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This is the nubile and fresh-faced country cousin of Quito. Surrounded by towering green volcanic hills and blue skies, it almost sings to you as you walk its streets. With some investigation, interesting anomalies (like excellent French restaurants, native North American hippies and a burger joint alarmingly like KFC) can be found. Super touristy but with white-water rafting, hiking and biking, has lots to offer for the gung-ho traveller.

Robyn Leslie

I am a South African, which means I like sunshine and sticky-tape coins together so no-one knows I have money in my pocket. An environmental scientist by qualification, I studied at the University of Cape Town. My years there taught me about the grand narratives of communism, neo-liberalism and post-modernism, and how shitty people can be when they can't find a spot to park their car. After that I needed a break and went off to South America, where I lived and worked for a year. Now I am freelancing as a writer and holding out for a job that combines a morally specific mission with valuable, practical development goals. With a salary. Hmmm. By the way, I was just being snarky before. South Africa is totally safe. Really. Come and visit.