Travel | Classic Journeys Blog
  • Fall in the Italian Countryside

    7 Best Fall Vacations

    With the end of summer on the horizon, don’t get discouraged by the chill in the air as the autumn season rolls in. It’s easy to hunker down in the fall and prepare for the winter season ahead. Instead, put off dragging your sweaters out of storage and opt-in for a fall vacation! Autumn travel offers pleasant weather and the joys of shoulder season with lower prices and far fewer crowds. Here are the destinations on the top of our list to visit this fall:<br><br><b>The Canadian Rockies</b><br><br>Experience the solitude of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canada-tours/" target="_blank">Canadian Rockies</a> away from the crowds and bask in the glory that is the autumn color painted throughout Lake Louise, the Sunwapta River, and Mount Victoria. The Canadian Rockies is teeming with wildlife—whether it be moose, elk, bears, or bighorn sheep—experience the exceptional flora and fauna through the lens of local guides and view the spectacular wildlife at the peak of their activity. Some say that hiking the spectacular gorges, marveling at the rushing waterfalls, and enjoying the snow-capped peaks is even more breathtaking in the dim fall light.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canada-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUvZ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>France</b><br><br>In reality, there is no wrong time to explore <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank">Normandy</a>, Burgundy or the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">City of Light</a>, But we think the fall just may be France&#39;s best season. Bask in the joys of Paris as the city&#39;s parks turn to hues of orange, yellow, and bright red. Admire the Jardin de Luxembourg and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">Palace of Versailles</a> resembling the color and brilliance of an Impressionist painting, giving Claude Monet a run for his money. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/loire/" target="_blank">Burgundy</a> is the perfect blend of classic French villages and rolling terrain with a patchwork of forests and harvesting vineyards that are utter perfection in the fall. Finally, enjoy the classic Norman picture-book villages, the stunning<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank"> Mont-St-Michel</a>, and Normandy&#39;s massive apple orchards that thrive at this time of the year. There is no better time to explore France than August through November!  <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUpR" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Greek Isles </b><br><br>Autumn in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece/" target="_blank">Greece</a> is heavenly—with balmy weather, warm water, and harvests of olives and grapes—you’re guaranteed a lovely time without the often-overwhelming crowds of summertime travel. Explore the remarkable ruins of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece/" target="_blank">Knossos and Delos</a>, sample the fruits of cliff-hugging vineyards, and take in the iconic views from your hotel in Santorini all complete with a warm autumn glow that accentuates the charm of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece/" target="_blank">Greek isles</a>. Shoulder season gives you a chance to intimately engage with the local culture and meet the phyllo bakers, olive growers, archeologists, and villagers who live amid some of the loveliest scenery and finest historical treasures on earth. <br><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUve" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Italy </b><br><br>In the fall, Italy presents the opportunity to enjoy the colorful countrysides of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank">Tuscany</a>, relish in the local markets spilling over with fresh produce in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Amalfi Coast</a>, and take advantage of the pleasant weather in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/sardinia/" target="_blank">Sardinia &amp; Corsica</a>. Skip the usual cathedral-and-cappuccino circuit in the crowds and heat of the summer and visit Italy in the autumn to properly savor the local culture, cuisine, and charisma. September through October is the typical time for the grape harvest in the wine region and towns in Tuscany celebrate the production of wine with festivals galore! Partake in the joys of the harvest season and celebrate with a glass of wine form a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank">local winery</a>!<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUp7" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Bryce, Grand Canyon, Zion </b><br><br>Even as adults we play the pioneer game every time we visit this monumental trio of national parks. Imagine cresting the hills in your Conestoga wagon to behold the sights and breathtaking views <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Bryce, the Grand Canyon, and Zion</a> have to offer. Deep canyons, brilliant red rock, bridges of stone, and boulders poised on slender spires amaze visitors year-round. However, the fall provides visitors with pleasant weather, far fewer crowds, great chances to spot wildlife, and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">colorful leaves that sprinkle Zion’s canyon floors</a> and winding trails in late September and early October.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUpC" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Charleston &amp; Savannah</b><br><br>The coastal south is brimming with a distinctive meld of history, way of life, and charm that is all the more enjoyable as the autumn season graces <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank">Charleston and Savannah</a> with clear blue skies, sunshine, and nice cool breezes. There&#39;s no other region in America with such a distinctive meld of history, climate, and way of life! Walk through moss-draped lanes, admire the fine restorations of prosperous homes, visit some of the country’s most unique <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank">living history museums</a>, and stroll the old city streets under the shade of curvaceous oak trees.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUpH" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Galápagos</b><br><br>Autumn in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos</a> is a special time in the archipelago. In September, the Antarctic Humboldt current is strong—bringing hoards of wildlife to the scene. Escape the fall weather at home and get the chance to admire penguins, sea lions, and marine birds at the peak of their activity! The beginning of fall is also a prime opportunity to see <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">humpback whales and their calves migrating</a>, fur seals mating, dolphins playing in the cool water, and giant tortoises laying eggs on the white sandy beaches.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUpM" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Autumn is just around the corner and it truly is the perfect time to explore some of our favorite destinations. If you can, skip the crowds and the heat of summer and pack your bags to revel in the joys of shoulder season! Check out some of Classic Journeys&#39; fall trips <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/dates/none/October/none/none/" target="_blank">here</a>!<br><br> 

