South Africa
South Africa is a country of contradictions and contrasts. Where else on earth can you see extreme poverty and wealthy living side by side; deserts and rainforests; secluded beaches and awe-inspiring mountains. It is a country that is as colourful and vibrant as its 30 different cultures.
Overseas visitors have streamed to its shores following the immense shift from apartheid to democracy. Its vivid history is well known to all. Apartheid was broken down in 1990 by President FW De Klerk, and jailed ANC leader Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years of imprisonment who then became President in 1994. This incredible story is told in the excellent museums in Johannesburg.
The tourism success that South Africa enjoys is in part due to the sheer variety of possibilities the country holds. For some, its attraction is the draw of the well established highlights such as the Kruger Park with its "Big Five" safari animals or Cape Town's Table Mountain. If you are into sports there is golf, rock climbing, mountain biking, bungee jumping and hiking in the numerous pristine nature reserves. And of course everyone loves the golden beaches in stunning areas such as Durban, welcoming wine farms and the great food.
The countries tourist infrastructure is outstanding. Its standards of comfort and efficiency compare well with European standards. The weakness of the Rand against major international currencies make it a hard to beat value for money holiday.  
Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and larger hotels. ATMs are widely available and all major international credit cards are widely accepted, except in petrol stations where cash is required.
Travellers are warned to be vigilant when drawing cash from ATMs, as con artists are known to operate there. Traveller’s cheques and some foreign currencies are accepted at larger hotels and shops, but commission is charged.


Johannesburg is the capital of South Africa's province of Gauteng, which means ‘place of gold' in Sesotho. It was so christened because it was built on the richest gold reef in the world (it has produced 40% of the entire world's gold). But the last of Johannesburg's mines ran out of gold-bearing ore in the 1970s
Situated 550km (344 miles) from the nearest port, on a vast inland plateau, 1,700m (5,700ft) high, Johannesburg is sub-Saharan Africa's greatest city and one of the world's largest inland cities.
Modern Johannesburg is a city of contrasts. Modern glass luxury high-rise buildings tower beside rundown Victorian buildings, and prosperous northern suburbs of stunning private homes provide a stark contrast with the squalid streets and tiny shoebox houses of the massive Soweto Township in the south. This massive contrast between rich and poor has given way to a high crime rate.

For many, Johannesburg is merely home to the international airport where they arrive intent on exploring the game reserves of Mpumalanga. Although there is little in Johannesburg to grab the attention of tourists, you could take time out to take in some of the entertaining man-made attractions before heading off to the game parks of the northeast or the coastal regions.
One of the most interesting and revealing diversions in Johannesburg is undoubtedly a ‘Heritage Route’ or ‘Shebeen Crawl’ tour of Soweto. But you should only venture into the maze of the township with an organised tour or professional guide.
See & Do
Whether you are staying in Johannesburg for a few days or just a few hours, there are several sights to see. Below is a list of just some of the best attractions:
  • Gold Reef City Theme Park and Casino
  • The Apartheid Museum
  • Soweto (professional guided tour only)
  • Museum of Africa & New Town Cultural Project
  • Cradle of Humankind (limestone caves)
  • Sterkfontein Caves
  • Johannesburg Botanical Gardens
  • Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens
  • Johannesburg Zoo
  • Johannesburg Art Gallery
  • Goodman Art Gallery
  • Self-guided theme tours
  • SAB World of Beer
  • Lesedi Cultural Village
  • Constitution Hill Museum
  • South African Museum of Military History
  • New Town Cultural Precinct
  • Melville (Suburb)
  • Hector Pieterson Museum and Memorial
  • Mandela Museum
  • Top of Africa (observation deck)
No matter what your budget, Johannesburg is a shopper’s paradise. You will be spoilt for choice with the cities many markets, shops and modern shopping malls.
The best area for the tourists with deep wallets is around the northern suburbs. Many of the shops are close to the main hotels and stock top quality merchandise. The upmarket shopping malls include Melrose Arch, Sandton City, Mandela Square and Monte Casino. These are all home to various chic boutiques and international outlets, designer stores, jewellers and specialist outlets (e.g. antiques and ethnic curios).
Other shopping malls include Eastgate Mall, Mall of Rosebanks, Hyde Park Corner and Fourways Mall.
Gold Reef City is a one stop shop for unusual souvenirs and Oriental Plaza is great for a variety of fabrics, spices and other Indian treats and trinkets.
If you enjoy the hunt for a bargain then you mustn’t miss the many markets. You would be hard pushed to miss them as many streets house hawkers markets that sell a wide variety of goods.
