Everything about Africa that stirs the imagination is concentrated in its southernmost country. Lions freely roam vast game reserves such as Kruger National Park, vineyards stretch across the Cape Winelands, and mountains cascade into the sea along miles of beaches. In addition to dream safaris and romantic honeymoons, South Africa offers modern cities with thriving arts and dining scenes. When it comes to city life, every South African city has its own unique story to tell, and the best people to tell those stories are the locals themselves. So, let them be your guide to all the hot spots, dance-spots, taste experiences and best-kept secrets around the cities they call home.South Africans are welcoming, and the country’s emergence from a turbulent past provides a dramatic history lesson and the promise of something new every time you visit.
Johannesburg, or Jo'burg, Egoli ("City of Gold"), or Jozi, as it is affectionately known by locals, is the commercial heart of South Africa and the primary gateway for international visitors. Historically it is where money is made and fortunes are found. The city has a (perhaps rather unfair) reputation for being an ugly, dangerous place you ought to avoid on any trip to South Africa. On the contrary, much of Johannesburg is quite pretty, largely because of the millions of trees that cover it (it has, purportedly, the largest human-planted forest in the world), and statistically speaking it is less dangerous than Cape Town.
Glamorous Cape Town
A favorite South African topic of debate is whether Cape Town really is part of Africa. That’s how different it is, both from the rest of the country and the rest of the continent. And therein lies its attraction. South Africa's most urbane, sophisticated city sits in stark contrast to the South Africa north of the Hex River Valley. Here, the traffic lights work pretty much consistently and good restaurants are commonplace. In fact, dining establishments in the so-called Mother City always dominate the country's "best of" lists.
Durban's beach is one of the few places where South Africans of all stripes mingle -- surfers, women in burkinis, pensioners on a stroll and kids playing on the well-maintained public slides. The main attraction is uShaka Marine World, a water park and aquarium. To cool off, you can book a table at the Cargo Hold restaurant (+21 328 8065) inside the shark tank, or step outside to Ocean Ventures and book a surf lesson. Durban's beaches are protected by shark nets and the water's warm enough to swim in year round.
Most hotels have Wi-Fi. Stores such as Woolworths, restaurants such as Wimpy, and most airports offer a countrywide Wi-Fi service called Always On that allows you 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi per day. If you need more time, you can pay for it.
If you bring your laptop or tablet, you'll have no problem finding Wi-Fi service in the cities, but it's unlikely you'll find anyone to service a Mac outside of Cape Town and Jo 'burg.