23 beautiful reasons to visit South Africa


(CNN) — Its human history is checkered, but South Africa’s natural wonders have never been less than glorious.

From surf-ravaged beaches to big game-roaming national parks, towering mountains to flooded wetlands, stunning coastal drives and the junction of two oceans — the Atlantic and Pacific — at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa is blessed with treasures.

Then there are the man-made attractions, from rolling vineyards to plunging diamond mines, poignant Robben Island and Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum to cosmopolitan Cape Town and Table Mountain and buzzing Jo’burg itself.

South Africa celebrates Freedom Day on April 27 — a commemoration of the first post-apartheid elections held on that day in 1994.

To honor the occasion, we’ve put together images of the best places to see in the Rainbow Nation. Click through the above gallery for an eyeful of the best South Africa has to offer.

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