South Africa

  

.     –   SOUTH AFRICA ALERTS :     –     .

.          FUEL: Nothing to report at the moment  …..

.          EMERGENCIES : Nothing to report at present  ….

.        Drive Safely. Have a wonderful trip. Enjoy South Africa’s splendid game parks and spectacular variety of beauty  ….

.     –    SOUTH AFRICA ALERTS :     –     .

.          FUEL: Nothing to report at the moment  …..

.          EMERGENCIES : Nothing to report at present  ….

.          Drive Safely. Have a wonderful trip. Enjoy South Africa. A world in one country   ….

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About South Africa     Accommodation     Banking and Currency     South African Cuisine      Embassies & Consulates   Infrastructure      Game Reserves     Health      Road Travel     Tourist Attractions     Travel Advisories and Alerts    Visas      Useful Phrases in South Africa     Weather     What! Need to know more?



General Traveler Information


ABOUT SOUTH AFRICA (The Rainbow Nation)


Magnificent and sunny South Africa with its idyllic beaches and picturesque coastlines, rolling hills, gorges and canyons, towering mountains, indigenous forests and scenic beauty is a country that is located in the southernmost part of Africa bordered by Namibia, Lesotho (completely surrounded by south Africa), Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe and the Indian and Atlantic Ocean.  South Africa offers an untapped wonderland of unforgettable experiences, historical heritage and vibrant culture, roaming wildlife, natural beauty and breath-taking scenery, rich architecture, bustling city life, famous discoveries, sun-soaked beaches and coasts and sublime tranquillity making it a superb tourist destination.  South Africa is divided into nine geographical provinces namely the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape, the Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, Free state, Limpopo and North West and each province has its own characteristics, vegetation and climatic conditions.  The beautiful Western Cape province with its colourful patchworks of farmland, gorgeous valleys, magnificent mountains, scenic coastline with long white beaches, famed fynbos and Cape Town as capital city, is known for its famous tourist attractions like the various Vineyards and Wine routes, the Garden Route, Table Mountain, Robben Island, the Gold of Africa museum, the V&A Waterfront and many more.  The scenic diverse Eastern Cape province with its informal seaside escapes and magnificent coastline and beaches, warm and sunny climate, scintillating city diversions, Wild Coast, lush evergreen Tsitsikamma Forest, arid desert-like Great Karoo and Bhisho as capital city, is known for its famous tourist attractions like the Addo Elephant National Park, the Valley of Desolation, Tsitsikamma National Park, Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site and many more.   The intriguing and starkly beautiful Northern Cape province with its desert, bush and ocean landscapes, majestic Orange River, spring flowers, natural beauty, breath taking starry nights, and Kimberley (“the diamond city”) as capital city is the biggest province in South Africa and is known for its famous tourist attractions like the Big Hole, Namaqualand, Augrabies Falls, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the “Eye of Kuruman”, the South African Astronomical Observatory, the South African Large Telescope and many more.  The mesmerising panoramic Mpumalanga province with its extraordinary beautiful landscapes, scenic passes, rivers, waterfalls, valleys, forests, escarpment mountains, roaming wildlife and Nelspruit as capital city, is known for its famous tourist attractions like the Kruger National Park, Lydenburg Heads, Pilgrim’s Rest, Goliath’s Footprint, God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon, Three Rondavels, Mac Mac Pools and many more.

