R.E.M. will kick off a tour of South Africa on March 3, 2005 in Cape Town. It will mark the veteran rock band's first visit to the country.

R.E.M. will kick off a tour of South Africa on March 3, 2005 in Cape Town. It will mark the veteran rock band's first visit to the country.

The band will play the coastal city of Durban on March 8, and Johannesburg on March 10. The tour is promoted locally by Big Concerts, and national top-40 radio station 5FM is the tour's media partner.

The tour comes in support of the band's forthcoming album "Around the Sun," which is due for release Oct. 4 through Warners Bros.' local licensee Gallo Music.

As previously reported, R.E.M. will embark on a string of North American dates in October, followed by an extensive European tour early in the New Year.