South Africa

"Diamonds are forever," as the song goes…South Africa was first considered a prosperous diamond mine, but it became a diamond in itself: the most cosmopolitan country in the continent; South Africa is home to hundreds of nationalities, cultures, cuisine, sports…Ah, and nature! Who can forget?! Safaris!! Not only is South Africa a wealthy, industrialized country, it is also a significant center for natural preserves and wildlife. A journey into Kruger National Park will take you to see the king of the jungle and his 'subjects’—the famed African fauna, from elephants and giraffes to zebras, ostriches, and rhinos. The land of Mandela, of freedom, warmth, and modernity, opens up its doors to anyone interested in this African country's majestic nature and vibrant city life.

 

Top Destinations

 

Johannesburg

South Africa's largest city and major financial center, Johannesburg, is a thrilling city of skyscrapers, modern cafes, and restaurants. Above all, a magnet for those who love the outdoors—it's the gateway to Africa's most legendary of adventures—safaris! Only a short distance, Kruger National Park offers the opportunity to interact and observe some of Africa's most emblematic wildlife: elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras…And on return, there's a fantastic skyline shining below the stars.

 

Cape Town

Named in 2014 as "the best place in the world to visit" by the New York Times and The Daily Telegraph, Cape Town is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Offering visitors a good climate and excellent, well-developed infrastructure, the city boasts hotels and shopping malls. Still, by far, the most impressive attractions are driving to its nearby hills and mountains to witness the imposing, breathtaking vistas of the Atlantic bathing the white, crystalline coast. Driving along Chapman's Peak Drive or Signal Hill will take you up, close to the sky, or if you would, go down and walk through the streets of the brightly colored Bo-Kaap quarter to witness the city's warm multiculturalism and be closer to excellent!

 

Durban

Recognized in 2015 as one of the world's "New7Wonders Cities", Durban is South Africa's largest port, major manufacturing center, and, if you're looking for sun, sand, and plentiful, the top African beach destination. With its crystalline beaches, numerous resorts, casinos (some rivaling Vegas, and yes, Monte Carlo!), posh shopping streets, cinemas, and endless water-sports and attractions, Durban is one of anyone's African tour bucket-list.

 

Top Things to do

 

Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga

Lovely Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve (also called Motlatse River Canyon) is a preferred stop on the drive between Johannesburg and Kruger National Park. The park is home to Africa's second-largest canyon and abundant diversity of wildlife and plants. Lush subtropical foliage, waterfalls, glistening rivers, and lichen-covered rock forms create a striking canvas of color and composition.

Game viewing can be especially rewarding, with all the common species of South African primates and many hippos and crocodiles.

The best way to explore this magnificent park is via the scenic driving routes or hiking the extensive trails. 

Boat trips and whitewater rafting are also possible on the rivers.

 

iSimangaliso Wetland Park, KwaZulu-Natal

iSimangaliso indicates "miracle and wonder" in the Zulu language, and it's a proper name for this World Heritage Area, home to Africa's most extensive estuarine system. Formerly the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, iSimangaliso lies on the northeastern coast of Kwazulu Natal and connects eight interwoven ecosystems, including coral reefs, croc-filled rivers, lakes, towering coastal dunes, swamplands, and savanna.

The area supports an incredible variety of wildlife. More than 500 species of birds inhabit the park, as well as leatherback and loggerhead turtles, leopards, rhinos, and Africa's highest collection of hippos and crocodiles.

 

The Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal

The panoramic Drakensberg, meaning "Dragon Mountains," is one of the top places to visit in KwaZulu-Natal and a famous vacation destination for South Africans. It's also home to the country's highest peaks.

The area contains the World Heritage-listed uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, a region of jaw-dropping beauty, with ragged basalt buttresses and San rock art, and Royal Natal National Park, house to the awe-inspiring Amphitheatre, a magnificent cliff face, and source of South Africa's main rivers.

The Giant's Castle Game Reserve in the country protects large herds of eland. Solid forests flourish in the sheltered valleys, and the area is home to more than 800 different species of flowering plants and great diversity of wildlife.

 

Stellenbosch, Western Cape

A mosaic of farms, old oak trees, and white-washed Cape Dutch houses, it's one of the best-preserved towns from the Dutch East India Company era.

It's a university town with a lively feel and exotic scenery. Foodies will love it here. Stellenbosch is home to some of South Africa's best restaurants, as well as many sidewalk cafés.

Past buffs can take a walk back in time at The Stellenbosch Village Museum, a group of four repaired houses and gardens dating from 1709 to 1850. Rupert Museum displays fundamental works by South African artists, and roaming around the Botanic Garden at the University of Stellenbosch is another top thing to do here.

 

 Kalahari Transfrontier Park 

It is one of the largest wilderness areas in the world, established in 2000. Kalahari Park is Africa's first officially declared transfrontier park and one of the top places to visit in South Africa's Northern Cape. Gnarled camel thorn trees, red sands, golden grasslands, and deep blue skies present a bold backdrop for photographs and game viewing.

Among the vast diversity of wildlife, this enormous conservation area is home to the famous black-maned Kalahari lion; stately gemsbok, with their V-shaped horns; the sprawling nests of sociable weavers; meerkats; and many birds of prey.

 

The Garden Route

Along the country's southeast coast, the Garden Route runs for about 200 kilometers through some of South Africa's most breathtaking coastal spectacle. The route extends along the Indian Ocean from Mossel Bay, in the Western Cape, to the Storms River, in the Eastern Cape.

This famous driving route passes through rolling green hills, attractive coastal towns, lagoons, lakes, and coastal cliffs. Highlights of the Garden Route include the charming town of Knysna, grasped between dense forests and a sparkling lagoon. The beautiful Garden Route National Park, with its gorges, tidal pools, and thick forests; Oudtshoorn's ostrich farms and Cango Caves; and the seal colony of the Robberg Nature Reserve in Plettenberg Bay.