The spectacular Limpopo province also known as “Gateway to the North” with its beautiful and contrasting landscapes, great Limpopo river, giant Boabab trees, mist shrouded mountains, scenic valleys, grassy plains and bushveld, waterfalls and hot mineral springs, tropical forests, sparkling trout waters, cultural heritage, geological formations, roaming wildlife and Polokwane as capital city, is known for its famous tourist attractions like the Kruger National Park, Makapansgat Valley, Modjadji Cycad Reserve, Mapungubwe World Heritage Site, Rhino Museum, Warmbaths resort, Bakone Malapa Open-air Museum, Amarula Lapa and many more.   The picturesque North West province also known as “The Platinum Province” with its majestic Magaliesberg Mountain range, beautiful hills, scenic rolling fields of maize, untamed African bushveld, golden sunflowers, vast plains, endless stretches of grassland, roaming wildlife in superb game reserves and Mahikeng as capital city, is known for its famous tourist attractions like the fabulous Sun City Resort, Pilanesberg Game Reserve and National Park, Hartbeespoort Dam, Lesedi Cultural Village, De Wildt Cheetah & Wildlife Trust, Taung World Heritage Site, Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site, Madikwe Game Reserve and many more.   Known as “The Golden Country”, the Free State province with its vast rugged and rocky mountain area of the East Highlands, open farmlands, natural beauty and scenic landscapes, Gariep Dam, charming towns, undulating hills, Vaal River, sandstone mountains, fields and wide golden plains, farmlands of corn, sunflowers and wheat and Bloemfontein as capital city, is known for its famous tourist attractions like the spectacular Golden Gate National Park, Free State National Botanical Gardens, National Museum Bloemfontein, Basotho Cultural Village, Gariep Dam, the famous Cheetah Route, Eagle Route, Lion Route, Flamingo Route, Springbok Route and many more.   Gauteng meaning “Place of Gold” is a province in South Africa that is situated in the highveld and is known as “The Gateway to Africa”.  Gauteng is known for its fast city life, rapid development and ever-increasing skyline of glass and chrome structures, business atmosphere and it’s also known as the entertainment epicentre of South Africa.  Johannesburg is the capital city of Gauteng and popular tourist attractions for the province includes the Cradle of Humankind, the Union Buildings, Maropeng, Maboneng Precinct, Gold Reef City, Soweto (Orlando) Towers, Monte Casino, The Elephant Sanctuary, Tswaing Meteorite Crater, Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens, Sandton City and many more.   The remarkable, interesting and exquisite KwaZulu-Natal province also known as “The Zulu Kingdom” with its idyllic long shoreline beside the Indian Ocean, African, European and Indian Cultures, majestic Drakensberg Mountains, golden palm-fringed beaches, subtropical carnival atmosphere, calm lagoons, subtropical bush, cane fields, forests, valleys, rolling wooded hills, grassy plains, exotic and magnificent landscapes and Pietermaritzburg as capital city, is known for its famous tourist attractions like the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site, the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site,  Lake St Lucia World Heritage Site, Wild Coast,  Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve, Sodwana Bay National Park, Midlands Meander, Valley of 1000 Hills Route, Ushaka Marine World, Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens, HluHluwe-Imfolozi Park, Battlefields Route, Golden beaches on the Dolphin Coast and Elephant Coast and many more.

Wildlife in South Africa includes Bird Life, Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians and there are National Parks, Nature reserves and Game reserves in South Africa that boasts with the following wildlife: the Big 5 (Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino, Lion, Leopard), Mountain Zebra, Ostriches, Springbok, Gemsbok, Giraffes, Cheetahs, Tigers, Eland, Mongoose, Jackal, Hyenas, Cape Elephant Shrew, Antbear, Baboons, Cape Mole-rat, Honey Badger, Cape Grysbok, Cape Horseshoe Bat, African Wild dog, De Winton’s Golden Mole, Riverine Rabbit, Bontebok, Oribi, Waterbuck, Cape Kudu, Sei Whale, Blue Whale, Humpback Whale, Southern Right Whale, Dolphins and many more.  Spectacular features of South Africa will include the breath-taking Lowveld with all its beauty and waterfalls, Golden sandy Beaches and festival atmospheres along the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean, The scenic Garden Route, The mystifying Midlands Meander, Table Mountain, Various cultures, traditions and heritage, the massive Kruger National Park, Drakensberg Mountain and many more.  Tourist attractions for South Africa will include the beautiful national parks, nature reserves and game reserves and all the attractions noted under each province.  Activities to do in South Africa will include Swimming, Snorkelling, Scuba Diving, Hiking, Diving, Windsurfing, Kitesurfing, Canoeing, Kayaking, Caving, Rafting, Walking on the Beaches, Horseback Riding, Bungee Jumping, Stargazing, Fishing, Game Viewing, Game Drives, Bird Watching, Hot Air Ballooning, Safari Tours, Quad biking, Skydiving, 4×4 Expeditions and much more.

