From the penguin colonies on its refreshing western coast near Cape to its vast northern deserts, South Africa is a nation of exceptionally varied landscapes. The country contains approximately 10% of the world's bird species, and produces many internationally renowned wines at its Constantia vineyard near Cape Town.
With its enviable quality of life, friendly cosmopolitan atmosphere, and memorising natural scenery, Cape Town is almost like the perfect urban landscape with its breathtaking harbour and stupendous mountain views. For one of the finest panoramic views in Africa, take the Cableway to Table Mountain, the most photographed site in the country.
Another very popular attraction in Cape Town is the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, which celebrated its centenary in 2013 and is famed for its beautiful conservatory and Zimbabwean stone monuments. For excellent budget-friendly accommodation in the city, consider the Antrim Villa or Gordon's Beach Lodge, or book a stay at the luxury POD Camps Bay or the Blackheath Lodge.
Visit the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, see the remarkable Neoclassical Union Buildings, and observe the early-19th-century Voortrekker Monument, dedicated to the Afrikaner Voortrekkers. For value-for-money accommodation, consider the Southern Sun Pretoria, or stay at the deluxe, highly sophisticated Illyria House.
Learn more about South Africa's past at the Apartheid Museum, visit the family oriented Johannesburg Zoo or the Gold Reef City amusement park, or explore the Johannesburg Art Gallery, which contains many superb art pieces from South Africa, Europe and other locations across the globe. One of the top-rated high-end accommodation establishments in the city is the 54 on Bath hotel, while the Valverde Country Hotel provides very good value for money.
Bloemfontein is acclaimed for its Free State National Botanical Garden, and is home to plenty of fascinating exhibition venues, from the modern Oliewenhuis Art Museum to the Anglo Boer War Museum and the National Museum. Book a room at affordable, well-presented The Golf Lodge, or consider the opulent Protea Hotel Bloemfontein.
Visit the vast picturesque Kruger National Park, which is one of Africa's most important game reserves and is known for its significant zebra population. The Tsitsikamma National Park, meanwhile, is noted for its magnificent coastal scenery and is the location of Nature's Valley, one of the most sought-after destinations for holidays in South Africa. In the Royal Natal National Park of KwaZulu-Natal Province, you can also visit the Tugela Falls, which is considered to be the second-tallest waterfall system on the planet, with five stunning waterfalls measuring a collective high of almost 950m.