• 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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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Mossel Bay – 5 things to do in SA’s most mistakenly maligned town

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Calling Mossel Bay a ‘harbour town’ is a misnomer. It does have a harbour, but ‘town’ suggests small, when in reality some 60 000 people live there. Mossel Bay is big enough to give the impression of a city. What adds to this impression is that it sprawls, merging seamlessly with the beach side villages of Klein Brak River, Reebok, Tergniet, Groot Brakrivier and Glentana so that the entire bay is a twinkle at night (provided Eskom isn’t load shedding).

Travel brochures tend to gloss over Mossel Bay’s domination by oil refineries; from the N2 they are all you can see between the highway and the harbour. Mossgas’ gas-to-liquids refinery meets 7% of the country’s liquid fuel needs, initiated 22 years ago when gas was discovered offshore.

As a result, light industry monopolises Mossel Bay to such a degree that one’s initial sentiment is to give the town a wide berth. How wrong this impression, and how much more Mossel Bay has to offer than one thinks… Continued

Thursday, 11 December 2014

9 other (really) popular wine routes of the Cape – the bouquet beckons

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Wines in South Africa do not start and end with the Cape Winelands (Franschhoek, Paarl, Stellenbosch), although one is hard pushed to find a comparable abundance of excellence in so small an area

The Overberg, Orange Free State, Northern Cape, and even the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, produce outstanding wines. And the country’s capacity to grow vines extends as far north as Bronkhorstspruit, 50 km east of Pretoria. You will even find vines in Mpumalanga.

But you would be right in assuming that vines grow particularly well in the Cape. The breezes off the Atlantic Ocean, the cold winters and hot summers, the winter rainfall – all combine to create the perfect scenario for wine production.

There are so many different wine routes in the Cape that we didn’t mention half of them in our first article Continued

Monday, 8 December 2014

10 best places to see wild dogs in South Africa

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Probably the most distinctive feature of the African wild dog is its big, round ears. They’re nothing like a domestic dog’s.

They’re nothing like a wolf’s either, yet this beautiful Cape hunting dog, or painted dog as it’s also known, is given the Latin name Lycaon pictus, meaning ‘painted wolf-like animal’, because it is closest in nature to a wolf.

Their hide is different from a dog’s too – covered with irregular patches of black, brown, red, white and yellow fur. Wild dogs have a black, furrow-like vertical line on the forehead between the eyes that is rather endearing. And they have only four toes per foot, unlike the five toes of domestic dogs.

Catching a glimpse of one is difficult. The wild dog is southern Africa’s most endangered large carnivore, and has all but disappeared from most of its original range… Continued

Thursday, 4 December 2014

The wine lover’s guide to South Africa – 10 wine routes to tempt your taste buds

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Whether you enjoy your wine big, buttery, smooth, opulent, complex, creamy or crisp, the wines made in South Africa will more than meet your needs, as we produce some of the best wines in the new world.

South African wine, a quick overview:

  • our wine history dates back 350 years, to 1659
  • today we export over 450 million litres of wine
  • a little over 10 years ago, most of our wine was distilled into brandy
  • SA wines are of the best valued red and white wines
  • there are 100 000 hectares under vine across the country
  • 56% of this is white wine, 44% is red
  • the oldest fruit bearing vine in the southern hemisphere is a Crouchen Blanc variety, planted around 1771 at the Cape Heritage Hotel in Cape Town
  • we are the 9th largest wine producer in the world
  • our most popular grape variety is Chenin Blanc
  • followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Colombard
  • a white label with a red key and Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) logo, indicates the wine is of the best (it was sold at a CWG annual auction and you’ll find it in top restaurants and cellars in SA)
  • if you’re new to South African wines, pick up a copy of John Platter’s South African Wine Guide…

Continued

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Mandela’s South Africa – Mandela-infused sites to visit

posted to: Attractions
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Mandela was branded a communist terrorist by the apartheid government and spent 27 years in prison as a result. Despite this, he was instrumental in bringing about a peaceful reconciliation in a country torn apart by racism, was loved and revered throughout the world for his magnanimity, and became Madiba, the father of the people.

He received over 1 000 awards, more than 125 streets, boulevards, avenues, bridges and highways have been named after him, and his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, has been read by millions.

For those who come to our shores to experience a little of this great man’s life, here is a list of places to visit… Continued

Friday, 28 November 2014

Bring On The Barnyard Theatre

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I am a big fan of the vibey, laid back atmosphere the Barnyard Theatre creates, but never seem to get to their fantastic shows often enough. In fact I only seem to get myself organized when friends and family visit from the USA every two years and they request an evening at the theatre!

