The hot and dry Eastern Lowveld is mostly used as a staging post on the way into and out of Kruger National Park. You can learn about the history of the gold rush in the feel-good town of Barberton or get your big-city fix in Nelspruit, and there are plenty of country lodges to whet your appetite for mighty Kruger National Park.
Welcome to North Africa’s highest mountain range, known by local Berbers as ‘Idraren Draren’ (Mountains of Mountains), and a trekker’s paradise from spring through to autumn. The High Atlas runs diagonally across Morocco for almost 1000km, encircling Marrakesh to the south and east from the Atlantic Coast just north of Agadir to Khenifra in the northeast.
Ghana's beating heart probably won't inspire love letters, but you might just grow to like it. The capital's hot, sticky streets are perfumed with sweat, fumes and yesterday's cooking oil. Like balloons waiting to be burst, clouds of dirty humidity linger above stalls selling mangoes, banku (fermented maize meal) and rice.
Mauritius' western wonderland is the nation's most diverse coast. The bustling tourist hub of Flic en Flac may not be to everyone's taste, but treasures lie just beyond. Along the coast are the sandy bays and mountainous backdrops of Black River (Rivière Noire) and Tamarin, and dramatic beauty Le Morne Brabant, an awesomely photogenic crag, caps the coastline's southern tip.
Embracing an exquisitely beautiful lagoon and surrounded by ancient forests, Knysna (pronounced ny-znah) is probably the most famous town on the Garden Route. Formerly the centre of the timber industry, supplying yellowwood and stinkwood for railway lines, shipping and house-building, it still has several shops specialising in woodwork and traditional furniture.
West Coast & Swartland
The windswept coastline and desolate mountains on the western side of Western Cape are a peaceful, undeveloped paradise. Head north of Cape Town and you’ll find whitewashed fishing villages, fascinating country towns, unspoilt beaches, a lagoon and wetlands teeming with birds, plus one of the best hiking regions in the country.
South of Durban is a 160km-long string of seaside resorts and suburbs running from Amanzimtoti to Port Edward, near the Eastern Cape border. There’s a bit of a Groundhog Day feel about this mass of shoulder-to-shoulder getaways that are spread out along two routes – the N2 and the R102.
The North Coast, the coastal strip from Umhlanga Rocks north to Tugela River, is a profusion of upmarket time-share apartments and retirement villages with some pleasant beaches. The section from Zimbali, slightly north of Umhlanga, to the Tugela is known as the Dolphin Coast.
When a wealthy family refused hospitality to a poor woman and her son, God was offended, and buried them under the mounds of sand called Erg Chebbi. So goes the legend of the dunes rising majestically above the twin villages of Merzouga and Hassi Labied, and for many travellers fulfill Morocco's promise as a dream desert destination.