South Africa: Country of Cool

by Tamra Bolton

One of the most exciting things about a trip overseas is getting to explore and investigate the different animal and plant life.  Knowing some of the trees, flowers, birds and mammals you might encounter only enriches your total travel experience.  While I was searching for things to see and do in South Africa, I discovered some amazing things I didn’t know and I definitely don’t want to miss.

The Cape Floral Region in South Africa is one of eight World Heritage Sites located in the country and it boasts spectacular mountain scenery and jaw-dropping ocean views.  It also contains some of the richest plant biodiversity in the world.  Table Mountain National Park alone has more plant species than the whole British Isles or even New Zealand, which was a big surprise.

Another surprise for me was finding that Cape Town ranks #2 in the world for best beaches, according to the National Geographic Travel Magazine.  Cape Town was only edged out Barcelona, Spain’s eight gorgeous white sand beaches!

Not only is South Africa blessed with breath-taking scenery and beautiful beaches, but it is one of the top birding destinations in the world.  The Cape of Good Hope National Park is an excellent viewing area.  You have the opportunity to see many of the 850 species that have been recorded in the region, if you time your visit with the annual migrations.  November is one of the best times to see the most bird species and the breeding numbers are at their peak during November through March.  Cape Town has the best wader bird watching in the country.  Around fifty of the bird species recorded in South Africa are native to the area and found nowhere else in the world. 

Cape Town has earned the nickname “Capital of Cool”, but I think the entire country of South Africa, with its biodiversity and element of adventure deserves the title “Country of Cool”.  I can’t wait to visit!