The South African flag consists of horizontal bands of red (on the top) and blue (on the bottom) of equal width, separated by a central green band which splits into a horizontal “Y” shape which arms end at the corners of the hoist-side of the flag and follow the flags diagonals.  The “Y” shape on the flag embraces a black isosceles triangle from which the arms are separated by narrow yellow bands.  The horizontal red and blue bands at the top and bottom of the flag are separated from the green band and its arms by narrow white stripes.  There is no universal symbolism attached to any of the South African flag’s colours as the South African flag is a “Synopsis of principal elements of the country’s flag history”.  The only symbolism interpreted in the South African flag is the “V” OR “Y” shape which can be interpreted as “the convergence of diverse elements within South African society, taking the road ahead in unity”.  South Africa has 3 capital cities namely Cape Town (Legislative), Pretoria (Administrative) and Bloemfontein (Judicial).  South Africa has 11 official languages namely English, isiZulu, isiXhosa, isiNdebele, Afrikaans, siSwati, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Tshivenda and Xitsonga but most business communication (written and verbal) are done in English.  The people in South Africa are easy-going folk that are warm, friendly and receptive to being approached by foreigners who treat them with respect and exchange social pleasantries like enquiring about how they are and how the rugby (sport) is going before trying to extract information from them.  South Africa is considered to be a safe destination to visit in general, however the crime rate is very high and crimes like robberies, muggings, rape, murder, hijacking, pickpocketing and driving under the influence of alcohol is present throughout South Africa and tourists are advised to always be vigilant and aware of their surroundings and take the normal and usual travel precautions when travelling to any destination.

Majority of South African religion is Christian and other popular religions include Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.  South African culture is multi-cultural and consists of over 55 million people of diverse cultures, languages, origins and religions that celebrate their past while working together toward the future resulting in South Africa being famously referred to as the rainbow nation.  Some of the ethnic groups present in South Africa will include Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Tswana, Ndebele, Swazi, Khoisan, Sotho, Hindu, Venda, Muslim, Shangaan-Tsonga, Afrikaans and English.  The rich culture, heritage and diversity in South Africa can be seen in each ethnic group’s dress code, langue, art, music, sport, food and religion.  South African people are proud to be South African and together they create a wonderful unique collage of culture, heritage and tradition.  South Africa is known for its beautiful and diverse arts and crafts and popular arts and crafts are showcased all over South Africa in Cultural Villages, Arts and Crafts Centres, Flea markets,  Shops, Roadside Vendors and many more and will include fascinating and intricately fashioned Beadwork, Pottery, Basketry, Sewing, House Decoration, Wooden Figures, Weaving and many more.  Filmmaking, Dance, Acting and Music are prominent features in the South African culture and it includes a number of music genres like folk styles, pop, rock, reggae, alternative, jazz, house, Afrikaans and hip hop.  South African people love singing, acting and dancing and there are various popular festivals throughout the year like the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, the Basha Uhuru Freedom festival, the Soweto International Jazz festival, the Oppikoppi festival, the Rocking Daisies festival, the Afropunk Johannesburg festival, the Ultra South Africa festival, the Klein Karoo National Arts festival and many more.  South Africa is an all year-round destination and when you are packing your clothes for your holiday in South Africa, remember to pack for the season and the region that you are planning your visit in.  The dress code in South Africa is relaxed and casual and comfortable clothing should be suitable throughout the year.  Pack light cotton tops, skirts, summer dresses, T-shirts and shorts to wear during the day and pack light long-sleeved clothing with socks and shoes to wear in the evenings (or if you are going on safari) for protection against the mosquitoes.  Depending on the season and region you are in, the evenings in South Africa can get cold so pack a warm jacket.  When going on safari, its best to wear colours like beige, khaki, green and brown instead of bright or light colours but avoid military or camouflage clothing or prints as it is illegal in South Africa.  The standard South African time is GMT+2.

