• 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!

Friday, 22 April 2016

12 Top Routes Of The Eastern Cape – Great Ways To Explore The Province

Despite its reputation as poorer cousin to the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape includes several of the country’s greatest adventure destinations, the bulk of the Great Karoo, the Wild Coast, the homelands of the Xhosa people, the birthplace of Nelson Mandela, and some of South Africa’s greatest hiking trails.

What’s more its climate is mild throughout the year with a Sunshine Coast that promises good surfing and kilometres of beach. Inland a collection of stunning landscapes, plenty of private and national wildlife reserves, and farms producing chicory, tomatoes, deciduous fruit and citrus beckons. Whilst the Eastern Cape’s very own Highlands shelter a series of towns that promise snow in winter and no fewer than 8 mountain passes to explore.

Eastern Cape Tourism has developed a number of routes to simplify travelling the adventure province. Here are 12 of them… Continued

Monday, 18 April 2016

Top Things To Do In The Winelands That Aren’t About Wine

The traditional Cape WinelandsFranschhoek, Stellenbosch, Paarl, Somerset West – are within a stone’s throw of Cape Town. These earliest colonial settlements each come with their own wine route, making it easy to travel from one farm to the next sampling wines.

Cape Dutch architecture (do you know the difference between a Holbol gable and a Neoclassical gable) dominates the landscape, whilst the beauty of the countryside is inspiring (all those mountains!), and the cuisine of this core of the wine-producing areas is difficult to beat (award-winning chefs and restaurants).

And that’s before you’ve sampled the wine from over 400 wine estates.

Overwhelmed?

There is another side to the Winelands that has nothing to do with wine and everything to do with exploring the area’s beauty and history. Here are a few alternatives to wine tasting to take you off the tourist track… Continued

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

10 Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About Kirstenbosch

There isn’t a visitor to Cape Town who doesn’t visit Kirstenbosch. The 52 800 square kilometre botanical garden is up there with the best in the world, particularly since the introduction of the ‘Boomslang‘ (officially named the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa in 2015).

Kirstenbosch grows no fewer than 9 000 of Southern Africa’s 22 000 plant species in different types of garden – a fragrance garden, a Braille trail through the forest, a garden for useful plants, a protea garden, Erica garden, a sculpture garden. There are even dinosaurs and gorillas (though not in the same part of the garden) and a still-standing section of the original wild almond hedge planted by Jan van Riebeeck.

The garden’s position at the eastern foot of Table Mountain, its lawns and easy access to hiking, make it accessible not only to visitors but locals too, many of whom have annual membership. There are also regular exhibits of stone sculptures and a series of outdoor summer concerts on Sunday evenings.

Despite all of these attractions, there are a few things about Kirstenbosch that you may not know… Continued

Monday, 4 April 2016

The Most Beautiful Historic Towns In South Africa

South Africa’s history is not all that old. The buildings don’t date back hundreds and hundreds of years, as they do in Europe, but (and it’s a BIG but) South Africa has its own unique architectural styles, much of it evident in little towns across the country.

The styles and architectural fashions in these historic towns are heavily influenced by the people who spent time at the tip of Africa.

Dutch settlement heralded the Cape Dutch gable; the French Huguenots brought with them a baroque refinement, whilst both French and German professionals (in the Cape at the behest of the Dutch East Indian Company) added their mix of neo-classical influence… Continued

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Green Durban – 9 Sustainable Sites In The City

Durban’s focus is a lot more green than one thinks and finding sustainable projects, green spaces, heritage sites and businesses with an eco core in Durban is not difficult.

The city’s major green focus in the build up to the Soccer World Cup 2010, followed by COP17 (the United Nations Climate Change Conference hosted in Durban in November and December 2011), resulted in a green legacy that has done anything but fade from the city’s agenda.

The good news, for those after a more responsible holiday when in the city of beaches, there is plenty to find and do, beginning with these 9 sustainable sites in the city (we’ve included a bullet point list of even more sites to visit, below).

Green Durban – 9 Sustainable Sites In The City… Continued

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

6 Things To Do On The Wild Coast (That You Don’t Know About)

The Wild Coast covers 350 km of Indian Ocean shoreline in the Eastern Cape. It’s synonymous with remote beaches, gob-stopping scenery, and the Xhosa people.

It’s somewhere every South African has to travel, at least once.

