South Africa is a very desirable destination offering remarkable diversity. Choose from a variety of world-class luxury safari lodges in private game reserves known for their scorecard wildlife sightings of the "Big Five" (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, buffalo) and much more. Visit Cape Town, one of the most beautiful cities in the world for a cosmopolitan experience and the Cape Winelands where food and wine rule. Sitting at the tip of the continent where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, there are miles of beaches, whale watching, boating and shark cage diving. Non-stop flights from the U.S.A. make it easily accessible. There is something to interest everyone in South Africa.
South Africa is also the place to visit wineries, gold and diamond mines, and Dutch-styled towns. History buffs can include archaeological sites where discoveries of early man continue to be made, rock art from the Stone Age, the famous Cape of Good Hope, the township of Soweto, and Robben Island the former prison where Nelson Mandela spent 27 years.
The entire world watched history in the making in 1994 when the country held its first democratic election and Nelson Mandela became the President of the New South Africa. This marked the end of the oppressive apartheid era and the more than 20 years of anti-apartheid protests, violence and boycotts in the country and economic sanctions by the international community.
South Africa occupies the southern tip of the continent and is roughly three times the size of Texas and home to almost 53 million people. South Africa has nine provinces and governmental power is divided between three cities. Pretoria is the administrative capital, Cape Town is the legislative capital and Bloemfontein is the capital of the judiciary. English is one of the 11 official languages spoken here. Nine of the languages are African, reflecting the country's vibrant tribal and cultural mix. Archbishop Desmond Tutu offered the slogan "the rainbow nation" to inspire racial harmony and pride in the New South Africa.
Luxury trains are another way to travel across South Africa and beyond. The Cape Town – Pretoria route is covered by Rovos Rail and the Blue Train, and there are many other routes throughout the continent. Harking back to a more relaxed era of travel, you can watch the country passing by from comfortable lounge cars and meet people from around the world.