The Republic of South Africa is located at the southern tip of the
African continent, where theIndian and Southern Atlantic Oceans
It is where humanity began, as evidenced by 80,000 year-old
fossilized footprints and the world’s oldest rock paintings.
Today, South Africa is home to the most advanced, broad-based
economy on the continent, with infrastructure to match any first-world
1,250 miles of tarred highways.
Generates two-thirds of Africa's electricity.
Has40% percent of the continent's phones.
Mines of over half the world's platinum and 10% of its gold.
South Africans drive on the left, with the car steering wheel on the
right, as in England.
South Africa is subtropical, moderated by oceans on three sides of the
country, and the altitude of the interior plateau. It is relatively dry,
with an annual rainfall of only 18.25” compared to the world average
of 34”. Most of the country gets its rainfall in their summer except for
the Western Cape, which, with its Mediterranean climate, gets rain in
South Africa’s temperatures are lower than other countries at the
same latitude, due to higher elevations from sea level.
In Johannesburg, the country's commercial capital, the summer
temperature rarely goes above 86° and winter just reaches freezing at
night. The high mountains of the Cape usually get snow in winter.
The coastal regions are warmest in winter, though there is a striking
contrast between temperatures on the country's east and west coasts,
due to warm and cold currents that sweep the coastlines.
Cape Town’s seasons are reversed from ours because it is south of the
South Africa is a nation of 51.77-million people of diverse origins,
cultures, languages and beliefs. About 79% are black (or African),
8.9% of mixed African, Asian and white descent – 8.9% white, and
2.5% Indian or Asian.
The majority of South Africans are Christian. Many churches combine
Christian and traditional African beliefs. Other significant religions –
though with much smaller followings – are Islam, Hinduism and
The African population has four broad groupings:
White South Africans include:
• Afrikaners, descendants of Dutch, German and French
Huguenot who came to the country in the 17th
• English-speaking descendants from the British Isles who came
to the country in the late 18th century.
• Immigrants from the rest of Europe, include Greeks,
Portuguese, Eastern European Jews, Hungarians and Germans.
• The majority of South Africa's Asian population is largely
English-speaking, although many retain the languages of their
• There is also a significant group of Chinese South Africans.
There are 11 officially recognized languages, most of them indigenous
to South Africa. Nearly 40% of the population speaks either isiZulu or
isiXhosa. Most also understand and speak, English, which is widely
spoken in the cities, used in commerce, by the government, on road
signs and onofficial documents.
Another major language is Afrikaans, a derivative of Dutch.
*Most speak several languages
South Africa is a strong multiparty democracy with an independent
judiciary and a free press. One of the world's youngest – and most
progressive – constitutions protects both citizens and visitors. You
won't be locked up for shouting out your opinions, however contrary.
Up until 1994, South Africa was known for apartheid, or white-minority
rule. The country's remarkable ability to put centuries of racial hatred
behind it by abolishing apartheid was widely considered a social
miracle, and inspired similar peace efforts in Northern Ireland and
Rwanda. Post-apartheid South Africa has a government comprising all
races, and is often referred to as the rainbow nation, a phrase coined
by Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu.
The country looks favorably on foreign business, allowing 100%
foreign ownership, with liberal return of investments to countries of
South Africa has a world-class financial sector. All major credit cards
are accepted in South Africa, though American Express and Diners
Club are not as widely accepted as MasterCard and Visa; a trend
around the world.
South Africa has a favorable exchange rate for many international
currencies, therefore is an inexpensive destination - once you get
there. South Africa's unit of currency is the rand. One rand is currently
worth about $.11.
Country geographical statistics
The area of South Africa is745,645 square miles, about 1/8 the size of
the US. There are nine providences. Topography ranges from lush
green valleys to arid, semi-desert areas.
The cities, amenities and infrastructure
Johannesburg is a city of skyscrapers;wider than London or New York.
