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SOUTH AFRICA

With its ring of mountains, elegant Cape Dutch architecture, vineyards and orchards, the Cape Peninsula has been generously endowed. Cape Town itself, the mother city, enjoys a setting of ravishing beauty. However the old Transvaal, now Mpumalanga, with its endless miles of dun-coloured bushveld, gets closer to the heart of Africa: the smell of wood smoke from a campfire; peals of laughter from an African village at dusk; a night sky so full of stars you can almost hear them crackle. The country has miraculously transformed itself from being the most reviled state on earth to the Rainbow Nation. But much of the optimism that attended its difficult rebirth has now evaporated and it remains a troubled place, struggling with different demons.