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South Africa Cruises

South Africa is a country of contrast, where golden savannah gives way to subtropical foliage and rustic neighbourhoods rub shoulders with modern high-rise buildings. The rich and colourful flora and fauna tells nothing of the turbulent human history, but if you want to learn more about that, there are plenty of museums and tours to give you an insight. 

Standing at the very tip of Africa, South Africa is one of the largest and most diverse African nations. With no fewer than 11 official languages, it’s not called the ‘Rainbow Nation’ for nothing. 

The stunning landscapes of the African continent set the scene for cruises to South Africa, taking you to some of the country's most iconic coastal destinations, including routes via Cape Town with its spectacular backdrop of Table Mountain.

Top 5 interesting facts

  • Table Mountain has more plant species than the entire UK.
  • South Africa generates two-thirds of Africa's electricity.
  • It’s twice the size of France, and three times bigger than Germany.
  • South Africa has the longest wine route in the world.
  • It was the first African country to host a FIFA World Cup.
 

Highlights

Durban

Cosmopolitan Durban, the country’s second city, is built on the natural harbour of Port Natal, once thought to be a great river mouth by early explorers. The beautiful Golden Mile beach front welcomes visitors ashore to a city that retains its colonial charm, whilst exuding modernity thanks to its revamp for the 2010 World Cup.  

Famous sites

No cruise to South Africa would be complete without a visit to Cape Town. Highlights include a trip to the iconic Table Mountain, where the views of the Atlantic over the city are incredible. South Africa’s history is, of course, inextricably connected with apartheid and in Cape Town it’s impossible to escape the legacy of the man known to locals as Madiba, but to the world as Mandela. Take a boat tour from the harbour to Robben Island, Mandela’s prison for 18 years, and take in the atmosphere of this historic place.

Port Elizabeth is a great jumping-off point for bush tours, with many private game reserves within an hour’s drive – making this once-in-a-lifetime excursion an absolute must.

 

Wildlife and fauna

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South Africa is famed for its wildlife reserves, with everything from leopards and lions to giraffes and hippopotami found in the bushveld. Here you can visit 4-star reserves with not only an incredible collection of animals but also majestic mountains, rivers and valleys. It’s not uncommon to find black wildebeest, Burchell's zebra and black-backed jackals among the usual sightings. There are over 170 species of birds in the area so don’t forget your binoculars and long lenses to make the most of the opportunities too. 

 


South Africa cruises also offer visitors the opportunity to meet some of the native aquatic wildlife. Durban’s Ushaka Marine World is the southern hemisphere’s biggest aquarium, and there’s a fantastic theme park and shopping mall here too. 

The city of East London, on the south east coast, offers a zoo, a museum, river mouths, beaches, waterfalls and forests, as well as the usual shopping and eating delights of a city. The Wild Coast here has been compared to depictions of the Garden of Eden, thanks to the incredible subtropical scenery. 

South Africa's coastline varies from the hot and dry northeast, characterised by the arid landscapes surrounding Durban, to the more tropical conditions in the south and west. On the southern coast are the capes, which enjoy a year-round Mediterranean climate and are lush with tropical vegetation and vibrant wildflowers.

 

Ports in the country

 

Cruises visiting South Africa

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