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Snake charmers sit outside refined palaces, riotous marketplaces sell all kinds... more
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Marrakech
Snake charmers sit outside refined palaces, riotous marketplaces sell all kinds of wares, and the mysterious Medina (old town) contains nearly two miles of secret passages. Mopeds, mules and Mercedes dart around, yet time seems to have slowed. The Atlas Mountains make a thrilling day trip, while city sights include tombs, souks, palaces, mosques and baths. Marrakech has a sunny, Mediterranean climate. Spring and autumn are the ideal times to visit, with pleasant temperatures and little rain.
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Cape Town glistens at the southern toe of the African continent. Amazing sites,... more
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Cape Town Central
Cape Town glistens at the southern toe of the African continent. Amazing sites, from Robben Island, Nelson Mandela's former prison, to tourist-brochure views at Blaauwberg Beach and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, are within easy driving distance of "The Mother City". Sun worshippers, surfers and divers flock to nearby white sand beaches and azure waters under Table Mountain. The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve provides sweeping sea vistas, hiking trails and wildlife encounters.
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The atmospheric old city of Fes - and its vast Karouine mosque - date back to... more
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Fes
The atmospheric old city of Fes - and its vast Karouine mosque - date back to the 9th century. New Fes is a spring chicken in comparison, dating back only to the 1500s. Hired cars don't do well in the city's narrow streets, so to explore the culture of this great city, or rather two cities, brave the daredevil taxi drivers or walk from one major sight to another, from the maze-like quarters of the ancient Medina to Fes el-Bali and the four imposing Gates of Fes, with their distinctive Moroccan tilework.
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Portuguese, French and Berber architecture frame the maze-like streets of... more
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Essaouira
Portuguese, French and Berber architecture frame the maze-like streets of Essaouira, a charming and vibrant port and resort town on the Atlantic Ocean. Nearby, couples and families stroll the beaches of Cape Sim and Sidi Kaouki, which also attract surfers of all types. Relaxation is easy to find here, as is a bus to Marrakech, for those looking for a daytrip.
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Bask in glorious sunsets and channel your inner sheik while you ride a... more
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Merzouga
Bask in glorious sunsets and channel your inner sheik while you ride a meandering camel across the windblown dunes of Erg Chebbi. Merzouga, a small village in southeast Morocco, gives visitors a taste of desert life, and treks to nearby villages will reward you with African revelry, including music and dance. Ask your hotel to arrange a guided tour.
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Knysna stands out on South Africa's famed Garden Route thanks to the sandstone... more
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Knysna
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.
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The village of Franschhoek (French Corner), tucked into the Cape Winelands of... more
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Franschhoek
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.
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Johannesburg is the place to go to mix big-city culture, shopping, dining and... more
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Johannesburg
Johannesburg is the place to go to mix big-city culture, shopping, dining and nightlife with outdoor adventures, up-close wildlife encounters and visits to historical sites. Explore caves and nature reserves, or visit a traditional village by day, then enjoy dinner at a hip cafe or five-star restaurant. And if you're a shopper, bring an extra, empty suitcase. With malls, open-air markets and places that blend the two, you'll find plenty of unique souvenirs.
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Known as the safari capital of Africa, this former Maasai watering hole is an... more
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Nairobi
Known as the safari capital of Africa, this former Maasai watering hole is an energetic, modern city that offers a fascinating introduction to both wildlife and nightlife. Music clubs pulse with life, shops and markets bustle, and international restaurants sit alongside those offering more regional fare. Top sights include the Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Centre and the black rhinos of Nairobi National Park. The compact city center is safe to walk in and taxis make other areas accessible.
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The delightful village of Watamu is an eco-tourist’s dream, lined with sandy... more
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Watamu
The delightful village of Watamu is an eco-tourist’s dream, lined with sandy white beaches and hotels dedicated to sustainable tourism. Watamu is a quick snorkel away from the Malindi Marine Reserve Park, and Turtle Beach is the ideal spot for a swim and a tanning session. The village proper features quaint Kenyan shopping stalls called dukas, where you can stock up with supplies. Make sure to visit the Gede Ruins, a mysterious and heavily overgrown 12th century Swahili village, and the beautifully fluttery Kipepeo Butterfly Project.
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Sipping your way across the Paarl Wine Route is one of the most enjoyable ways... more
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Paarl
Sipping your way across the Paarl Wine Route is one of the most enjoyable ways to experience this South African town. Besides being part of the Cape Winelands region, Paarl is the place where the Afrikaans language was developed, a linguistic feat that’s commemorated by a dramatic monument. Cheer on your favorite pony at the Polo Club or hit the links at one of the area’s many beautiful golf courses.
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The tiny Moroccan town of Ouarzazate is a caramel-colored oasis set against a... more
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Ouarzazate
The tiny Moroccan town of Ouarzazate is a caramel-colored oasis set against a clear blue African sky. Be inspired by Ait Benhaddou, a beautifully preserved Kasbah that's a UNESCO World Heritage site, or walk in the starry path of celebrities by taking a tour of one of Ouarzazate's two movie studios. Tour the surrounding dunes on camel-back, or simply bask in the quiet bustle of the bargaining sessions at local markets.
