Sure, it’s winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, and many of our motorcycles are nestled quietly in our garages. That doesn’t mean that there’s no riding anywhere. In fact, some of the best riding in the world is in South Africa, and it’s the height of summer there right now.
South Africa is the southernmost country in Africa. It is about one-eighth the size of the United States, and has a population of almost 52 million. A very stable federal state, the country has a democratically-elected national government and nine provincial governments, with laws derived from a constitution. The current President of South Africa is Jacob Zuma, currently serving his second five-year term in office.
South Africa operates on the metric system, so it might be helpful to renew your acquaintance with kilometers, kilograms and the Celsius scale before any trip. The medium of exchange is the South African Rand. At current rates, one U.S. dollar is worth 13.53 Rand.
There are 11 official languages in South Africa, each guaranteed equal status. Most South Africans speak English, though the most common colloquial language is isiZulu.
Thanks to the fact that South Africa is surrounded by ocean on three sides, it has a coastline that stretches for 2,798 kilometers (~1,739 miles). There are some spectacular beaches, some rocky coasts, and some areas where mountainous terrain meets the sea in fantastic cliffs. The inland areas of the country range from picturesque savannahs to snow-covered peaks, from lush farmland to dry desert landscapes. Several large cosmopolitan cities – Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Bloemfontein – wear their European influence with style. Overall, South Africa is an incredibly diverse and exciting country.
Riding a motorcycle is a great way to discover South Africa. Perhaps the best way to start is with a Harley-Davidson Authorized Tour. H-D offers a two-week group tour of the Western Cape through Crossroads Motortours that starts at $4,650, including Harley-Davidson motorcycle rental, hotels and guides. Several other companies offer road tours, and there are even tours that use adventure bikes like the BMW GS for trips that include off-road segments.
Best Western currently has three locations in South Africa – one in Cape Town, one in Nelspruit, and one in Centurion – with 10 more properties scheduled to take on the Best Western brand in 2017. So, wherever you go (even South Africa), Best Western is there.