VESA’s humanitarian and conservation projects aim to provide direct action support to communities in parts of the world overlooked by traditional charities and aid organisations.Learn more
The Republic of South Africa is bordered by six other African countries, and is often referred to as the Rainbow Nation for its ethnic diversity. Situated at the tip of southern Africa, South Africa is a country rich in history and home to the wildest landscapes on earth.
South Africa has been inhabited for tens of thousands of years, first by indigenous Africans known as the Khoisan, and later by many of the indigenous groups that remain today. From the late 1700s, Dutch people began to settle in South Africa. This group, which became known as the ‘Boers’, coexisted with the British, who had settled parts of modern-day South Africa after taking control of the Cape in 1795. These two groups violently clashed in the Boer War of 1899-1902, but then united to rule South Africa until the end of the Apartheid period in 1994, when Nelson Mandela was elected in South Africa’s first fully democratic election. South Africa is widely known for its extraordinary natural beauty. Mountains, canyons, beaches and coastlines attract lovers of nature and adventure from across the globe. The most famous attractions in South Africa are the National Parks, where visitors can embark on wildlife safaris and encounter incredible African wildlife up close in their natural environment. The tiny mountainous Kingdom of Swaziland, right in between South Africa and Mozambique, has been named the ‘Switzerland of Africa’. African culture and traditions flourish here alongside some modern luxury hotels and world-renowned wildlife reserves. Also known as eSwatini, Swaziland is the smallest country in the southern hemisphere. But despite its economic issues, this compact country is packed with cultural attractions, exquisite art and crafts, breathtaking scenery and wildlife. The capital, Mbabane, is a small and unpretentious town situated at the northern end of the lush Ezulwini Valley. Tourists are catered for with a wide array of accommodation options and activities. Among the country’s main attractions are Mlilwane, a renowned game sanctuary, the magnificent Mantenga Falls, and the annual Umhlanga (Reed) Festival at the Royal Kraal in Lebombo, one of Africa’s biggest cultural spectacles. Swaziland’s western highlands reach 1829m (over 6,000 feet), with an abundance of rivers, waterfalls and forested gorges.
South African Rand is the currency used in South Africa
Official languages are spoken in South Africa, with English as the most commonly spoken
and more populate the country of South Africa
Shipwrecks can be found off the South African coast, most dating back at least 500 years
“The trip has personally inspired me to do more for the people in the world who need it. Thank you VESA so much for this experience. It was life altering!”
Jeff Rosenberg – Concordia University
“Absolutely incredible! Had the time of my life and met people I will never forget! This is my second time as a VESA participant and I am still amazed at how amazing everything was.”
Rosey Lieu – Wilfred Laurier University
“As my first travel experience, I really enjoyed the opportunity to work among the community and to get to know the area. This has been a real experience. One that I will never forget. Thank you VESA.”
Shayna Engen – Surrey College
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