It has all the conveniences and nuisances of any major city.
South Africa has two capitals. Cape Town, the oldest city, is the
legislative capital, where Parliament sits. Pretoria, 930 miles to the
north, is the executive capital, where the government administration is
housed. Near Pretoria, is Johannesburg, which share outer suburbs. It
is the commercial center, once the world's greatest gold mining center.
Today it is the modern financial and service center. The second-
biggest city is Durban, a fast-growing port on the eastern coast, and
the supply route for most goods to the interior.
South Africa’s phone network is 99% digital. Almost 13-million South
Africans own mobile phones.
High-quality tap water is plentiful in urban areas, but not all water in
rural areas is safe to drink from the tap.
Safety in South Africa’s cities arecomparable to any other major cities.
There are many wildlife preserves, with Kruger Parkbing the oldest -
more than a century old.
South Africa also has beautiful beaches, some of the world's best
surfing, spectacular scenery ranging from mountains to deserts, and
eco-systems found nowhere else in the world.
The big five
The “Big Five” are the lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard,
and rhinoceros. The term “Big Five” was coined by big-game hunters
and refers to the five most difficult and dangerous animals in Africa to
man - not to size.
Title slide: I Dreamt of Africa
Saw oo Bona – hello. Literally: “I see you”
The elephant is the only mammal with a lifespan as long as humans. The calves
wean at age 4 or 5 and their tusks emerge at about 30 months.
Elephants are known as "gentle giants" and are peaceful animals, unless
wounded, sick or are defending their young. Then, they can be deadly to
Elephants drink large quantities of water and love swimming and playing in it.
They like a mud bath to keep them cool.
Elephants are gregarious and form family groups consisting of an older matriarch
and female offspring, along with their young.
The female family groups are often visited by mature males checking for females
in heat. When they meet at watering holes and feeding places, they greet each
Mature males leave the family unit at puberty (at 16 years old) and join bachelor
groups or move about alone, only joining female herds to mate.
At birth, an elephant calf weighs 216 lbs. African elephants produce one calf
every three to four years after a gestation period of about 22 months. An
orphaned calf will be adopted by one of the family's lactating females or suckled
by various females.
Females are very attentive mothers.
Both male and female African elephants have large tusks, which are actually
upper incisor teeth that can reach 6.5 feet. The largest tusks of older males can
weigh up to 110-130 lbs. but tusks weighing up to 200 lbs. have been recorded.
The muscular trunk serves as a nose, a hand, an extra foot, a signaling device
and a tool for gathering food, siphoning water, dusting, digging and a variety of
other functions. It is 6.5 feet long and can weigh up to 290 lbs. An elephant’s
trunk is sensitive: it can detect underground water. The finger-like appendages at
the tip of the trunk enable them to pick up the smallest twig or flower. The trunk
comprises 40 000 to 100 00 muscles capable of holding 1.5 gallons of water
which it can squirt into its mouth for drinking or bathing.
An elephants hearing and smell are excellent but eyesight is not so good, and
best in dim light. Its large ears cool the body and when extended, make them
look bigger and more formidable to intruders, but wave to keep them cool.
Smell is the most highly developed sense, but their main means of
communication is through sound. They use deep growling or rumbling noises.
When danger threatens, elephants emit an ear-splitting blast.
Elephants are voracious eaters and can spend up to 16 - 18 hours a day
consuming grass, tender shoots and bark from trees.
An adult elephant can drink up to 53 gallons water in a single session.
All this eating and drinking means that a single elephant deposits dung along
their route every 15 minutes, for a total of upwards of 330 lbs every day!
The warthog is a grazer. It kneels on its, padded front knees to dig with the snout,
to get at the roots of short grasses to eat.
Two large pairs of warts occur below the eyes, and between the eyes and the
tusks, and a very small pair is found near the jaw (just in males).
