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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, 6 November 2015

Top 10 Christmas Markets in Johannesburg 2015

Jo’burg can be a nightmare during the Christmas rush.

Which is why we are such fans of the Christmas market scene that makes shopping for gifts such a gentle experience.

November and December are jam-packed with markets flaunting their wares, so take advantage and stock up early. There is a market for almost every week of the lead-up to the 25 December, but don’t leave it ’til the last minute.

Here are the top 10 Christmas markets in Johannesburg you cannot afford to miss… Continued

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

10 Top Markets In The Countdown To Christmas in Durban 2015

There is a definite shift towards buying local (if you hadn’t already noticed the number of foodie and artisan craft markets that have mushroomed in your neighbourhood).

Never more so than at Christmas. For no matter how easy the Internet makes buying gadgets, there is nothing like buying your gifts, and food, from the local community.

Not only is it ethical to support local business, but it also keeps our communities strong.

The bonuses for you include: artisan crafters and food providers sell one-off gifts and offers that nobody else will have, you’re supporting South African entrepreneurs, you will probably spend less, and you help to build the local community.

Durban is alive with local talent, and a feast of Christmas markets. This year is not a case of where will you find local gifts, but: how will you make a choice between all the markets. Continued

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Top 10 Christmas Markets in Cape Town 2015

I start to feel the pressure around this time of the year when the likes of Pick n Pay and Woolies accumulate baubles, advent calendars and tinsel in their prime shelf space. My stomach literally sinks as I think of the annual crowds, and the grab-and-horde mentality that dominates any mall shopping experience over Christmas.

Which is why I’m such a fan of Christmas markets! They’ve turned the festive season around.

Now the Christmas experience is as it’s supposed to be – a gentle gifting experience, not only for one’s loved ones, but for oneself. The local markets in Cape Town are vibrant, creative and brimming with design and craft ideas that are a testimony to the inventive and imaginative talent across the country.

Cape Town has so many markets in November / December that one is spoilt for choice. Here are  the top 10 Christmas markets in Cape Town 2015 you cannot afford to miss (in order of occurrence): Continued

Monday, 19 October 2015

The Endangered Cape Griffon Vulture – Where To See It In South Africa

The Cape Griffon Vulture (more commonly known as the Cape vulture) is a large bird; the largest of its kind in Africa.

Its size is clearly no measure of its ability to survive for the IUCN Red List lists it as Vulnerable and it is also the most endangered of the vultures; its already small population, distributed over various colonies, likely to continue declining unless conservation increases its efforts.

Called ‘Cape’ vulture because of the bird’s original commonplace sighting throughout the former Cape province of South Africa, it is today confined to a small part of south and southwest Africa.

Its population has significantly declined over the last few decades. Today there are colonies in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and South Africa. In Swaziland they are extinct, and only non-breeding populations survive in Zimbabwe and Namibia.

In South Africa 39% of the colonies recorded between 1987 and 1992 are now inactive.

In 2006 an estimation of the total population of Cape vultures brought the overall figures to between 8 000 and 10 000 individuals. The species is thought to have declined by as much as 70% between 1992 and 2007 in eastern South Africa. Continued

Monday, 5 October 2015

10 top natural attractions in the Karoo

What the Outback is to Australia, the Karoo is to South Africa.

It occupies 400 000 km²- practically one-third of the country’s total area; a vast, semi-arid region in the heart of the country, bounded by mountains in the south and west, and the huge Senqu, or Orange River, on its eastern and northern flanks.

This area of little rainfall, blue and cloudless skies, and extreme temperatures may have acted as a barrier to the interior from Cape Town for early settlers, but today it has come out of isolation to become a major tourist attraction – its immense spaces, incredible mountains, idiosyncratic towns and promise of escape the reason for its popularity.

These 10 top natural attractions are only a taste of what the Karoo holds in store for you. Continued

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Twenty Ways To Tell You Are In South Africa

Every country has quirks and idiosyncrasies that make that country unique, even if with globalisation people and experiences are becoming rather predictable. However, down at the tip of the African continent, things are still very far from formulaic.

When it comes to offbeat, original and distinctive South Africa still has a firm grip on what it is to deliver an experience to the visitor. We guarantee you’ll still be talking about this list for years to come!

Here are twenty ways to tell you are in South Africa… Continued

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

National Parks Week – Visit a Park For Free Tomorrow or Friday

There are only two days left to take advantage of National Parks Week.

This annual celebration of spring allows South Africans FREE access to most of the 21 national parks across the country, from this Monday to Friday, the 18 or Saturday, 19 September 2015, depending on the park.

This is the tenth year that SANParks has held this week as a way to encourage locals to connect with their culture and heritage (September is also heritage month). Continued

Thursday, 10 September 2015

The Durban Experience – 10 Must-Do’s In Durbs-By-The-Sea

South Africa’s third-largest city, Durban, is also arguably the country’s most laidback centre (although Port Elizabeth gives it a run for its money), by virtue of its sauna-like summer heat, and beach-centred culture (if slops and shorts are your idea of attire, then you’re in the right place).

Yet the city is not all about its beaches, Golden Mile, Moses Mabhida Stadium, and uShaka Marine World.

Although these are a drawcard in their own right Durban moves to the drumbeat of its cultural heritage, involving visitors in tours that venture into the heart of the inner-city and two of Durban’s Indian townships, Phoenix and Chatsworth, in a whirl of African colour and noise.

