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The Zulu believe South Africa's Table Mountain is the spot where God crumpled the world in his hand, preparing to throw it all away. One can understand why he didn't—the view from the mountain's summit is enough to change anyone's mind.  
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Kenya gets credit for inventing the safari, but Tanzania may have better game-viewing. Bordered by the colossal natural features of Lake Victoria (the world's second-largest freshwater lake) and Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa's highest point at more than 19,341 feet), Tanzania's numerous game reserves help safari-goers make quick work of their Big Five spotting checklists.  
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Kenya's nomadic Masai, the most recognizable of East African tribes, live on the Mara plains, alongside herds of gazelle and lonely thorn trees. The fierce warriors have managed to preserve their ancestral culture as they roam the sun-parched plains, tending to their cattle.  
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Deriving from its centralized topography and hospitable locals, Malawi, or “the warm heart of Africa” is a befitting nickname for a family-rooted community of farmers, cultivating anything from pineapple, guava, and mango to tea, coffee, and tobacco. They’ll likely hand over a sample or invite you in for a traditional village dance if you can say hello in Chewa, the country’s national language—or just muster up a smile.  
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Thirty years ago, the African black rhino numbered 15,000; today, the population sits at about 4,800, poaching largely responsible for this decline, though numbers have steadily been increasing in recent years. Legally, black rhinos can only be shot with a camera, a much better way to enjoy them.  
Credit: Lacy Morris 
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Fes, Morocco, is a whimsical world of maze-like streets framed with high walls lined with street vendors, mosques, and fruit and spice stalls. Visitors taking in this old-world mystique can expect a virtually car-free excursion, due to the difficulty of navigating these insanely narrow city streets.  
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The stark, foggy landscape of Namibia's Skeleton Coast is dotted with abandoned mines, shipwrecks, and watering holes where thirsty animals congregate. This remote stretch is an eerie, rewarding place to visit.  
Credit: Lacy Morris 
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Aiming to reach middle-income status by 2020, Ghana has been making great changes in its economy and government. The school enrollment rate has increased, and more jobs are becoming available. Tourism is an up-and-coming commodity, with miles of coastline and a diverse array of wildlife working as a blessing for the pint-size country.  
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Though the records have been manipulated to accommodate our 21st Century marvels, the Pyramids of Giza have laid claim on the original list of the Seven Wonders of the World. The largest “Great Pyramid” is constructed of roughly 2.3 million limestone blocks, weighing anywhere from two to 16 tons each. It is the only remaining member of the Seven Wonders so it is no wonder that it is slowly giving way to the elements—starting at a staggering 481 feet, the pyramid is now only 449.  
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Gabon is hard to figure out, melding great natural beauty and a turbulent (at times, dangerous) political history. But these days, crime is relatively low and the countryside is quite peaceful. The landscape is hard to define, with profusely green jungles giving way to rolling savannahs home to a who’s who of the animal kingdom. And then there are the beaches—white sand, soft breezes, and few visitors. Painted tribespeople and more than 40 different ethnic groups coexist with Libreville, the country’s capital and largest city, which ranks number 13 on Bloomberg Businessweek’s list of the world’s most expensive cities.  
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Since the 2002 declaration of peace, the country of Sierra Leone has become one of West Africa’s safest destinations. Freetown, the capital and largest city, is the economic, financial, and cultural hub of the country, with a majority of the population being Krio people. They live primarily in the capital city, and their native language dominates conversations, even though they account for only five percent of the country’s population. Relics of the violent past are still visible, but the city is determined to bring its act to the modern stage.  
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Right in the navel of Africa’s western coast, the country of Cameroon is often overlooked for the safari countries to the southeast (unless you’re a soccer fan). And if it’s remembered, it’s associated with the turmoil that engulfs its agitated neighbors. That’s a shame, as Cameroon is known as “Africa in miniature,” meaning you’re likely to find a little bit of everything African in a country the size of Texas. Start on the coast, where there are beaches just as lush and pleasant as on any island getaway. Walk on through dense forests, where some of the world’s most endangered gorillas reside. Then eyeball volcanic Mount Cameroon and its subsequent range that eventually gives way to rolling hills and grassy savannahs, a place to easily spot Africa’s Big Five.  
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La Digue is the Seychelles’ fourth largest island, and still less than four miles long and two miles wide. Not accessible by plane, you must take a 20 minute boat ride from nearby Praslin. When on land, an oxcart will shuttle you around, as cars are prohibited. The island is famous for its white sand beaches encompassed by spectacular granite rock formations. Explore around for deserted coves for a chance to experience pure seclusion.  
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Zambia is home to one of the biggest waterfalls in the world; Victoria Falls, which rushes over a huge rift between the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, has super-cheap campsites nearby. A few miles upstream is the new Toka Leya camp in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, which offers great opportunities to spot leopards, giraffe, and hippos. Or take in the wildlife along the Zambezi River; its powerful waters carved Victoria Falls and the Batoka Gorge. You can find all range of activities on the river, including fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. Or those on the adrenaline-pumping end of the spectrum can try bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, and cliff jumping.  
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Botswana is one of Africa’s most stable nations and also offers some of the best game-viewing in the country. The relatively small lodges on private and public game parks ensure that you see many more critters than people in jeeps. Go for broke and add a day-trip to Stanley’s Camp, where guides lead you on a walk through the bushland inhabited by semi-habituated elephants. This is the best way to gain access to stroke their wrinkled sides and take a rest on their enormous feet.  
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