When water is available, warthogs drink regularly and enjoy wallowing in muddy
To groom, they take sand baths, rub against trees and termite mounds and let
tick birds pick insects off their bodies.
The warthog has poor vision but its senses of smell and hearing are good. When
alarmed, the warthog grunts or snorts, lowers its mane, flattens its ears and bolts
for underground cover.
Warthogs graze on safari lodge lawns and along with the hippo, reduces the
costs of mowing the lawn.
Warthogs have litters of 3 - 5. They live in family groups of a female and her
young in holes in the ground where the young stay until they’re big enough to
walk with their elders in the open. Sometimes another female will join the group.
Males normally live by themselves, only joining the groups to mate.
Warthogs engage in ritual fights in which they charge straight on, clashing heads
when they meet. Fights between males can be violent and bloody.
Lions and leopards are the warthog's chief enemies. Warthogs protect
themselves from predators by fleeing or sliding backwards into a hole, thus being
in a position to use their tusks in an attack.
Zebras often travel with wildebeest and occasionally with hartebeest, roan Giraffe
and Rhino. They share defense strategy and their complementary food
preferences eliminate any competition for food.
Their gestation period is 12 months and in the wild have a lifespan of about 20
At first glance zebras in a herd all look alike, but their stripe patterns are as
distinctive as fingerprints are in man.
The subspecies found north of the Zambezi river has evenly spaced dark stripes
as compared to those found in the south of the Zambezi having broad stripes
with brown " shadow stripes" between the dark lines.
Zebras have shiny coats that dissipate over 70 percent of incoming heat. The
black and white stripes are a form of camouflage called disruptive coloration that
breaks up the outline of the body. Although the pattern is visible during daytime,
at dawn or in the evening when their predators are most active, zebras look
indistinct and may confuse predators by distorting true distance
Wildebeest (African Gnu)
Wildebeests are noisy. They constantly emit low moans and if disturbed, snort
They are continually on the move, seeking supplies of grass and water. They are
active both day and night, they often move in strung out, long single. They
generally move slowly to cover ling distances but can run fast when necessary.
The wildebeest’s jaw structure, with wide rows of teeth, prevents them from
eating many of the longer types of grass. Therefore, they sometimes graze with
zebra, which prefer the longer grasses.
During mating season smaller breeding groups of about 150 animals form within
the herds. Five or six of the most active bulls establish and defend the.
The bulls go through all kinds of mating antics, earning them the name “clowns of
The African, or Cape Buffalo
African Buffaloes are massive, heavily built and powerful. They resemble cattle
with large and heavy horns that curve down and outwards, then upwards and
They can reach weights of up to 1765 lbs. with a shoulder height of 5 feet.
Both sexes have horns. They move in large herds, often over 400 strong.
Interestingly, most times a lion pride can be found behind the herd.
Being grazers, they convert long grasslands into short grassy environments that
are conducive to other grazing animals.
Their sight and hearing are poor, but scent is well developed. Buffalo are
generally quiet except during mating season when they bellow. A calf in danger
will bellow mournfully, bringing herd members running to defend it.
Buffalo are very dangerous, are unpredictable and can be deadly if cornered or
wounded. They also will circle back hunt their pursuer. If left alone however, they
are generally placid. They are prey to the lion. If cornered, they form a circle
around the young and face outward. Predators do not have a major impact on
buffalo herds; only the old, solitary-living buffalo.
The impala is a graceful, medium-sized antelope, found from southern Africa to
the northern limits of East Africa. They move in large herds.
The female is similar to the male but does not have horns.
During the mating season, the males fight for dominance. The prize is a harem of
twenty or more ewes. Dominant males hold their territories for no more than a
few months at a time, or sometimes just a few days, before succumbing to
predators or exhaustion.
