’s never included South Africa.

 Two things recently happened to make me take another look at South Africa as a travel destination and both have to do with soccer: I saw “Invictus,” and I’ve been pulled into all the excitement revolving around the World Cup.  Since then, I’ve learned a few things about this country of 49 million: 

South Africa has 11 official languages, including English.

Johannesburg International Airport is the major air hub for South Africa, but Cape Town International Airport is gaining steam as an important gateway.

South Africa is ideal for driving; most major roads are in excellent condition, but you’ll have to drive on the left-hand side of them.

The peak tourist season is from mid-December to mid-January (summer), followed by Easter, when prices can more than double.

South Africa’s winter season (June to September) is cool and dry, ideal for hiking and outdoor pursuits; spring (mid-September to November) is the best time to see carpets of wildflowers on vast expanses of the Northern Cape.

Traveling in South Africa is typically less expensive than doing so in Europe or North America, but facility and infrastructure quality is generally high.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends being vaccinated for hepatitis A and B, rabies and typhoid before traveling to South Africa, and getting boosters for tetanus, diphtheria and measles.

U.S. travelers don’t need visas to visit South Africa; you’ll receive an entry permit upon arrival that’s good for up to 90 days. Your passport must be valid for at least 30 days after the end of your stay.

 A short list of places to explore in South Africa includes: 

Kruger National Park, a renowned safari destination

Drakensberg, featuring magnificent peaks and plunging valleys great for hiking

Southern Coast, from whale-sighting at Hermanus to Tstisikamma National Park’s rivers and ravines

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, home to wildlife galore

Cape Town, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, featuring plenty of cosmopolitan chic

 Thousands of Americans have descended on South Africa to cheer on team USA’s pursuit of the World Cup and so far they’ve had a lot to cheer about. In its first game, the U.S. earned a draw against favored England.

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