For thousands of years, Cape Town was inhabited by the Strandloper (ancestors of Kalahari Bushmen). Cape Town’s European history began in 1652, when Jan van Riebeeck established a trading post there on behalf of the VOC (Dutch East Indies Company). The first European settlers were mainly Dutch, with some French Huguenots that had to flee from religious persecution in their home country. The first settlers soon explored the adjacent hinterland and founded the cities of Stellenbosh and Paarl in today’s Cape Winelands. The Voortrekkers (Pioneers of European descent) started from here to explore and settle the rest of South Africa.
The towns of Oudtshoorn and De Rust are in the Klein Karoo between the Swartberg and Outeniqua mountains. Oudtshoorn is the ostrich capital of the world. The world’s biggest bird is just one of the many attractions in this area of exceptional contrasts and natural beauty.The region is home to the spectacular Cango Caves, Africa’s largest show cave system; an ecological hotspot where three distinct plant biomes (succulent karoo, cape thicket and fynbos) converge; and the Swartberg mountain range, which is part of the Cape Floral World Heritage Site.
Johannesburg is the economic hub of South Africa, and increasingly for the rest of Africa. Although estimates vary, about 10% of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP is generated in Johannesburg. Yet the city’s wealth is unequally distributed among its inhabitants causing the city to have, within its own borders, living conditions varying from first world standards to third world conditions. The contrast between rich and poor has led to one of the highest crime rates in the world. The more affluent tend to live in houses with a high level of security by western standards, whilst the less affluent live in less desirable housing conditions.