It’s also the homeland of Nelson Mandela who was born in the village of Mvezo on the Mbashe River, seaside villages like Cintsa, Port St Johns and Coffee Bay, geological wonders like the Hole in the Wall, inspiring waterfalls like Magwa, the almost 57-kilometre, four-day hike known as the Strandloper trail, Hluleka and Silaka nature reserves, and dirt roads full of potholes.

In short: it’s the back of beyond that everyone wants to travel.

Here is our list of 6 things to do on the Wild Coast that you may not know about … Continued

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

20 Best Secret Scenic Spots In Cape Town and The Western Cape

Travel has become a photographic frenzy, if Instagram is anything to go by. #traveladdict #wanderlust #traveltheworld – it’s all about sharing those photo opportunities, whilst we’re still there.

People everywhere want authentic experiences. Instagram, in particular (but Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest in hot pursuit) makes everyone a ‘travel expert’ as people tap into the power of visual appeal to post their photos for the world to see.

And so travel has become about the beautiful places, spaces and extraordinary spots as we all promote the places we’re visiting, to the rest of the world, with only a few hashtags between us and the moment.

For your perfect #travel moments, head to these 25 secret, scenic spots in Cape Town and the Western Cape(and follow us on Instagram here)

 

Continued

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

6 Off The Beaten Track Towns In The Eastern Cape

South Africa is one of the best holiday destinations in Africa enjoying an ever-increasing number of tourists every year, who head to the glamorous coastal cities of Cape Town and Durban, and the cosmopolitan city of Johannesburg.

Away from these cities South Africa has dozens of little towns and villages. Many of them, particularly those in the Western Cape and Free State, have succumbed to a small town renaissance as an influx of artists and intellectuals restore their Victorian and Cape Dutch architecture and reinvigorate the towns with markets, wine estates, annual events, places to stay and tourist routes.

The inland region of the Eastern Cape finds itself lumped into a vague expanse described as the ‘binneland’ in Afrikaans. These uncharted parts of the Eastern Cape still needs discovering. The once beautiful towns have eluded the small town renaissance of other provinces. Left to languish as disillusioned farmers and people head to the larger cities for work, these dorps could find themselves described as ghost towns before long.  Continued

Monday, 14 March 2016

7 Routes Durban – Great Ways To Explore The City Of Beaches

Durban, South Africa’s second largest coastal city, is known for its Golden Mile beaches and its jogging, surfing, cycling, scuba diving, bodyboarding, dolphin viewing, jet-skiing, shark cage-diving, canoeing, boat cruising, sunbathing lifestyle.

As Lonely Planet so aptly puts it: ‘Durban is a window into life aquatic‘.

More often than not, though, it is passed over for the glamour of Johannesburg or the Cosmopolitan vibe of Cape Town.

Yet Durban is no longer the poorer cousin. It co-hosted the 2010 Soccer World Cup, COP17 in 2011, and in 2022 will be the first African city to host the Commonwealth Games. The city already hosts the annual Comrades Marathon, Dusi Canoe Marathon, Amashova Cycle Race, Midmar Mile and Durban Handicap July.

That Durban inspires visitors with its beaches is a no-brainer. But there are plenty of other tourist routes to explore the city and its surrounds – Rivertown, the Docklands, nature reserves, its markets, gardens, historical monuments, mosques and temples.

Here are 7 routes Durban – great ways to explore the city of beachesContinued

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Thousands Of Swallows, Just Outside Durban

Post storm, the sky still leaden and the streets reeking of that just-rained-earth smell so particular to South Africa, we watched hundreds of swallows duck and dive in a display of abandon, on the banks of Lake Victoria (not that Lake Victoria, another one, but more about that later). I fall in love.

We are just outside Durban overlooking a wetland in Mount Moreland conservancy where barn swallows from all across Europe overnight in a series of reed beds, coming in to roost at sundown in their thousands… Continued

Monday, 7 March 2016

Is Durban Worth A Visit – 7 Insider Things To Do in Durban

After the New York Times included Durban at #7 on its list of 52 Places to Go in 2015, and CNN dubbed it ‘the coolest city in South Africa you’ve never seen‘, it was only time before the city with a Cinderella-complex came of age.

Then Mercer released its 2015 Quality of Living survey results and ranked Durban higher than Cape Town and Johannesburg, as the South African city with the highest quality of life. Suddenly the world’s attention shifted to the country’s east coast.

