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Tourist Destinations in South Africa
South Africa is one of the most diverse and enchanting countries in the world. Exotic combinations of landscapes, people, history and culture offer the traveller a unique and inspiring experience.
     
Cape Town
Cape Town is a highlight of any trip to South Africa. The natural beauty of Cape Town makes it one of the most attractive cities in the world. Cape Town boasts beautiful beaches as well as the impressive Table Mountain right in the heart of the city. The restaurants are world class, and so are the wines. Cape Town is also one of the most culturally diverse cities in Africa and has reputation for social tolerance.
 
While Cape Town is one of the world's most beautiful cities, it's also among the most easily manageable. Although the suburbs now sprawl outwards, most tourist attractions are clustered close together. You can't walk far without stumbling across colourful African crafts, eclectic restaurants, fascinating museums and world-class hotels.
 
   
Johannesburg 
Johannesburg - Jo'burg or Jozi to the locals - is South Africa's largest urban space and the economic powerhouse of sub-saharan Africa. It's a vibrant, pulsating city, which is working hard to reinvent itself as a tourism hub.
Johannesburg's notorious image has improved thanks to the efforts of the Metro Police and the city's ubiquitous security cameras to reduce crime rates. Johannesburg's city centre was also dramatically improved for the 2010 World Cup, with updated street names and new attractive pedestrian precincts.
At the heart of Johannesburg is an array of Victorian and Edwardian architecture plus concrete, chrome and glass skyscrapers and a tangle of highways, edged by leafy suburbs and congested shanty towns.
 
   
The Winelands
The Winelands are situated east of Cape Town among beautiful mountains creating some stunning vistas. The region is steeped in culture and history with some excellent examples of typical Dutch architecture dating back to the 17th century. The Winelands encompass several regions each with their own wine tasting tours. The most popular towns include Stellenbosch (which is closest to Cape Town), FranschhoekWellington, and Paarl. It's worth renting a car in Cape Town and spending at least a day or two in any of these towns. There are numerous hotels, estates and bed and breakfasts available and the region is known for its excellent restaurants.
     
Knysna
Knsyna is a charming town in the middle of the Garden Route which deserves a special mention. It’s definitely worth stopping here because it’s such a great place to have fun, relax and enjoy some great food. Kynsna attracts many artists due to the lovely views and relaxing atmosphere giving the whole town a bohemian feel. An area that appeals to both artists and water sport fanatics is Knysna Heads. Here you can find a lagoon which is perfect for the fun pastime ‘wave jumping’ and it’s also known for its incredible sunsets. Knysna is a perfect place to stop off and relax.
 
Knysna is a town in the heart of South Africa's beautiful Garden Route. Knysna lies nestled in between the Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean. Knysna has twice been voted South Africa's favorite town, and with good reason; it's a friendly and welcoming with lots of attractions and activities. There's a large lagoon that's perfect for water sports and surrounding forests that are great for walking.
 
     
Kruger National Park
No trip to South Africa would be complete without visiting the Kruger National Park. The Park is Africa’s oldest national park and was originally founded in 1898. The Kruger is located five hours north of Johannesburg and is home to a huge variety of wildlife including the famous “Big Five” (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino). When visiting you can hire a 4×4 to explore the park and choose to stay in either a bungalow, caravan, chalet, cottage or campsite
 
Kruger National Park is Africa's oldest established wildlife park (1898) and offers one of the best safari experiences in Africa. It's situated north of Johannesburg and takes about 5 hours to get to by car. It boasts the highest variety of wildlife in Africa which includes the "Big Five", hippos, crocodiles, giraffe, cheetah and much more. Kruger is also one of the best maintained parks in Africa. The roads are all good quality and there's no need to rent a 4x4 vehicle. There's wheelchair accessibility at most lodges and specialized safari vehicles for those with mobility impairments.
 
   
Soweto
Soweto may not be the most beautiful place you visit in South Africa, but it certainly ranks among one of the most important and interesting sights in the country. Soweto is a sprawling township situated just outside of Johannesburg and over 3.5 million people call it home. Much of the struggle against Apartheid played out in the slums of Soweto, and the township was in a virtual state of war during the 1970's and 80's. Nowadays, Soweto is a mixture of rich suburbs and poor shanty dwellings where crime is rife. But Soweto is also home to some of the most vibrant music and theatre South Africa has to offer.
When you visit Soweto it's certainly worth taking a tour. Not just because it may be the safest way to see the township, but because the history of Soweto is what makes it so interesting. Soweto also covers a huge swath of land, over 90 square miles, so it's easy to get lost.
 
     
Durban
Durban is South Africa’s third largest city but it’s also the friendliest. Durban is famous for its “Golden Mile” which is a string of beaches filled with surfers. It’s also a shark free zone which is always a bonus. After a relaxing time at the beach, head to Durban’s promenade where you can find various hotels, pubs, restaurants, shops and the Marine World Aquarium. Durban has a large Indian community and the Victoria Indian Street Market is very popular. Here you can see mosques, temples, exotic shops and restaurants where you can try some delicious Indian cuisine.
 
