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Friday, 28 August 2015

Top 4 Snorkelling Spots On Durbans Coast

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The best thing about Durban is its warm seas. Durban’s ‘all year round summer’ translates into sea temperatures, even in winter, that hover around 20 degrees Celsius.

Even Durban’s summer sea temperatures are more akin to a bath than the sea, and you can spend hours in the water without feeling the cold.

If this weren’t enough of an invitation (bearing in mind that you may need to live in the sea between January and March as the city’s humidity can get unbearable), the clarity of the water and the phenomenal sea life also make Durban the perfect place to snorkel, particularly along the north coast (Ballito, Salt Rock and Sheffield areas).

Here are 4 of the best snorkeling spots on Durbans Coast… Continued

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Durban’s Ancient Forest – Not Even The Locals Know About It

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Jocelyn Sutherland’s hands are full of litter when she meets us at the gate to Hawaan Forest. She’s incensed by the dumping of bougainvillea on the edge of the forest’s perimeter fence, and by the litter. ‘Hardly any one local knows about this magnificent forest, ‘ she shares by way of greeting, ‘it is visitors to Durban who want to know more about it, not the locals.’

We’ve met just off the M4 at Umhlanga, one of Durban’s more privileged neighbourhoods on the north coast. The M4 divides the green forest belt in two, yet there couldn’t be two more divergent forests.

Across the M4 the forest rests on a 2 000 year-old sand dune. Sounds old enough but Hawaan, by contrast, stands sturdy on a sand dune that is 18 000 years old. It’s mind-boggling to think that something that old still exists… Continued

Monday, 24 August 2015

Top Ten Natural Attractions in Gauteng

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Completely landlocked Gauteng may be the smallest of all the provinces, but it delivers a hefty punch of vibrant city life in the form of its dominant city, Johannesburg – the country’s economic powerhouse – and its quieter country cousin, the jacaranda-lined streets of the administrative capital of South Africa, Pretoria.

The ‘place of gold’ in the north-east of the country may not have any sea or major river about which to boast, but it is uniquely placed for easy weekend escapes into North West, Limpopo and the Free State provinces. And although small, it has at its heart enough of its own natural attractions to keep visitors content to remain within its borders.

Visit these 10 top natural attractions in Gauteng… Continued

Friday, 21 August 2015

5 Reasons To Visit Durban’s Beachwood Mangroves (If You Can Wangle A Visit)

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A visit to Durban’s Beachwood Mangroves is not as simple as driving up to the gate and taking a saunter along one of two boardwalk trails through the mangroves, as and when it suits you.

Durban has closed ranks and protects this National Monument, one of three last remaining bits of mangrove swamp in and around Durban (the other two are the Isipingo Mangroves and the Bayhead Mangroves), rather fiercely.

You will need to join the regular tours, either on the evening of every first Thursday or the third Saturday morning of every month, by the Honorary Officers of KZN Wildlife – who volunteer their time to take visitors through this green space.

A truly worthwhile experience, the Honorary Officers share a wealth of knowledge about the critters, crabs, birds and trees that collectively make up this wholly unique ecosystem. Continued

Thursday, 20 August 2015

One place you’ve got to visit when in Durban is People’s Park

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I used to live in Durban. That was long before it became a tourist attraction and all the road names changed. Back then, on weekends, you’d go to the beach.

Occasional highlights were Mini Town, or the rides at the Amusement Park on the beachfront (the red chairs on the cablecar are still there, though; I checked). Sometimes you’d head out to Midmar Dam for the day. Durban was a low-key kind of place.

But now Durban is a heady mix of old and new, and a tourist mecca of note (I totally get why CNN listed the city as one of the world’s 10 most underrated cities)… Continued

Monday, 17 August 2015

Top Ten Natural Attractions in Northern Cape

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The Northern Cape is easily described in terms of remoteness. Both vast and under populated, by comparison with anywhere else in the country, it annexes 373 000 sq km – most of it the far-flung, empty spaces of the hinterland defined by relentless heat and desert sand dunes; the landscape knobbly with quiver and Halfmens trees.

Yet this aridness also relinquishes some of nature’s most generous treasures – the richly green wine-producing banks of the Gariep Dam, the legendary Augrabies Falls, dunes teeming with wild life, and spring flowers that oblige a desert mutation from a barren terrain into a latticework of blooms.

To  help you navigate, here are the Top Ten Natural Attractions in Northern Cape… Continued

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Top Ten Natural Attractions in Eastern Cape

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Perhaps the reason the Eastern Cape has something of a Cinderella complex is because it lies wedged between two of South Africa’s most popular destinations – the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal. Certainly it receives less attention than the Western Cape, yet is more diverse and harbours some of the most beautiful holiday destinations in the country.

It begins where the Garden Route stops, 1 000 km of largely undeveloped coastline (if you overlook Port Elizabeth and East London) with beaches warmed by the Indian Ocean’s waters, its north-eastern corner dominated by the Drakensberg Mountain range and its eastern quarters awash with rural Xhosa villages.

