South Africa, often seen as the crown jewel of the African continent, is blessed with world-class cities, breath-taking landscapes and an eclectic diversity of culture. Its captivating spirit has for centuries attracted people from all walks of life. Tribes from central Africa moved southwards to live alongside the indigenous Khoi and San people, European navigators chose Cape Town as a refreshment station and the establishment of trade routes saw the arrival of easterners from exotic places like Java. A land of dreams and complexities, diversity and ideas, and intoxicating landscapes, modern-day South Africa is a melting pot of philosophies, flavors, traditions and languages.
Of all the cities in South Africa (and arguably Africa), it has to be Cape Town that takes centre stage. Built around iconic Table Mountain and flanked by the Atlantic, the Mother City is known for its trendy cafes, awe-inspiring hiking trails, fertile soil and prominent history. Robben Island, a World Heritage Site and the place where former president Nelson Mandela spent the majority of his 27-year-long imprisonment, casts a sobering light on South Africa’s recent past; while the historic winelands of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Constantia offer fascinating insights into the origins of 17th Century European settlement. Other notable cities in South Africa are seaside Durban with its surf-centric culture and Zulu traditions and eclectic Johannesburg, known for enchanting thunderstorms, edgy urban culture and thriving economic hubs.