Photos: Scintillating South Africa

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  1. Scenic canyon

    A tourist looks down the Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world, in South Africa's Mpumalanga province. South Africa is host nation for the 2010 World Cup, and tourism operators are looking to market the country as a tourist destination long after the games are over. (Jon Hrusa / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Golden glow

    Golden Gate Highlands National Park, located in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains in northeast South Africa, derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park's sandstone cliffs, especially the imposing Brandwag rock. (South African Tourism Board) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. City skyline

    Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and home to the most skyscrapers in Africa. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. End of apartheid

    Visitors to the Apartheid Museum walk past the entrance June 13, 2009, in Johannesburg. The nation's apartheid system, a legalized form of racial segregation under which minority rule by whites was maintained while the rights of the majority black inhabitants of South Africa were curtailed, ended in 1994. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. The story of apartheid

    The Apartheid Museum opened in 2001 and features exhibits on 20th century South African history, at the heart of which is the nation's former system of apartheid. (Christof Koepsel / Bongarts via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. A piece of history

    A view of the oldest house in Kimberley, South Africa, and the first church to be built there, the Lutheran Church of St. Martin. The town is historically significant due to its diamond-mining history and siege during the Second Boer War. (Tom Shaw / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Voortrekker Monument

    The Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria is a national icon for Afrikaners, descendants of settlers from northwestern Europe whose native tongue is Afrikaans. The monument commemorates the Battle of Blood River, fought between Voortrekkers and Zulu warriors on Dec. 16, 1838. (South Africa Tourism Board) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. The Big Hole

    A view of 'The Big Hole' in Kimberley, South Africa, where diamonds were mined between 1871 and 1914. (Tom Shaw / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Leader of a nation

    A portrait of former President Nelson Mandela hangs in the Mandela House Museum in Soweto, South Africa. (Denis Farrell / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Luxury sightseeing

    The Blue Train travels through Mpumalanga province at Waterval-Boven And Waterval-Onder. The luxury train is a moving five-star hotel known for its personal service, exquisite meals and opulent suites. (South African Tourism Board) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. God's Window

    The God's Window viewpoint shows the majestic cliffs above the Lowveld, one of Africa's prime wildlife destinations, in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. (Norbert Millauer / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Distinctive trees

    A baobab tree in Limpopo province in Kruger National Park. (South African Tourism Board) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Wildlife viewing

    A black rhinoceros mother stays close to her calf in Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga, South Africa. The park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa and a popular destination for safaris. (Warren Little / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Augrabies Waterfall

    The Augrabies Waterfall is the main attraction at Augrabies Falls National Park in a remote area of the Northern Cape province. The Orange River divides itself into numerous channels before plunging 183 feet into the gorge below. (South African Tourism Board) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Enduring art

    Rock paintings made by the San people in the Drakensberg mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The San people lived in the Drakensberg area for thousands of years before they were killed in clashes with Zulus and white settlers. (Alexander Joe / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Elephant march

    A herd of African elephants walks in the Addo Elephant National Park just outside Port Elizabeth. In 1931, just 11 elephants remained in the area. Today, the sanctuary is home to more than 450. (Alexander Joe / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Flora and fauna

    A sunbird sits on a flower from which it sips nectar in the Drakensberg mountains of South Africa. (Alexander Joe / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Rugged coastline

    A view of the coastline near Betty's Bay. A former whaling station, Betty's Bay is now home to the beautiful Harold Porter National Botancial Garden. (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Up close and personal

    Tourists get a closeup view of a great white shark as it swims past a partially submerged cage Oct. 18, 2009, in Gansbaai, South Africa. The waters off Gansbaai are one of the best places in the world to see great white sharks, due to the abundance of prey such as seals and penguins. (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Scenic route

    The Beacon Island bridge and beach in Plettenberg Bay along the Garden Route. South Africa's N2 highway meanders some 500 miles between Cape Town in the Western Cape province and Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. The Garden Route – the name given to the stretch of forested, coastal area between Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth – is a popular and scenic stretch along the southeastern coast. (Nic Bothma / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Big waves

    Professional surfer Kelly Slater advances during the Billabong Pro, held at Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa. The area is known for its epic waves that attract surfers from around the world. (Pierre Tostee / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Edge of the world

    An aerial view of the clubhouse and 9th and 18th holes at The Caves Course at Pinnacle Point Beach and Golf Resort in Mossel Bay, South Africa. (Andrew Redington / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. The Golden Mile

