'I believe that South Africa is the most beautiful place on earth. Admittedly, I am biased, but when you combine the natural beauty of South Africa with the friendliness and cultural diversity of our people, and the fact that the region is a haven for Africa's most splendid wildlife, then I think even the most scrupulous critic would agree that we have been blessed with a truly wonderful land. I would like to extend a personal invitation to you to come and see for yourself the splendour of South Africa. I know that my people will be delighted to welcome you and I think you will be enchanted by their warmth and hospitality. I am equally sure that you will enjoy our culture, our cuisine and the warmth of our people'.
Nelson Mandela - humanitarian AIDS campaigner and previous President of South Africa (1994-1999)
South Africa is an awesome holiday destination with so much to do you'll be spoiled for choice. South Africa is internationally renowned as one of the world's top game viewing and birding destinations, but it also has some of the world's best flowers, which can be seen to great advantage, particularly in the Western Cape where the indigenous fynbos forms part of the Cape Floral Region, which is a world heritage site.
As if that's not enough, South Africa also has 3,000 km coastline with fabulous beaches and water sports, and great dolphin and whale watching.
South Africa has some fantastic cultural and historical attractions. It's widely accepted to be the birthplace of the human race, so you can explore your roots here and ponder on the meaning of life. You could also visit historical battlefields, fabulous rock art sites and interesting monuments relating to the history of South Africa and the struggle against apartheid.
But it's not all about the past - ancient buildings and dusty museums - it's the people that make South Africa really special. You can spend weeks doing nothing but visiting interesting communities, doing contemporary cultural tours and perhaps spending a few nights as a guest in a township home stay or in a rural village.
For the more physically active, there are loads of golf courses, and an awesome array of adventure activities ranging from mild to wild, serene to extreme, or tame to insane.
But if you'd rather be pampered than pumped up, you can retreat to one of hundreds of wellness centres or spas and be pummelled, plucked and preened to your heart's content. Or you can forget the body beautiful brigade and take a real holiday, indulging in fabulous food and wine and - occasionally - working on your sun tan. It's a hard choice.
Interesting Link: Nelson Mandela Children's Fund
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