• Bitten by the whale watching bug Bitten by the whale watching bug We don’t realise how lucky we are in South Africa, and in particular the Western Cape, to have the mightiest of the marine mammals visit our coastline between every year ...
  • The Whale Trail The Whale Trail The Whale Trail is not a new trail, having been around since about 2002, but it has become extremely popular. It is truly a unique experience, perhaps comparable with ...
  • 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa Combine your trip to South Africa with a relaxing, revitalising visit to a health spa and experience Africa at it's finest. Our favourite 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa are ...
  • Locals share their favourite getaways Locals share their favourite getaways We ask 30 local South Africans to share their favourite holiday destinations and getaways with us. From the more popular destinations like Knysna and the Kruger Park to ...
  • The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip walk shares portions of its hike with the larger Karbonkelberg Traverse, which is roughly seven hours of hard walk from Hout Bay harbour to Llandudno ...
  • 10 Amazing Game Lodges 10 Amazing Game Lodges South Africa is world renowned for her game reserves and wildlife. The lodges which allow us to experience these in luxury are no less awe inspiring. Our favourites are ...
  • 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town As much as your kids will tell you they can’t wait for the school holidays, the words "I’m bored" inevitably cross their lips. Our "101 things to do with kids in Cape Town" will ...
  • "World's most beautiful Cities" "World's most beautiful Cities" Open space makes Cape Town special. Renowned English sea navigator Sir Francis Drake once referred to Cape Town as the fairest cape in the world. The city houses the ...

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Tuesday, 3 March 2015

10 Great Spots for Snorkelling and Free Diving in Cape Town

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Cape Town is one of the best places to free dive, or snorkel, in the world. Cape fur seals, mako sharks, blue sharks, seven gill sharks, dolphins, whales and the magic of the kelp forests that line our west coast, mean the seas are rich with marine creatures, and incredibly beautiful.

Snorkelling is the act of swimming through the sea with nothing other than a diving mask, a shaped tube called a snorkel and, usually, fins. In Cape Town you will need a wetsuit. Snorkellers make use of the shallow kelp forests, using the stems to pull themselves to the sea bed.

Through the kelp fringe roam red romans, pajama sharks, sea urchins, anemones, shrimp and rock lobsters amongst other fish. And there are groups of Cape fur seals around the coast with whom you can interact (contact companies that facilitate seal snorkelling – now rather popular). Continued

Monday, 2 March 2015

10 Travel Trends for 2015 – What Will Affect South Africans

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The forecast is that growth in sub-Saharan Africa will increase to 5.8 percent in 2015, despite the global economic growth forecast’s revision down to 3.5 per cent. This means both consumers in Africa, and those visiting the continent, will benefit from new opportunities.

Translated into travel speak: tourism to the African continent is on the increase… Continued

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Amatikulu Nature Reserve – A Must Visit

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A day or two after waving our Christmas guests goodbye (with a sigh of relief on my part), we decided that a bit of exploring was in order. Friends had told us about the small but worthwhile Amatikulu Nature Reserve which is a mere 25 minute drive from our house. So, we packed a picnic of sorts and headed in the direction of Amatikulu … Continued

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Your 2015 Travel Itinerary in SA – Diarise These 6 Weekend Road Trips

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South Africa is one of the best country’s in the world for road trips – with nigh on 750 000 kilometres of road (the longest road network on the continent, and one of the ten longest road networks globally). The country is probably best known for its Garden Route – a road trip that winds its way up the coast between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, passing some of the most incredible scenery, beaches and coastline in the world en route.

