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best cities in South Africa

The Best Cities in South Africa to visit

South Africa is a beautiful country and home to some amazing cities. With its own unique culture and attractions, each one makes it a great place to visit. Cape Town, for example, is known for stunning landscapes and delicious food. Johannesburg is rich in history, offering a wealth of activities for tourists. Durban is perfect for those who want to enjoy the sun and the beach. These are just three examples, but many cities in South Africa have something special to offer visitors.

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If you’re looking for an amazing vacation destination, South Africa should be at the top of your list! Below, we give you the best cities in South Africa for your visit.

Cape Town 

Cape Town is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Africa. The Dutch East India company founded this vibrant city in 1652 as a stopover port between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Cape Town is known for its incredible natural features, including the iconic Table Mountain and Robben Island. It also has some of the best restaurants in the world, making it the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal. The city center is also home to a plethora of shopping and nightlife options. If you’re looking for a stimulating travel destination, Cape Town should be at the top of your list!

 Cape town is the largest city in Southern Africa

Things to see in Cape Town

Table Mountain National Park: This iconic mountain is a must-see for any visitor to Cape Town. You can hike to the top or take the cable car up for a breathtaking view of the city and surrounding areas.

Robben Island: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most popular attractions in Cape Town. The island served as a prison for thousands of years, and it’s now open to tourists who want to learn about the darker side of South Africa’s historic struggle for freedom.

Victoria street market

This Charming city offers something for everyone: vibrant arts scene, live music venues, and historical sites so it’s not surprising that it is the most visited city in Sub Saharan Africa.

Johannesburg 

Johannesburg is the largest South African city known for its rich history and abundance of activities for tourists. The city is home to various museums, art galleries and theaters. It’s also a great place to shop, with many trendy boutiques and markets. 

Johannesburg is also the perfect place to enjoy a night out, with plenty of bars and clubs to choose from. If you’re looking for an action-packed vacation, Johannesburg is definitely the place for you!

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Things to see in Johannesburg include:

Nelson Mandela Square: This popular square is named after South Africa’s beloved Nelson Mandela. It’s a great place to people-watch while enjoying a meal at one of its many restaurants.

Apartheid Museum: This unique museum focuses on South African history and apartheid, a term that refers to the country’s system of racial segregation between 1948 and 1994.

Constitution Hill: This complex of buildings is home to nine different courts and law organizations, including the Constitutional Court of South Africa. It’s also the location of the Old Fort Prison Complex, where Nelson Mandela spent much of his imprisonment.

Durban 

Durban is a port city ( discovered by Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama) located on the Indian Ocean Coast.

Durban is known for sunny weather and beautiful beaches. The city is a great place to relax and enjoy the sun and sand. 

Durban boasts a wide variety of cultural attractions, including museums, art galleries and theaters. The city is also home to a variety of restaurants, markets and nightlife options. So if you’re looking for a relaxing vacation destination, be sure to check out Durban!

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Things to see in Durban include:

uShaka Marine World: This popular amusement park features a variety of rides and attractions and an aquarium with sharks, dolphins, and other marine life. uSHaka Marine world is one of the best aquariums in the world

The Golden Mile: This 12-km (7.5-mile) stretch of golden sand is one of Durban’s most popular attractions. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming and surfing at this beautiful beach!

Kruger National Park 

Pretoria 

Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa and is home to many government buildings and embassies. The city is another great place to learn about South African history and culture. Here you will find a variety of museums and art galleries, as well as theaters and markets. The city is also known for its delicious food, so be sure to try out some local restaurants while you’re there. If you’re looking for an interesting and educational vacation destination, Pretoria is a great option!

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Things to see in Pretoria include:

Union Buildings: This imposing complex is the home of the South African government. It’s a popular spot for tourists to visit, and there are often free tours available.

Transvaal Museum: This natural history museum is home to a variety of collections, ranging from palaeontology to birds and insects. It’s also home to one of the world’s largest meteorites!

Freedom Park: This memorial Park pays tribute to victims of South African apartheid. The Park features sculptures and holds a number of important documents.

Bloemfontein 

Bloemfontein is the judicial capital of South Africa and is home to a number of law organizations. The city is a great place to learn about South African law and its system of justice. There are a variety of museums and art galleries in Bloemfontein, as well as theaters and markets. The city is also known for its delicious food, so be sure to try out some local restaurants while you’re there. If you’re interested in the history of African justice, Bloemfontein is a must-visit destination.