The city is also home to several formal flea markets, the most notable of which are the Rosebank Rooftop Market, Bruma Flea Market, Asia City and Africa Craft Market. Cash still is king in the Johannesburg markets so if you’re looking for a bargain, put the credit cards away.
Food & Drink
You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to eating in Johannesburg. There is just about every cuisine imaginable ranging from fine dining to fast food outlets and street stalls. If you feel peckish why not try the street vendors’ pies, vors (sausages) rolls and flame grilled mealie (maize) cobs.
If you prefer something a bit more refined, below is a selection of restaurants you might like to try:
  • Le Canard, Mornigside
  • Moyo’s, Melrose Arch
  • Gramadoelas, Newtown
  • Butcher Shop & Grill, Nelson Mandela Square
  • Wandie’s, Soweto
  • Villia Bianca, Croydon
  • Tsunami Seafood Emporium, Rosebank Mall
  • The Raj, Rosebank
  • Dino’s, Bedford Shopping Centre
  • Linger Longer, Sandton
  • Al Dente, Morningside
  • Turtle Creek, Wierda Valley
  • Wombles, Parktown North
  • Montego Bay, Sandton
  • F!sh, Rosebank
  • Cool Runnings, Benoni
There is a huge amount in the way of entertainment offered in Johannesburg. For those that enjoy live music there is everything from classical (Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra), Jazz (Songwriter’s Club and Bassline) to modern and popular concerts (Dome).
The city also has a great theatre district, Braamfontein, cinemas and casinos (Gold Reef City, Monte Casino and Carnival City).
If you are looking for bars and clubs, the main areas are Melville’s Main Street and 7th Street, Queen Street in Kensington, Rosebank, the Newtown Precinct and Melrose Arch. Here are some names to look out for:
  • Catz Pajamas, Melville
  • Roxy Rhythm Bar, Melville
  • The Ratz Bar, Melville
  • Xai Xai, Melville
  • Monsoon Lagoon, Kempton Park
  • Buzz 9, Melville
  • Tokyo Star, Melville
  • Horror Café, Newtown
  • Carfax, Newtown
  • @115, Anderson Street
  • Color Bay, Milpark
You should also definitely take the time to check out the Radium Beerhall and a Shebeen. The latter will provide an atmospheric evening. It is a traditional bar (a product of the townships) that has become mainstream. You can enjoy an evening of drinking, music and dance. Some of the famous ones are Tyson’s (Pimville), The Rock (Rockville), Cornish (White City) and Wandie’s (Soweto).
There are also several events that happen throughout the year:
  • February/March – FNB Vita Dance Umbrella Festival
  • April – Rand Easter Show
  • July/August – Encounters Documentary Film Festival, Vaal River Meander Wine Route
  • August – Lipizzaner Horses, Joy of Jazz
  • September – Gay Pride
  • November – Pick’n’Pay 94.7 Cycle Challenge
There are many opportunities to explore more of South Africa during your stay in Johannesburg. Your hotel will be able to provide you with details of all the excursions available through local tour operators. Below are just a few of the places you can also see whilst in the area.
  • Pretoria
  • Premier Diamond Mine
  • Sun City
  • Pilansberg National Park
  • Johannesburg Lion Park
  • Cradle of Humankind
  • Kruger National Park
  • Sterkfontein Caves
  • Hertbeespoort Dam
  • Warmbaths
Health & Safety
The tap water in Johannesburg is generally safe to drink but in some poorer suburbs you can’t always be assured of the quality of the water.
Healthcare is of a high standard but treatment can be very expensive. Therefore you are strongly advised to ensure you have comprehensive medical insurance in place before travelling.
Don’t be too intimidated by Johannesburg’s dangerous reputation. So long as you are careful, sensible and only venture into the townships with a professional guide, you should be fine. As a matter of course, you should always exercise the usual precautions with your valuables and avoid carrying lots of cash and valuables with you. Also do not catch public transport after dark. If you do need transport in the evenings, use pre-arranged pick ups with a trusted taxi firm.
Cape Town
Set at the most southerly tip of Africa, Cape Town (‘Mother City’) is the capital of South Africa’s Western Cape Province and the seat of South Africa’s parliament.
As a city it enjoys one of the most beautiful positions in the world. Set in a broad bay, surrounded by white-sand beaches against the back drop of Table Mountain, it is probably the most European of all South Africa’s cities.
