If you could take just one grand vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go? South Africa would be a pretty good choice. Stunning landscape, safaris the size of Bangladesh, the best wines, richest square mile in Africa and last but quite probably the most, the place that Nelson Mandela called home.
To restate the obvious African wildlife safaris are really amazing and they appeal to infants and grandparents in the same way -- even people who thought they would not love safaris end up being enchanted. Young, old, active, lazy, urban, rural, singles, couples, families -- all are liable to fall prey to the safari bug.
One of the main reasons why people usually do not go to South Africa is probably due to expensive airfare which might result in too much swiping of the credit card, but I have heard and known Bangladeshis who go hunting in South Africa.
The main reason to go on vacation to Africa is for the safari. But only South Africa offers far more to see and do than “just” safaris.
The best places to visit in South Africa include the stunning coastal towns of Hermanus, Cape Town, Knysna and Durban. Enjoy the mountain air in Hogsback and the Drakensberg. Settle back with world-class wines from the Cape Winelands and enjoy a safari in the oldest and best Wildlife Park in Southern Africa -- Kruger National Park. No trip to South Africa would be complete without a visit to a township, and Soweto is the largest and most vibrant of them all.
Swimming with penguins at Boulders Beach on the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town, is a real thrill. A small public beach is set apart from the main penguin colony that resides here (on Foxy Beach), but that does not stop the penguins from sitting on your beach towel or darting around your legs while you take a refreshing dip in the ocean. The Robben Island tour is a must when you're visiting Cape Town. It's a fascinating half-day trip to the former penal colony where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his life. Many leading members of South African political parties like the PAC and ANC were incarcerated alongside him.
The apartheid museum is a beacon of hope showing the world how South Africa is coming to terms with its oppressive past and working towards a future that all South Africans can call their own. It shows the sacrifices that Mandela and his ANC colleagues made during the tough time.
Montecasino is a themed shopping center, hotel complex, casino, movie theatre and bird park all rolled into one old Italian Piazza. The number one reason to visit however, is the building itself. The architecture is unique in that everything is imitation and is located in the most expensive square mile in Africa.
I've been on safari to Kenya and Tanzania and had an awesome time because the wildlife is great, in many ways just as good as in South Africa (in some ways better, in other ways worse). You could make the argument that it's even better in Botswana or other places. But you simply cannot make the argument that there is a better vacation destination for safaris than South Africa. It is the one of the only places you would be likely to enjoy a stellar trip without ever going into the bush at all. Frankly, Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam are not places most people want to visit on vacation except exceptions; they are places to pass through or fly into on your way to your vacation. Most people couldn't even name a single city in Namibia or Botswana. But Cape Town is a jewel that would be well worth visiting anyway, wildlife or no wildlife, and Johannesburg has far more to see and do than the vast majority of African cities.
Photo: Taskin Rahman