South Africa appeals to adventurists, backpackers, honeymooners and families with a spellbinding mix of diverse cities, jaw-dropping scenery and majestic wildlife. Discover beach towns and tribal villages, hike to mountain peaks, search for Africa’s big five animals and tour magnificent vineyards.
Often called the Rainbow Nation, South Africa is influenced by tribal communities and European and Indian settlers. Listen to some of the 11 official languages and dozens of dialects. English is spoken throughout the tourist areas.
Start in the Western Cape, famous for winemaking. Visit Cape Town, home of Table Mountain, Dutch-inspired districts and chic beach suburbs, such as Camps Bay and Hout Bay. At the city’s lively Victoria & Alfred Waterfront precinct, take the ferry to Robben Island as part of the tour that shows you where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. From Cape Town, make your way down the west coast of the Cape Peninsula to the Cape of Good Hope, an area of spectacular scenery. Travel back up the east coast to watch the antics of cute penguins at Boulders Beach, dive with sharks at Simon’s Town and surf big waves at Muizenberg.
Delve into South Africa’s world-famous winemaking traditions in Stellenbosch. Enjoy local cuisine in Franschhoek, the heartland of the nation’s culinary scene. Go whale-watching in Hermanus or hike to mountain lookouts in Montagu.
Travel via bus, luxury train or rented car along the Garden Route, an enchanting coastal road stretching between Mossel Bay and Storms River. Stop at beach towns, including Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.
The Eastern Cape has some of South Africa’s best surf spots, especially Jeffreys Bay and Port Alfred. Learn about the customs of the Xhosa people in Coffee Bay or trek across the Valley of Desolation’s barren landscapes.
Toward the north is Johannesburg, with urban sprawl, historic architecture and a tourist-friendly shanty town, once Nelson Mandela’s home. Experience the country’s Indian influences in Durban, the gateway to the Drakensberg Mountains. Take side trips to Lesotho and Swaziland, two picturesque landlocked kingdoms.
Join guided walks, jeep safaris and self-driven tours of superb game parks and nature reserves. Get close to endangered rhinos at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park and walk with elephants at Addo Elephant National Park. Tsitsikamma National Park is great for watching birds and dolphins. In Kruger National Park, look for the big five animals in their natural habitats.
Find a sun-drenched location to enjoy South Africa’s incredible diversity year-round.