    Durban is the third largest city in South Africa and a popular tourist destination due to the city's warm climate, sandy beaches and promenade known as the Golden Mile. (Euroluftsbild.de via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Zulu tradition

    Members of South Africa's Zulu tribe perform traditional music to entertain tourists visiting the famous Valley of a Thousand Hills in the outskirts of Durban on May 3, 2009. The area is named after the hills along the Umgeni River, which flows from the distant Drakensberg Mountains to the Indian Ocean. (Saeed Khan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Side trip

    An art gallery in the tourist town of Clarens, South Africa. (Kim Ludbrook / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Primo vino

    Vineyards dot the Stellenbosch region west of Cape Town, South Africa. More than 200 wine and grape producers operate in the area. (B. Bahr / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Waterfront view

    A view of the harbor in Cape Town. Cape Town is South Africa's most popular tourist destination. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Home to penguins

    African Rockhopper penguins walk along the shoreline at The Boulders in Cape Town's Table Mountain National Park. (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Inside a township

    A sign advertises a B&B in Cape Town's Khayelitsha township on Feb. 25, 2010. Vicky Ntozini has run her guesthouse in one of South Africa's biggest and poorest townships since 1999 after deciding she wanted to show a different side of Cape Town to the tourists who flock to the city's pristine beaches, high-end shops and historical landmarks. (Finbarr O'Reilly / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Robben Island prison

    Robben Island prison, which once housed Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first democratic president, is now a museum and heritage site. (Shaun Botterill / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Mandela's cell

    A view of Nelson Mandela's former prison cell on Robben Island. Mandela was released from prison on Feb. 11, 1990, after serving 27 years for his anti-apartheid activities. He was elected president in 1994 in South Afica's first fully representative democratic election. (Dave Hogan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Overlooking Cape Town

    The mountains known as the Twelve Apostles rise above Cape Town. (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Awaiting the world

    A view of the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, newly built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: South Africa FIFA 2010 World Cup tourism
    Jon Hrusa / EPA
    Above: Slideshow (33) Scintillating South Africa - Scintillating South Africa
  2. Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town
    Corbis
    Slideshow (16) Scintillating South Africa - Cape Town calls
  3. Gianluigi Geurcia, Stephane De Sakutin / AFP - Getty Images
    Slideshow (10) Scintillating South Africa - 2010 World Cup stadiums
By
updated 6/10/2010 1:46:02 PM ET 2010-06-10T17:46:02

South African authorities are urging World Cup visitors to be extra careful following a spate of robberies targeting foreign journalists and players.

Several Chinese journalists were mugged in the center of Johannesburg on Wednesday, the same day armed men robbed three foreign journalists in the country’s northwest region. Three members of the Greek team said money was stolen from their hotel rooms.

South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of violent crime, and the thefts were a reminder of dangers that face hundreds of thousands of fans coming to watch the monthlong tournament.

The government sought to reassure visitors, saying it has 190,000 policemen on duty. And Danny Jordaan, chief executive of the local organizing committee, said Thursday he was “comfortable” with the level of security.

“Policing of the country and ensuring the safety and security of all within it remains a 24-hour operation,” said Themba Maseko, a government spokesman. “Those in distress are requested to report to relevant authorities and the appropriate assistance will be rendered.”

FIFA spokesman Wolfgang Eichler confirmed the mugging of a group of Chinese journalists on a downtown Johannesburg street.

A Chinese media report said four journalists were held up by armed men and robbed of cash and a camera.

Early Wednesday, thieves sneaked into Nutbush Boma Lodge outside of Magaliesburg, 75 miles northwest of Johannesburg, and robbed three journalists — two from Portugal, one from Spain — of money, camera equipment, laptop computers and mobile phones. Police said three suspects were arrested and some of the property was returned to the victims.

Three Greek players had money stolen from their hotel rooms at the beach resort of Umhlanga Rocks near Durban on Tuesday, said Lt. Col. Leon Engelbrecht of the South African police.

The unidentified players reported $1,900 was stolen from their rooms at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Engelbrecht said. He said the Greek team told police it did not want to open a case.

“It’s not that somebody entered the hotel, a thief, and he opened the doors and got inside the rooms,” said Greece team spokesman Panos Korkodeilos. “It looks like it’s something else; that can happen anywhere. And it has happened to us in the past, not in South Africa.”

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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