But there are other shorter, just as extraordinary, road trips around the country. We’ve put together 6 weekend trips for you to choose from for your 2015 diaries. Few of them are more than five hours’ drive but there is much to do and see en route. They give credence to the slogan: local is lekker. Continued

Monday, 23 February 2015

Amazing Facts About South Africa’s Wildlife

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South Africa is a land abundant in the weird and wonderful, beautiful and a little strange at times. There are around 300 mammalian species in South Africa alone, as well as hundreds of amphibians, insects, reptiles, and bird species. With this variety and scope, it is no wonder that some of the animals found in South Africa have some peculiar characteristics… Continued

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Top 10 Views in South Africa

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South Africa has heart-stopping vistas aplenty. We struggled more with narrowing it down to a list of 10 than trying to find the views in South Africa … Continued

Monday, 16 February 2015

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Fynbos

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Fynbos, which is Dutch for fine-leaved plants (even though most fynbos is ericoid and not fine), is in high demand. It’s valuable because it is under threat – due in no small part to agriculture, invading plant species, and human development. Fynbos is a totally unique kind of vegetation that makes up 80 per cent of the Cape Floral Kingdom, two-thirds of which are found only in the Cape (nowhere else on earth).

To put it in perspective: Table Mountain alone hosts as many plant species as the UK; all 1 500 species of them. Which makes the Western Cape more botanically diverse than the richest tropical rainforest in South America, according to WWF. And that includes the Amazon… Continued

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The Wonders of Mtunzini

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In December, while we had a bit of free time we decided to try and see a bit of our local area … our journey took us to the coastal town of Mtunzini which is located just 90 minutes drive north of Durban. The word Mtunzini is derived from the Zulu word emthunzini which means ‘a place in the shade’ and in the history of this coastal town it refers more to the place under the milkwood trees near the Mlalazi River.

Overlooking the Umlalazi Nature Reserve, Mtunzini is a lovely coastal town, well known for its status as a conservancy and also for being a town with a safe, clean and peaceful environment. As had already spent the morning exploring the Amatikulu Nature Reserve we were in need of lunch when we arrived in Mtunzini and stopped for a quick bite to eat at The Clay Oven Restaurant. Continued

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Escape The Crowds – 8 Places and Spaces to Break Away

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South Africa is a huge country. It is also incredibly diverse, promising anything from the lush, indigenous forests of the Tsitsikamma to the dry, cracked clay of the Kgalagadi river beds.

Remote beaches, wild life reserves deep in what remains of true African bush, mountains that tower thousands of metres above sea level, skies filled with stars, and the vast, lonely expanse of the Karoo are but the first few on a list that reads like a treasure trove of collected highlights of a world tour.

We list 10 places and spaces to break away from it all and escape the crowds – for a day; for a week – the choice is yours… Continued

Monday, 2 February 2015

Open-Air Cinemas Near You – 6 Places In South Africa Where The Big Screen Is Outdoors

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The inner-city trend of outdoor cinema is fast filling the void that the demise of the drive-in left in the lives of many South Africans.

It’s already a rage worldwide and places like Monaco, Wroclaw (Poland), Broom and Sydney (Australia), London, Colorado, Dusseldorf, and Los Angeles regularly host movies on giant screens in parks, in squares, on rooftops and even in jacuzzis – like the Hot Tub Cinema on the roof of Rockwell House in Shoreditch, London.

The UK outdid itself in this category with a rash of cycle-powered outdoor cinemas popping up around the country – in Manchester, Bristol, Brighton, at Womad and locations around London (the skinny wheeled kind of bike is the only bike suitable for the generators, in case you are interested).

Given our history for outdoor drive-ins (the last South African drive-in, in Pretoria’s Menlyn Park, closed as recently as February 2014!), it was only time before the good weather, self-evident outdoor venues and enterprising individuals combined to host similar events in South African cities. Continued

Friday, 30 January 2015

Greytown and Tranquili-Tea

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A few weeks ago a friend and I took a trip from where we farm in Kearsney to the town of Greytown. I must admit, I had driven through Greytown on my way to the Natal Midlands many times before but had never taken the time to stop and see what the town has to offer.

