20 May 2014 by Daphney Mngomeni

Democratic South Africa: 20 years on, and still going strong

In 1994 South Africans experienced an event that would change their lives and the country’s reputation forever: the first democratic elections.

Inked thumb after voting in a South African election. Image courtesy of Darryn van der Walt

The system of apartheid, which had segregated the citizens of South Africa based on their skin colour, came to an end and a new age dawned.

South Africa has come a long way in the past 20 years and has lived up to its reputation of being a Rainbow Nation, a term coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to describe the country's post-apartheid incarnation.

Boasting a well-established tourism industry that’s big on adventure, sport, nature and wildlife, it’s no wonder that South Africa is increasingly regarded as a top travel destination.

Even South Africans who have lived in the country all their lives can’t get enough of its attractions, and the endless exciting destinations waiting to be explored.

Wildlife, food, culture and sport are popular in this country, and there’s plenty of each to go around.

Namaqualand's natural beauty. Image South African Tourism Namaqualand's natural beauty. Image South African Tourism

Results of a survey taken after the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa show that South Africa is a welcoming place; 90% of visitors to South Africa during the World Cup found locals to be very friendly and hospitable.

Townships, which were once reserved for black South Africans, have since become a huge hit with tourists.

In 2007 township tourism first boomed, and places such as Soweto, New Brighton, Alexandra and Khayelitsha have since become popular destinations for tourists wanting genuine and memorable experiences.

Home to the Big Five, one of the New7Wonders of the World, nature reserves that are ranked among the world’s finest and Blue Flag beaches, South Africa has natural beauty that’s hard to beat.

So the next time the travel bug bites, book a flight to South Africa for unforgettable experiences – and if you’re from South Africa, remember ... home is where the heart is.

Cape Town's Table Mountain. Image courtesy of <a href= Cape Town's Table Mountain. Image courtesy of Dietmar Temps
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