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Things to see in Bloemfontein include:

The National Museum is home to a variety of collections, ranging from archaeology and anthropology to animals and insects. There are also paintings of famous South African historical figures.

Hector Pieterson Museum: This museum is dedicated to the Soweto Uprising in 1976, which comprised a series of student protests against apartheid in South Africa. It’s housed in the actual building where the first historic photograph of police brutally beating a young protester was taken.

Free State Stadium: This large football stadium is home to the South African national teams. It’s also sometimes used for concerts and other events.

Knysna 

If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation destination, be sure to check out Knysna! Knysna is a small town on South Africa’s Garden Route. The town is known for its picturesque lagoon-side setting and its luxury hotels and resorts. Knysna holds a variety of cultural attractions, including museums, art galleries and theaters. The town is also known for its delicious food, so be sure to try out some local restaurants while you’re there.

Things to see in Knysna include:

Knysna Heads: These two large rocks that sit at the entrance to the lagoon are popular tourist attractions. You can enjoy stunning views of the lagoon and town from the Heads.

Featherbed Nature Reserve: This private nature reserve is home to an incredible variety of birds, reptiles and mammals. There are also trails for hiking and mountain biking.

Thesen Island: This island was originally accessible by a large wooden bridge, but this has now been replaced with a modern boardwalk. The island is home to art galleries, cafes and restaurants.

Oubaai Golf Resort: This luxury resort offers a challenging course for golfers, as well as luxurious accommodations and fine dining options. It’s also known for its great spa!

Port Elizabeth 

Port Elizabeth is a large city in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. The city is known for its beautiful beaches and rich cultural history. There are a variety of museums and art galleries in Port Elizabeth, as well as theaters and markets. The city is also known for its delicious food, so be sure to try out some local restaurants while you’re there. If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation destination, be sure to check out Port Elizabeth!

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Things to see in Port Elizabeth include:

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium: This large stadium was built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It’s home to several South African national teams, as well as concerts and other events.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum: This large museum features several galleries of art, ranging from paintings to sculptures. It’s also home to the Port Elizabeth Photo Gallery and the South African Cartoon Gallery.

Boardwalk Casino: This casino offers 5000 slots and almost 300 table games for your enjoyment. There is also a fine dining restaurant in the casino.

Polokwane 

Polokwane is a large city in the Limpopo province of South Africa. The city is known for its beautiful parks and gardens, as well as its rich culture and history. There is a variety of museums and art galleries in Polokwane, as well as theaters and markets. The city is also known for its delicious food, so be sure to try out some local restaurants while you’re there. If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation destination, be sure to check out Polokwane!

Things to see in Polokwane include:

Peter Mokaba Stadium: This large stadium was built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It’s home to several South African national teams, as well as concerts and other events.

Shosholoza Meyl: If you’re looking for a truly South African rail experience, be sure to check out the Shosholoza Meyl. This passenger train travels through South Africa’s spectacular landscape. You can book luxury train tours just for the joy of seeing the spectacular landscape from the comfort of your carriage seat.

Mokopane Art Gallery: This art gallery features works by local artists, as well as international pieces. Visitors can also enjoy delicious food in the restaurant.

East London 

East London is a city in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The city is known for its beautiful beaches, as well as rich culture and history. There are a variety of museums and art galleries in East London, as well as theaters and markets. The city is also known for its delicious food, so be sure to try out some local restaurants while you’re there. If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation destination, be sure to check out East London!

Things to see in East London include:

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium: This large stadium was built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It’s home to several South African national teams, as well as concerts and other events.

East London Art Gallery: This art gallery features works by local artists, as well as international pieces. Visitors can also enjoy delicious food while they look at the artwork!

Cricket World Cup Fan Park: If you’re a cricket fan, this is definitely worth visiting. You can watch cricket matches of all kinds on this large screen in the Fan Park. There will also be various events and booths set up around the Park, so be sure to check them out while you’re there!

Kimberley 

Kimberley is a city located in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. The city is known for its famous diamond mine. Kimberley is home to a variety of museums, art galleries, and theaters. If you’re looking for a unique destination, be sure to check out Kimberley!

Things to see in Kimberley include:

The Big Hole: This is the largest man-made hole in the world. It was dug by hand in 1871 and was once the largest diamond mine in the world.

