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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.
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.
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.
Roughly translated as "fountain of flowers," Bloemfontein is known as the City of Roses, both because of the abundance of the blooms throughout the city and the annual festival dedicated to the flower. As the seat of the South African Supreme Court, the city is the judicial capital of the country as well as the provincial capital of Free State. Several sports teams and stadiums also call the city home, and its many museums outline the history of the region.
Pristine white cliffs tower over this recently revitalized spa town with its Sacred Pool and calcium-rich mineral springs. The pool is set amid a gorgeous garden, and a teahouse is adjacent. Pamukkale is most pleasant once the crowds of summer have departed, but temperatures have not yet plummeted.
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