• 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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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Cape Dutch architecture – 8 best spots to Gawp at Gables

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Think Cape Dutch architecture and one immediately calls to mind the style’s most distinctive feature: the central gable. But gables are not anything new, you might argue, what’s the big deal? – European architecture is full of examples. But at the Cape, gables are different.

Rather than lying at the end of a house, as they do in Amsterdam and elsewhere in Europe, they are set right in the middle of the façade over the front door. They’re even given an appealing name for this reason – the central dormer gable. Over time this gable, the work of skilled Malay craftsment, was to become something of a status symbol – the larger and more ornate, the wealthier the settler. Continued

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Spring Into The Stihl Open Gardens

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Every spring marks the return of the Stihl Open Gardens which take place in the town of Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas. Gardeners are kind enough to open their beautiful gardens to the public and are delighted to share their gardening tips and secrets!

Although some of the gardens were only open for a few weekends in October and have already closed, there are still a number that are open during weekends in November and December. Continued

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Karoo Farmstays – we share 8 of the best with you

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The impression we hold of the Karoo has romance at its heart: dirt roads, windmills, sunsets that look as though someone has thrown claret on a canvas, big sky and mountain passes.

The semi-desert region known as the Karoo is inspiring. Despite its droughts and extreme climate, it is a space in which to unwind, slow and retreat from the world.

We share 8 of the best Karoo farmstays with you… Continued

Friday, 24 October 2014

South Africa’s elusive aardvark – 7 places to see it

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The aardvark. The only surviving member of the prehistoric species Tubulidentata.  It looks like a rabbit crossed with a piglet and a kangaroo, and is sometimes called an African antbear, or a Cape anteater.  Actually, its name comes from the Afrikaans meaning ‘earth pig’ or ‘ground pig’, due in no small part to its habit of burrowing under the ground to avoid the heat of the day (they only come out at night).

Despite its name, the aardvark is not even vaguely related to the pig, nor the South American anteater, despite looking fairly similar (only smaller). In fact, its closest living relatives are elephant shrews, dassies, elephants and tenrecs (a Madagascan animal that resembles a hedgehog, shrew or mouse).

So, if you’ve managed to spot an aardvark in your life time, I’m impressed… Continued

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Dining at Hamiltons Restaurant in Malelane

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A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of dining not once, but twice in the same day at the superb Hamiltons Restaurant in Malelane. Located just outside the well known Leopard Creek Golf Estate and named after Stevenson Hamilton, the first Kruger National Park ranger, Hamiltons offers good quality food prepared with fresh, local ingredients.

Originally a trading store and now a family run restaurant Hamiltons is a firm favourite with both locals and visitors alike… Continued

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

10 favourite MTB trails in South Africa (the thrills and spills of our top outdoor trails)

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I recently heard South Africa described as the ‘deep south’ of the MTB (mountain bike) community.

If you consider the MTB scene in South Africa is hotting up, this description fits.  The country is full of exceptional mountain bike trails in areas that manage to combine gobsmacking scenery with a healthy ride and a good dose of tourist attractions.  So when things freeze over in the northern hemisphere, a trip down south sounds all the more appealing with bike trails added to the mix.

You don’t have to be hard core either. Many trails lend themselves to families and holiday riders.

It wasn’t difficult to come up with a list of favourites. Whilst I’m not a biker, I do have friends for whom time in the saddle is tantamount to meditation… Continued

Friday, 17 October 2014

4 sun-drenched day trips along the Sunshine Coast

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If there was a place that guaranteed more sunshine hours than anywhere else in the country, wouldn’t you head there?

Stretching between Tsitsikamma and East London is just such a place; its coastline gives you over six hours of driving pleasure along the N2. And whilst I know you’re itching to know what it is (no, it isn’t the Garden Route), you’ll be tempted to slap me when you hear it’s (ta da): the Sunshine Coast.

Obvious, yes… Continued

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Dining at The Royal Coachman in Dullstroom

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We recently did a bit of a road trip to Malelane in Mpumalanga and spent a night en-route in the quaint town of Dullstroom. Although we had booked a self catering unit at Treelands Estate, who really wants to self cater when there is such a choice of restaurants to dine at?

After strolling through the town on our arrival two venues caught our eye; The Royal Coachman and The Mayfly. We decided on The Mayfly and reserved a table but after chatting to our host at Treelands and asking his opinion of the two, he summarized by saying that The Mayfly catered more for Sandton while the Royal Coachman catered for Dullstroom. Well, that swayed us and after canceling at The Mayfly we headed for the Coachman! Continued

Monday, 13 October 2014

15 great Garden Route adventures (something for everyone)

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The 200 km strip of coastline between the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountains is one of the country’s most beautiful. A collection of beaches, mountains, ancient forests, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, artists’ communities, mountain hideaways, kloofs and bustling country towns combine in such an exceptional way that thousands of visitors visit every year.

