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Take a trip to South Africa

From the waters of Table Bay to the peaks of the mighty Drakensburg mountains, or from the desert sands of the Kalahari to the clear waters of the Blood River, a holiday to South Africa has much to offer the traveller. The array of sights, sounds and colours that make up the Rainbow Nation are guaranteed to leave an indelible mark and linger long in the memory well after the holiday itself is over. South Africa is one of those places that brings tourists back year after year. But each adventure in the country is unique and the sheer range of experiences on offer means visitors never have to repeat the same trip twice.

Cape Town cool

While South Africa is hot for most of the year and temperatures rarely drop below ten degrees C, many tourists' first experience of the country's climate will be tempered by the cool winds that blow into Cape Town from the two oceans that meet off its coast. The city is one of the most popular starting points for holidays in the country and with good reason - for Cape Town is cool in more ways than one. The city can legitimately claim to be the cultural capital of South Africa. It hosts some of the country's best art exhibitions and biggest music festivals and its ethnic mix ensures that the Cape Town crowd is one of the most vibrant cities you will ever come across.

Johannesburg jol

Jol is a uniquely South African word for a uniquely South African concept. It is best translated as relaxing, letting your hair down, partying and having a good time - exactly the kind of thing many people want to do on holiday. One of the best places to enjoy a good jol is Johannesburg, the biggest city in South Africa. Jo'burg, as the locals call it, has everything from upmarket shopping malls to the sprawling Soweto township, the site of many of the greatest victories in the anti-apartheid movement. Visitors wishing to learn more about this historic era should not miss the Soweto tours. Jo'burg also hosts many of South Africa's biggest sporting events and its three premiership football teams - the Orlando Pirates, Moroka Swallows and the Kaizer Chiefs - play regularly.

Up the Drakensburg and Durban downtime

Of course, many people come to South Africa to get away from big cities and few places can be better for that than the Drakensburg mountains. Taking their name from the Afrikaans for Dragons Mountains, these rugged rocky peaks are also known as Ukhahlamba - the barrier of spears - in Zulu. Regularly rising above 3,000 metres, the Drakensburg offers unrivalled opportunities for those who enjoy outdoor activities, with hiking, fishing and white water rafting all easily available.

Those who prefer to take their getaways at a slower pace may want to travel south from the mighty mountains across the picturesque province of KwaZulu-Natal to Durban, the ultimate beach-lounger's destination. The beautiful Indian Ocean beaches around the suburbs of the city offer tourists the chance to kick off their takkies (trainers), bury their toes in the sand and enjoy the smell of their dinner cooking on the braai (barbeque) while watching the surfers riding the swell.

Safari sundowners

No holiday to South Africa would be complete without a safari. A visit to Kruger National Park or the Kgalagadi Park in the Kalahari gives tourists the chance to spot the big five - lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and the elusive leopard - alongside other incredible wildlife from irrepressible impalas to humungous hippos. As the sun dips down over the flat-topped acacia trees and guests head out for the evening game drive, they can expect to be treated to sundowners, an established South African tradition involving a cold Castle lager or a stiff gin and tonic.


Flying to Cape Town or Johannesburg from the UK is straightforward and simple. The minimal time difference means tourists will not suffer from jet lag, so it is no surprise that British Airways is expecting the cities to be one of its most popular long-haul destinations this year.

Getting around South Africa is equally straightforward, with car-hire and luxury train travel easily available. The country also has a well-developed network of internal flights for those who want to cover as much ground as possible.

Currently, the local currency - the rand - is comparatively weak against the pound, meaning that this year could be the best time ever to take a trip to stunning South Africa and have a holiday that will live in the memory for years to come.

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