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Beautiful Hermanus is a South African seaside town that’s a popular... more
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Hermanus
Beautiful Hermanus is a South African seaside town that’s a popular whale-watching site. An initial visit to the Old Harbour Museum will acquaint you with the area’s rich fishing history and impress you with a massive exhibit of a whale skeleton. With dozens of area vineyards, Hermanus is a great base for a guided wine tasting tour.
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The caves of Plettenberg Bay are wrinkles in time, lined with ancient artifacts... more
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Plettenberg Bay
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?)
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Hiking trails and art galleries abound in Stellenbosch, but it's wine that takes... more
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Stellenbosch
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.
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The city of 900,000 sits on Mombasa Island, with beach front hotels lining the... more
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Mombasa
The city of 900,000 sits on Mombasa Island, with beach front hotels lining the North Coast, on the mainland at Nyali Beach. Mombasa's Indian Ocean setting has brought a diverse array of people to Kenya's second-largest city. The architecture and markets reflect its Arab heritage. Its Indian influences are evident in mosques and temples that date back as far as the early 1800s. European colonials left the mark at sites such as Fort Jesus. Barter for a good taxi deal or try traveling short distances by tuk-tuk.
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About an hour south of Mombasa, the sparkling white sands and lush greenery of... more
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Diani Beach
About an hour south of Mombasa, the sparkling white sands and lush greenery of Diani invite you to relax under a beach umbrella with a refreshing drink. Try a camel ride for the tourist experience or book a bike tour inland for a glimpse of life in local villages. Diani is also a base for several safari companies.
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Former palaces and Arab mansions along the twisting streets of Stone Town hint... more
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Stone Town
Former palaces and Arab mansions along the twisting streets of Stone Town hint at a grander age for this port city on the western coast of Zanzibar. The Old Fort, built in the 1700s to fend off the Portuguese, now hosts local performances, a café and an art gallery. Overstuffed bazaars lend an air of nonstop bustle. Mafia Island Marine Park sits just offshore, a haven for snorkeling the local reefs. Day tours visit working plantations where the island's legendary spices are grown.
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With lively restaurants, white-sand beaches, ever-expanding resorts and a... more
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Grand Baie
With lively restaurants, white-sand beaches, ever-expanding resorts and a natural harbor, Grand Baie is fertile tourist ground. Located on the northwest coast of Mauritius, its fashion and craft shops appeal to landlubbers, while swimming, sailing and windsurfing enthusiasts frolic in the emerald Indian Ocean. Glass-bottom boat trips provide a window on the underwater world, but for a one-of-a-kind experience, board a two-person submarine and cruise beneath the surface with the tropical fish.
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Pretoria is a vision of purple, thanks to its plethora of blossoming trees that... more
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Pretoria
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.
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The Indian and colonial influences in this South African beach city can’t be... more
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Durban
The Indian and colonial influences in this South African beach city can’t be missed, and the blend of cultures and architecture makes Durban unique in South Africa. Durban’s Golden Mile is a destination for surfers, families and fisherman, due to its blend of natural beauty and modern resort. Major-city attractions abound, making this a good destination for families and couples alike.
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Thanks to its location just to the south of Kruger National Park, Hazyview makes... more
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Hazyview
Thanks to its location just to the south of Kruger National Park, Hazyview makes a great base for safari expeditions and adventure tours. It’s an animal lover’s paradise, with opportunities to engage with elephants, ride rescue horses through the hills, spot one or more species on “The Big 5” list, and much more. You can also tour coffee farms, splash in waterfalls or sink into relaxation at an area spa.
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The beach town of Kololi is one of Gambia’s most popular vacation spots. Spend a... more
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Kololi
The beach town of Kololi is one of Gambia’s most popular vacation spots. Spend a day lolling on the golden sands, then explore “the Strip,” Kololi’s main throughfare, lined with restaurants, hotels and nightclubs. Brave the bush on a guided safari, chatter with the monkeys of Bijilo Forest Park and bargain for handmade treasures at the Senegambia Craft Market.
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Houmt-Souk is a tranquil cultural hub, a peaceful meeting point of varying... more
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Houmt Souk
Houmt-Souk is a tranquil cultural hub, a peaceful meeting point of varying religions and ethnicities. Nowhere is this melange more evident than at the markets, where you could spend hours, even days, poring over locally crafted pottery, jewelry, leather goods, textiles and artwork, as well as a bounty of fruits, vegetables, spices and meats. Don’t miss the beachside fortress, a massive 15th-century structure that’s one of the most important archaeological sites of the region.
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Today Casablanca is a large, modern city, but the former French colonial post... more
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Casablanca
Today Casablanca is a large, modern city, but the former French colonial post still allows myriad movie moments for those who want to revisit love in the medina and Old City. Casa (as locals call it) isn’t too touristy, but it’s the most cosmopolitan and Western-feeling city in Morocco. Visit the King Hassan II Mosque and Casa's Medina.
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