They have a well-defined lambing season starting at the end of October and in
the following weeks, nearly every ewe is seen with a baby
Impala have an unusual tuft of black hair covering a scent gland on the hind legs,
above the hooves
To escape their pursuers they employ a confusing, zigzag escape route, with
sudden directional changes and exceptionally high leaps making it difficult for the
pursuing attacker to strike.
Impala are also known as the Mc Donald's of Africa.
The nyala is a medium-sized antelope, with 3 to 14 vertical white stripes on its
The male has a fringe of long hair hanging under its body. Only the male has
horns which are slightly spiraled curving outward. They are not territorial and can
often be seen in small groups with ewes and lambs.
The female is yellow brown to chestnut - also with distinctive vertical stripes on
Nyala inhabits dense bush, riverside thickets and fringes of forests. Their natural
diet consists of leaves, fruit, herbs, legumes, and fresh grass.
Hippos have a barrel shaped body, short legs and a massive head with a broad
muzzle. The hide is almost hairless - the mouth has an impressive set of canines
and incisors and their 4-toed feet leaves a distinctive track.
The shape of their head is much like a frog’s, allowing them to keep their eyes
and nostrils above the water surface, while keeping the rest of their body
The hippo does not have sweat or sebaceous glands. The hippo relies on water
or mud to keep cool.
Hippos spend most of the day in water or close to shore on sand or mud banks.
They feed mainly at night. They are vegetarian - plucking grass with their wide
lips but are also known to eat the fruit and flowers of the sausage tree. They can
consume up to 132 lbs of grass every night.
Hippos are surprising agile for their size - they are good climbers and can
negotiate steep banks to graze on grass. They make wheezing-honk and roar
Hippos swim and dive well, and can walk along the bottom of the pond. When
submerged, they seal off their slit-like nostrils and ears. They usually remain
submerged for 3-5 minutes, though they can stay under for up to 30 minutes.
Mating takes place in water. The gestation period varies between 230 and 260
days when a single calf is born. Birthing takes place on land in dense bush where
the calf is suckled. Maturity is reached at 4 years.
Both male and female hippos are aggressive; scars and deep wounds are signs
of daily fights that are accompanied by a lot of noise.
One of the most aggressive and threatening postures of the hippo is the huge
open-mouthed "yawn" revealing its formidable, long, razor-sharp incisors and
tusk like canines.
Hippos kill more people then any other animal in Africa, mainly at night or early
morning when people walk between them and their security of water.
The male lion is recognized by his mane, which extends from the side of his face
down to the neck, shoulders and chest. The color of the mane varies from blond
Lions are the second largest members of the feline family. They usually have a
uniform tawny color with dark tipped tail. Lions reach a weight of up to 570 lbs
(male), and the female 353 lbs and have a life expectancy of about 15 years.
Female lions can live up 18, years, whereas males typically live to age 12.
Unlike most big cats, lions are social and are the only ones to live and hunt in
family groups. Lions of the same pride develop strong social bonds and practice
head rubbing and social grooming.
Lions are highly territorial and mark their territory. Their roar can be hears over
several miles and acts as a warning to intruders.
An average pride of about 15 lions would include 5 to 10 females with their young
and two or three territorial males that are usually brothers or pride mates. Young
females usually join their mother pride, but young males will leave the pride.
Females in a pride communally rear their cubs and hunt together.
After some years the dominant males of the group are replaced by more powerful
contenders, thus ensuring the introduction of new genetic material into the gene
A male will join a lioness when in heat and stay with her constantly over a period
of several days. They mate regularly every 15 to 30 minutes. The gestation
period is approx. 110 days and litters can vary from 1 to 4 cubs.
Birth take places under cover, and the mother returns to the pride with her cubs
when they are between 4 - 8 weeks old.
There are few enemies of the lion, man being the biggest, followed by elephant,
buffalo and hyenas.
Lions usually hunt at night or dawn. Their prey mainly on large mammals such as
antelope, wildebeest and buffalo. They also take smaller animals such as hares
and birds. The lion will scavenge, chasing other predators from their kills.