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ACCOMMODATION


There are a variety of Hotels, Resorts, Guesthouses, Camp Sites, Holiday Houses, Chalets, Lodges, Bed & Breakfast and backpacker orientated accommodation available in South Africa that caters for all budgets but it’s essential to book in advance.  Many hotels require the tourist’s passport when checking in, so have it handy to save yourself some time.  Overall, accommodation in South Africa is of a high standard and South Africa is a great destination to go on holiday as there are many things to see and do.

To view all types of available accommodation in South Africa such as Backpackers, Bed and Breakfast, Cabins/Chalets, Camp Sites, Caravan/RV Sites, Cottages, Dormitories, Gameparks/Reserves, Hotels, Lodges, Motels, Tented Accommodation, Villa and to make booking reservations, use our mobile app or visit our booking page on the following link https://www.chilikutiafrica.com/bookings/

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BANKING AND CURRENCY


The currency used in South Africa is the Rand for which the symbol R, is placed immediately before the amount.  The Rand is divided into 100 cents and Notes are in denominations of R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10.  You can click on the link for the current rate check www.xe.com.  Banks and foreign exchange bureaus in South Africa can exchange all major currencies into South African Rand.  VAT (Value Added Tax) is levied at 15% on most of the products in South Africa and foreign passport holders may claim back the VAT on products that were bought in South Africa and are being taken out of the country provided that the total value of the goods don’t exceed a certain amount, for more information see the following links http://www.dirco.gov.za/ and http://www.taxrefunds.co.za/.  There are banks with branches available throughout the country which are open from Monday to Friday between 09h00 and 15h30 and 09h00 to 11h00 over weekends and there are ATM’s available in cities and towns throughout South Africa which takes any Cirrus, Visa or Maestro card as well as all other major credit and debit cards.  It is advisable to take extreme precaution when withdrawing money from an ATM in South Africa by always being careful that no one is watching you enter your PIN, being vigilant of scams where machines seem to eat your card and won’t give it back after you enter the Pin, not accepting help from any strangers and only using teller machines that are inside a mall or other building and by making sure you get a receipt for all processed and cancelled transactions.  Travelers will be required to declare all types of foreign currency when entering/exiting South Africa and most international airports, reputable resorts and lodges have facilities where money can be changed.  Travellers Cheques and Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted throughout South Africa but it’s advisable to always take a small amount of cash with you if you are planning to buy from street vendors and markets as they don’t always have card facilities available.

