(STL.News) It’s not by chance that they call South Africa ‘the rainbow nation.’ South African is a multicultural and varied country that can offer unforgettable experiences to international tourists.
Surf enthusiasts, animal lovers, and those after a cultural holiday will all find South Africa to be an ideal destination. And no matter whether you want to be close to the best park for a safari or enjoy fun nights out, the perfect South African city is out there.
In this article, you will find useful information regarding the 5 best South African cities to include in your travel plans as well as advice on how to get a visa to reach them.
1. Cape Town
Definitely one of the most visited cities in the country, Cape Town is colorful, lively, and unique. In Cape Town, you will find spectacular natural attractions but also museums and lots of bars and restaurants.
Every day, the iconic Table Mountain attracts locals and tourists who climb (or take the cable car up) to the top to enjoy spectacular views and walks for all levels.
Beach lovers will find plenty of spots for surfing, diving, swimming, or simply people watching.
Those who head to Cape Town will also have the chance to visit Robben Island, the ex-prison where Nelson Mandela was held, and other historic places that will help them understand South Africa’s recent history.
Do You Need a Visa for Cape Town?
In order to visit Cape Town, Johannesburg, and the other South African cities included in this article, most foreign nationals need a valid visa. Whether you will need a visa or not depends on your nationality, how long you wish to stay, and the reason(s) why you want to visit.
Although citizens of certain countries can travel to South Africa without a visa, others will need to obtain one through a South African embassy or consulate abroad.
Finally, an electronic visa application process is also being tested by the government. At the end of this trial, you will likely be eligible to obtain a South African visa for Cape Town and the rest of the country online in just a few minutes.
It doesn’t get much more varied than Durban, which sits right on the Indian Ocean. Migration and international trade cause a number of cultural and culinary influences from Arab countries, India, and several African regions. Head here for some of the best international restaurants in the country.
The port gives Durban a rugged feeling and locals are welcoming and laid back. Durban also offers a great surfing community, beautiful beaches, and pleasant weather all year round.
Many foreign people think that Johannesburg is South Africa’s capital. In fact, the local system differs from what Westerners may be used to and has no official capital city.
The three main sectors of government are divided into 3 different capitals, and Johannesburg is not on the list. Cape Town is the legislative capital, Bloemfontein the judicial one, and Pretoria the administrative center.
However, Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest city (around 10 million people live here) and the home of its main international airport, just one of the reasons why holidaymakers usually stop here.
Johannesburg, called Jo’burg by locals, was once known for its high crime rates. It has since improved immensely. Several museums, including the Apartheid Museum, art galleries, and trendy places such as rooftop bars and live music pubs now make it a buzzing place.
4. Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth has many names, such as ‘the windy city’ and ‘the friendly city.’ It has a particular charm and it is very easy to fall in love with. Unlike Cape Town, it lacks historic picturesque buildings and has a more industrial feel to it.
However, Port Elizabeth is definitely a surfer’s paradise with some of South Africa’s most famous surfing spots along its coast. Jeffreys Bay, the scenario of Surf World League competitions which was voted second best spot to surf in the world, is also around the corner.
Just like the other South African major cities, Pretoria has a personality of its own. This is the home of many government employees and diplomats as this is the location of foreign embassies. The presence of this diplomatic personnel makes Pretoria truly international.
The city can be described as overall very pleasant, with its leafy streets and quiet residential neighborhoods on one hand, and a buzzy nightlife on the other. It is a great stop on the way to Kruger Park, one of South Africa’s most famous national parks, where you can see rhinos, lions, and elephants in the wild.
Daniel Moore is an experienced content writer. He is associated with many renowned travel blogs as a guest author where he shares his valuable travel tips with the audience.