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Cape Town glistens at the southern toe of the African continent. Tourist brochure-views at Blaauwberg Beach and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens are within easy driving distance of "The Mother City." The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve provides sweeping sea vistas, hiking trails and wildlife encounters. On a more somber note, travellers can visit Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years.
From flat-topped Table Mountain down to the blue waters of Table Bay, Cape Town is simply stunning, but the city doesn't thrive by its looks alone. Proudly multicultural, its flourishing arts, dining, and nightlife scenes are proof of this modern metropolis' creativity and innovative spirit.
Shaded spots go early at Cape Town's crowded Camps Bay, where locals picnic and play in the strong Atlantic waves. Look for the flagged bathing areas for safer swims for all the family. Festive cafes sit adjacent to the sands, which are dramatically set at the foot of the Twelve Apostles Mountains.
Hiking trails and art galleries abound in Stellenbosch, but it's wine that takes center stage. More than 100 wine cellars, most open to the public, surround the oak-lined South African town, and tasting tours operate daily. Winter brings a four-day festival celebrating the local vintages. The historic town center houses the trading-post style shop Oom Samie se Winkel, the Neo-Gothic Moederkerk church, and museums dedicated to toys, military memorabilia, autos and early life on the Cape.
The village of Franschhoek (French Corner), tucked into the Cape Winelands of South Africa, is known as the country's food and wine capital. Galleries and antique shops fill the tree-lined streets, and vineyards established more than 300 years ago cascade over the hills just outside town. Local activities range from wine-tasting tours to trout fishing and hiking. The Huguenot Memorial Museum honors the town's early settlers, who fled religious persecution in France.
Popular destinations for Hotels with Soundproof Rooms
South Africa’s most popular tourist destination offers the urban thrills of Cape Town, its adjacent wine country and an aura of the rich political history of South Africa. The Overberg's perfect whale-watching perches provide excitement of a different nature. The Garden Route's lakes and forests and the Klein Karoo's ostrich-farming towns and vineyards present another take on the Cape. For extra kicks, try bungee jumping or cage-diving among Great Whites.
The Indian and colonial influences in this South African beach city can’t be missed, and the blend of cultures and architecture makes Durban unique in South Africa. Durban’s Golden Mile is a destination for surfers, families and fisherman, due to its blend of natural beauty and modern resort. Major-city attractions abound, making this a good destination for families and couples alike.
Pretoria is a vision of purple, thanks to its plethora of blossoming trees that gave the South African metropolis its nickname: Jacaranda City. Give in to the animal magnetism of the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, then get up close and personal with the big, bad kitties of the Cheetah Research and Breeding Centre. The buildings of Pretoria reflect diverse architectural styles and influences, creating a unique urban landscape.
Surrounded by water on three sides, Agios Nikolaos combines the sleepy feel of a seaside resort with all the amenities of a cosmopolitan port. Villas and tavernas spill over the town’s three hills to meet a harbour dotted with both mega-yachts and fishing boats.
Once known for smog, traffic and tacky architecture, Athens is a city reformed thanks to fortunes brought by the 2004 Summer Olympics. Spotless parks and streets, an ultra-modern metro, new motorways, an accessible airport and all signs in perfect English make the city easily negotiable. Meriting more than a stopover en route to the islands, sophisticated Athens sites include many pillars of Western history, from the Acropolis to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, as well as treasures in the National Archaeological Museum.
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