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With golden beaches, jagged mountains and national parks overflowing with wildlife, South Africa is the Africa you’ve always imagined.

Topping a long list of attractions is the republic’s spectacular wildlife and natural scenery. National parks and nature reserves preserve an incredible variety of landscapes – rolling plains, towering mountains, arid deserts, coastal fynbos and pure blue oceans – home to an incredible variety of wildlife, from lion and elephant to great white sharks and playful penguin.

South Africa’s cities are no less varied. In the far south, lorded over by the iconic Table Mountain, Cape Town is South Africa’s most accessible gateway with beautiful beaches, vibrant, multicultural neighbourhoods, famous vineyards, a lively nightlife and fine dining to rival any European capital. You’ll find similarly cosmopolitan vibe in Johannesburg, the energetic financial capital, and in beachside Durban, where the scorching sunshine is matched by the hot curries served up by the local South Asian community.

In between you can lose yourself for days on safari. The undisputed top spot for wildlife spotters is the world-famous Kruger National Park where the Big 5 are joined by hundreds of other African species.

If the landscape sounds diverse, wait until you meet the people. South Africa boasts 11 official languages and, more than a dozen “tribes” living alongside communities from Africa, Europe and the Indian subcontinent.

 South Africa is an extraordinary country to which you will want to return to again and again.