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South Africa Travel guide

Vineyards in Franschhoek View of Durban Marina Zebras at the water's edge
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South Africa : Michelin's recommendations


As big as France, Italy and Germany combined, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the Indian Ocean on the east, the southern tip of Africa boasts an amazing concentration of different landscapes and climates, from dusty savannahs, snowy peaks, deserts of golden and red dunes (Kalahari) and verdant forests to rocky Mediterranean terrain, tropical swamps, boundless beaches and tranquil rivers. Not to mention its teeming urban centres like Johannesburg and Durban where the diversity of ethnic groups and cultures has shaped the vibrant heart of this great land.
The country understandably takes great pride in its natural beauty and fauna, including some of the world's most striking animals roaming free in their natural habitat. And although elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards and buffalo are the stars of the show (the famous big five), you can also see zebra, giraffes, gnus, antelope, hippos, crocodiles, sea turtles and whales.
The bush has been transformed into a vast playground where private reserves and national parks vie to see who can come up with the most creative excursion: skiing on the Kalahari dunes, elephant-watching from a hot-air balloon in the Pilanesberg, or going on a mountain-bike safari in Kruger Park.
Naturally you'll need a bit of time to explore this huge country. Allow at least 15 days and a good thousand kilometres of driving (if possible) to explore Cape Town and its peninsula, the reserves in Matupuland, Hluhluwe Park, the Highveld in Mpumalanga and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

South Africa - See all cities and regions

South Africa : Must-see towns and regions

  • Cape Town

    Cape Town, the parliamentary capital of South Africa, lies at the foot of Table Mountain in the southwestern tip of Africa, sheltered by a bay with long sandy beaches. About 3.5 million inhabitants li...

  • Franschhoek

    Franschhoek (French area) was settled by a group of Huguenots who came to tame the valley in the late 17C. Today the names of the farms and wine-growing estates dotting the area around the town, like ...

  • Paternoster

    This picturesque and increasingly fashionablefishing village on the west coast is famous for its spiny lobsters enjoyed during the southern summer. Its little geometrically shaped white houses are rem...

  • Pretoria

    Pretoria, the seat of the government and central administration, has been part of the Tshwane urban area encompassing the surrounding towns and townships since 2005. This huge conurbation of two milli...

  • Tzaneen

    With about 90,000 inhabitants Tzaneen, the capital of the region, is the second largest town in Limpopo after Polokwane. Minibuses brimming with passengers take workers and other employees to their co...

  • Swellendam

    Swellendam was created by the Dutch East India Company to gain control over the settlers who came to the Overberg. There are few old buildings left as testaments to the town’s history. But visiting th...

  • Calvinia

    Calvinia, capital of Hantam Karoo, is located between the Great Karoo and Namakwaland. Great Karoo gave it the sheep with which it began sheep farming – now its main economic activity. There is even a...

  • Johannesburg

    This is “Joburg”, the city that beats all the records and lives dangerously, with the highest concentration of millionaires on the continent, the highest crime rate in the world, Africa’s tallest buil...

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