South Africa is full of natural beauty, rich cultures, adventure and wildlife. The first choice for safaris.
In 1652, Dutch traders landed at the southern tip of modern day South Africa and established a stopover point on the spice route between the Netherlands and the Far East, founding the city of Cape Town.
After the British seized the Cape of Good Hope area in 1806, many of the Dutch settlers (the Boers) trekked north to found their own republics. The discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886) spurred wealth and immigration and intensified the subjugation of the native inhabitants.
The Boers resisted British encroachments but were defeated in the Boer War (1899-1902). However, the British and the Afrikaners, as the Boers became known, ruled together beginning in 1910 under the Union of South Africa, which became a republic in 1961 after a whites-only referendum.
In 1948, the National Party was voted into power and instituted a policy of apartheid - the separate development of the races - which favored the white minority at the expense of the black majority. The African National Congress (ANC) led the opposition to apartheid and many top ANC leaders, such as Nelson Mandela, spent decades in South Africa's prisons. Internal protests and international boycotts, led to the regime's eventual willingness to negotiate a peaceful transition to majority rule.
In 1994, the first South-African multi-racial elections brought an end to apartheid and ushered in majority rule under an ANC-led government. Since then, the country has struggled to address apartheid-era imbalances in decent housing, education, and health care. ANC infighting, which has grown in recent years, came to a head in September 2008 when President Thabo Mbeki resigned, and Kgalema Motlanthe, the party's General-Secretary, succeeded him as interim president. Jacob Zuma became president after the ANC won general elections in April 2009 (Source: The World Factbook).
Cape Town, with Table Mountain.
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Cape Town, Western Cape: Bakoven from Kasteelpoort, Table Mountain. Photo by Keith Young.
Durban Stadium (photo Irwin Manoim).
Cycling in Hout Bay, Western Cape (foto South African Tourism).
Cape Town and Table Mountain at sunrise.
The Outeniqua Choo Tjoe, near Wilderness in the Western Cape (photo by Neil Austin).
South African Tourism
Photo Chris van der Merwe