The sheer diversity of South Africa, a country with 11 official languages, has earned it the nickname of the Rainbow nation, and no matter where you’re headed once your flight to South Africa lands, you’ll find beauty and wonder at every turn.

First, there’s the urban sprawl of Johannesburg, a buzzing metropolis with a thriving dining and nightlife scene, and a favourite celebrity haunt. Then you have Durban, a quieter destination on the coast, with beach-side cafes, restaurants and surf shops. And then, right at the southern-most tip of Africa is Cape Town, a melting pot of cultures, with beautiful beaches, vineyards and national parks, all overseen by the iconic Table Mountain.

Cape Town is one of the best destinations for learning more about South Africa’s past, and the history of apartheid. From the coast you can take a ferry to Robben Island, where the late former president Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years, and see the cell where he was imprisoned. On the mainland, cultural institutions like the renowned District Six Museum shine a light on the country’s past. Regardless, South Africa is a resilient nation, filled with welcoming residents who are always looking to the future.

Beyond the city boundaries, the natural beauty of the landscape is breath-taking, as is the sheer scope of wildlife that inhabits it. For a true bucket list experience, book a safari at the Kruger National Park. This nature reserve is one of the largest in Africa, and the best place in the world to see the continent’s Big Five: elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo. For a more foodie-focused experience of the outdoors, the wine routes from Cape Town cannot be beaten.

Everybody has a reason to book flights to Cape Town. The Mother City has everything: beautiful beaches, lively lounges and restaurants, and five-star hotels from which to explore them all. Historically, it was a busy port for travellers sailing past the tip of Africa. Today, the melting pot of cultures keeps visitors coming from all over the world.

Cape Town is one of the most photogenic cities in the world, from the golden beaches and aquamarine oceans of the coast to the exotic wildlife inland, all overseen by the majestic Table Mountain. Needless to say, you’ll want to bring a camera.

Take that beautiful landscape, add good weather for most of the year, and you get a wonderfully outdoorsy lifestyle. On weekends you’ll find the locals hiking in Cape Town (check out Lion’s Head mountain and Cape Point), heading into the forest for a braai (barbecue) or hanging out on the beach. Fish Hoek, St James, Clifton, Hout Bay and Bloubergstrand are the most popular sandy spots.

Being a city on the coast, the seafood is as fresh and tasty as you’d expect, whether you’re eating calamari in a restaurant or digging into a slice of fish from a paper parcel on the beach. With such a diverse population, you can find pretty much any international cuisine that you fancy, and the local Cape Malay food is tasty too. Just don’t stuff yourself so much that you can’t hit the town afterwards.

By night, Cape Town really comes into its own, with a dining and nightlife scene to rival the best of them. The city has nightlife venues featuring live jazz, rock, trance and everything in between. Coupled with the hospitality of the city’s residents, it makes for an unforgettable night out.

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