South Africa has been billed as 'a world in one country', and
any visitor who has experienced its delights, from the jumble of
Johannesburg, the northern city built on gold mines, to the
sophistication of Cape Town in the south, to the sunny laid back
beaches of Durban in the east, is bound to agree.
Throughout the second half of the 20th century South Africa was
regarded by most of the world as a pariah state where the ruling
white minority passed a range of draconian laws to subdue and
enslave the black majority. All this changed in 1994 with the
release from prison of world-renowned freedom fighter and icon of
the oppressed, Nelson Mandela. A new age of democracy was ushered
in, and South Africa was suddenly revealed to the world in her
beautiful true colours: a rainbow nation with a kaleidoscope of
cultures and a host of attractions to enthral and entrance
A decade later tourists are flocking to sunny South Africa in
droves, particularly to the Western Cape with its magnificent
scenery, beautiful beaches, majestic mountains and green
The Republic, comprising the southern tip of Africa and
surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, offers
a taste of the African experience with the chance to visit
traditional tribal villages, game reserves and sprawling townships.
At the same time it also offers all the pleasures of a first world
holiday experience, with luxury hotels, sophisticated shopping,
exciting theme parks and clean beaches. Have breakfast in a New
York-style deli; lunch in an African shebeen; cocktails on a sunset
cruise; and dine in style in a fine British colonial restaurant.
This is all possible in a South African city.
It is not only cultural diversity that makes South Africa
magical. The country has a wealth of animal and plant life
scattered across its varied climactic zones from desert to
snow-covered mountains, forests to grasslands and mangrove swamps.
Historically, too, there is plenty to discover, from the fossils of
ancient hominids, to the pioneering spirit of the Dutch
'voortrekkers' and the settlement of the Eastern Cape frontier by
the British colonialists.