From safaris and city breaks to wine tours and cross-country railway adventures, epic experiences abound in sun-soaked South Africa, where you can take in cultures both cutting-edge and ancient, no matter where you go.

Whether you're a full-on foodie looking for your gastro fix after a trip out to wine country, or you just fancy a city break to a destination like no other, a trip to the coastal cities of Cape Town or Durban is inviting, exciting and packed to the brim with variety. From gourmet grub to music clubs and amazing nightlife, there really is something for every kind of traveller.

But to really get under the skin of a destination, you need to see it like a local – and there's no better way than with the local insight of South African Tourism's specially selected guides, whose insider knowledge will help unearth some of the experiences you won't find in the guidebooks. Here's some insight from just two of the 12 Meet Your South Africa guides.

Try township cuisine with a twist

Abigail Mbalo, from Khayelitsha, Cape Town

Once they've shot to stardom, most MasterChef contestants tend to start high-end restaurants that showcase their skills to the most affluent eaters and trendiest neighbourhoods the world over: not Abigail Mbalo, the MasterChef South Africa finalist in 2014 who has since devoted her time to giving back to the township she grew up in.

Her restaurant, 4Roomed eKasi Culture, is based in the township of Khayelitsha just to the west of Cape Town, and serves upscaled takes on traditional township dishes, elevating them from so-called 'peasant meals' to high-quality dishes full of flavour, culture and history.

Dishes served at 4Roomed eKasi Culture are new takes on wholesome family food, and include pap – a corn-based staple that's a familiar dish on the dinner table across the country. For many South Africans, the restaurant's dishes are packed full of nostalgia, but for a visitor it's a way of tasting authentic local flavour while still eating restaurant-quality grub.

One for the responsible traveller, Mbalo's project also keeps skilled chefs in the township, meaning that in time it can grow, prosper and become the culturally diverse destination it deserves to be. Plus, you get a pretty epic view back towards Table Mountain from out west, too.

Discover under-the-radar Durban

Jonas Barausse, from Durban

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There's a difference between being a tourist and being a traveller: a tourist sees the sights, but a traveller gets out there and discovers them. But unearthing rough-hewn gems for yourself in every single destination you go is time-consuming, tiring and, well, really difficult if you've never visited before.

But that's where Jonas comes in: as the guide, local and culture supremo behind BESETdurban – a tour company based in Durban on South Africa's scenic East Coast – he makes sure that travellers visiting Durban manage to unlock his home city from the moment their feet hit the pavement.

Hop out on tour for a day and you'll discover everything from small-batch coffee roasteries to jazz clubs and the thriving expat Indian food scene. 

Then, when you're done with all that walking, he might just find you the best spot to roll out your towel on Durban's iconic, golden-sand beach. We'll see you there.

Interested in holidays to South Africa? Discover even more epic itinerary ideas from ten more Meet Your South Africa guides at southafrica.net/meetyoursouthafrica