It has one of the country’s best loved national parks, is malaria-free, and is Nelson Mandela’s birth place. For visitors it is a playground of outdoor activities and compelling natural attractions. Continued

Friday, 7 August 2015

South Africas 3 Endangered Cranes – Where To See Them

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South Africa is home to three species of crane – the blue crane, grey crowned crane and the wattled crane.

In case you were wondering they’re the tall, willowy birds that you sometimes see in pairs, or flocks, in open grassland or on farms. They appear almost regal. I often see blue cranes in the Overberg where they are now fiercely protected, and encouraged on farms.

When they’re not mating, cranes tend to gather communally in wetlands and shallow dams.

Blue cranes are the most numerous of the three endangered cranes, however they’re also largely limited to South Africa – 99% of them occur only here (bar the 60 or so around the Etosha Pans of Namibia) – whereas wattled cranes, and grey crowned cranes, live across southern-central Africa. Continued

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

If There’s One Thing You Do In Durban – The 9 Markets of Warwick Tour

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Everyone knows the Victoria Street Market in Durban’s inner-city. Its vibrantly painted building looks more like the palace of a Maharajah than a market. It lies on the edge of Bertha Mkhize Street (formerly Victoria Street); the site of a market since 1910.

Victoria Market is a predominantly Indian spice and flea market fused with north African curios, art and jewellery, fresh fish, Chinese wholesale goods and everything and anything in-between. It is a ‘safe’ option for tourists overwhelmed by the noise and inner-city turbulence that happens just outside the building, on one of Durban’s busiest street corners – Warwick Junction.

Some 460 000 commuters pass through Warwick Junction on any given day. There are 23 taxi ranks, 19 bus terminals and two major train stations in the near vicinity. It’s no wonder the average tourist’s eyes widen at the thought of venturing beyond the relative safety of the Victoria Market.

But the Markets of Warwick tour does just that… ] Continued

Monday, 3 August 2015

Top Ten Natural Attractions in KwaZulu Natal

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The coastal province of KwaZulu Natal has just about everything – historical battlefields, architecture and memorials, first world shopping malls, Victorian-cottage shabby-chic suburban living, tribal settlements in rural areas, towering basalt mountains, warm seas, world-class wetlands, wildlife game reserves, hiking and snorkelling opportunities, vibrant markets, an annual sardine run, and a strong Indian, Zulu and colonial influence.

It isn’t short of rustic beauty either, and the top 10 natural attractions in KwaZulu Natal are a good place to start… Continued

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Top Ten Natural Attractions in Mpumalanga

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Mpumalanga’s rare combination of lowveld and escarpment, sub-tropical weather, summer rains and unbelievable scenic beauty makes the province one of the country’s best-kept secrets.

Yet despite the millions of tourists who enter the Kruger National Park annually a huge proportion pass through Mpumalanga without exploring the richness of natural beauty beyond the park’s boundaries.

Mpumalanga, place of the rising sun, has a history and natural beauty that will take your breath away. Explore the Top Ten Natural Attractions in Mpumalanga … Continued

Friday, 24 July 2015

8 Fabulous Self-Drive Routes in KwaZulu-Natal – Making Travel Easy

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There is no better way to get a feel for a place than from the seat of your car, the open road before you; nothing to do, nowhere to be but exactly where you are, exploring and appreciating the scene as it unfolds before you.

The scenic beauty and rich history of KwaZulu Natal needs little introduction, but choosing just how best to explore it does. Here are 10 fabulous Self-Drive Routes in KwaZulu-Natal – to make travel easy… Continued

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Explore SA By Two-Heeled Drive – 10 Extraordinary Spaces For Hiking

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South Africa is renowned for its outdoor lifestyle, its vast expanses, spectacular scenery and heady wilderness areas. The country’s terrain, stretched across 1.2 million square kilometres, is as diverse as its culture and people – from rugged shorelines and towering peaks, to bushveld, shrubland, magnificent indigenous forest and endless, barren desert.

To fully engage with the country head to its wilderness and protected areas and get to know it with your own two feet. Explore these 10 extraordinary spaces for hiking… Continued

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

10 Karoo towns with weird sounding names

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It isn’t difficult to find unusual names in the Karoo. It seems as if this vast, effortless aridity gives rise to names that are the deuce to pronounce, if you’re a visitor, and difficult even if you live in South Africa.

Here are 10 Karoo towns with weird sounding names… Continued

Monday, 13 July 2015

Here is How The Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve Is Saving The Klein Karoo

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People come from all over the world to visit the Klein Karoo. Its wide landscapes, solitude and the spiritual calm of the mountainous, dry landscape is a hugely valuable commodity.

The vegetation of the Klein Karoo, and the adjacent coastal plain, includes 4 500 species of plants that occur nowhere else on Earth, over 70% of which has been damaged and needs protection.

To acquire recognition as a hotspot a region must have at least 1 500 species of endemic plants under threat. The Klein Karoo has three internationally recognised biodiversity hotspots– Fynbos, Succulent Karoo and Valley Thicket. Continued