Known as one of Africa’s best safari destinations, South Africa is the place to go for a real adventure. Although lions, leopards, elephants, and rhinos are reason enough to visit, South Africa has more to offer than an impressive variety of wildlife. With two oceans, breathtaking mountains, and vibrant, culturally diverse cities, there’s a never-ending and forever evolving list of things to do in South Africa. This year, skip the usual travel destinations, pack your bags, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime.

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01Cape Town

The port city of Cape Town is a metropolis full of vibrant art, diverse neighborhoods, and historically important institutions. Cape Town is a real mecca for adventure seekers, and you can easily spend your entire trip exploring the city. Learn about the apartheid and South Africa’s difficult past by visiting the eye-opening District Six Museum, or take a day trip to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years incarcerated. Other must-see parts of Cape Town include the Malay neighborhood of Bo-Kaap, the colorful streets of Woodstock, and, of course, the many pristine beaches. While you’re in the area, head to the nearby Cape Winelands and sample some of its world-famous wine and cuisine.

Cape Town and the 12 Apostels from above in South Africa Ben1183 / Getty Images