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  • Bangkok Tuk Tuk

    What to See on a Short Trip to Bangkok

    <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank">Bangkok; what a city.</a> There truly is no way to describe Thailand&#39;s capital, full of an infectious energy, tuk-tuks zipping around every corner, and lines of food stalls clanking and buzzing as they open for the nightly markets. A treasury of temples and history mixes with the eclectic and wonderful quirks of this massive city. It may seem impossible to discover a city so large in just a short trip, but we&#39;ve collected some of our favorite spots should you have a quick stopover in Bangkok. Here a list of the must-see things on a short trip to Bangkok (with a few insider tips from a fellow traveler):<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvS&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWpH" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>The Grand Palace </b><br><br>The massive royal, grand palace is a must-see while in Bangkok. It&#39;s an ornately decorated complex of temples and spectacular buildings used to house the Thai King, his court, and the royal governing bodies. This architectural wonder retains centuries of regal magnificence and continues to act as the grounds for several cultural occasions and religious celebrations that take place in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank">Bangkok.</a> <b>Traveler trip: </b>visit the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank">Grand Palace</a> early in the morning, after opening to avoid the crowds and mid-day heat.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvS&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWoY" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Wat Pho</b><br><br>This famous Buddhist temple complex is known for housing the city&#39;s largest <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank">reclining Buddha</a>. It&#39;s one of Bangkok&#39;s oldest temples and arguably one of the most spectacular. <b>Traveler Tip: </b>You can (and should) visit the grounds of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank">Wat Pho</a> at night for free! There are no crowds and the decorated stupas are lit up at night—making for an unforgettable visit to the famous temple.   <br><br><b>Chatuchak Weekend Market </b><br><br>If your visit falls on a Saturday or Sunday you&#39;re in luck! This world-famous weekend market is 27-acres with a swirling maze of streets and aisles selling everything you could ever imagine. With over 15,000 booths, you are sure to find local art, clothing, jewelry and food—basically, if it exists on the planet you will find it here. Make a note of where you enter the market because getting lost is easier than you&#39;d think. <b>Traveler Tip: </b>Be prepared to haggle for what you want. In many cases, you can pay up to 50% less than the first price you were told.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvS&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWpM" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)</b><br><br>One of the best known Thai landmarks, this temple is located on the west bank of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank">Chao Phraya River</a>. The Buddhist temple is decorated with colorful mosaics that create a warm brilliance during sunset and sunrise. The active monastery is made up of five tall towers, and for the more adventurous traveler, you can climb to the top of the central stupa (tower) for stunning views of the city. <b>Traveler Tip: </b>at night, the temple is lit up with lights and a spectacular view of the temple can be seen from secret rooftop bars directly across the river. Ask your <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank">local guides</a> for tips on the best one to visit.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvS&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWpW" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Floating Market</b><br><br>Floating markets are common in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/thailand-tours/" target="_blank">Thailand</a>, but the most famous is the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank">Damnoen Saduk</a> in the Ratchaburi province right outside of Bangkok. On a boat of your own, float down a canal as you negotiate with vendors selling canoes full of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other foods. <b>Traveler Tip: </b>Visit the market in the morning, when it&#39;s the liveliest. Don&#39;t forget your camera, as this is a cultural wonder and experience you won&#39;t want to miss. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvS&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWoT" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvS&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWp7" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Flower Market</b><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank">Bangkok&#39;s Flower Market</a> is open 24 hours a day and is a visually stunning and culturally stimulating experience. You can find hundreds of stalls selling vibrant flowers for all occasions, as well as stands selling fresh fruits and vegetables. Flowers have great significance in Thailand and are used in a wide array of situations, ranging from religious purposes to decorative use. <b>Traveler Tip: </b>The busiest time at the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank">Flower Market</a> is from just before midnight to the early hours of the morning, as that is when the flower deliveries arrive. If you care to witness the frenzied, energetic charm of this market it&#39;s best to visit in those peak hours, however, it&#39;s a fun sight to see during the day as well. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvS&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWpC" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Thai Cooking Lesson</b><br><br>If time allows, enjoy an evening of food and culture with cooking lessons for some of your favorite Thai dishes. The sights, smells, sounds, and tastes you encountered at local markets will come together to create the emblematic Thai dishes we all know and love. Learn traditional food preparation techniques and discover the secret to making the perfect <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank">green curry and mango sticky rice.</a> <br><br><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank">Bangkok</a> is a city worth visiting for its vibrant energy and captivating culture. Should you find yourself traveling to Thailand, check out our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bangkok-extension/" target="_blank">trip extension to explore Bangkok</a> and all the city has to offer. 

