The chance to host a major sports tournament on a world stage is a wonderful opportunity for South Africa. The positive aspects of World Cup Fever will bring this country a heightened sense of optimism, valuable foreign income and a patriotic pride at being the first African nation to stage the FIFA festivities.
That said, some city-based indivduals are worried about their home town being infected with World Cup Fever. Fears of stressful side-effects include increased traffic congestion, hooliganism and of course the endless cacaphony of the Vuvuzela army. Our simple remedy to the potentially negative effects of World Cup Fever is a dose of the great outdoors in tranquil, remote and beautiful parts of South Africa. Extended school holidays give a perfect opportunity to explore a little further off the beaten track and discover your own antidote to city stress …
With luck, you’ll return home relaxed and refreshed, just in time to see Bafana Bafana lift the Jules Rimet trophy!
Here are our suggestions for perfect places to “Escape the Vuvuzela”
The tranquil guest farms of Wartrail and New England in the Eastern Cape Drakensberg have declared themselves a ‘Vuvuzela-Free Zone’ during June and July. Noone will stop you watching important matches on TV if you wish, but outside of those times you will be assured of peace and relaxation.
Enjoy snowy panoramic views of the mountains, snuggle up in front of a roaring fire with a glass of Glühwein or take the kids off to build their first snowman. Other options include hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, 4×4 trails, rock art tours, and scenic drives on the 8 passes that thread their way through the peaks and valleys of Barkly East, Rhodes and Lady Grey. The area also offers also offers excellent trout fishing in sparkling mountain streams and there are some fine examples of San art in surrounding caves, and a breathtaking series of wildflowers, that seem always to be in season …
A few years ago Andrea and Moritz Conrad visited the wild and unspoiled Biedouw Valley in the Cederberg and fell in love with the area. They made the decision to ditch their day jobs as a nurse and pilot respectively and head for the hills to establish Enjo Nature Farm.
Here they offer self-catering chalets, hiking trails, rock art tours and tours to the small missionary village of Wupperthal where all transportation is donkey-powered! With no cellphone or TV reception peace and quiet is guaranteed. If you want to get ever further away from it all then Moritz will take you on an aeroplane flip to fly with the birds above the spectacular Cedarberg. This is also without doubt one of the most beautiful areas in which to hike. Wolfberg Arch and Cracks, Maltese Cross, Tafelberg, Sneeuberg, Sneeukop and Krakadouw peak make for real mountaineering attractions, whilst the not-as-fit still gain a lot of pleasure from Maalgat pool and Stadtsaal Caves.
The Elephant Coast in KwaZulu Natal gives you the opportunity to listen to nature’s own Vuzuleza army. On the 4 day Imfolozi wilderness hiking trail in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve the only trumpeting you should hear is that of wild elephants. From there, it is a short drive to Sodwana Bay where you can dive beautiful coral reefs and might be lucky enough to hear the soulful crooning of the humpback whales on their winter northbound migration. Sodwana Bay is best known for its deep sea diving and beautiful coral reefs, regarded as the southern most coral reefs in the world and the only tropical dive site in South Africa.
A visit to the Zulu Kingdom would not be complete without an experience of the Zulu culture, so make sure to visit one of the many Zulu cultural villages or Kraals that give insight into the traditions of these great warriors, or take a tour of the many famous battlefields where these proud people fought off the early European settlers.
The cooler winter weather means that World Cup season is the perfect time to visit the Richtersveld National Park in the Northern Cape. A multi-day rafting trip on the Orange River gives you the chance to escape reality. The rocky landscape is dotted with the curios “half-mens” plants, which are the stuff of local legend. It’s also a great spot for bird watching, and has some good 4×4 trails and hikes on offer.
Nights are spent under the star studded skies on the banks of the river listening to the lapping water and the occasional nocturnal animal’s call. The daily rafting trips include fun-filled rapids, hiking trails, pools, cliff jumps, bird life and the tranquility that this unique reserve has to offer. Only the bare essentials are taken along on the river for a bush-style camping experience. You can leave the vuvuleza behind, but don’t forget your sense of adventure!
Tony and Alma of Mohlabetsi Safari Lodge warmly welcome guests to their relaxing and friendly oasis in the bush. Set in the vast Balule Nature Reserve, within the Greater Kruger National Park, this is home to a superb variety of fauna and flora, including the “Big 5”. Enjoy the very best safari experience possible, Tony and his team will send you home with lasting memories of our spectacular wildlife. And as their Lodge offers just 6 comfortable thatched rondawels, you are assured of privacy and a personal experience. No loud Vuvu’s here!
Once you’ve satisfied the urge to see the Big 5 from a noisy Game Viewer and got the pictures, then the time is ripe to enjoy nature on its own terms. Foot safaris offer you unforgettable encounters with creatures both great and small. From stalking a herd of Giraffe to discovering the mysteries of a Termite mound, these experiences become far more meaningful when you feel Africa through the soles of your feet. So, time spent on foot in a Wilderness area is the very embodiment of a memorable safari experience.
Wartrail & New England: 079 536 3996
Enjo Nature Farm: 027 482 2869
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife: 033 845 1000
Coral Divers, Sodwana Bay: 035 571 0290
Orange River Rafting: Umkulu Safari & Canoe Trails: 021 853 7952
Mohlabetsoi Safari Lodge: 015 793-2166 or 083 255-4956