However, friends have asked us to join them for the production currently showing at the Gateway Barnyard in Umhlanga; I don’t think there could be anything better than a night of listening to 80’s music and I’m sure the ‘80’s Rewind, The Total 80’s Party’ will have the crowd up and dancing in no time at all!

Continued

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

10 attractions that will have you packing your bags for the Upper Karoo

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For many the Karoo is a great expanse of (dry) land somewhere in the middle of South Africa. Just where this place of great heat and frosts, with an annual rainfall of next to nothing, starts and ends is a mystery, expounded by the impression that its extent is unknown (although we estimate it as nearly 400 000 square kilometres).

We have rather a romantic notion about its limitless skies, Marino sheep, succulents, windmills and little hillocks. Rightly so, as it is unusually beautiful. Some of us speak with longing of retiring to a town in said expanse of land, to fritter away our days running fish ‘n chips shops, or little coffee cum bookshops. Others actually do this… Continued

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Exceptional Bakery and Deli is popular with the local crowd

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I’ve discovered somewhere that is fast becoming my favourite coffee spot. Located in the village of Umhlali, The Exceptional Bakery and Deli has only been open for six short weeks but is quickly gaining popularity with the local crowd.

What makes this venue so attractive is its premises … slap bang in the middle of the Karibu Nursery! There are a number of tables on a raised and covered deck area which overlooks the majority of the nursery area and there is certainly something tranquil about sipping a cup of Illy coffee while gazing out over rows of bobbing Agapanthus or bright daisies… Continued

Friday, 21 November 2014

7 tips to cut the cost of your next holiday

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It is a challenge not to spend a lot of money when on holiday. If you typically spend more on holidays than you budget for, then you’re not alone.

We’ve put our heads together to come up with a list of ways to spend less on your next holiday, without having to sleep on your friend’s couch or stay in a relative’s guest bedroom.

Here are 7 tips to cut the cost of your next holiday: Continued

Thursday, 20 November 2014

8 favourite South African writers, for your Christmas stocking

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I first connected with South African fiction when I read Etienne van Heerden’s The Long Silence of Mario Salviati, and was hooked. If you consider it was 2002, it took me rather a long time to get there.

Since then I’ve read much and often.

Here is a list of my 8 favourite South African writers, in no particular order. Any of their books make great holiday reads, or gifts… Continued

Thursday, 13 November 2014

The ultimate checklist: Remote places to stay to survive Christmas

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A friend of mine recently emailed with a request. She needed a remote hideaway for her family, who want to escape the Christmas festivities; get away from it all to reconnect with what really matters – nature, their children and stillness.

And it is only fair to share. Here are 12 remote places to stay in South Africa where you can survive Christmas. Enjoy! Continued

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

To market, to market – the top 10 Christmas markets in Cape Town

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I’ve obviously left my Christmas market shopping a little late as I’ve missed both the Constantia Gift Fair (this weekend past), and Kamers vol Geskenke.

The good news: there are still plenty of Christmas markets to choose from (despite the fact that Kamers must be one of the best markets ever, and I missed out on a bumper edition of creativity and variety!). Continued

Monday, 10 November 2014

Durban Botanic Gardens Music at the Lake

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When I used to live in Cape Town, one of my favorite things to do during the summer months was to pack a picnic and, with tickets in hand, head to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens for a Sunday concert.

The Durban Botanic Gardens have not disappointed, with the Old Mutual Music at the Lake series currently taking place. The concerts take place throughout the year and are centered around the beautiful lake in the gardens. There are approximately 5000 tickets per performance with different pricing options depending on how close to the stage one would like to sit… Continued

Thursday, 6 November 2014

8 most underrated Destinations in South Africa

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Every visitor to South Africa does Table Mountain, the Kruger National Park, Cape Point, the V&A Waterfront, the Drakensberg, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Reserve, the Garden Route, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, the Cradle of Humankind, and Sun City.

But cast your eye down this list and you’ll find 8 equally stunning and hugely underrated destinations in South Africa, all worthy of a visit… Continued

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Words of wisdom: 20 of the greatest quotes by South Africans (including a selection by Mandela)

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“I am an African.

I owe my being to the hills and the valleys, the mountains and the glades, the rivers, the deserts, the trees, the flowers, the seas and the ever-changing seasons that define the face of our native land”

 

And whilst I would love to claim the above lines as mine they are, instead, those of a supreme orator, taken from one of the world’s most famous speeches ~ Thabo Mbeki’s I am an African.

Inspired by the incredible country in which they live, and the miraculous history from which they come, South Africans produce words of wisdom to inspire.

For those wanting motivation to visit our shores, cast your eye downwards… Continued