That was over-and-above the global vote of confidence for Durban as one of the New7Wonders Cities – up there with Beirut, Doha, Havana, Kuala Lumpur, La Paz and Vigan – the world’s latest urban hot spots.

Durban is reeling with the attention… Continued

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Cape Towns Big 7 – If You Haven’t Done Them, You Haven’t Lived

Cape Towns Big 7 have nothing to do with animals…

The city has not suddenly acquired direct access to lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo, great white shark and southern right whales – although southern right whales, sharks, seals and penguins you can find within the city’s parameters.

Instead, Cape Towns Big 7 is about seven unmissable things to do in Cape Town. The city has always had a Big 6 list of major tourist attractions, but to that it has added a city walk, embracing the idea of multi-purpose, liveable streets that focus on pedestrians.

Most of the Big 7 need little by way of introduction – they’re the reason people come to Cape Town. But the new City Walk adds a delightfully tactile element as it explores the heart of the city bowl on foot, its architecture, public spaces, art and storytelling woven through the route as a means to evoke community spirit.

There is no one way to explore the Big 7. Choose where you start, how you explore, and for how long. But for any visitor to the Mother City, a visit would be incomplete without their inclusion… Continued

Friday, 26 February 2016

Stitching The Dragon’s Tail – South Africas Great 8 Passes Challenge

Imagine driving the highest navigable mountain pass in the country, enjoying wild and unspoilt countryside with views to match, skiing the slopes of Ben Macdhui and then passing down the other side of the mountain into one of the country’s prettiest and most historical villages …

No, you do not have to head into the Alps of Switzerland, or the Scottish Highlands. Such a challenge exists right here, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Known as the 8 Passes Challenge, or Stitching the Dragon’s Tail, the navigation of eight mountain passes in the southernmost section of the Drakensberg Mountains (the tail of the Dragon) is the ultimate 4×4 driving experience.

Driving these mountain tops in some of the country’s least populated areas gives you access to vistas usually the reward of hikers who have persevered into virtually unnavigable parts of these mountains. The good news: you do not need a 4×4 vehicle to drive the passes. A good 2×4 with a high clearance can manage most of the passes, bar Bastervoetpad, which is a challenge even for the hardcore 4×4 enthusiast… Continued

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Art In The Southern Suburbs of Cape Town – 7 Best Galleries and Museums

Cape Town’s City Bowl may hold some of the most acclaimed art museums and galleries in the country, but places like the Iziko South African National Art Gallery, AVA Gallery, Johans Borman Fine Art, The New Church Museum, Erdmann Contemporary, Carmel Art and Cape Gallery do not hold the monopoly.

Art is as happening in the mother city’s southern suburbs.

One has only to turn to Woodstock (though not all that far south, a suburb of Cape Town nonetheless) to That Art Fair, on at The Palms Centre in Woodstock from the 17 February 2016.

That Art Fair presents a three week line-up of exhibitions and events that include a wide range of disciplines with visual art, performance art, photography, video and film and even fashion featured in the line-up. Find out more on thatartfair.com

That Art Fair, initiated by Art Africa magazine, focuses on young, unrepresented contemporary African artists. This is its second year.

7 other places to see art in the southern suburbs of Cape Town … Continued

Monday, 15 February 2016

10 Reasons Rhodes Should Be On Your Bucket List Of Towns To Visit In South Africa

Rhodes is a fairytale type village perched in amongst the mountains where time seems, literally, to stand still. Fringed by mountains, fresh air and the calls of swallows and red-chested cuckoos, the unique Victorian-style tin roofed homes, hotel and shops remain as a delightful holiday retreat for those who can be bothered to get there.

Because, if you haven’t already visited Rhodes then no-one has explained that you don’t simply ‘drop in’ to the 1821 metres above sea level village in the highlands of the Drakensberg. Half the adventure involves getting there. If you are a 4×4 enthusiast then a visit to Rhodes is even more intrepid than it sounds because there are eight mountain passes in the area.

(Note: not all eight passes lead to Rhodes, but you can reach most of them from Rhodes, give or take a few detours. The recommended passage to Rhodes is via the gravel R396 from Barkly East).

Admittedly not all eight passes are equal. Only one of them is tarred (Barkly Pass), whilst others, like Bastervoetpad, make challenging driving and a third, Naude’s Nek, is the highest navigable (for a standard sedan) dirt mountain pass in the country, reaching a summit of 2920 metres above sea level and incorporating some of the most incredible scenery in South Africa. Continued