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Port Louis Mauritius.jpg

Founded in 1735, Port Louis is the busy capital city and main port of this volcanic island in the Indian Ocean, and its charms have attracted various poets and writers over the centuries. There are some fine French colonial buildings off the palm-lined Place d'Armes, such as the 18th-century Government House and Municipal Theater. Other sites include two cathedrals, a mosque, 18th-century barracks, and a natural history museum. Go to Fort Adelaide for splendid views of the town, harbor, and a racecourse — known as Champs de Mars, the course was originally laid out by the French for military parades. Barter for souvenirs, crafts, and clothing at the lively Port Louis Market, where merchants also sell fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, and fish. South of town is Le Reduit, the former residence of the Governor-General of Mauritius that is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Also near Port Louis is the Domaine Les Pailles, a nature park that encompasses more than 3,000 acres; visitors can view deer, monkeys and rare birds from Land Rovers, horse-drawn carriages, or a train.

Language: English, French

Currency: Mauritian Rupee (MUR)

Pointe des Galets Reunion Island.jpg


Pointe des Galets is a volcanic island lush with palm trees, rain forests and an abundance of flowers and tropical fruit trees. Enjoy the Creole-flavored French culture and the sophistication of downtown Paris in a tropical climate. Hike through the challenging volcanic mountains and enjoy the panoramic views of the rainforest from scenie vistas.

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Language: French, Creole


Antsiranana Madagascar.jpg

This town, which possesses one of the finest harbors in the world, is a naval base and the third largest port of the country. There's more to do here than lazing on a sandy beach and dipping into crystalline waters to peek at coral reefs. Cut off from the African mainland for millions of years, Madagascar's teeming forests are a naturalist's dream, home to preserved oddities found nowhere else on earth. See them in a spectacular collection of accessible national parks.

Language: French, Malagasy

Currency: Malagasy Ariary (MGA)


Nosy Be Madagascar.jpg

Nosy Be is popular with people looking for a resort-style holiday, as it has plenty of restaurants and nightspots. Visit the old prison, built in 1855 and Marodoka, a coastal ruin built by shipwrecked pirates. The Réserve Naturelle Intégrale de Lokobe is home to boa constrictors, black lemurs, chameleons, and the Madagascar hog-nosed snake. Mont Passot is a great place to watch the sunset and is surrounded by the beautiful Crater Lakes.

Language: French, Malagasy

Currency: Malagasy Ariary (MGA)


Richards Bay South Africa.jpg

Once a military outpost built to protect British settlers, this charming city with its superb beaches is now a magnet for the world's top surfers. There's unusual architecture, as well, and a nearby reserve offers a look at the varied wildlife.

Language: 11 official languages including English, Afrikaans

Currency: South Africa Rand (ZAR)


Port Elizabeth South Africa.jpg

This is South Africa's third largest port featuring spectacular beaches, a famous oceanarium, colorful Edwardian architecture, and Ft. Frederick, from which no shot was ever fired. The unusual Oceanarium displays a number of items salvaged from the sea, fully rigged models of early sailing ships that made the journey around Africa, examples of the local Xhosa culture -- the tribe dominant in the area, an aviary, flamingoes, crocodiles, and the requisite dolphin and seal show. Across Algoa Bay is the Addo Elephant National Park, home to wild elephants.

Currency: South Africa Rand (ZAR)

Language: English


Mossel Bay South Africa.jpg

Mossel Bay is a harbor town located between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Situated on the Garden Route of South Africa, this port boasts long, clean beaches and open-air shopping. In addition to these beautiful beaches and popular shops, travelers can take a day trip just over the mountains from Mossel Bay to places like the Klein Karoo. See the ostrich farms and their feather palaces, explore the Cango Caves, or come in April and enjoy the annual Nasionale Kunste Fees (National Art Festival) that happens in Oudtshoorn. For those interested in a more relaxed stay, grab some wine, and find a spot on the cliffs in the south of town for a spectacular view of the ocean.

Language: Afrikaans, English

Currency: South African Rand (ZAR)


Cape Town South Africa.jpg

The "Mother City of South Africa" is celebrated for its beautiful beaches and award-winning vineyards. For a spectacular view of the cape, take a cable car to the top of the city's landmark, flat-topped Table Mountain. Visit the wine country on a half-day excursion and take in the crisp vintages and the distinct Cape Dutch architecture, or tour the city and see St. George's Cathedral, the Castle of Good Hope, Signal Hill and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.

Language: English

Currency: South African Rand (ZAR)

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