• 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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Activities and Things To Do

This category includes posts about activities and Things to Do ranging from extreme adventure (skydiving, shark-cage diving and other activities that will thrill excite adrenaline junkies), to more sedate past times such as shopping and eating out. Visit SA-Venues.com for thousands of Things to See and Do in South Africa or see accommodation in South Africa to find a place to stay for your African Adventure!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

30 Things To Do In The Cape Winelands

The essence of the Cape Winelands is wine tasting.

You will discover, however, that there are so many wine estates jostling for your attention that you need something other than wine estates as your yard stick for selecting which ones to visit.

For this reason we’ve put together a list for you of 30 things to do in the Cape Winelands. Select what interests you most, and then visit the wine farms closest to you.

Alternatively, choose one of the winelands’ villages  as a base for the weekend, and visit the wine estates closest to your town of choice… Continued

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

7 Ancient Forests in and around Cape Town

Once upon a time, before the fynbos evolved, much of the south-western Cape, and indeed Southern Africa, was palm forest.

Rainfall patterns and climate changed, and more robust trees replaced the palms forming magnificent forest. Today forests are southern Africa’s smallest biome.

The ancient, once-huge forests are still in evidence in only 0.5% of Africa. You will find what remains in sheltered, remote pockets in mountain ravines or on river banks; the trees’ ancestry millions of years old – a legacy from the time when man was not yet on Earth.

In and around Cape Town you will find 7 remaining ancient forests. But you need to know where to find them… Continued

Monday, 16 March 2015

Durban’s Top 10 Foodie and Lifestyle Markets

Durban is brimming over with food and lifestyle markets. Craft and flea markets, farmers’ and organic food markets, indoor markets, open-air markets – whatever your preference. They manage to combine live music, foodies, crafters and enthusiasts in a way that keeps the locals coming back for more.

In Durban and want to know which markets to go to – here are the city’s top 10 … Continued

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

36 Things You Must See and Do When in South Africa

South Africa is vast. It is also jam-packed with things to do and see, and places to visit.

Once you open the guide books you’re lost in a maze of options – anything from our eight World Heritage Sites to Mandela-infused icons and Table Mountain.

We’ve narrowed it down to a list you cannot afford to be without. The definitive list of things you must see and do when in South Africa … Continued

Monday, 9 March 2015

10 Nature Reserves In and Around Cape Town

There are many nature reserves in and around Cape Town. The 10 below include national parks run by SANParks, and reserves managed by CapeNature. These are ‘public’ reserves that are open to anyone, although most have an entrance fee attached to using their facilities… Continued

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

10 Great Spots for Snorkelling and Free Diving in Cape Town

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

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The Wonders of Mtunzini

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

6 Ways to Experience Cape Town’s Ocean Wildlife

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

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

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

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

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

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

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