The secret is to make enough time for the many adventures available to visitors.

Be warned: a week in the Garden Route is not long enough.

This list of 15 Garden Route adventures (that ranges from picnic sites to tandem skydiving) will help you get started… Continued

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Eastern Cape Beaches Go Blue

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The Eastern Cape and Garden Route boast some of the prettiest and most extensive beaches in South Africa, with warm waters from the Indian Ocean making them excellent choices for water sports. In recognition of their beauty, excellent swimming conditions and commitment to the preservation of the local fauna and flora, 20 Eastern Cape beaches were given Blue Flag status in 2014Continued

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

4 day trips that will have you packing a bag for the Magaliesberg

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The Magaliesberg is on the back stoeps of both Pretoria and Johannesburg.  The mountain range, once known as the Kashan Mountains, is said to be 100 times older even than Everest. It extends from Rustenburg in the west, to the Bronkhorstspruit Dam just east of Pretoria – a montage of deep gullies, impressive kloofs, clear mountain streams, pools and waterfalls, well wooded slopes, rocky outcrops and a series of sheer quartzite cliffs.

A weekend’s break in the Magaliesberg takes little more than a phone call and a bag on the back seat. But we’ve made it easier for you by designing 4 day trips in the Magaliesberg that include a little of this and a little of that (something for everyone, in other words). You can either choose one day trip and do it as is (we’ve tried to keep each day in a particular geographical area), or you can mix and match attractions until you have the perfect day for your friends and family… Continued

Monday, 6 October 2014

4 jam-packed day trips to the Cederberg

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The Cederberg is the place of rooibos and buchu tea, blue and cloudless skies, intensely hot summers, little towns and fertile valleys that summon holiday makers all year round.

For Capetonians, it is a playground and long weekend hiking paradise, whilst hikers, rock-climbers, cyclists and nature lovers treat it as a refuge.

Dominated by burnt orange mountains and jagged sandstone rock formations, like the Wolfberg Arch and Maltese Cross, and ancient !Xam rock art, it is a 70 000 hectare mountainous wilderness ripe for outdoor adventure.

It gets its name from the Clanwilliam Cedar, an endemic and protected tree in this undeveloped, and largely isolated part of the Western Cape.

Choosing a list of things to do from the myriad attractions of the area is a task, but we rose to the occasion and selected a line-up for 4 day trips to the Cederberg, jam-packed with things to doContinued

Friday, 3 October 2014

Lighthousing South Africa – visit these 10 lighthouses (and stay at 4 of them)

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Lighthouses pepper the country’s coastline all the way from Port Nolloth in the west to Cape Vidal in the east. Why? Well, sailing the 3 000 km stretch that is the country’s shoreline is obviously nothing short of hazardous.

Many of these lighthouses went up in direct response to a major shipwreck.

But for most of them we need to thank a man called Harry Claude Lee Cooper, a lighthouse engineer sent from England to sort out our coast’s navigation.

Under his instruction a paltry 17 lighthouses grew to 45 in number, most of which have withstood the worst of weather and continue to guide ships to safety.

Whilst most of our lighthouses are now automatically operated, South Africa is one of a handful of countries that still manually mans the odd lighthouse.

This blog recognises those invincible light-keepers, their wives and children, who lived in isolation close to the blast of a foghorn, or the relentless beams of light, to keep our shores safe… Continued

Thursday, 2 October 2014

KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra

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It’s that time of the year again; the time when the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra strut their stuff in their Spring Season series of concerts. I must admit, I’ve been half asleep and have already missed a number of the series of concerts but have made amends by booking tickets for the concert on October 9th. Continued

Monday, 29 September 2014

Old Main Brewery

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We popped in to Old Main Brewery in Hilton for a quick bite to eat before heading to our evening show at the Hilton Arts Festival last week Saturday. Formerly known as Crossways, this Hilton institution has undergone a bit of rebranding and is cementing itself as the reliable place to go for good food, service and beer!

The aim of Old Main Brewery is to offer an English pub experience and with crackling fires (definitely needed in chilly Hilton), microbrewery beers and a relaxed vibe they have achieve that. The premises have a beer garden for summer days or otherwise the large deck with bright red umbrellas is the perfect place to bask in the sun while enjoying lunch. Continued