South Africa is unique in every way, with a number of
attractions you won't find anywhere else in the world….
1/ TABLE MOUNTAIN
No visit to Cape Town is complete without a trip up Table
Mountain, from where you will see some of South Africa's most
breathtaking views. Take a guided walk on one of the many routes
or simply ride the cable car to the top - it will be one of your
lasting memories of SA.
2/ ROBBEN ISLAND
A short cruise from Cape Town's V&A Waterfront by ferry, this
legendary island is a standard must-see on any newcomer's
itinerary. This is where Nelson Mandela and his comrades were
imprisoned for decades during the Apartheid era. Former inmates
take you on an insightful tour of the prison grounds. This
historical island is now a world heritage site and also a
proclaimed nature conservation area.
3/ THE GARDEN ROUTE
From Cape Town along the coast to the Tsitsikamma Forest, this
600-kilometre stretch of small towns, wineries, farms and sea
villages has been a traveller's joy for more than a century.
Take your time, soak in the scenery, stay over in a guest-house,
enjoy the cuisine and let South African hospitality take over.
From KwaZulu-Natal to the Wild Coast, from the Eastern Cape to
the West Coast, South Africa boasts more than 3 000km of
coastline. Pristine beaches, fishing communities, golf estates,
luxury hotels and guest houses dot the landscape as you explore
the marine side of South Africa.
5/ NAMAQUALAND DAISIES
Every Spring (August to September), the Northern Cape comes
alive with vast fields of daisies in a natural splash of vivid
colour. Fed by winter rains, the flower grounds of Namaqualand
are a photographer's delight. When Summer takes hold, the land
becomes a desert once again - as if the flower fantasia was just
a brief dream… Read
6/ THE GOLD
In the late 19th Century, gold was discovered at various places
in the northern reaches of South Africa, leading to a gold rush
from all points of the globe. A tussle for the goldfields was
one of the contributing factors leading to the Anglo Boer War
and the industry - which claims the deepest underground mines in
the world - is still one of the pillars of the South African
7/ CRADLE OF HUMANKIND
Declared a World Heritage Site, the Cradle of Humankind west of
Johannesburg includes, among its numerous sites, the
Sterkfontein Caves, where anthropologist Dr Robert Broom
discovered the skull of Mrs Ples, a three-million year-old
hominid, in 1936. At the time she was thought to be the closest
evidence the "missing link" to be found.
8/ KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
About the size of Israel, the Kruger Park is the greatest of
South Africa's many national parks which attract a great number
of visitors intent on drinking in the wilderness. On guided
walks, drives or self-drive, visitors have the best chance of
spotting the Big Five (elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and
buffalo) in this park.
9/ THE DRAKENSBERG MOUNTAINS
A thousand kilometres of mountain majesty, the Drakensberg
(Dragon Mountains) range is the adventure tourist's playground.
It is also perfect for nature photography, easy walking and
simple relaxation. Full of game sanctuaries, Bushman rock art
sites, challenging peaks and cascading waterfalls, the views in
the Drakensberg will compete with anything the rest of the world
has to offer.
Just south of Johannesburg lies Soweto - the largest of South
Africa's 'townships' (designated residential areas for blacks
during the Apartheid years). This vibrant city is home to some 2
million people and a number of historical sights. A typical
visit to Soweto includes a stop at a traditional shebeen
(drinking hall), where you can savour local beer, food and
hospitality, as well as a visit to the homes where Nobel
laureates Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu once lived.
Among the more famous sons and daughters of South
Africa are …
South Africa's most famous son, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, is
also a world icon of statesmanship and national reconciliation.
Nelson Mandela is best known for his long struggle against the
Apartheid government - a system of white domination and racial
segregation. A co-founder of the African National Congress Youth
League, he also founded the Defiance Campaign of 1952, based on
Ghandi's principles of non-violence. In 1964 he was sentenced to
life imprisonment by the Apartheid government and sent to Robben
Released in 1990, Nelson Mandela was central to the multi-party
negotiations which led to democratic elections in 1994. On May
10 of that year, he was inaugurated as South Africa's first
black president. To this day, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate
continues to work for the children and the poverty-stricken
masses of South Africa.
The latest South African sensation, Charlize Theron won the 2004
Best Actress Oscar for her powerful role in 'Monster', and has
been acclaimed as one of the world's most beautiful women.
Raised in South Africa, and currently living in Los Angeles, she
is still an avid ambassador for South Africa.
ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU
Another Nobel laureate, Desmond Tutu is more recently famous for
his chairing of the ground-breaking Truth and Reconciliation
Commission in the late 1990s. Known throughout his long career
as a vocal, charismatic anti-Apartheid spokesman and former head
of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa, Archbishop Tutu is
one of South Africa's most-loved citizens.
PRESIDENT THABO MBEKI
In the post-Mandela era, President Thabo Mbeki has been a
champion of the concept of African Renaissance - a far-reaching
vision for the continent at large. After the initial process of
reconciliation, his government was tasked with the job of
implementing much needed reforms like poverty alleviation and
nation-building in the new South Africa.
FW DE KLERK
South Africa's last white president, Frederick Willem de Klerk
took over an Apartheid government in its dying throes and helped
Nelson Mandela see South Africa peacefully through the
negotiation phases and into the elections. For his efforts, he
was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize alongside Nelson Mandela.
Described by her peers as a "colossus of South African
literature", Nadine Gordimer was the first South African to win
the Nobel Prize for Literature. A prolific writer of novels,
short stories, essays and journalistic articles, Gordimer was
one of the voices of protest during the Apartheid years - and
continues to practise her elegant craft in the modern era.
Winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize for Literature, JM Coetzee is the
author of a vital body of South African writing, including such
works as 'The Life and Times of Michael K', 'Disgrace', 'Youth',
'Waiting for the Barbarians' and 'Elizabeth Costello'.
One of the few local playwrights of international renown, Athol
Fugard has produced a substantial body of work that gives an
insight into the daily lives of ordinary South Africans -
especially those who suffered in the era of Apartheid.
Self-exiled in the 1960s, the wonderful jazz trumpeter Hugh
Masekela has returned to South Africa and is still a major
player on the local concert circuit. He is also an inspiration
to young jazz players and actively promotes their careers. Read
Affectionately nicknamed "The Big Easy" due to his calm
demeanor, Ernie Els took the international golfing world by
storm when, as a 24 year old, he won the 1994 U.S. Open. He has
since evolved into one of the world's top-ranking golfers,
boasting a total of 35 international crowns, including two US
Open titles and the 2002 British Open.
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