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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.
The caves of Plettenberg Bay are wrinkles in time, lined with ancient artifacts that date to the Middle Stone Age. Under the sun, Robberg, Central and Lookout beaches are pristine stretches of white sand, magnets for tourists, seagulls and dolphins, who bob playfully just off shore. Wildlife lovers will delight at the Birds of Eden aviary and Monkeyland. (How can you not have fun in a place called Monkeyland?)
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.
Arriving at La Digue feels like sailing straight into a painting, brimming with brush strokes of blue, green and tan. The beaches here are spectacular, particularly Grand Anse and Anse Source d'Argent, which is strewn with pink granite rocks. There are very few cars here, so travelling by bike or by ox cart is the way to go. Pedal over to Ile de Cocos for snorkeling or gawk at the rare Paradise Flycatcher (a beautiful black bird) at the Veuve Nature Reserve.
On the Turkish Riviera, traditional fishing villages such as agiz nestle alongside the modern resort destinations of Marmaris and Antalya. Unspoiled yellow sandy beaches and pine forests line this history-rich coast whose illustrious former residents include St Paul. Buses make easy connections between the coves, castles and cities beside the turquoise waters of what the Turks call the "White Sea". Don't miss the awe-inspiring eternal fires of Chimaera at Olympos - most impressive at night.
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