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The village of Franschhoek (French Corner), tucked into the Cape Winelands of South Africa, is known as the country's food and wine capital. Galleries and antique shops fill the tree-lined streets, and vineyards established more than 300 years ago cascade over the hills just outside town. Local activities range from wine-tasting tours to trout fishing and hiking. The Huguenot Memorial Museum honors the town's early settlers, who fled religious persecution in France.
Hiking trails and art galleries abound in Stellenbosch, but it's wine that takes center stage. More than 100 wine cellars, most open to the public, surround the oak-lined South African town, and tasting tours operate daily. Winter brings a four-day festival celebrating the local vintages. The historic town center houses the trading-post style shop Oom Samie se Winkel, the Neo-Gothic Moederkerk church, and museums dedicated to toys, military memorabilia, autos and early life on the Cape.
Cape Town glistens at the southern toe of the African continent. Tourist brochure-views at Blaauwberg Beach and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens are within easy driving distance of "The Mother City." The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve provides sweeping sea vistas, hiking trails and wildlife encounters. On a more somber note, travellers can visit Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years.
From flat-topped Table Mountain down to the blue waters of Table Bay, Cape Town is simply stunning, but the city doesn't thrive by its looks alone. Proudly multicultural, its flourishing arts, dining, and nightlife scenes are proof of this modern metropolis' creativity and innovative spirit.
Shaded spots go early at Cape Town's crowded Camps Bay, where locals picnic and play in the strong Atlantic waves. Look for the flagged bathing areas for safer swims for all the family. Festive cafes sit adjacent to the sands, which are dramatically set at the foot of the Twelve Apostles Mountains.
South Africa’s most popular tourist destination offers the urban thrills of Cape Town, its adjacent wine country and an aura of the rich political history of South Africa. The Overberg's perfect whale-watching perches provide excitement of a different nature. The Garden Route's lakes and forests and the Klein Karoo's ostrich-farming towns and vineyards present another take on the Cape. For extra kicks, try bungee jumping or cage-diving among Great Whites.
Knysna stands out on South Africa's famed Garden Route thanks to the sandstone cliffs that dramatically separate its tranquil lagoon from the pounding surf of the Indian Ocean. It's also home to the country's largest indigenous forest. Hop aboard a ferry for a ride through the scenic highlights. The Millwood Mines at Jubilee Creek, site of a major gold rush in 1885, provide a picturesque spot for a picnic. Be sure to try some local oysters during the renowned annual festival.
Pretoria is a vision of purple, thanks to its plethora of blossoming trees that gave the South African metropolis its nickname: Jacaranda City. Give in to the animal magnetism of the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, then get up close and personal with the big, bad kitties of the Cheetah Research and Breeding Centre. The buildings of Pretoria reflect diverse architectural styles and influences, creating a unique urban landscape.
The largest game reserve in South Africa, Kruger National Park is basically a synonym for the word "safari." Home to over 500 bird species, 100 reptiles, nearly 150 mammals, multiple archaeological sites, and a stunningly diversity of trees and flowers, Kruger is the country’s flagship national park. Adventurers can explore the park in a 4x4, take a bush walk or fly above in a hot-air balloon.
Mauritius is arguably Africa’s wealthiest destination, a tropical paradise with tons to do. Port Louis, the modern capital of this 38-mile by 29-mile island, is a bustling port with a revitalized waterfront and a busy market. But most visitors gravitate toward resort areas such as Mont Choisy, quiet Trou-aux-Biches and the more bustling Flic en Flac, popular with scuba divers. Rivière Noire is ideal for those looking for great deep-sea fishing.