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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
South Africa Sports
South Africa Sports - TravelPuppy.com
Water Sports

South Africa has recently gained a reputation for shark cage diving (with great white sharks) and whale watching on the Cape. Sharks migrate through the Cape’s False Bay from June to August and travel into the Durban area (KwaZulu-Natal) from October to January. The Western Cape Tourism Board has established a Cape Whale Route to observe southern right whales, which generally swim very close to the shore, perfect for whale watching fans. The best time to spot them is from June to September, particularly in Walker Bay, where a Whale Festival is held each year during the last week of September.

South Africa’s diving infrastructure and services are well developed. Reef diving is famous in Sodwana Bay (on the northern coast of KwaZulu-Natal), while wreck diving is common around the Cape. Popular inland diving sites include Badgat, Wondergat and Miracle Water. The Tsitsikamma Coastal Park offers brilliant opportunities for underwater photography. Diving certificates are required in South Africa, PADI and NAUI courses are available.

Surfing is a popular activity in South Africa, 1 of the most well known locations is Jeffrey's Bay (J-Bay) near Cape Town. Windsurfing and kite windsurfing can be done at Big Bay, which is near Cape Town.

Fishing

1 of South Africa's most popular sports, fishing can be practiced along the coast or on the lakes and rivers in the game and nature reserves. 1 of the world’s richest fishing grounds lies around the Cape of Good Hope, where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean currents meet and huge shoals of tuna and swordfish draw numerous game fishing enthusiasts.

The major trout fishing areas are the southern mountain ranges of the Western Cape and the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains (which is in KwaZulu-Natal). Fly fishing is finest in the mountain streams and along the coastline of the Eastern Cape. 1 highlight on South Africa’s fishing calendar is the Sardine Run, in June, along the KwaZulu-Natal coast, where masses of feeding game fish and sharks gather.

Wildlife safaris

South Africa’s wildlife sanctuaries usually fall into 3 categories, nature parks, private game reserves and national game reserves. Nature parks are noted more for their scenic splendor and hiking trails than for wildlife. Private game reserves present a personalised game viewing programme, while national game reserves are usually explored by tourists in their own vehicles. Besides game viewing from vehicles, horseback, walking, camel and canoeing safaris are becoming increasingly popular.

Safaris on foot follow a network of wilderness trails in the (essential) company of an armed ranger. A maximum of 8 people between the ages of 12 and 60 may participate per trail (which usually lasts for 3 nights and 2 days, with accommodation in designated camps). For reservations and further information, please contact:

The South African National Parks Board
Telephone: (21) 428 9111
Website address: www.sanparks.org

The Wildlife and Environment Society of Southern Africa
Telephone: (33) 330 3931
Website address: www.wildlifesociety.org.za

Golf

South Africa has roughly 500 golf courses, often situated in spectacular locations. The best time to play is in the cooler months, which are from May to September. Green fees average £10 to £20 and a caddie costs around £7. Visitors are welcome during weekdays.
Walking and Hiking

Nature parks present marked self guided trails (with sleeping huts en route) or guided off the beaten track trails (with an armed and experienced ranger providing information about plants, animals and ecology). Some operators also offer themed walks with a focus on, for instance, flowers (of which South Africa has almost 24,000 species). Magnificent flower displays can be seen during August / September in the semi desert area of Namaqualand.

Wine Routes

The country’s 13 major wine producing regions have signposted wine routes, of which the best include the Stellenbosch Wine Route (South Africa’s 1st, with all wineries situated within a 12 kilometre / 7.5 mile radius of Stellenbosch), the Olifants Wine Route (200 kilometre / 125 miles long, passing through the Cederberg Mountains, the unspoilt West Coast and Knersvlakte), the Klein Karoo Wine Trust (a 300 kilometre / 188 mile route through the eastern Cape Winelands), the Swartland Wine Route (a 40-minute drive away from Cape Town), the Orange River Wine Trust (comprising the northern wine making regions, irrigated by the Orange, Vaal and Riet rivers) and the Robertson Valley (a 2 hour drive from Cape Town, known particularly for Chardonnay). Regional wine maps and further details are accessible from the South African Tourism Board.

Spectator Sports

South Africans are passionate sports enthusiasts and the success of national teams has been a source of pride and reconciliation for all sections of the community. The South African rugby team are world class, the football team is 1 of the best in Africa, and the cricket team has proved it is the equal of any in the world. Visitors are appreciated at all these fixtures.

Adventure Sports

A changing range of adventure sports is available, the most well known of which probably remains bungee jumping, for which South Africa has 1 of the world’s highest drops, the bridge over the Blaukrans River, Western Cape. At 216 metres (709 feet), this jump is more than twice as high as the jump of the bridge linking Zimbabwe and Zambia across the Zambezi River near Victoria Falls.

Steam Trains

South Africa is 1 of the few remaining countries where steam locomotives are still largely used. They range from the magnificent Pride of Africa to small engines on narrow gauge railways similar to the Midmar Steam Railway near Pietermaritzburg. For those looking for a scenic ride, the well known Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe runs along the Garden Route on a day trip from George and Knysna and the Union Limited crosses the famous Kaaimans River Bridge, 1 of the most photographed railway bridges in the world.