Although they usually drink daily when water is available, they can go four or five
days without it.
The white rhino number about 7000 in southern Africa. They are not actually
white. The name derives from the Afrikaans "weid" meaning wide, a reference to
its wide, square muzzle adapted for grazing on grasses.
The rhino has a pronounced hump on the neck and a long face.
Giraffe have knob-like horns on the head and are more pronounced in adult
They are mainly browsers using their prehensile upper lip and long tongue to
The giraffe has a distinctive walking gait, moving both legs on one side forward at
the same time. At a gallop the gait changes, and the giraffe simultaneously
swings the hind legs ahead of and outside the front legs, reaching speeds of 30
miles per hour. When bending to drink, their front legs bend backwards, making
them look double jointed!
It's heavy head moves forward with each powerful stride, then swings back to
Giraffes have a gestation period of 15 months and produce only one offspring per
Giraffes have a highly efficient blood circulation system. Their heart beat is 150
times/min as compared to an elephant at 25 times. This prevents dizziness
when they move their heads up and down on average through 20 feet when
Males fight one another by pushing their necks against each other like human
Ancient cultures in Africa revered the giraffe, as some modern cultures do today,
and commonly depicted it in prehistoric rock and cave paintings.
The giraffe is generally a docile animal but has been known to kill a lion with a
sharp kick of its forelegs.
The cheetah is sometimes referred to as the "greyhound of cats"
From a resting position, the cheetah can reach a speed of 50 miles/hr in less
than 3 seconds but is unable to sustain full speed for long. The cheetah has
longer back legs for greater stride.
It is the smallest of the big cats of Africa - reaching a shoulder height of about 31
inches and weighing 121 lbs. (male) and 88 lbs. (females).
The cheetah has a slender build, long spotted white tipped tail, spotted coat with
single rounded black spots. Between 1 - 5 cubs can be born at anytime of the
year. They are born blind and defenseless and will be hidden in dense bush for
the first few weeks of its life.
The cheetah is the only member of the cat family with non-retractable claws. It
uses its tail like a rudder for balance and it has special pads for traction. It has
You can find cheetah in the larger national parks but they are scarce and not
The cheetah are endangered. Fewer than 12,000 remain, due to shrinking
habitat, disease and high mortality in cubs. They are found mostly in eastern and
They prefer open country and light woodland, and prey on small or medium
antelope. They also hunt young warthog, hares and porcupine.
They are found throughout southern Africa - typically found in riverine vegetation
and acacia trees.
Vervet monkeys are long-legged, long-tailed, omnivorous monkeys.The vervet
monkey is light coloured with a black face. They weigh between 11 and 20 lbs.
Dominant males will exaggerate their status by walking with an ostentatious
They are generally social, though they exhibit occasional rivalry.When attempting
to intimidate a rival, a monkey stands at its tallest, to look bigger than it really is.
They move about in trees by running along the branches on all fours in groups of
about 20, and feed on young shoots, seeds and fruit
Crested Franklin Quail
Crowned Lapwings prefer short, dry overgrazed grassland and avoid mountains.
They live up to 20 years.
The Crowned Lapwing is under Conservation agreement.
Crowned Lapwing males posture aggressively when nesting territories are
established. The loser in an encounter assumes a special posture to signal his
These birds may mate for life. Whilemost incubating is done by the female, the
male assists on hot days, when he either incubates or shades the nest.
Crocodile are found throughout South Africa in rivers, freshwater marshes,
estuaries and in mangrove swamps. They can grow to 8.5 to 18 feet and
weigh up to 2,200 lbs or more.
Up to 70% of the adult diet is fish, but they also eat zebras, hippos, porcupines,
and migrating wildebeest.
A female can lay 25 to 100 eggs, which she covers with sand, then guards until
they hatch 3 months later.
Crocs live an average of 45 years in the wild; up to 80 years in captivity.