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South Africa

©Jennifer Stern©Jennifer SternThere is so much to do in South Africa, you'll be spoiled for choice. Every adventure activity you can possibly imagine is catered for - even snow skiing, although that is relatively limited.

The cultural attractions are mind-blowing, ranging from the Cradle of Humankind, where (we believe) we all originated, to historical battlefields and opportunities to experience contemporary African culture up close.

Nature lovers will find the game viewing, birdwatching and whale watching second to none in the world, and, of course, South Africa is the only country in the world to include one of the major plant kingdoms entirely within its borders.

South Africans are keen on sports, so there are fabulous facilities for rugby, cricket and soccer. And - sometimes, they even get up from the grandstands or the couch in front of the TV to get a little exercise, so you'll find good gyms all over, lots of sports clubs that welcome visitors and a whole host of fabulous competitions and races, including real epics like the Comrades Marathon and the Argus Cycle Tour, which is the biggest individually timed event in the world. If all that sounds a tad energetic, there are loads of places to just chill out - wonderful beaches, forests and mountains and, of course, some fabulous spas and wellness centres, where you can take the concept of recreation to the extreme.

South Africa has nine provinces.

The Northern Cape is mostly harsh, but beautiful, desert with a wild coastline, magnificent spring flowers and good game-viewing.

Right in the south-west of the country, the Western Cape is renowned for its beautiful beaches, flowers and wine.

The Eastern Cape has a number of fabulous malaria-free game-viewing destinations, a long, absolutely lovely coast, and South Africa’s only dedicated ski resort.

The mostly sub-tropical KwaZulu-Natal has some balmy beaches, wonderful game parks, historical battlefields and loads of cultural destinations showcasing Zulu lifestyle and history.

Gauteng – the place of gold – is the smallest, wealthiest and most frenetic of the provinces. As well as the city of Johannesburg and some mining attractions, the Cradle of Humankind is a major attraction.

Bordering Gauteng, the North West Province is best known for the rather over-the-top Sun City but there are a number of excellent game reserves and some lovely hiking.

Mpumalanga is South Africa’s premier game viewing and safari destination, with the more popular section of the Kruger National Park and some exclusive private lodges. But there’s also good fly fishing, hiking and other cultural and adventurous attractions.

Limpopo is often overlooked by travellers in search of good game-viewing, but it has much to offer. The malaria-free Waterberg has excellent game viewing, and the less-visited parts of the Kruger National Park fall within this province. The mountain and forest regions of Limpopo have some fabulous hikes, and are renowned as regions of great cultural importance.

The central province of the Free State is often overlooked by travellers in search of glitz and glamour, but it has the magnificent mountains and streams of the Eastern Free State, and the lovely little town of Parys on the Vaal River.

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