At the tip of the African continent, South Africa is famous for its diverse culture. On a South Africa vacation, you can discover Zulu and Xhosa tribal traditions and hear locals speaking 11 different official national languages as you move between modern cities and nature reserves.
The struggle against apartheid defines South Africa’s recent past, and the late former president Nelson Mandela is revered as one of the world’s most beloved leaders. Race, however, remains a sensitive and complex issue. Offering insight into how South Africa has progressed since apartheid ended in 1991 are the Johannesburg suburbs of Rosebank, a lively district dotted with business headquarters, world-class restaurants and trendy boutiques, and the affluent area of Sandton.
South Africa is undergoing a cultural renaissance, and the Gold Rush city of Johannesburg is at its forefront. Visitors can tour the gold mines in Gauteng and learn about South Africa’s past at the Apartheid Museum. Liliesleaf, formerly the headquarters of the liberation movement, is now a museum tracing the nation’s struggle towards democracy.
In addition to its cosmopolitan cities, South Africa offers a wealth of outstanding natural beauty. Perhaps the most popular destinations are the world-class wildlife game reserves, including Kruger National Park. Other must-see natural destinations include the rolling vineyards of the Western Cape, tropical KwaZulu-Natal beaches and Cape Coast bays.
Visitors choosing where to go in South Africa should take advantage of the opportunity to visit eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Drakensberg Mountains and Vredefort Dome, an impact crater dating back 2 billion years. Another celebrated heritage site is Robben Island, where Mandela was imprisoned, which is now a living museum with former prisoners working as guides.
For travellers planning a beach holiday, head to a seaside city such as Durban, famous for sunshine, surfing and Indian cuisine, or the stylish resort village of Umhlanga Rocks, which offers the best beaches in KwaZulu-Natal.
If it’s European-style culture and fine dining you’re after, opt for Cape Town city centre. From here, you can shop at the V&A Waterfront, take a boat trip to Robben Island, or ride the cable car up magnificent Table Mountain for views over Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.
With its wealth of history, coupled with world-class game parks and vibrant cities, a South Africa vacation is bound to enthrall visitors time and time again.