South Africa is a sightseer's paradise, with plenty to see and do no matter the traveller's interests, time frame, age, or inclination.
There is natural splendour in abundance, including the beautiful beaches and iconic Table Mountain of Cape Town, the magnificent Drakensberg Mountains, the Blyde River Canyon, the stunning scenery of the coastal Garden Route, the pristine coastline of the Transkei, and the sweeping vistas of the Highveld. Of course, the animals of South Africa, especially the Big Five, are a big draw for tourists and game safaris are a very popular diversion. The Kruger National Park is the country's most famous wildlife reserve and a must for many visitors.
South Africa has a complicated and dramatic history and the legacy of the pioneer wars, slavery, colonialism, the Boer War and Apartheid is still strongly felt. There is no shortage of interesting historical sightseeing, with sites like Robben Island - where Mandela was imprisoned - and the battlefields of the Boer War attracting many visitors. The country has many quaint historical towns, like Franschoek in the Cape Winelands, and Grahamstown in the 'frontier country' of the Eastern Cape. South Africa also has its share of museums and galleries, and the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg is particularly noteworthy.
The country is easy to get around with competitive low-cost carriers, long distance buses, good value car hire and the best roads in Africa. Road tripping is a wonderful way to experience the hugely diverse landscapes and cultures of this vast country.
South Africa is one of the few global destinations that can offer the complete holiday experience, with a huge variety of world-class attractions and compelling experiences, and incredible value for money to boot.
Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is South Africa's oldest, largest and best-known wildlife conservation area, home to a huge variety of wildlife and most famous for its 'Big Five' viewing opportunities. Visitors have an excellent chance of seeing lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhino among... see full details
Cape Town's most popular tourist attraction is also its most famous physical feature. The flat-topped mountain stands as a sentinel over the city, and has been proclaimed a nature reserve, thereby protecting its diverse floral species. Some are unique to its slopes. The views... see full details
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
The magnificent Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens lie just south of the city centre and cover a huge expanse of the rugged southwestern slopes of the Table Mountain Range. Kirstenbosch was bequeathed to the nation by mining magnate Cecil Rhodes in 1895, and today contains... see full details
Cape Town Beaches
Cape Town has some truly gorgeous beaches, but the most glamorous are on the Atlantic Ocean, where the water is unbelievably cold. Even the locals tend to keep their swims short. The most popular choices include Camps Bay Beach. Locals and tourists pack its... see full details
Robben Island is seven miles (11km) from Cape Town, and is easily seen from the shore. For nearly 400 years, this tiny rocky island was utilised as a place of banishment, exile, isolation, and imprisonment for numerous categories of people ostracised by society, ranging... see full details
Chapman's Peak Drive is one of the most spectacular coastal roads in South Africa and the world. It links the seaside community of Hout Bay to the Noordhoek Valley along the Atlantic Coast, and offers breath-taking views from along the narrow, winding road blasted... see full details
Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront
This working harbour, historical site, and shopping development has become one of Cape Town's most visited tourist attractions. The Waterfront offers everything from shopping malls and crafts markets, to live music and a variety of festivals throughout the year. It's also home to more... see full details
Most Cape Town visitors are keen to make the short, 40 mile (65km) daytrip from the city centre to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. The land at first appears bleak, but visitors will soon discover a region rich in floral diversity.... see full details
Addo Elephant Park
Addo Elephant Park is the most popular game reserve in the Port Elizabeth area, and is a 45-minute drive from the city. The park is situated in the ruggedly beautiful Eastern Cape region, and offers an authentic safari experience. Addo was founded in... see full details
Known colloquially as J-Bay, the surfing paradise of Jeffrey's Bay is a short drive west of Port Elizabeth. This determinedly laid-back seaside town is most famous for Supertubes, one of the best right-hand point breaks in the world. Many consider it South Africa's perfect... see full details
Zululand is the ancestral home of the Zulu people. It is the site of many bloody battles between the British, the Zulus and the Afrikaners during the 19th century, and is best explored as a self-drive adventure. That said, many tours are available... see full details
iSimangaliso / St Lucia Wetland Park
iSimangaliso Wetland Park is the largest and most exciting in a string of game parks and nature reserves in KwaZulu-Natal's far north. Many still know it by its former name, St Lucia Wetland Park. Dominated by the fascinating St Lucia estuary and lake system,... see full details
The jagged peaks of the Drakensberg (Dragon Mountains) tower over KwaZulu Natal's eastern border, providing a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The Drakensberg is the highest mountain range in southern Africa and abounds with hiking trails, climbing routes, 4x4 trails, pony treks and adventure pursuits,... see full details
Newtown Cultural Precinct
Located in the city centre, this complex of buildings has been upgraded and restored as part of the city fathers' urban renewal policy and includes several attractions. For instance, the Market Theatre and Museum Africa are housed in a Victorian building in Bree Street... see full details
Situated in the Bojanala region of the North West Province, the 'Las Vegas of South Africa' is one of the largest entertainment centres for adults in the world. Visitors can look forward to casinos, golf courses, live shows, and the architectural wonder of the... see full details
Blyde River Canyon
The spectacular vista of the Blyde River Canyon is part of the scenically breath-taking Panorama Route, where sheer cliffs drop into a bush-covered valley. It's worth covering the route as a self-drive trip from Nelspruit, or on a bus tour. Other sights on the... see full details
Tsitsikamma National Park
Tsitsikamma is a word of the indigenous Khoi-San people meaning 'place of many waters'. It accurately describes the beautiful 50-mile (80km) stretch of coastline that makes up the Tsitsikamma National Park. The park is Africa's oldest and largest marine reserve, and contains many attractions,... see full details
Fleeing religious persecution in France in the 1700s, more than 200 French Huguenots arrived in the Cape and were settled in the valley that soon became known as Franschhoek (French Corner), which is today situated in the heart of the Cape Winelands region.... see full details
The Apartheid Museum
Situated near Gold Reef City, the Apartheid Museum chronicles South Africa's tragic and shameful history of black oppression. On display are relics of the apartheid system, an abhorrent regime which denied non-whites basic freedoms and an equal life in the country. Visitors often describe... see full details
Locals and international tourists alike travel south of Cape Town to Hermanus. The charming seaside town is about a two-hour drive outside the Mother City, and is known for its whale watching, as Southern Right Whales migrate through the area to nearby Walker Bay.... see full details