GautengPretoria – The administrative capital of the country. Johannesburg is the seat of the provincial government, as well as the economic heart of Africa and the most frequent point of entry into southern Africa.
Western Cape – Cape Town, the Mother City, the legislative capital and seat of Parliament, with famous landmarks like Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope. The Winelands near Stellenbosch, the Whale Coast along the Overberg, Agulhas where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet and the Cape Floral Region. The Garden Route, one of the top travel destinations, runs along the south coast from Mossel Bay to Port Elizabeth, with towns like Knysna and the ostrich capital Oudtshoorn.
Eastern Cape – The rest of the Garden Route, known as the Tsitsikamma. The former homelands, the Wild Coast, spectacular coasts without the tourist crowds. Beautiful beaches in Port Elizabeth, East London and Jeffreys Bay, the surfing mecca of South Africa. Great parks like the Addo Elephant National Park and the Tsitsikamma National Park.
Northern Cape – Capital Kimberley, famous because of its diamonds as well as the ‘Big Hole’. Largest province with the fewest inhabitants, Upington is the second largest city, a good starting point to explore the Kalahari Desert, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and the Augrabies Falls on the Orange River. Also Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and the semi-desert Karoo.
Free State – Capital Bloemfontein, which also houses the Supreme Court of Appeal, the highest court in non-constitutional matters (the Constitutional Court has been in Johannesburg since 1994). The World Heritage Site Vredefort Dome, remains of the largest and oldest meteorite impact crater.
KwaZulu Natal – Durban, the biggest town in the province as well as the 3rd largest in South Africa and a preferred vacation spot of South Africans along the coast. The Drakensberg Mountains if you like hiking and also the Tugela Falls, the second highest waterfall in the world.
Northwest – Rustenburg, known for Sun City and the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.
Mpumalanga – Capital Nelspruit, gateway to Mozambique and southern part of the Kruger National Park. The Drakensberg escarpment with Blyde River Canyon is the world’s 3rd largest canyon.
Limpopo – Capital Polokwane (formally known as Pietersburg) a good starting point for visits to the northern parts of the Kruger National Park and Zimbabwe.
- Pretoria – is the administrative capital
- Cape Town – is the legislative capital and seat of Parliament. It is one of the world’s largest cities, named for its proximity to the Cape of Good Hope. It is also a stone’s throw from South Africa’s vineyards. Nestled between the sea and Table Mountain, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and a popular summer destination for both domestic and international tourists.
- Bloemfontein – Seat of the Supreme Court of Appeal, the highest court in non-constitutional matters. The Constitutional Court in Johannesburg became the highest court for constitutional matters in 1994.
- Durban – Largest city in KwaZulu-Natal, third largest in South Africa and a popular holiday destination for South Africans on the coast.
- Johannesburg – The economic heart of Africa and the most frequent entry point to Southern Africa.
- Polokwane – capital of Limpopo (formally known as Pietersburg) and a good starting point for visits to the northern parts of the Kruger National Park and Zimbabwe.
- Port Elizabeth – coastal town in the Eastern Cape with the nearby Addo Elephant National Park.
- Kimberley — capital of the Northern Cape Province. Famous for its diamonds and “Big Hole”.
- Upington – This town is situated in the arid Northern Cape Province and is a good base for exploring the Kalahari Desert and the many national parks located in the Northern Cape.
For people interested in the natural history, South Africa is a paradise. In parks, on farms, in private reserves and even on the roads, you can encounter a variety of species (some potentially dangerous and endangered).
- Kruger National Park is a very popular tourist destination that has been exceptionally well-managed.
- Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the heart of the Kalahari Desert with wide open spaces and hordes of wildlife, including the majestic “gemsbok”. This is the first park in Africa to cross political boundaries.
- There are also a large number of smaller parks, such as Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park, Addo Elephant National Park, Marakele National Park, Pilanesberg National Park or iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
There are walking trails in almost all parks and around geographical points of interest.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- The Cradle of Humankind near Johannesburg is a must-see for anyone interested in where it all began. A large collection of caves rich in fossils of hominids and advanced apes.
- Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for many years.
- The Cape Floral Region in the Western Cape
- iSimangaliso Wetland Park
- Mapungubwe Kingdom in the North West
- The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape in the Northern Cape
- Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park for its scenery, incredible biodiversity and rock art.
- Vredefort Dome, remains of the largest and oldest meteorite impact crater.