Muizenberg Beach, Cape Town
Photograph by Gavin Hellier/Getty Images
Colorful Victorian bathing huts echo a grand resort history that stretches back to the 19th century at Muizenberg beach—one of Cape Town’s finest. The waters of False Bay feature a long break with a ridable wave nearly a mile (1.5 kilometers) long. Even those content to stay ashore can sometimes spot southern right whales.
Photograph by Mattias Klum
A look at the world’s largest land animal reveals the attribute that nearly drove it to extinction—its ivory tusks. African elephants use their tusks to strip trees of their bark and to dig for water and food to sustain their massive frames. But human lust for elephants' ivory spawned a now illegal trade that decimated many populations, some of which remain endangered.
Photograph by John Costello, My Shot
Most of South Africa's seven million Xhosa people—such as this matriarch enjoying a traditional pipe—live in the Eastern Cape. Though many Xhosa embrace modern ways, ancient traditions endure, including belief in descent from a single ancestor, known as Tshawe, and their “click” language.
Canola Fields, Overberg
Photograph by Liandi Slabbert, My Shot
Resplendent in spring bloom, a canola crop colors fields in the Western Cape’s fertile Overberg region. The Overberg lies at the continent’s southernmost tip, where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans converge.
Photograph by Mattias Klum
A male lion nuzzles a female during a moment of repose on the African plains. Lions are the only big cats that live in groups—prides are extended families that include up to three males, a dozen or so females, and their young. As recently as the 1940s some 450,000 African lions lived in the wild but today only about 20,000 remain, scattered across an ever shrinking range.
Richtersveld National Park
Photograph by Chris Johns
Richtersveld National Park holds the world's richest diversity of succulent plants, including the aloe trees pictured here. The Nama people, landlords of Richtersveld, collect rent from the parks board for use of their desert homeland.
Photograph by Daniel Born
Some two dozen hornbill species call Africa home. With their outsize namesake beaks, bright colors, and loud calls they stand out in a crowd—even when more camera shy than this cheeky individual.
Vineyards, Franschoek Valley
Photograph by Clay McLachlan/Aurora Photos
Franschoek Valley (French Corner Valley) was settled by French Huguenot refugees in 1688, when Old World traditions of winemaking and fine cuisine were transplanted to Africa’s rich soils. They’ve taken root with glorious results here in one of the world’s most picturesque wine regions.
Game Lodge, Limpopo Province
Photograph by Susan McConnell, My Shot
“Savannah” watches the goings-on at the Tshukudu Game Lodge in Limpopo Province, where she was adopted by staff after being orphaned as a cub. Though she enjoys the lodge’s amenities the big cat comes and goes as she likes, and earlier this year she gave birth to four healthy cubs.
Heritage Day, Railton
Photograph by Bruce Geils, My Shot
With a warm smile a woman celebrates Heritage Day in the township of Railton in Swellendam. The post-apartheid government set aside each September 24 to celebrate diversity and the things that bind all South Africans together. As Nelson Mandela explained, ”We knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation.”
Photograph by Tino Soriano
Dusk shows off the jewel-like lights of Cape Town, nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the majestic Tafelberg, or Table Mountain. With tongue firmly in cheek, locals dub this type of distinctive and not uncommon cloud cover “the tablecloth.”
Photograph by Getty Images
Flag-waving soccer fans cheer on South Africa’s Bafana Bafana (the Boys) during an international match. The country, passionate about sport, will host the entire world for the 2010 FIFA World Cup—the first to take place on African soil.
Gold Bars, Johannesburg
Photograph by Tomasz Tomaszewski
A gloved hand polishes gold bars in Johannesburg. Built on the metal more than a century ago, Jo'burg is still a money machine, having long since reinvented itself as the commercial and financial capital of Africa.
Cape of Good Hope
Photograph by Christopher Thomas/Getty Images
The Cape of Good Hope, Africa’s southwesternmost spot, is legendary in seafaring lore. Fifteenth-century Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias (or Portugal’s John II, depending on the account) bestowed its optimistic name because rounding the cape suggested that a feasible sea route existed from Europe, around Africa, to India. The promontory might also have been called the Cape of Storms for the brutal seas often found here, where warm Indian Ocean and cool Antarctic currents collide.
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