The landscape is for one is completely different; here the hills are covered in green forests compared to the sugar-cane fields that makeup the Kearsney landscape. The climate is wonderful too; on the day we visited it was beautifully cool and misty … in fact the drive home on the windy R74 took much longer than anticipated due to the misty, wet conditions (it’s not always easy to see a cow wandering across the road in the mist!) Continued

Thursday, 29 January 2015

I Love Greyton Because … Insider Tips

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Hi, we are Ines Stoll and Mark Dittke from The Purple Dog Self Catering House in Greyton in the Cape Overberg, Western Cape.

Greyton IS BEST KNOWN FOR its magnificent piece of peace, tucked away from the N2 but still close enough to Cape Town with its oak tree lined streets surrounded by the majestic Riviersonderend Mountains.

GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN whilst meandering in the Nature Reserve along the Gobos River with an easily accessible waterfall or from the top of the Mountain whilst hiking the Loerkop Trail with a marvellous 360-degree view with the whole chain of the Riviersonderend mountains spread from east to west, with Greyton and Genadendal in sheltered positions… Continued

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

6 Ways to Experience Cape Town’s Ocean Wildlife

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Known historically as ‘The Cape of Storms’ the tempestuous seas around the Cape Peninsula have battered the rocky shores, and more than a few ships, for millennia. The peninsula juts out into the ocean at the edge of the African continent, tipped by the Cape of Good Hope (which, contrary to popular myth, is not the southernmost tip of Africa – this honour is reserved for Cape L’agulhas, a little further east).

With the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean on one shore, and the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean on the other, Cape Town has historically served as a watering hole for travellers, and continues to do so today, although as a destination rather than a stopover on the Spice Route to and from Asia. Continued

Thursday, 22 January 2015

10 Reasons Downtown Johannesburg’s Maboneng Precinct is the Place to Live, Eat and Visit

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Downtown Johannesburg is a dangerous place. In May 1999, not five years after the first democratic government was elected in South Africa, the Guardian published an article entitled: Johannesburg, the most dangerous city on earth? The chilling article gives personal accounts of death by car-jacking, muggings and rapes, and cites frightening statistics about the country’s daily murder and rape rates.

It presents Johannesburg as nothing short of a ‘rough, provisional kind of place’ that has ‘never quite shaken off its arbitrary, squatter-camp beginnings’. (ouch!) It is not a pretty picture.

Johannesburg’s downtown has attracted many illegal immigrants. The CBD, dense with skyscrapers, is also dense with people. If statistics are to be believed 217 000 inner city residents live in 37 000 dwelling units. The threat of vagrancy and crime keeps people away. But. Things are changing.

Fast forward to 2014 and news articles now convey Jo’burg’s downtown as ‘less dodgy’. They describe an urban renaissance transforming the city’s once-feared streets into welcoming urban spaces. One of the major contributors to this renaissance is the Maboneng Precinct.

Here are 10 Reasons Downtown Johannesburg’s Maboneng Precinct is the Place to Live, Eat and Visit… Continued

Thursday, 15 January 2015

10 churches designed by a woman in the Cape; plan your Sophia Gray Route

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Sophia (Sophy) Gray designed no fewer than 40 of the 50 Anglican churches built during her husband Robert Gray’s bishopric. She was the first woman to practise architecture in South Africa, and one of the earliest to do so in the world. No mean feat for a woman who was a wife during the Victorian era, and a mother to five children.

Perhaps Sophy managed to escape the full impact of the crinoline, and its relegation of women to the home, when she moved with her husband from England after he was assigned the colonial bishopric of the Cape of Good Hope. Part of his remit was to build churches.

Robert and Sophy Gray arrived in 1848 to settle on the farm Boschheuvel, originally known as Wijnberg, and later called Bishopscourt. With her Sophy brought drawings and plans of church architecture that she felt would best adapt to South African conditions. She added her own sketches of styles and details that shaped the form of Anglican churches all over South Africa, conferring often with the British ecclesiastical architect W. Butterfield. Continued