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Reviewed on 13 May 2022
It is almost unbelievable that one country could encompass penguins waddling on its coast and hippos wallowing in its rivers. Yet, South Africa is all about out-of-this-world natural sights and thrilling experiences. The country covers a lot of ground: there is desert at Kalahari, delightful blankets of wildflowers coming into bloom at Namakwa, the peaks of Table Mountain and savannahs that are stuffed with wildlife. The achingly beautiful Drakensberg range gives an almost mythical look to the country’s backbone whilst KwaZulu-Natal’s iSimangaliso Wetland Park manages to surreally mix zebras and dolphins. All this can be yours with a hotel in South Africa.
Cape Town – Forget the wildlife and hit the nightlife with a hotel in happening Cape Town. Backed by the enticing Table Mountain, this city’s population of Christians, Muslims, Jews and many traditional African tribes mean the culinary options are hard to beat and the city’s districts refreshingly varied. There are wine tours to the nearby vineyards and whales breaching just off the coast. Paraglide off Lion’s head, hike up Table Mountain, indulge in some shopping or kick back on the beach. The options just don’t stop!
Johannesburg – Renewed, rejuvenated (and a place really worth booking a hotel in) is the arts and cultural centre that is Jozi. Galleries, swanky bars and glorious dining locales abound but Jozi has not forgot its past: take a trip to Soweto to visit the sobering museums that place the contemporary city back where it once was during the Apartheid years.
KwaZulu-Natal – Nowhere is the variety that South Africa offers more densely packed than here. Lush mountains rose out of flat, dry savannahs, lively beaches contrast with unchanging tribal settlements and the wild African markets fail to compare to the lions, leopards, buffaloes, elephants and rhinos out there.
Kruger National Park – In a country where the Big Five regularly feature on the brochures of national parks, Kruger National Park demands your attention. This is one of the world's greatest national parks in terms of the diversity, density and sheer numbers of animals. Over 140 mammals and 500 varieties of bird call this home: it is truly a sight to behold. Book a hotel near Kruger National Park.
Of course you can see the Big Five here but you can also see hundreds of other fascinating mammals and a supporting cast of reptiles and birds too. What’s more the landscape is enthralling and ever-changing. The arid Kalahari, the misty hills of iSimangaliso Wetland Park, the colourful flowers of Namakwa and the dreamy peaks of the Drakensberg (‘Dragon Mountain’) range. The cities can be a sight to behold too, from Durban’s Golden Mile of beaches to Cape Town’s iconic framing by Table Mountain.
Safari, surf and skydive to your heart’s content. Then enjoy fine dining that is amongst the best on offer5 in the world before you party the night away into the small hours. If this isn’t your cup of tea how about a wine tour near Cape Town or a cultural tour amongst the tribes of KwaZulu-Natal? The modern malls of Cape Town, the artistic galleries of Johannesburg or Victoria Market in Durban all offer something for the culture vultures and shopaholics. Meanwhile history buffs can visit Mandela’s home, Robben Island or try to put all the pieces together at Soweto’s Apartheid Museum. There really is something for everyone!