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  • South Africa

    South Africa Adventure: Trip Recap

    The wonder of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">South Africa </a>is the dramatic and irresistible diversity of its cultures, landscapes and wildlife. Two of our longtime guests who have taken 13 trips with us, Terry and Dotty, explored the beauties of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/South%20Africa/" target="_blank">Cape Town</a>, enjoyed the famous wines of the<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/South%20Africa/" target="_blank"> South African Winelands</a> and searched for <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">The Big Five</a>—the elephant, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, lion, and leopard—on a three-day safari experience during their recent trip to South Africa with Classic Journeys. Here is a quick trip recap of their adventure that has us all adding this destination to our bucket lists. <br><br><b>Day 1 - Cape Town </b><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Cape Town</a> is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with sheer cliffs that fall into the cold sapphire-colored waters of the Atlantic to the west of the city mixing with the warm waters of the Indian Ocean to the east. Since its founding in 1652, the city&#39;s culture and architecture have been influenced by the indigenous groups, the Dutch and the British. Dotty and Terry explored the historical city with local Cape Town guide, Clive, and stopped for high tea at the famously painted pink Mount Nelson Hotel, located at the foot of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/South%20Africa/" target="_blank">Table Mountain</a>. Following lunch, they walked along <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Lions Head Trail</a> and took in the sweeping views of the coastal city. After a lengthy walk and day of exploration, they enjoyed a dinner of fresh seafood in a restaurant on the city&#39;s famous Bree Street. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXX0" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Day 2 -  Cape of Good Hope </b><br><br>The day started with a southward guided drive with their local guide, Clive, over<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"> Chapman&#39;s Peak Drive</a>, an engineering marvel that hugs the cliffs and offers jaw-dropping ocean views. The day was dedicated to exploring the historic <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Cape of Good Hope</a> where the Portuguese navigators once sailed in the 15th century. They walked on trails high above the ocean and stopped to enjoy the views over a glass of champagne. Clive recounted that while admiring the coastal views over champagne, a baboon snuck up and stole their cooler of waters providing for some laughs (at least it didn&#39;t steal the bubbly!). They then visited <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Boulder Beach</a>, home to the largest colony of endangered African penguins as well as the famous <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens</a>, home to more than 7,000 plant species. Their day ended with a lovely dinner at Karibu restaurant, located along the city&#39;s Wharf. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXWq" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXWv" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Day 3 - Cultural Townships &amp; Robben Island</b> <br><br>In order to learn more about modern South Africa and the path the country has taken since apartheid, it&#39;s essential to visit the townships located in the peripheries of the city. Clive guided Dotty and Terry through the cultural townships and they had the chance to gain insights into South African culture that is hard to find anywhere else. They were then invited into a small school, where they delivered soup ingredients and met a class of South African children who were excited to sing for them and chat about their lives. They also had the chance to speak with a traditional healer in the area and even try a taste of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">home-brewed African beer</a>. In the afternoon, they had the chance to visit <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-family-adventure-tours/" target="_blank">Robben Island,</a> where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for almost 20 years in an attempt to silence his anti-apartheid voice. Today, the island is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a symbol of the transformative power of forgiveness. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-family-adventure-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXX5" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><br><b>Day 4 &amp; 5 - The Cape Winelands </b><br><br>Over the next two days, Clive guided Dotty and Terry to the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Cape Winelands</a> where they stayed in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Stellenbosch</a>, the capital of the Winelands. The Winelands are a premier location to walk through vineyards and enjoy the lovely olive orchards over chats with locals of the excellent South African cuisine. During their guided cuisine walks, they tasted fresh bread from the ovens of an artisanal baker, snacked at a family-run butchery, tasted wines at a lively wine bar in the area, and finally, sampled Cape deserts with a side of the locally grown teas. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXWg" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Day 6, 7, and 8 - Safari </b><br><br>On day six, Dotty and Terry parted with Clive in Cape Town and flew to eastern South Africa where they began their<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"> three-day Safari</a>. They settled into their luxurious and comfortable lodge on the grounds of the <a href="https://www.andbeyond.com/destinations/africa/south-africa/kwazulu-natal/phinda-private-game-reserve/" target="_blank">Phinda Private Game Preserve</a>, looking out on the wild terrain where they searched for opportunities to view <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-family-adventure-tours/" target="_blank">The Big Five</a> - the elephant, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, lion, and leopard. With chances to go on daily game drives, bush walks, Zulu village tours, black rhino safaris, and more, Dotty and Terry were not disappointed with the South African safari experience you only hear about in storybooks.  <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXWl" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXWb" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Day 9 - Final Day</b> <br><br>With time for a final drive in the morning, Terry and Dotty spotted a few more wildebeests and South African birds before departing the gorgeous <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Phinda Private Reserve</a> and heading towards home to tell tales of the many animals they spotted on safari, the wonders of Cape Town, the delicacies of the Winelands, and so much more.<br><br>If you&#39;re interested in a trip like Terry and Dotty&#39;s, take a look at our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-walking-tour/" target="_blank">South Africa Culture + Walking Tour</a> for the chance to experience a trip of a lifetime in South Africa.

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