From a turbulent history, South Africa has emerged in the last several decades as a leading nation in both Africa and the world. Since the end of Apartheid and the establishment of a democratic government in the 1990s, South Africa’s borders have opened to a flood of tourists who come to enjoy the country’s stunning natural beauty and vibrant culture.
South Africa’s sense of history is strong, and visitors have the chance to explore important historical attractions ranging from the Zululand battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town.
South Africa is one of the most diverse countries in the world: the ‘Rainbow Nation’ has 11 official languages, and its colourful population forms a patchwork of African, Asian and European culture. Whether browsing the Indian markets in Durban, enjoying a shisa nyama (barbecue) in Soweto, or tasting local varieties at a winery in Stellenbosch, visitors will encounter a warm welcome.
The lure of South Africa lies in its untamed wilderness, however. Home to the ‘Big Five’ of African wildlife (lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhino), along with thousands of other species of plants and animals, big game safaris in nature reserves like Kruger and Hluhluwe National Park remain among the most popular activities in South Africa. The landscape encompasses a range of climates and terrains, including deserts, mountains, plateaus, grasslands, bush, wetlands and subtropical forests. South Africa is a sightseer’s paradise, with plenty to see and do no matter what your interests, time frame, age, or inclination.
There is natural splendour in abundance from the iconic Table Mountain, magnificent Drakensberg, and Blyde River canyon to gorgeous beaches and beautifully scenic drives. South Africa as its share of history, too. Boer War battlefields and Apartheid attractions draw equal numbers of visitors, while heritage towns like Franschoek have much to offer.
The country is ideal to visit all year round, although summer holidays over December and January are when locals tend to flock to the coastal towns and hence accommodation can be scarce. South Africa is one of the few global destination that can offer the complete holiday experience, with a huge variety of world class attractions and compelling experiences, and incredible value to boot.