in the middle
South Africa is Africa's southernmost sovereign state – a vast expanse of rugged, hill-clad terrain partitioned by national parks and game reserves rich with wildlife, from giraffes and hippos to lions and rhinos. It’s also fringed by an enormous coastline, where unblemished sandy beaches slide into the balmy Indian Ocean.
Cape Town, the capital city, sings with museums, restaurants and flashy South Africa hotels. It's based at the foot of the enormous mist-shrouded Table Mountain, and close to South Africa's abundant vineyards. The sprawling city of Johannesburg, meanwhile, is South Africa's economic heart, and buzzes with art galleries, flower-filled gardens and bustling markets.
The KwaZulu, or KZN, is a coastal province in South Africa's east, and boasts vast, unspoilt beachfront. KZN's Hibiscus Coast, from the small town of Hibberdene to Port Edward, is the best stretch of beach for sunbathers and swimmers, as the sands are silky soft and golden. Many luxury and budget resorts speckle the Hibiscus Coast. There are plenty of beaches closer to Cape Town too, like those near quiet Mossel Bay.
South Africa isn't only about idyllic beachfront – there are plenty of hotels, high-end lodges and chalet-style getaways sprinkled across the state's wild national parks and game reserves. In Kruger National Park, you can stay in parkland accommodation that offers all-inclusive safari tours – perfect for spotting herds of wildebeest, roaring lions and silvery rhinos. The guesthouse getaways near the KZN Hluhluwe Game Reserve are another favourite among safari goers.
Cape Town is an upscale cultural hub grouped around the glimmering-blue Cape of Good Hope, and covered in grandiose Victorian architecture. Pick one of the cheap South Africa hotels in Cape Town through dealchecker, and explore the city's museums like the District Six Museum. After, amble around the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront area, a buzzing hub full of flashy shops and seafood restaurants. Don't forget to take a cable car up to Table Mountain, too.
In Johannesburg, culture vultures can adventure through the Market Theatre, Braamfontein university and Maboneng Precinct areas, where hip live music venues, bars and pop-up theatre performances abound. Constitution Hill, in Downtown, is a must-see heritage sight and home to the Old Fort Prison Complex.
The hilly, chilled-out city of Durban, in KZN, blends urban activity with a bounty of white-gold beachfront. It's also surrounded by rolling, lush green golf courses.