South Africa

As a destination, South Africa is multi-faceted - we are never just one thing at any one time. From our people, to our landscapes to our abundant wildlife we have so much to inspire and enthrall. Let us take you on an enlightening journey across our country far and wide.

South Africa is an incredible destination in so many ways from the deserts of the Kgalagadi to the lush green forests of Tsitsikamma to the unspoilt beaches of the Wild Coast to the vibrant nightlife of Cape Town - we really do have it all.

South Africa is mercurial in nature, one moment you'll be exploring the origins of ancient man at the Cradle of Humankind, the next you're cage-diving with Great White Sharks in Hermanus and the next you're drinking traditional beer in a lively township shebeen among the streets of Soweto. South Africa really is a destination where you can experience it all and more.

South Africa also enjoys a favourable exchange rate against all major currencies particularly for visitors in Australia and the Asia Pacific region where now is a perfect time to visit and enjoy the many wonders of our rainbow nation.

As a people, we are known for our humanity - we may have come from a past filled with separation and struggle but our future is one of unity and possibility. In true African spirit, we understand the value of a warm South African welcome, and we can't wait to welcome you to our Rainbow Nation - in 11 official languages.

Here are some highlights from our vibrant cities:

Cape Town, Western Cape
Renowned as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, this seaside playground has it all. It is the home of Table Mountain as well as the historic Robben Island. You can experience the finest in dining through the Cape Winelands or bargain with the market vendors at Green Market Square or enjoy the cosmopolitan entertainment style of the Waterfront - the Mother City looks forward to welcoming you

Johannesburg, Gauteng
Founded on a gold rush; it's the financial and entertainment epicentre of the country. Jozi rocks in more ways than one. An urban city with a unique African twist you can experience fine dining and great shopping in the heart of Sandton Square, you can walk the paths of Noble prizewinners in the streets of Soweto and learn about the history and journey of South Africa's colourful past. You are within arms reach of Africa's Kingdom, Sun City which is home to the Palace of the Lost City among others. Egoli, Jozi or Jo'burg, whatever you like to call it, is not to be missed!

Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
If you're looking for a hot destination - Durban is it! From its sultry nightlife, weather, beaches and heady cultural mix to its famous curries, Durb's is scorching! It is home to the largest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere (The Gateway) and offers excellent urban vibes, including a mix of design, art, music and food at superb venues such as Ushaka Marine World - peppered with fascinating cultural influences. Even in winter there are lots to experience, especially with snow-capped mountains in the Drakensburg, top game reserves, country meanders and loads of other top attractions nearby.

Pretoria, Gauteng
Seemingly stately with numerous international embassies, monuments and museums, this city, is sports-mad with plenty entertainment in theatres, music venues and nightclubs. Worth a view are the Pretoria Zoo and the Tswaing crater in the Tswaing Nature Reserve, where a meteor slammed into the earth. The National Zoological Gardens - known to the locals simply as "the zoo" - is a fetching stretch of greenery located right in the heart of the city, on the banks of the Apies River. Poolside barbecues, golf, tennis, fishing, hunting, game viewing, adventure sports (sky diving, micro-light flying) - these are all popular Pretoria entertainment activities. If there is a sport you'd like to pursue, or simply watch or research, chances are one of its main bases is in Pretoria.

Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
Known as the friendly city, this easy-going bayside metropolis is known for its hospitality and beautiful beaches. Being the end point of the Garden Route, Port Elizabeth's long stretches of white beach and its historical significance have resulted in the city experiencing a revival of sorts. PE, as it is fondly known, is a vibrant city, with shopping, flea markets, great restaurants and other entertainment on offer. It has always been a family destination, so there are activities for both young and old. PE is worth visiting for its surrounding attractions too - you can arrange day trips to game lodges, to the Addo Elephant National Park, to the cultural hub of Grahamstown and to Jeffrey's Bay, famous for its impressive scenery and surfing.

Bloemfontein, Free State
At the heart of the Free State you'll find historic, hospitable Bloemfontein, known as the 'City of Roses'.  You've had a true 'Bloem' experience if you've attended a sports match, eaten some biltong, hailed the sunset with a drink and spotted local wildlife. Sunny most of the year, Bloemfontein activities that are encouraged by the clear skies include cycling, quad biking and barbecuing anywhere near water (swimming pool, dam or river). A great way to wind down the day is taking a leisurely drive to a favourite lookout spot like Naval Hill to salute the sunset with something cold and enjoy the star-strewn night sky that follows. Bloemfontein's live entertainment scene is a fun way to access local culture, as are restaurants that serve regional specialties like fragrant Free State grilled lamb and farmers' sausage (called "boerewors"). The Free State's Golden Gate National Park is a major highlight and offers up scenery not to be missed - it's definitely worth the drive and can be counted as a Bloemfontein attraction.