Its multi-racial population is reflected through the city’s restaurants which offer world-class international and African cuisine. Of course the impending 2010 FIFA Football World Cup preparations, has lead to a boom in construction and a successful event will place this city well and truly on the tourism map for many.
Although there may not be game parks on Kruger's scale here, there are plenty of great wildlife-spotting opportunities, from the penguins at Boulders to the antelopes, buffaloes and black rhino at Solole Game Reserve.  
Its relaxed atmosphere is refreshing and coupled with its stunning attractions, such as Table Mountain, Camps Bay beach, the Winelands, Robben Island and Cape Point nature reserve, it is a city that offers travellers a truly memorable holiday.
See & Do
Cape Town offers visitors a wealth of activities and sights. By far the most popular are the beaches and water sporting activities – scuba diving, swimming, wind surfing, water skiing, jet skiing and sailing to name but a few. Below is a list of some of the other attractions that await you:
  • Table Mountain
  • Robben Island
  • Camps Bay Beach
  • Clifton’s 4 beaches
  • Llandudno beach
  • The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
  • Boulders Beach & penguins
  • Hout Bay beach
  • Bungee jumping
  • Abseiling
  • Rock Climbing
  • Great White Shark cage diving
  • Paragliding
  • The Winelands
  • Groot Constantia & Wine Museum
  • Cape Point
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • Bo-kaap (Malay Quarter)
  • Kalk Bay
  • District Six & Museum
  • Two Oceans Aquarium
  • South Africa National Gallery
  • The Houses of Parliament
  • The South African Museum
  • Planetarium
  • Castle of Good Hope
  • St George’s Cathedral
  • Groote Schuur Hospital Transplant Museum
  • Rondevlei Nature Reserve

You can shop ‘til you drop in Cape Town. The city has embraced the modern shopping mall with several impressive examples in the city offering a huge range of international and small outlets catering for all budgets. Due to the strength of the Rand, shopping in Cape Town isn’t as cheap as it once was. To avoid over inflated prices, give shops that cater exclusively for tourists a wide berth.
By far the best area for shopping is the Waterfront Complex. Here the Victoria Wharf offers excellent shopping. Many of these large malls also offer restaurants, cinema complexes plus medical facilities. Other such malls are Cavendish Square, Cape Quarter Complex (selling upmarket South African merchandise) and Tyger Valley. By far the biggest mall is Canal Walk Shopping Centre located on the outskirts of the city housing literally thousands of shops.
There are also several flea markets if you enjoy browsing for a bargain, the best ones being in Greenmarket Square and Greenpoint Stadium. There is also an excellent Sunday market in Hout Bay which sells predominately handmade local crafts.
Popular souvenirs are gold and diamond jewellery, African masks, the superb local wines and a coupe of local delicacies – smoked snoek (fish) and Biltong (dried and salted meat).
Food & Drink
There is no definitive local cuisine but Cape Malay food, a fusion of European and Eastern influences, is unique to the Cape. Restaurant prices are excellent value and there is a wide range of international food available and superb seafood.
There are far too many restaurants to name them all here, but below is a selection of the best:
  • Kaapse Tafel, Queen Victoria Street
  • Olympia Café & Deli, Kalk Bay
  • Peddlers on the Bend, Constantia
  • Foresters Arms, Newlands Avenue
  • Mama Afrika, Long Street
  • Afrika Café, Shortmarket Street
  • Wharfside Grill, Hout Bay
  • Brass Bell, Kalk Bay Station
  • Die Strandloper, Langebaan
  • Bertha’s Restaurant, Simonstown
  • Fujiyama, Sea Point
  • Yindee’s, Camp St Gardens
  • Primi Piatti, Camps Bay
  • Beluga, Green Point
  • Madame Zingara, Bree Street
  • La Petite Ferme, Franschoek
  • Baia, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
  • Buitenverwatchting, Constantia
  • La Colombe, Constantia
  • Wakame, Mouille Point
  • Constantia Uitsig, Constantia
  • Blues, Camps Bay
  • Millers Thumb, Tamboerskloof
  • Five Flies, Cape Town
  • The Codfather, Camps Bay
Cape Town offers visitors a wide selection of entertainment opportunities. If you enjoy live music you will be spoilt for choice, especially if you enjoy jazz. Some of the best jazz venues in the city are Blue Note (Rylands), Mannenberg’s Jann Café (Victoria & Alfred Waterfront) and the Dizzy Jazz Café (Camps Bay). But if you more of a classical music fan the best venues are Kirstenbosch Gardens, Baxter Theatre and the Artscape Theatre Complex.
