The sheer diversity of South Africa, a country with 11 official languages, has earned it the nickname of "the Rainbow Nation," and each destination within the country has something different to offer.
First, there’s the urban sprawl of Johannesburg, a buzzing metropolis with a thriving dining and nightlife scene and a favorite celebrity haunt. Then you have Durban, a quieter destination on the coast, with beachside cafes, restaurants, and surf shops. And then, at the southernmost tip of Africa is Cape Town, a melting pot of cultures with beautiful beaches, vineyards, and national parks, all overseen by the iconic Table Mountain.
Cape Town is one of the best destinations for learning more about South Africa’s past and the history of apartheid. From the coast, you can take a ferry to Robben Island, where the former president Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years, and see the cell where he was imprisoned. On the mainland, cultural institutions like the renowned District Six Museum shine a light on the country’s past. Regardless, South Africa is a resilient nation, filled with welcoming residents who are always looking to the future.
Beyond the city boundaries, the natural beauty of the landscape is breathtaking, as is the sheer scope of wildlife that inhabits it. For a true bucket-list experience, book a safari at the Kruger National Park. This nature reserve is one of the largest in Africa, and the best place in the world to see the continent’s Big Five—elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, and buffalo. For a more foodie-focused experience of the outdoors, the wine routes from Cape Town cannot be beaten.