The Kimberley Mine Museum: This museum features a variety of exhibits about the history and culture of this city. It also features gems and minerals from around the world, as well as various items that were mined locally.

The Cemeteries: Kimberley is home to several fascinating cemeteries dating back to the 1800s. The inscriptions on the headstones are incredibly detailed, and many of the graves also feature beautiful works of art.

Grahamstown 

Grahamstown is a city located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Another city is known for its culture and natural landscapes. Grahamstown is home to a variety of museums, art galleries, and theaters. If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation destination, be sure to check out Grahamstown!

Things to see in Grahamstown include:

The Albany Museum: This museum features a variety of exhibits about the history and culture of this city. It also features artifacts from all over the world, including an Egyptian mummy!

The National English Literary Museum: Grahamstown is home to one of the largest and most impressive literary museums anywhere in the world. This museum proudly displays English literature artefacts from Africa, India and other parts of the former British empire.

Plettenberg Bay 

Plettenberg Bay is a beautiful coastal town located in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The town is known for its stunning beaches. There are also fascinating natural landscapes to explore and a famous market. If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation destination, be sure to check out Plettenberg Bay!

Things to see in Plettenberg Bay include:

Robberg Nature Reserve: This nature reserve features a variety of hiking trails and wildlife viewing areas. It’s also home to a beautiful white sand beach, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers.

The Donkey Sanctuary of South Africa: This sanctuary is home to rescued donkeys that have been abused or neglected. Visitors are welcome to interact with the animals, but they are also encouraged to make donations towards their care.

The Plettenberg Bay Market: Every Saturday, local farmers from the Plettenberg Bay area gather to sell a wide variety of delicious produce. In addition, there are also other stalls selling items such as clothes and handmade crafts.

Rustenburg 

Rustenburg is a city located in the North West province of South Africa. The city is known for its stunning nature park and modern resorts. If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation destination, be sure to check out Rustenburg!

Things to see in Rustenburg include:

The Sun City Resort: This resort features a variety of casinos, hotels, and restaurants. It’s also home to a number of attractions, including an amusement park, a waterpark, and a wildlife zoo.

Pilanesberg National Park: This is the third-largest National Park in South Africa, and it’s known for its stunning landscapes and wildlife viewing opportunities. Visitors to this Park can see rhinos, lions, buffalos, giraffes, elephants and zebras, just to name a few.

Sun City Resort Golf Course: This golf course is located in the Sun City Resort. It’s known to be one of the best courses in South Africa, and it boasts an 18 hole par 72 course with five sets of tees ranging from 6405 yards through to 4786 yards.

Upington 

Upington is a city located in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. It is near the Namibian border and a centre for exploring the Kalahari desert and other natural features, including some of the continent’s highest waterfalls. If you’re looking for fascinating exploration, be sure to check out Upington!

Things to see in Upington include:

The Orange River: This river forms the border between South Africa and Namibia. It’s a popular destination for rafting, fishing, and swimming.

The Kalahari Desert: This desert features stunning red sand dunes. Visitors can drive across the desert on quad bikes, take a hot-air ballooning tour, or even go sandboarding down the side of one of its famous dunes!

Augrabies Falls National Park: These falls are some of the highest waterfalls in all of Africa, with some reaching up to 200 meters tall! They’re known to be one of South Africa’s most spectacular natural wonders. The Park also features trails of varying length and difficulty levels, making it a good spot for hikers as well as more casual nature lovers.

Mossel Bay 

Mossel Bay is a city located in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It includes options for exploring both wild landscapes and cultural heritage. If you’re looking for a fascinating destination, be sure to check out Mossel Bay!

Things to see in Mossel Bay include:

The George Museum: This museum is dedicated to the history and culture of the George area. It features exhibits on everything from local arts and crafts to the region’s geological history. 

The Mossel Bay World Heritage Site: This site features the historic town of Laaiplek, which was declared a national monument in 1959. Visitors can explore its old buildings and learn about its unique history via exhibits at the Laaiplek Museum.

Baardskeerdersbos Nature Reserve: This nature reserve is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species. Visitors can do everything from hiking and horseback riding to kayaking and bird watching in its beautiful forests.

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Ania James

photographer, traveller, mother of twin girls, wife, worldschooler, rulebreaker

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