A coming-together of cultures, cuisines and landscapes, there's nowhere quite like Cape Town, a singularly beautiful city crowned by the magnificent Table Mountain National Park. People & Culture Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and traditional African beliefs coexist peacefully in this proudly multicultural city.
Gauteng (pronounced how-teng) may be a small province but it also is the economic heart of the nation. Its epicentre is Johannesburg (Jo'burg or Jozi), the country's largest city. And what a city! Jo'burg's old downtown area is undergoing an astonishing rebirth. Once considered a place to avoid, Jo'burg is now one of the most inspiring and happening metropolises in the world.
Commonly known as Jo’burg or Jozi, this rapidly changing city is the vibrant heart of South Africa. After almost 20 years of decline and decay, Johannesburg is now looking optimistically towards the future. Its centre is smartening up and new loft apartments and office developments are being constructed at a rapid pace.
From lush tropical forests to uninhabited desert expanses, and from easy-going hammock time to adrenaline-pumping adventures, the Eastern Cape offers a wide range of topography and experiences. Compared with the more developed Western Cape, it can feel like a different country and provides opportunities to learn about Xhosa culture.
Cosmopolitan Durban, South Africa’s third-largest city (known as eThekweni in Zulu), is sometimes passed over for her ‘cooler’ Capetonian cousin. But there’s a lot more to fun-loving Durbs (as it’s affectionately known) than meets the eye. The city had a major makeover leading up to the 2010 World Cup, with a sleek new stadium and a revamped waterfront.
The Sunshine Coast has everything the country is known for – pristine beaches, wildlife, stunning scenery, great outdoor activities and culture. It covers a significant chunk of the Eastern Cape coastline, including Port Elizabeth, the seaside towns of Jeffrey's Bay and Port Alfred, and numerous sandy beaches.
High on the must-see lists of most visitors to South Africa is the Garden Route, and with good reason: you can’t help but be seduced by the glorious natural beauty. The distance from Mossel Bay in the west to Storms River in the east is just over 200km, yet the range of topography, vegetation, wildlife and outdoor activities is remarkable.
With only a million people inhabiting its 373,000 sq km, the Northern Cape is South Africa’s last great frontier. Its scattered towns are hundreds of kilometres apart, connected by empty roads across the sublime, surreal wilderness expanses of Namakwa, the Kalahari and Upper Karoo.
The hot and dry eastern lowveld is mostly used as a staging post on the way into and out of Kruger National Park. You can learn about the history of the gold rush in the feel-good town of Barberton or get your big-city fix in Nelspruit (Mbombela), and there are plenty of bush lodges to whet your appetite for the mighty Kruger.
Beautiful, culturally rich, affordable and easily accessible from Durban and Johannesburg, mountainous Lesotho (le-soo-too) is a vastly underrated travel destination. The contrast with South Africa could not be more striking, with the Basotho people's distinct personality and the altitudinous terrain's topographical extremes.