Tourists on the Cape Town City Sightseeing bus take photos. The city is a popular holiday destination and features in the 2018 Lonely Planet yearbook. Picture: Tracey Adams/ANA
South Africa has been named one of the best countries in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018.

The highly anticipated announcement was made by this best-selling, inspirational travel yearbook from one of the world’s leading travel authorities.

It highlights the top 10 countries, cities, regions and best value destinations for 2018.

South Africa earned its place on the list thanks to its diversity of landscape and natural wonders, thriving cities and great value for international visitors, with Lonely Planet stating: “With more to see than ever, and favourable exchange rates offering great value, 2018 is a phenomenal year to visit South Africa.

“Beaches and mountains, wildlife and wine, and let’s not forget vibrant culture and cosmopolitan Cape Town - South Africa has long been one of the world’s most alluring countries. 

"This year, the country’s many attractions will be bolstered by Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018: Be the Legacy, a programme of events aimed at honouring the legendary leader.

South Africa features alongside countries such as Mauritius, New Zealand and China on the list of best countries to visit in 2018, with Chile taking the top spot as No1 country in the world.

In other categories, Seville in Spain was named No1 city, with Belfast and the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland picked as the best region, and Tallinn, Estonia, as best value destination.

Deciding the destinations in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel annual selection is a considered process, with its expert writers and travellers providing hundreds of suggestions of destinations from the places they have visited during the past year.

These places are then shortlisted by a panel of in-house travel experts who consider criteria such as topicality, excitement and the “wow-factor” to decide what to include in the travel yearbook.

The guide also features five travel trends that consumers should look out for next year, with destination races, vegetarian and vegan travel and private islands among those selected as ones to watch, while the travel experts also rank the top 10 best culture trips for families, new openings and best places to stay.

The landing page, www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel, features all of the Best in Travel 2018 destinations and additional advice on visiting them.

Four videos accompany each of the No 1 destinations to reveal why they were selected the top spots for travel in 2018.

Travellers can also enter a My Best in Travel video competition to win round-trip flights for two to the No 1 country, Chile, and a GoPro Hero6 Black provided by this year’s sponsor, GoPro.