As for theatre, the city offers some excellent productions at the Artscape Theatre Complex, The Baxter Theatre and the Maynardville Open-air Theatre. If cinema is more your thing, there are numerous ones throughout the city and film listings can be found in the daily editions of The Argus and the Cape Times.
The city has an extensive range of bars and clubs and as being as there are no strict licensing hours they can stay open until the small hours. One thing to note is that although the dress code is casual, generally shorts and trainers are not seen as acceptable for entry into some of the clubs and bars.
Below is a list of just some of the bars and clubs in Cape Town:
  • 169 on Long (Long Street)
  • Jo’Burg (Long Street)
  • Long Street Café (Long Street)
  • Fez (Long Street)
  • Ambassador Hotel Bar (Bantry Bay)
  • Tank (Waterkant Street)
  • Café Camissa (Kloof Street)
  • Cool Runnings (Observatory)
  • Obz Café (Obervatory)
  • La Med (Clifton)
  • Clifton Beach House (Fourth Beach, Clifton)
  • Baraza & Sunset Beach Bar (Camps Bay)
  • Rhodes House (Gardens)
  • The Purple Turtle (Long Street)
  • Ignite (Camps Bay)
  • Buena Vista Social Club (Green Point)
  • Pulse (Green Point)
  • Blush Lounge (Green Point)
  • Opium (De Waterkant)
  • Chrome (Pepper Street)
  • Dockside Complex (Century Street)
There are also several events that take place during the year in Cape Town:
  • January – J&B Met (horse race), Summer Sunset Series, Cape Minstrel Carnival
  • March – Pick ‘n Pay Argus Cycle Tour, Dunhill Symphony of Fire
  • April – Two Oceans Marathon, Cape Town International Jazz Festival
  • May – Annual Sardine Run, Cape Gourmet Food Festival
  • August – Namaqualand Wild Flowers Blossom, Oppikoppa Music Festival
  • September – Hermanus Whale Festival, One City Festival
  • November – Stellenbosch Food & Wine Festival
Although there are an abundance of activities to keep you occupied in Cape Town, why not take the opportunity of exploring further afield during your visit. You hotel should be able to provide you with details of available excursions, but below are a few suggestions to get you started:
  • Hermanus – whale watching
  • The Cederberg – hiking, rock climbing and camping
  • The Garden Route & Congo Caves
  • Cape Point
  • Constantia Wine Route
  • The Boland
  • Robben Island
  • Chapman’s Peak
  • Simonstown & Boulder Beach
  • West Coast Ostrich Ranch
Health & Safety
The tap water in Cape Town is safe to drink but this isn’t the case in more rural areas so be careful. The city has excellent medical facilities but you are strongly advised to take out comprehensive medical insurance before travelling.
Cape Town may be a relaxed city, but be too relaxed and you’ll fall foul of petty thieves. You should extend the usual precautions with your valuables; don’t leave your belongings unattended on beaches and beware of pick-pockets in busy areas. You shouldn’t walk alone at night or in secluded areas and be aware that the highest risk areas are the townships.
Durban is the largest city of the vast and varied KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. As the countries second most populous city, it offers a vibrant range of cultural experiences to complement its balmy Indian Ocean climate and attractive seafront.
As Africa’s busiest port it is an important focus for the country’s export economy. But what really sets it apart from South Africa’s other cities is its rich ethnic mix. Of its 3.4 million inhabitants, more than half are Zulu, about one fifth are of Indian descent while white European’s account for less than a tenth of residents.
Enjoying a sub-tropical climate and golden beaches lapped by the warm Indian Ocean, Durban is a holidaymaker's paradise and a gateway to the dozens of seaside resort towns of the coast to the south and north of the city. The 'Golden Mile' central beach area stretches for 4 miles (6km) and is flanked by numerous high-rise hotels, fronted by promenades and entertainment facilities such as a skatepark, flea markets, colourful traditionally clad Zulu rickshaw pullers and a fleet of 'tuk-tuk' type three-wheelers.
Durban is also the gateway to two World Heritage Sites - the majestic Drakensberg peaks and the vast Game Reserves of the Zululand Bush.
