South Africa, also known as The Rainbow Nation, has much to offer the international tourist. With nine provinces, each with its own unique appeal, you can be sure to find something for the whole family. From the white sandy beaches to the famous Kruger National Park where you can see the Big Five, South Africa offers a rich cultural and historical experience. Some of the best African safari lodges play host to make your stay in South Africa an unforgettable experience.

This province is situated in the most northern part of South Africa. If you are a golf enthusiast, then the Limpopo province is your destination, offering a unique golfing safari. This part of the country also offers legendary ruins and ancient forests, with the most beautiful hot mineral springs and waterfalls. It also offers sparkling trout waters for the fly-fishing devotee.

Thousands of tourists visit Mpumalanga to access the famous Kruger National Park. Celebrating its 110th year in 2008, the Kruger National Park gives you the opportunity to see Africa’s wildlife, including the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo), in their natural environment. Day trips are managed easily, especially if you are staying at a safari lodge in one of the surrounding towns, such as Nelspruit or White River, otherwise opt for an Exclusive Getaways lodge within the Kruger Park. Apart from the Kruger National Park, this province has much more to offer. Sightseeing is a must and popular sights include the Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window, the Bourke’s Luck Potholes and historic Pilgrim’s Rest.

North West Province
The North West province is South Africa’s primary platinum mining area. The two biggest tourist attractions in this province are the Pilansberg National Park and Sun City. Finfoot Lake Reserve, is only 90minutes away from The Lost City which forms part of Sun City and was inspired by a story about a mythical lost African tribe. There is a lot to do at Sun City, including an enormous entertainment area where you can try your luck at a poker table, play a round of golf, or relish a day of fun in the amusement park that hosts some of the most exhilarating rides imaginable. The Pilanesberg National Park is home to the Big Five and is a wonderful safari destination.

In the summer time you can expect to experience an afternoon thunderstorm in South Africa’s economic capital. The word Gauteng is Sotho and means “Place of Gold”. This cosmopolitan province features many museums, galleries and historical battlefield sites. Gauteng is also home to the famous district, Soweto, which was developed in the apartheid era as a township for black people. Today tourists are given the opportunity to take a tour through this township and learn more about the struggles against apartheid and the inhabitants’ lives.

Northern Cape
Every year the Northern Cape goes into full bloom when Namaqualand’s annual floral season takes place. This usually arid area turns into a coat of many colours during the winter season when the yearly wild flowers appear. Many visitors flock to the Northern Cape to appreciate this spectacular phenomenon. This part of the country also reflects the early history of the diamond mining industry in Kimberley The San (Bushman) people have lived in the Kalahari area for centuries and they have left a rich legacy in the form of rock engravings.

The Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is situated in the Kalahari, where you can enjoy game viewing and horse riding in an ancient desert.

Excellent game reserves and unspoiled beaches are found north of Durban, while to the West, the majestic Drakensberg Mountains offer spectacular scenery. In the south there are some of South Africa’s best golf courses, fishing areas and a stunning subtropical coastline. KwaZulu-Natal is home to the Zulu Kingdom and features some of South Africa’s greatest battle sites.

In the battlefield region, Fugitives’ Drift Lodge and Guest House and Isibindi Zulu Lodge offer accommodation and guided battlefield tours. Sunny warm weather, great beaches, game reserves, culture and history give KwaZulu-Natal its special appeal.

Eastern Cape
Birthplace to great political figures such as Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko, the Eastern Cape has played a major part in the struggle for freedom. Take a township tour in Port Elizabeth, and drive inland to the Addo Elephant National Park, a conservation sanctuary to the largest elephant population in the world. Gorah Elephant Camp is right in the heart of the Addo Elephant Park offering a luxurious tented stay in elephant country.

The Eastern Province is also home to the Tsitsikamma and Baviaanskloof. The Eastern Cape offers sightings of the Big Five in an area that is free of malaria. Baviaanskloof is a gorge that stretches over 100 kilometres and is the ideal place to enjoy a hike in one of the most beautiful valleys in Southern Africa.

Garden Route
The Garden Route derived its name from its rich fauna and flora, and although not an official South African province, the Garden Route is well known as a must-see destination. It’s the place where ancient forests, indigenous fynbos, wetlands, lakes, majestic mountains and beautiful beaches all meet to create a breathtaking tourist destination. There are many hiking routes available in this area and if you seek an adrenalin rush, the Bloukrans River Bridge is the world’s highest commercial bungee jump at an astonishing 216m!

Western Cape
Who doesn’t know Cape Town and its famous landmark, Table Mountain? This cosmopolitan city is South Africa’s leading tourist destination, and a long list of tourist attractions that include Robben Island, historical buildings and museums, great shopping venues, diverse culture and of course, the Cape Winelands.

Every part of South Africa has much to offer. Book yourself one of many top-class African safari lodges throughout The Rainbow Nation and experience a country that is so rich in culture, history and natural beauty, you’d be disappointed not to experience it all!

Author Bio:
Exclusive Getaways is a traveller’s collection of celebrated top-class African Safari Lodges and has an appealing variety of other nature escapes, country getaways and notable city hotels.