Backed by the rugged and iconic Table Mountain, and surrounded by almost 3000km of gorgeous coastline, nature has bestowed upon Cape Town one of the world’s best-looking locations. It has a cool, urban edge, cosmopolitan bars and restaurants, cutting-edge culture and fashion. Try your tongue at the 11 official languages and discover just how friendly the people are in this Rainbow Nation. It’s the adventure capital of the world, so if you dare, catch a cable car up the majestic Table Mountain, soak up the view…then abseil back down. Go kite-surfing, rock-climbing, wake-boarding, hang-gliding and sky-diving. South Africa is also home to around 40 different species of shark, so why not hop in a cage and swim with them. It’s also famously known for the wildlife. Go to Aquila Private Game Reserve, take a seat in an open vehicle, and try to spot a giraffe, lion, leopard, zebra, rhino, wildebeest & more. On a more somber note, learn about South Africa’s struggles toward freedom, and visit Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years.
Johannesburg – find the sun shining all year round here, days are warm and winters short, with sunsets that will take your breath away. ‘Joburg’, or ‘Jozi’ as it’s known, is the only city in the world not built near a natural body of water, though has the world’s biggest man-made forest with around 10 million trees. It has an edge. It’s tough, beautiful, full of contradictions and obsessed with the new. Joburg is the shopping capital of Africa, whether you fancy local flea markets or glossy shopping malls. If culture is your thing, there is a huge array of museums, galleries and even Broadway shows. Go on an eye-opening, guided walking tour of the city, a balloon safari, or an amusement park located on an old gold mine.
Cape Town – spectacularly nestled between an ocean and a mountain, there is nowhere like this city, the oldest in South Africa. The impressive Table Mountain combined with pretty as a picture beaches will leave you suitably impressed. Cape Town also happens to be one of the most popular backpacker destinations in the world and you will not be left short of hostel choices here. Buy a ticket on the backpacker special ‘Baz Bus’, climb or cable car up Cable Mountain, take a boat ride to historic Robben Island, or catch a Lion’s Head sunset. If surfing is your thing, go to the easily accessible Muizenberg. Sharks are a constant threat in South Africa, though at places like this stretch of coastline, there are ‘shark-spotters’ on duty. Blending in with Cape Town’s beauty is it’s urban side, with hip bars, designer shops, and art galleries and a world class culinary scene.
Durban – 2010 and the World Cup saw a revamp to Durban’s waterfront, a major overhaul which bought with it not only a new stadium, but also a new confidence. Downtown is gritty, the architecture a captivating mix of art deco and colonial, best experienced before the sun goes down. This city is also home to the largest Indian community outside of India itself, which is reflected in the sights, sounds and aromas throughout the streets.
Kruger National Park – is one of the largest, oldest and most diverse game-viewing destinations in the whole of not only Africa, but the whole world. This park is home to the famous ‘Big Five’- the name given by hunters to the five largest and most dangerous African mammals: rhinoceros, elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard. Go here to also see zebra, wildebeest, hyena, cheetah, giraffe, antelope and so many more animals in their natural habitat. Do it alone, if you dare, or join a guided tour.