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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.
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.
Sipping your way across the Paarl Wine Route is one of the most enjoyable ways to experience this South African town. Besides being part of the Cape Winelands region, Paarl is the place where the Afrikaans language was developed, a linguistic feat that’s commemorated by a dramatic monument. Cheer on your favorite pony at the Polo Club or hit the links at one of the area’s many beautiful golf courses.
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.
Beautiful Hermanus is a South African seaside town that’s a popular whale-watching site. An initial visit to the Old Harbour Museum will acquaint you with the area’s rich fishing history and impress you with a massive exhibit of a whale skeleton. With dozens of area vineyards, Hermanus is a great base for a guided wine tasting tour.
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.
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.
The largest game reserve in South Africa, Kruger National Park is basically a synonym for the word "safari." Home to over 500 bird species, 100 reptiles, nearly 150 mammals, multiple archaeological sites, and a stunningly diversity of trees and flowers, Kruger is the country’s flagship national park. Adventurers can explore the park in a 4x4, take a bush walk or fly above in a hot-air balloon.
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