Highlights of Durban include:  
The Beaches: Durban's "Golden Mile is a string of beaches protected from sharks by nets and patrolled by life guards during the day. This is prime surfing territory but there's room for swimmers and body-surfers too.
The Promenade: A promenade stretches along the Durban waterfront and is home to numerous restaurants, pubs, hotels, shops and the world class uShaka Marine Worldaquarium.
Victoria Indian Street Market: Durban has a huge Indian population, descendents of laborers brought in by the British to work in the sugarcane fields during the latter 19th century (one of which was a young Mohandas Gandhi). The Indian street market is a bustling interesting place with mosques and temples as well as plenty of shops and delicious food.
     
The Drakensberg Mountains
The Drakensberg Mountains stretches for approximately 600 miles along the entire length of KwaZulu-Natal’s western boundary. It’s an incredible location where you can hike, bird/wildlife watch, horse ride or go on a safari. There is also the opportunity to follow 4×4 trails, go quad biking, rock climbing or white water rafting. I also recommend the Royal Natal National Park which is rated as one of the most beautiful parts of the Drakensberg. It is home to Mont-aux-Sources (one of the highest mountains in the Drakensberg) and the stunning Tugela Falls. There are many eco-tours on offer including the Karkloof Canopy who offer a steel cable tour located 30metres above the forest floor. This allows you to witness the incredible scenery and bird-life.
 
     
Hogsback, Eastern Cape
Situated in the Amatola Mountains, Hogsback is a magical place said to have inspired Tolkien (who was born in South Africa) when he wrote Lord of the Rings. The landscape is lush, green and dotted with waterfalls and streams to swim in. Indigenous forests play host to parrots and louries among many other species of birds. Hogsback is ideal for those who enjoy walking, trout fishing and horse riding. Trails are well marked throughout the area.
 
     
Hermanus
Hermanus lies on the Western Cape (2 hours from Cape Town) close to the most southerly point in Africa. Hermanus is a major tourist destination in South Africa because it's simply the best place in the world to watch whales from and in particular, the Southern Right Whale. The peak times to see the Southern Right Whale is from August to November. During this time you can see the whales every day from a cliff path which stretches from one side of Hermanus to the other.
Hermanus is a popular seaside town with South African vacationers but it still retains an air of the small fishing village it once was. There are lots of established festivals and events throughout the year to keep the town buzzing. Besides whale-watching, you can go on a township tour, sea-kayaking, wine-tasting and even cage diving with Great White Sharks on nearby Dyer island.
 
     
Table Mountain
This flat topped mountain overlooking Cape Town is a key tourist attraction for all visitors to South Africa and when here you’re probably going to want to get to the top. There are a couple options, you can take a cable car or if you are more of an adventurous type you can hike to the top. The climb is definitely worth it, once you reach the summit the views are spectacular. Table Mountain is also home to rock hyrax (which looks a like a mix between a squirrel and a mouse), porcupines, mongooses, snakes and tortoises and some playful monkeys who are always on the hunt for food.
 
     
Robben Island
Robben Island is located 7km off the coast of South Africa, it’s 3.3km long and 1.9km wide. The notorious prison where Nelson Mandela was held as a political prisoner for 18 years (1964-1982) is located on Robben Island. The prison is a poignant and moving visitor attraction and a tour here will allow you to see how the prisoners lived. When you arrive at Nelson Mandela’s 7ft by 7ft cell you find a replica chair, mat, bowl and blanket. Outside the cell you will see a list of the food once served in the prison and also the separate menus for black South Africans, mixed race/Asians and white South Africans. Ferries leave for Robben Island from the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town six times a day. Although be sure to book your ferry early as visitors to the island are restricted to 1800 people per day and waiting lists can get long.
 
     
Garden Route
The Garden Route is a very scenic stretch on the south-eastern coast of South Africa, starting at Mossel Bay and finishing at Storms River. There are various excellent stop offs along the way including two towns on this list – Knysna and Oudtshoorn. The Garden route has ten different nature reserves which is home to dolphins, seals and the endangered Southern Right Whale. In addition to the marine life there are almost 300 species of beautiful multi-coloured birds living here. To see the area you can hire a car or travel on Africa’s last remaining passenger steam train the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe. Although the train doesn’t stretch the entire length of the Garden Route it’s still worth checking out. The Baz Bus is a also good budget option.
 
     
Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch is South Africa’s second oldest town having been established in 1679. The town’s highlight is the incredible wine route which boasts 44 cellars. A vast range of wines are produced in the area and whilst it is classed as ’Cabernet country’ my personal favourite is Pinotage (but each to their own!) As you travel from cellar to cellar you will find the area very visitor friendly. Each cellar’s entrance is clearly signposted and many of the cellars offer tours as well as fantastic lunches in beautiful gardens or restaurants. Naturally you will have the chance to enjoy one or two bottles of locally produced wine!
 
     
     
 
 
   

Visit Cape Town, Visit Johannesburg, Visit The Winelands, Visit Knysna, Visit Kruger National Park, Visit Soweto, Visit Durban, Visit The Drakensberg Mountains, Visit Hogsback, Visit Hermanus, Visit Table Mountain, Visit Robben Island, Visit Stellenbosch

 
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