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South Africa

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South Africa is one of the most geographically varied countries of the African continent, comprising territory that ranges from the rolling, fertile plains of the highveld and the wide open savanna of the Eastern Transvaal to the Kalahari desert and the peaks of the Drakensberg Mountains. While all of its diverse regions offer ample opportunities for adventure travel, the focus in South Africa--as in much of sub-Saharan Africa--is the safari. In addition to possessing two of the world's most renowned wildlife reserves, the Kruger and the Kalahari Gemsbok National Parks, the country contains over a dozen smaller regional parks and reserves. In addition, with its excellent road and rail systems, its abundance of top-rated accommodations, and its bountiful farmlands and vineyards, South Africa allows visitors ample opportunity for more luxurious comfort along with adventuresome excitement.
Location, Geography, & Climate
South Africa is located, as one might expect, on the southern tip of Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west, the Indian Ocean on the south and east. Along its northern border, from west to east, lie Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe, and to the northeast are Mozambique and Swaziland. Wholly-enclosed by South Africa, and situated in its eastern central plain, is the independent kingdom of Lesotho.
Almost all of South Africa's 472,000 square miles (1.2 million sq. km.) lie below the Tropic of Capricorn, and the country is geographically composed of three primary regions: an expansive central plateau, a nearly continuous escarpment of mountain ranges that ring the plateau on the west, south, and east, and a narrow strip of low-lying land along the coast. Most of the central plateau (and most of the country) consists of high (4,000-6,000 ft/1,220-1,830 m), rolling grassland known as highveld. The highest points of the mountainous...

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