South Africa -- it's the part of the continent most of us know at least a little about.
Now almost two decades removed from apartheid, the country at the bottom of the continent has taken up the place it deserves as one of Africa's top tourist destinations.
The country of approximately 52 million people is already well known for Cape Town, Table Mountain, the wine route and game viewing in the Kruger National Park.
But there's much more to discover.
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1. KwaZulu-Natal province inspired one of the world's best-selling albums
Paul Simon introduced the world to isicathamiya music, a form of Zulu a cappella, when he teamed up with Ladysmith Black Mambazo for his album "Graceland."
Named after the KwaZulu-Natal town they come from, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is but one of hundreds of similar groups that can be seen and heard performing regularly at shows that resemble sporting competitions.
Often involving as many as 30 groups, these competitions usually take place in large cities, such as Johannesburg and Durban, starting on a Saturday night and carrying on until well after the sun comes up on Sunday morning.
2. Hippos eat lawns in downtown St. Lucia
The town of St. Lucia sits in the middle of iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a subtropical estuary that's part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Chances of getting mugged or hijacked are virtually nil, but chances of meeting a hippo while walking to dinner are high.
The estuary contains one of the largest concentrations of hippos in the world.
In the evenings, when the sun goes down, they walk into town to munch on lawns in the residential areas.
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3. Cape Point isn't the southernmost tip of Africa
It's a common misconception among tourists who trek to the Cape of Good Hope and climb the steps to the lighthouse to assume there's no land between them and Antarctica.
It certainly looks that way from this magnificent viewpoint.
Except for the inconvenient fact that those truly wishing to be at the bottom of Africa have to travel about another 170 kilometers southeast to the rocky outcrop at Cape Agulhas.
One more myth to bust: The Indian and Atlantic oceans don't meet at Cape Point, they meet at Cape Agulhas.
4. There's 'summer' skiing
Yes, there's downhill skiing in South Africa.
In fact, there's downhill skiing in two countries in southern Africa: South Africa and neighboring Lesotho.
Tiffendell Ski Resort in South Africa's Eastern Cape Highlands and Afriski in Lesotho's Maluti Mountains (both ranges are part of what's more widely known as the Drakensberg Mountains) offer a relatively short season running between June and August, the Southern Hemisphere winter.
Runs aren't long -- about a kilometer in total at each resort -- but there's real snow and when there isn't enough falling from the sky, both Afriski and Tiffendell have snow-making equipment.
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5. One street, two Nobel Peace Prize winners
Vilakazi Street punches way above its weight.
Before the arrival of democracy in South Africa, Vilakazi Street looked like any other nondescript dusty street full of matchbox houses in Soweto, near Johannesburg.
But for decades it has been different from its neighbors; it has been and remains a place of pilgrimage as the only street in the world that has been home to two Nobel Peace Prize winners.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela and former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu lived a few doors from each other on Vilakazi Street.
Tutu and his wife, Leah, still live there.
Mandela's house is now a National Historical site and open to the public as a museum.
Vilakazi Street is no longer dusty. The gravel has been replaced by pavement and brick sidewalks and the new neighbors include restaurants, bars and local craft sellers.
6. There's a space shuttle emergency landing strip in the Kalahari Desert
Upington is perhaps the world's most over-achieving small town.
It has a population of just around 75,000 and most South Africans have never been there, but it bills itself as the capital of the Green Kalahari, a setting similar to Cairo on the Nile.
At 4.9 kilometers, the local airport runway is one of the longest in the world and was designated an emergency landing area for the space shuttle should it have had to make an unscheduled landing in southern Africa.
Upington Airport is also the final resting place for numerous commercial aircraft; the dry air helps preserve them in case they're ever called into service again.
The Orange River, South Africa's largest, winds through the city, creating a greenbelt that only just manages to keep the Kalahari Desert at bay.