See & Do
Durban has a wealth of sights and activities for visitors to enjoy. Not least the stunning gold sand beaches and their associated water sports. If you enjoy scuba diving, snorkelling, water skiing, wind surfing, sailing and swimming (to name but a few) you’ll love this amazing city. Below are some of the other attractions you can visit:
  • uShaka Seaworld Aquarium
  • Durban Art Gallery
  • The Campbell Collection
  • Kwa Muhle Museum
  • Umgeni River Bird Park
  • Alayam Hindu Temple
  • Golden Mile Beach
  • Botanic Gardens
  • City Hall
  • Harbour
  • Juma Mosque
  • Mini Town
  • Natural Science Museum
  • Phanzi Museum
  • Port Natal Maritime Museum
  • Promenade
  • Sahara Stadium
  • Sun Coast Beach
  • Time-warp Surf Museum
  • Fitzsimons Snake Park
  • Francis Farewell Square
  • The BAT Centre
You won’t be short of choice to satisfy your shopping cravings in Durban. Amongst the cities markets is the Victoria Street Market in the Indian Quarter (western side of the city centre). This is a must for all visitors. It is a vibrant and colourful market selling bric-a-brac, homemade spices and food.
The city is also home to many modern shopping malls offering international brands as well as African goods. These include The Musgrove Centre (Berea District) with around 100 shops, restaurants and bars, Field’s mall in the wealthy suburb of Kloof and Pavilion which is one of South Africa’s biggest and most varied shopping centres situated in Westville.
But none of these can compare to the Gateway Mall. It is apparently one of the largest shopping malls in the Southern Hemisphere which is home to numerous shops, restaurants, entertainments and a cinema complex. But not only that, it also has its own Wavepool with a free standing surfing wave and a rock climbing wall.
Food & Drink
Durban offers diners a range of African, European and Asian cuisines, especially Indian. The city has hundreds of restaurants so it is impossible to name them all here, but here are a few of the best:
  • 9th Avenue Bistro (Avenmore Centre)
  • Fabulous (Berea)
  • Spice on Florida (Florida Road)
  • Taco Zulu (Florida Road)
  • A Gruta (Greyville)
  • Beach Café
  • Beanbag Bohemia (Greyville)
  • Butcher Boys (Morningside)
  • Cargo Hold (uShaka Marina)
  • Famous Fish Co
  • New Café Fish (Victoria Embankment)
  • Roma Revolving Restaurant (John Ross House, Victoria Embankment)
  • St Tropez (Essenwood)
  • La Casa Nostra (Umdloui Beach)
  • The Eastern Rendezvous (Blue Lagoon)
  • Joop’s Place (Morningside)
  • Gulzat (Greyville)
Durban’s entertainment scene caters for most tastes – from theatre to cinema and live music to casinos (Sun Coast Casino). Most of the nightlife is centred on the docks area, along the Golden Mile and in suburbs such as Morningside and Westville.
Live music can be found in venues such as Rainbow Restaurant and Jazz Club (Pinetown), Friends of Music (Old Fort Road) and Beanbag Bohemia (Greyville). If you prefer bars and clubs, again there are numerous places, below are just a few:
  • Joe Kool’s (North Beach)
  • Billy the Bum’s (Morningside)
  • Keg & Thistle (Morningside)
  • Scallywags (Sea View Road)
  • Thirsty’s Dockside Tavern (Kings Battery)
  • Panama Room (Stamford Hill Road)
  • Tiger Tiger (Greyville Racecourse)
  • Casablanca (Florida Road)
  • 80s (Greyville)
There are also several events that happen throughout the year such as:
  • March-April – Easter Affair Beach Festival
  • April – Festival of Chariots
  • May-July – Sardine Run
  • June – Comrades Marathon
  • Jun/July – International Film Festival
  • July – Vodacom Durban Day (horse racing)
We have already seen that there are many attractions to see whilst in Durban however you may want to look further afield. Your hotel should be able to provide you with details of excursions. Below are just a few suggestions to get you started:
  • Walking or driving through the Valley of a Thousand Hills
  • Highland Kingdom of Lesotho
  • Drakensberg Mountains
  • Zululand Battlefields
  • Greater St Lucia Wetland Park
  • Midmar Dam
  • Zululand Bush Game Reserve
Health & Safety
The tap water in urban areas such as Durban is safe to drink but this isn’t the case in more rural areas so be careful. The city has excellent medical facilities but you are strongly advised to take out comprehensive medical insurance before travelling.
With regards to personal safety in Durban you are advised to extend the usual precautions with your valuables; don’t leave your belongings unattended on beaches and beware of pick-pockets in busy areas. You shouldn’t walk alone at night or in secluded areas.


ACCEPT COOKIESTo give you the best possible experience, this site uses cookies. Using this site means you agree to our use of cookies. We have published a cookies policy, which you should read to find out more about the cookies we use. View cookies policy.