A rhino closes in on a self-drive car, Kruger Park
By far the most appealing city in South Africa, it’s sophisticated, has a variety of attractive buildings old and new, excellent beaches, bars, restaurants, clubs and entertainment facilities. Then there’s staggeringly beautiful Table Mountain in the middle of it all and a cluster of pretty, a fine and lively Waterfront area, old Dutch style wineries and vineyards in the suburbs and spectacular, scenic drives along the coast nearby.
The most colourful part of Cape Town, Bo-Kaap, the old Malay Quarter.
Scenery that is wide and green and reminiscent of some of England’s rolling countryside, mountains that recede into the distance in layers, wonderful beaches, some of South Africa’s best walks, maddest activities and endless wonderful pictures demanding to be taken.
Durban beaches, where the water is a lot warmer than Cape Town’s!
Big, brash and the antithesis of Cape Town, this is the Atlantic City of South Africa, and it’s determined to part you from your wad with minimum intellectual input and and maximum speed. A lively, happening city, with wide, clean beaches, warm surf protected by shark nets and lifeguards, endless things to do and watch on and off the promenade and great bars, restaurants and clubs.
One of South Africa’s best hiking spots, with varied environments and spectacular views.
Camps Bay, Cape Town’s favourite beach.
The best time to swim off these massive, beautiful beaches is November – February. For scenic driving and hiking around the beaches, however – both popular activities with rich rewards – June-August may be a better bet, as daytime temperatures are T-shirt comfortable, humidity and prices are both down while accommodation is easily available and crowds/traffic limited.
*Lesotho: a mountainous blob of a kingdom accessible only via South Africa, Lesotho is cool and mainly about hiking, biking and riding in dramatic, Swiss-style scenery.
**Swaziland: another relaxed little kingdom with superb mountain views and various outdoor pursuits in various pretty places, including wildlife reserves. Local culture thrives, the people are friendly and handicrafts superb. Beware malaria.
Johannesburg (Jo’burg): the country’s powerhouse is not a tourist target in spite of the vast numbers who stagger through the airport daily.
Jo’burgers really know how to have a good time, the climate is excellent and the place is generally leafy and pleasant, but the city still suffers from too much crime and too few tourist attractions.
The main ‘sight’ is the massive township of Soweto – though tours to townships near Cape Town can deliver the same experience.
*Pretoria: Just 50kms north of Jo’burg, the country’s capital is a lower, older home to civil servants and students rather than businessmen.
The biggest sight is the hugely impressive Vootrekker Monument and Museum.
Crime is less of a problem here than for its neighbour, but still cause for concern.