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SOUTH AFRICAN CUISINE


South African cuisine is very diverse and is influenced by English, Dutch, Malay, German, Portuguese, Afrikaans, Indian and native African cultures resulting in delicious, quality food that’s loaded with meat.  South African people love to cook outside and popular dishes will include the traditional Afrikaner “braaivleis” (meat barbeque) with salads and “krummel pap en sous” (a porridge made with corn meal that resembles couscous covered in saucy tomato relish) and “Potjiekos” (a spicy stew made of meat, chicken or fish cooked in a cast iron three-legged pot over an open fire).  Other traditional South African culture food will include foods such as “Bunny Chows” (half a loaf of bread with the inside replaced by lamb or beef curry), “Masonja” (fried mopani worms), “Bobotie” (meatloaf with a Cape Malay influence, seasoned with curry, raisins and spices, topped with a savoury custard and egg-based topping), “Runaways/Maotwana/Walkie Talkies” (cooked Chicken Feet) and “Morogo” (a wild spinach on its own or with potato served with pap made from maize/corn flour into a basic porridge).  Due to South Africa’s coastal locations, seafood is a popular food on many menu’s and will include delicious South African Mussels, Oysters, Fresh Kabeljou, Calamari, Shrimp, Prawns, Kingklip, Hake and many other fish types served with rice or chips (fries).  Popular deserts in South Africa will include “Melktert” (milk-based desert) and “MalvaPudding” (baked desert with a sweet syrup).  Fruits, Vegetables and Starches like Avocados, Bananas, Bread, Onions, Oranges, Couscous, Pineapples, Kiwi Fruit, Potatoes, Gem Squash, Papayas, Butternut Squash, Celery, Watermelon, Peanuts, Beans, Rice, Tomatoes, Cabbage, Pasta and Corn are also widely available.  Some of the popular snacks in South Africa will include “Biltong” (spiced dried meat), “Droëwors” (spicy dried sausage), “Samoosas” (fried triangle shaped dough with a savoury filling) and “Koeksisters” (dough that is deep-fried and soaked in a sweet sugary sauce).  Fast Foods such as McDonalds, KFC, Subway, Romans Pizza, Debonairs Pizza, Wimpy, Cinnabon and many more are available throughout South Africa.  There are various soft drinks such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Fanta, Sprite and alcoholic beverages like wine, brandy, rum, whisky and local African and imported beers like Castle Lager, Castle Lite, Hansa Pilsner, Carling Black Label, Heineken, Peroni and many more available in South Africa.  It is safe to drink municipal tap water in South Africa.

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EMBASSIES & CONSULATES


Learn more about all the Embassies, High Commissions and Honorary Consulates in South Africa.

Source: https://www.embassypages.com/South Africa

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GAME RESERVES


There are various protected (conservation) areas in South Africa that is grouped into national parks, nature reserves, special nature reserves, mountain catchment areas, world heritage sites, protected environments, forest nature reserves, transfrontier conservation areas, marine protected areas, botanical gardens, game parks and reserves.  The National Parks and Game Parks and Reserves in South Africa are the Addo Elephant National Park, the Agulhas National Park, the Augrabies Falls National Park, the Bontebok National Park, the Camdeboo National Park, the Garden Route National Park, the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, the Karoo National Park, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the Kruger National Park, the Mapungubwe National Park, the Marakele National Park, the Mokala National Park, the Mountain Zebra National Park, the Namaqua National Park, the Table Mountain National Park, the Tankwa Karoo National Park and the West Coast National Park.  Game Viewing is at its best during the dry season (May to October) as most of the animals will be near rivers, pools and waterholes.  Game drives are recommended in the early mornings and late afternoons.   For your own safety it is always advised to approach big game with caution and don’t make any unnecessary movement or noise and be prepared to drive on quickly if warning signs appear for example if an elephant turns head-on to you and flaps its ears.  Always try to keep down-wind and remember any wild animal can be dangerous if startled, irritated or cornered.  Never cut off a wild animal’s line of retreat, no matter what the circumstances.

The Kruger National Park

The famous 19,485 square km Kruger National Park is situated in the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo in South Africa and is one of the largest game reserves in the world.  The 360 km long and 65km wide Kruger National Park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere area designated by UNESCO as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve.  The intriguing Kruger National Park with its rivers, thorn trees, red bush-willow, mopane and marula veld has nine main gates allowing entrance to the different camps.  The enormous and magnificent Kruger National Park is one of the most popular public-entry game parks in the world and its density of permanent game is unrivalled with hundreds of different species such as 507 bird species, 147 mammal species, 114 reptile species, 49 fish species and 34 amphibian species.  The Kruger National Park is a sense-tingling magical wonderland of untouched African bushveld boasting with wildlife such as the Big 5 (Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo and Leopard), Cheetah, African Wild Dog, Zebra, Bushbuck, Eland, Giraffe, Kudu, Hippo, Impala, Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest, Mountain Reedbuck, Nyala, Roan Antelope, Sable Antelope, Warthog, Waterbuck, Crocodile, Spotted Hyena and many more.  Accommodation at the Kruger National Park includes various Chalets, Lodges, Cottages, Rest Camps and Camp Sites with modern amenities but due to the popularity of the park and it is very important to book in advance.  Activities to do at the Kruger National Park will include Game Viewing, Game Drives, Bird Watching, Wilderness Trails, Guided Walks, Mountain Biking, Backpacking Trails, Golf, 4×4 trails, Safari’s and many more.  The best time to visit the Kruger National Park is during the dry season of May to October.  The park is open throughout the year.

