If you haven’t already cottoned on to the idea of a Botanical garden being the perfect place to picnic, trail, bird watch, get married, hike or have lunch, then it’s time you got the memo. There are many reasons why hundreds of thousands of locals and foreigners flock to South Africa’s Botanical gardens each year ranging from the wildlife, unique vegetation and biodiversity, natural beauty and entertainment. Continued
Little of what we claim today as natural wonders will be here in a hundred years time.
Little is today as it was a century ago.
But we are blessed with many phenomenon hewn by the natural world in South Africa… Continued
Grahamstown is not known as the town of 60 churches, or the city of saints, for nothing. It is steeped in colonial English history, filled with historical buildings and churches, and is also a university town – which goes some way to explain its reputation for tolerance and left-of-centre thinking.
The town of the annual avant-garde Arts Festival, Grahamstown is also home to the oldest independent newspaper offices (still producing the Grocott’s Mail), and was home to author André Brink, who lectured at Rhodes University between 1961 and 1990 whilst producing numerous novels, many of which went on to win literary awards (more controversially: a couple were banned during apartheid, making him something of a cult hero).
Grahamstown’s churches are worth investigation in their own right. But below are a selection of historical buildings that have something slightly quirky or different about them and are thus interesting to visit. Continued
If you’re from Cape Town you’ll know what it’s like to have foreign visitors or guests from other parts of South Africa come spend time with you, hoping you would show them around your beautiful city. Or even if you’re not from Cape Town but are going there as a group of friends, this quick little list is designed to give you a couple of quick and easy “what to do?” options if you’re here for a couple of days or longer.
Showing the city off to your foreign friends is also a fantastic way for locals to take time off and act like tourists themselves so without further ado, let’s jump into it … Continued
As a youngster, my parents would often treat my brother and I to a toasted sandwich and a milkshake at The Press Club on our monthly jaunts into Durban from our home in Zululand. Located in the centre of town, I thought it was the coolest place ever; with its newsprint wallpaper I entertained romantic notions of becoming a journalist and memories of this little coffee shop have remained with me since the mid ‘80’s. Continued
Anyone watching Miss Lucy Honeychurch and George Emerson at the window overlooking Florence, in the film based on the novel by EM Forster, will agree that the phrase ‘room with a view’ changed forever.
The sumptuousness of the film, and the quintessentially British account of romance, intrigue and beauty, resulted in the phrase’s association with far more than the view alone.
In keeping with this idea that a room with a view is about all things romantic, we have handpicked a selection of rooms with views throughout South Africa.
It might not be Florence, but you won’t be disappointed… Continued
Where to go when you do not want to leave your pooch behind? There are plenty of venues across the country that welcome pets.
Here are some of our favourites. Unless otherwise stated, all dogs are welcome by prior arrangement…
Aloe Cottage, Darling
A romantic getaway in Darling, this little cottage looks out over rolling hills and farmlands to distant mountains. It is set on an indigenous renosterveld estate, designed for privacy, although restaurants, shops and galleries are but three minutes’ drive away. Unwind in the peaceful country atmosphere, or walk on nearby trails. Continued
Visual art in public spaces can be big or small. It can loom overhead, forcing you to squint into the sun to see it, or it can scream for attention from beneath your feet on the pavement. There are no rules about how it must look, what medium it should use, or what shape it should take.
What it must do is play with expectation, heighten awareness, spark debate, shift the way you think, celebrate imagination, and make art accessible to everyone. In Johannesburg much of the city’s public art is concentrated in the Newtown Cultural Precinct. Continued
The Cheetah: fastest land animal on earth over short distances; can reach a speed of 120 kilometres an hour; measures two metres from the snout to the end of its tail; weighs between 40 – 60kgs; is the only cat with semi-retractable claws, and has a spotted coat.
Cheetah are listed as Vulnerable, and Critically Endangered in North Africa and Asia.
Cheetahs prefer open plains where they run down their prey, but they can function as well in savanna woodland. They no longer occur in almost 80 percent of their historic range in Africa, although they have been reintroduced in about 38 reserves in South Africa. However, their populations are small and isolated… Continued
Craft beer – the kind brewed using artisan methods, no chemicals or artificial additives, usually in microbreweries with savvy names like Three Skulls, Triggerfish, or Porcupine Quill – is now firmly favoured by foodies around the country. Craft beer is beer that is not brewed by any of the mega-brewery guys – the SABs of this world. Usually the brewers are small, independent and traditional. The result is: good beer.
The craft beer industry in South Africa is at once small, yet growing. Small, because everyone in the industry knows everyone else – in some cases brewers are even friends. Growing because in 2013 alone around 20 breweries opened, according to the Craft Beer Project. Continued
Autumn – the secret season. A time of year that, in South Africa, stretches across March, April and into May, marked by cooler mornings and evenings.
Dried, crisp, brown leaves litter kerbsides, roads and gardens – blown by the wind or the insistent whine of garden leaf blowers. The presence of vivid colour that marks autumn elsewhere in the world – the reds and ochre of deciduous trees – is not as prevalent here; the season’s passing not as marked. Continued
Cape Town, back then, was known as ‘The Tavern of the Seas’ and the first European settlement of what was then called the Cape of Good Hope began with this garden. Continued
Chasing the sun is something we think of doing only when it begins going through the motions of packing up and leaving. Around this time of year. Whilst the last few months have had even swimming pool devotees shade hopping and water slugging, the slight shift in weather manages to catch us off balance and a last bid for the sun-kissed break we missed over Christmas is crucial for the easter break.
Chasing the sun in South Africa is never difficult – most parts of the country it never leaves. We’ve come up with a combination of beach-side, river-side and inland sunshine destinations where the sun is almost guaranteed to put in a daily appearance… Continued
As part of my adventure holiday prize from a competition I won at the Cape Getaway Show, was a day at Acrobranch which lies between Sedgefield and Wilderness. I had no idea what to expect, I only knew there was a zip line and tarzan swing involved. We arrived at the Timberlake Organic Village and made our way through the very gorgeous outdoor village which consisted of log cabins with unique and interesting shops, restaurants, children’s play area and at the very end, Acrobranch. Continued
The African elephant, the world’s largest terrestrial animal, is under threat…
Scientists revealed in 2013 that we have overestimated the number of elephants that remain in the wild; that we lost 62 percent of African forest elephants between 2002 and 2011, and that the forest elephant population is now less than 10 percent of its potential size. Admittedly the elephants of South Africa are not forest elephants. These are found mainly in equatorial forests in central and western Africa. Continued