Nelspruit, Mpumalanga
Gateway to the Kruger National Park and the world-famous game reserves of Sabi-Sabi, Nelspruit is a thriving lowveld metropolis. It is the entrance point to the largest National Park in Africa in a region where there is a concentration of great animals such as the BIG FIVE (Lion, Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo and Leopard). A great destination for some R & R with lodges and chalets to suit all types of budgets, accommodating guests who are looking for an up close and personal experience with the animals of South Africa.

Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal
This KwaZulu-Natal hinterland city is cherished for its history, colonial character and picturesque countryside. Pietermaritzburg entertainment includes sporting events, annual outdoor festivals and an agricultural show that is unparalleled in SA. It is a dynamic commercial, educational and industrial centre. Its attractions are linked to its history and one of the best ways to view the sites is with a self-guided 'Town Trails' tour. These are comfortable and easy-to-navigate walks through the city's historical centre and it includes 50 national monuments.

Polokwane, Limpopo
Meaning place of peace, Polokwane opens the way to the Great Limpopo Transfronteir Park and the mystical, eco-adventure landscapes of Vhenda. It has wide, jacaranda-lined streets, leafy suburbs and a wonderful climate. The capital city of Limpopo has attractions and entertainment galore to offer the intrepid traveler. The Polokwane Game Reserve is an ecological jewel on the city's doorstep. Here you can go on a self-drive adventure or a guided tour to see game like antelope, rhino and tsessebe. It is only a few hours' drive to the Kruger National Park. Or for something completely different, book a guided tour to the home of Amarula liqueurto see how this unique drink is made. Enjoy the atmosphere of a good old-fashioned village pub at the Iron Crown in the nearby mountain hamlet of Haenertsburg, or head for the Ranch Hotel, where you can get up close and personal with a pride of lions and then enjoy a hearty meal outdoors.

Kimberley, Northern Cape
Founded on diamonds; this historic city is home to the Kimberley mine museum and the Great Hole of Kimberley so there's much to be explored by the intrepid traveler. Take a tram ride from the City Hall and head straight for the Big Hole of Kimberley. Just imagine a hand-dug hole the size of eight football fields. Adjacent to the Big Hole is the Mine Museum, which is an exact replica of the city in the frenetic days of the diamond rush. If you are not faint- hearted take the world's only guided tour of an operational diamond mine which goes a staggering 840 metres below the earth. A few kilometers from the city centre lies Kimberley's oldest residential suburb, Belgravia, which dates as far back as the 1870s. These homes were built at the peak of diamond trade. This is the place where South Africa mining dynasty's patriarch, Harry Oppenheimer, was born. It's said that there once was more millionaires per area in this place than anywhere else in the world.

South Africa truly is a ground-breaking destination for explorers and adventurers who want to experience life in all its fullness. We're a destination that allows you to scratch below the surface and experience endless possibilities, and to walk away the richer for having been here.

Table Mountain is a New7Wonder of Nature, following the official announcement on Friday, November 11, 2011.

Having initially been chosen as one of 440 candidates in 2009, Table Mountain attracted millions of votes from around the world before voting closed on Friday 11 November.

In Cape Town, a crowd gathered at the V&A Waterfront amphitheatre for the official announcement on Friday night. There were huge celebrations when Sabine Lehmann, CEO of the Table Mountain Cableway, read out the results in alphabetical order.

“We are very excited about this win! After being awarded the World Design Capital 2014 just a few weeks ago, to Table Mountain being named one of the New7Wonders of Nature, Cape Town and South Africa are showcasing to the world that we are one of the best travel destinations for business and leisure,” says Ms Lalie Ngozi, Country Manager, South African Tourism Australasia.

Table Mountain’s campaign was promoted by various celebrities, including Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Hollywood actor Blair Underwood and the Springbok rugby team.

A survey by respected accounting firm, Grant Thornton, forecasts a R1.4 billion (over AUD$171 million) annual boost to the South African economy, as well as the creation
of 11 000 jobs in the next 5 years.

Table Mountain is one of the world’s oldest mountains at 360 million years old and is an iconic landmark for many reasons. Of all the final 28 contenders for the New7Wonders of Nature, it was the most accessible, just 20 minutes' drive from Cape Town International Airport.

The Table Mountain Cableway, established in 1929, has taken more than 21 million visitors to the top of the mountain, where there are fantastic views of the Cape Town coastline, city centre and suburbs. Hikers can take the Platteklip Gorge route up Table Mountain, and be at the top within an hour.

Table Mountain is home to a wide range or fauna and flora, boasting more species of plants than the entire United Kingdom. Table Mountain forms part of the Cape Floral Region, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site.



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