The ADDO Elephant National Park

The spectacular ADDO Elephant National park with its famous elephant population, miles of verdant citrus trees, picturesque Zuurberg Mountain, Sundays River and rolling sand dunes of the Woody Cape section is located in the Eastern Cape province approximately 70km north-east from Port Elizabeth.  The ADDO Elephant National park is the third largest park in South Africa and consists of 5 sections namely the Colchester section, the Darlington section, the Kabouga section, the Zuurberg section and the Woody Cape section.  The ADDO Elephant National Park is known as the park with the Big 7 which typically consists out of your normal Big 5 (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino) plus the sperm whales and great white sharks that roam the ocean of the Woody Cape Section.  The dense population of elephants in the park has a special brownish skin colour due to the red soil and other wildlife in the ADDO Elephant National Park will include various Antelope species, Flightless Dung Beetle, Zebras, Warthogs, Ostriches, Spotted Hyenas and many more.  Accommodation at the ADDO Elephant National Park will include various Hotels, Lodges, Guest Houses, Bed & Breakfast and Self-catering accommodation.  Activities to do at the ADDO Elephant National Park will include Game Viewing, Game Drives, Bird Watching, Horse-back Riding, Guided Walking, Hiking, 4×4 trails and many more.

The Garden Route National Park

The breath-taking and picturesque 1,210 square kilometre Garden Route National Park consists out of the Wilderness National Park, the Tsitsikamma National Park and the Knysna Lakes area and is located in the scenic Garden Route region of the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces in South Africa.  The coastal reserve with its indigenous forests, sheer cliffs, dramatic coastline, various types of fynbos, winding waterways, lakes, serpentine and Otter trail is divided into two sections namely the Tsitsikamma section and the Wilderness section.  The beautiful Garden Route National park presents a world of intertidal life and reefs in its marine part and it has the single largest block of Afromontane forest in South Africa in its terrestrial parts boasting with an array of mammals, birds, reptiles and marine animals.  The Garden Route National Park is home to approximately 371 bird species, 25 different snake species, 26 different fish species and 85 mammal species including Clawless Otter, Grysbok, Honey badger, Klipspringer, Leopard, Vervet Monkey, Striped Polecat, Serval, Vlei Rat, African Weasel, African Wild Cat, Caracal, Killer Whale, Humpback Dolphin, Risso Dolphin, Bushbuck, Cape Fur Seal, Water Mongoose, Bushpig, Chacma Baboon, Blue Duiker, African Elephant and many more.  Accommodation at the Garden Route National Park includes various Lodges, Camping and Caravan Sites, Forest Cabins, Rondawels, Chalets and Forest Huts.  Activities to do at the Garden Route National Park will include Game Viewing, Game Drives, Bird Watching, Swimming, Canoeing, Diving, Hiking, Nature Walks, Forest Excursions, Mountain Biking and many more.

The

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HEALTH


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INFRASTRUCTURE


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ROAD TRAVEL


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TOURIST ATTRACTIONS


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TRAVEL ADVISORIES & ALERTS


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USEFUL PHRASES IN SOUTH AFRICA


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VISAS


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WEATHER


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WHAT! NEED TO KNOW MORE?


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