This year marks the centenary of Nelson Mandela, South Africa's iconic anti-apartheid activist, politician and philanthropist, who became South Africa's first black president in 1994. Mandela, who died in 2013, would have celebrated his 100th birthday on July 18.

To launch the celebrations, South African Tourism this month led a 100-strong delegation of media and travel professionals from North America at Africa's largest travel trade show, Indaba, in Durban.

"We are proud to mark this important milestone in history alongside our top travel and media partners as we take time to reflect on Mandela's legacy and his positive impact on the world," said Bangu Masisi, president of South African Tourism's Americas Hub. "We invite our delegation and visitors from around the world to make 2018 the year they discover South Africa and follow in the footsteps of one of the world's most exceptional human rights advocates."

A statue of Nelson Mandela in Nobel Square at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.
A statue of Nelson Mandela in Nobel Square at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. Photo Credit: Mark Edward Harris

Travelers interested in tracing Mandela's footsteps can download Madiba's Journey app (Madiba is Nelson Mandela's Xhosa name). South African Tourism, in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, recently relaunched the app to include 100 historical landmarks and sites that influenced Mandela's life.

From the Eastern Cape to Johannesburg to Cape Town and beyond, the app enables users to customize itineraries and helps guide them through key landmarks, offering context, photos and curated audio narration about Mandela's life and the 27 years he spent as a political prisoner.

South African Airways Vacations is currently offering a 10-day Celebrating Mandela's 100th package, which gives visitors a first-hand cultural experience. The package highlights include a tour of Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years, and an urban cultural tour of the township of Langa in Cape Town with a hands-on, fun-filled cooking session that takes place in a family home. Other features include a visit to the World Heritage Site of the Cradle of Humankind and a visit to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. Prices start at $2,499 per person (terms and conditions apply).

For more information about Madiba's Journey app, visit

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