The city of many street-name-changes is full of surprisingly diverse tourist attractions. Our list of 10 must-do’s is a good place to start. Continued

Friday, 28 August 2015

Top 4 Snorkelling Spots On Durbans Coast

The best thing about Durban is its warm seas. Durban’s ‘all year round summer’ translates into sea temperatures, even in winter, that hover around 20 degrees Celsius.

Even Durban’s summer sea temperatures are more akin to a bath than the sea, and you can spend hours in the water without feeling the cold.

If this weren’t enough of an invitation (bearing in mind that you may need to live in the sea between January and March as the city’s humidity can get unbearable), the clarity of the water and the phenomenal sea life also make Durban the perfect place to snorkel, particularly along the north coast (Ballito, Salt Rock and Sheffield areas).

Here are 4 of the best snorkeling spots on Durbans Coast… Continued

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Durban’s Ancient Forest – Not Even The Locals Know About It

Jocelyn Sutherland’s hands are full of litter when she meets us at the gate to Hawaan Forest. She’s incensed by the dumping of bougainvillea on the edge of the forest’s perimeter fence, and by the litter. ‘Hardly any one local knows about this magnificent forest, ‘ she shares by way of greeting, ‘it is visitors to Durban who want to know more about it, not the locals.’

We’ve met just off the M4 at Umhlanga, one of Durban’s more privileged neighbourhoods on the north coast. The M4 divides the green forest belt in two, yet there couldn’t be two more divergent forests.

Across the M4 the forest rests on a 2 000 year-old sand dune. Sounds old enough but Hawaan, by contrast, stands sturdy on a sand dune that is 18 000 years old. It’s mind-boggling to think that something that old still exists… Continued

Friday, 21 August 2015

5 Reasons To Visit Durban’s Beachwood Mangroves (If You Can Wangle A Visit)

A visit to Durban’s Beachwood Mangroves is not as simple as driving up to the gate and taking a saunter along one of two boardwalk trails through the mangroves, as and when it suits you.

Durban has closed ranks and protects this National Monument, one of three last remaining bits of mangrove swamp in and around Durban (the other two are the Isipingo Mangroves and the Bayhead Mangroves), rather fiercely.

You will need to join the regular tours, either on the evening of every first Thursday or the third Saturday morning of every month, by the Honorary Officers of KZN Wildlife – who volunteer their time to take visitors through this green space.

A truly worthwhile experience, the Honorary Officers share a wealth of knowledge about the critters, crabs, birds and trees that collectively make up this wholly unique ecosystem. Continued

Thursday, 20 August 2015

One place you’ve got to visit when in Durban is People’s Park

I used to live in Durban. That was long before it became a tourist attraction and all the road names changed. Back then, on weekends, you’d go to the beach.

Occasional highlights were Mini Town, or the rides at the Amusement Park on the beachfront (the red chairs on the cablecar are still there, though; I checked). Sometimes you’d head out to Midmar Dam for the day. Durban was a low-key kind of place.

But now Durban is a heady mix of old and new, and a tourist mecca of note (I totally get why CNN listed the city as one of the world’s 10 most underrated cities)… Continued

Friday, 7 August 2015

South Africas 3 Endangered Cranes – Where To See Them

South Africa is home to three species of crane – the blue crane, grey crowned crane and the wattled crane.

In case you were wondering they’re the tall, willowy birds that you sometimes see in pairs, or flocks, in open grassland or on farms. They appear almost regal. I often see blue cranes in the Overberg where they are now fiercely protected, and encouraged on farms.

When they’re not mating, cranes tend to gather communally in wetlands and shallow dams.

Blue cranes are the most numerous of the three endangered cranes, however they’re also largely limited to South Africa – 99% of them occur only here (bar the 60 or so around the Etosha Pans of Namibia) – whereas wattled cranes, and grey crowned cranes, live across southern-central Africa. Continued

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

If There’s One Thing You Do In Durban – The 9 Markets of Warwick Tour

Everyone knows the Victoria Street Market in Durban’s inner-city. Its vibrantly painted building looks more like the palace of a Maharajah than a market. It lies on the edge of Bertha Mkhize Street (formerly Victoria Street); the site of a market since 1910.

Victoria Market is a predominantly Indian spice and flea market fused with north African curios, art and jewellery, fresh fish, Chinese wholesale goods and everything and anything in-between. It is a ‘safe’ option for tourists overwhelmed by the noise and inner-city turbulence that happens just outside the building, on one of Durban’s busiest street corners – Warwick Junction.

Some 460 000 commuters pass through Warwick Junction on any given day. There are 23 taxi ranks, 19 bus terminals and two major train stations in the near vicinity. It’s no wonder the average tourist’s eyes widen at the thought of venturing beyond the relative safety of the Victoria Market.

But the Markets of Warwick tour does just that… ] Continued

Monday, 3 August 2015

Top Ten Natural Attractions in KwaZulu Natal

The coastal province of KwaZulu Natal has just about everything – historical battlefields, architecture and memorials, first world shopping malls, Victorian-cottage shabby-chic suburban living, tribal settlements in rural areas, towering basalt mountains, warm seas, world-class wetlands, wildlife game reserves, hiking and snorkelling opportunities, vibrant markets, an annual sardine run, and a strong Indian, Zulu and colonial influence.

It isn’t short of rustic beauty either, and the top 10 natural attractions in KwaZulu Natal are a good place to start… Continued