• 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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Attractions

This category includes posts about featured and new attractions throughout South Africa as well as editors’ reviews of popular towns and holiday resorts. Need more info? Visit SA-Venues.com for comprehensive information about all our towns and South Africa’s Attractions.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Cape Dutch architecture – 8 best spots to Gawp at Gables

Think Cape Dutch architecture and one immediately calls to mind the style’s most distinctive feature: the central gable. But gables are not anything new, you might argue, what’s the big deal? – European architecture is full of examples. But at the Cape, gables are different.

Rather than lying at the end of a house, as they do in Amsterdam and elsewhere in Europe, they are set right in the middle of the façade over the front door. They’re even given an appealing name for this reason – the central dormer gable. Over time this gable, the work of skilled Malay craftsment, was to become something of a status symbol – the larger and more ornate, the wealthier the settler. Continued

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Spring Into The Stihl Open Gardens

Every spring marks the return of the Stihl Open Gardens which take place in the town of Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas. Gardeners are kind enough to open their beautiful gardens to the public and are delighted to share their gardening tips and secrets!

Although some of the gardens were only open for a few weekends in October and have already closed, there are still a number that are open during weekends in November and December. Continued

Friday, 17 October 2014

4 sun-drenched day trips along the Sunshine Coast

If there was a place that guaranteed more sunshine hours than anywhere else in the country, wouldn’t you head there?

Stretching between Tsitsikamma and East London is just such a place; its coastline gives you over six hours of driving pleasure along the N2. And whilst I know you’re itching to know what it is (no, it isn’t the Garden Route), you’ll be tempted to slap me when you hear it’s (ta da): the Sunshine Coast.

Obvious, yes… Continued

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Eastern Cape Beaches Go Blue

The Eastern Cape and Garden Route boast some of the prettiest and most extensive beaches in South Africa, with warm waters from the Indian Ocean making them excellent choices for water sports. In recognition of their beauty, excellent swimming conditions and commitment to the preservation of the local fauna and flora, 20 Eastern Cape beaches were given Blue Flag status in 2014Continued

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

4 day trips that will have you packing a bag for the Magaliesberg

The Magaliesberg is on the back stoeps of both Pretoria and Johannesburg.  The mountain range, once known as the Kashan Mountains, is said to be 100 times older even than Everest. It extends from Rustenburg in the west, to the Bronkhorstspruit Dam just east of Pretoria – a montage of deep gullies, impressive kloofs, clear mountain streams, pools and waterfalls, well wooded slopes, rocky outcrops and a series of sheer quartzite cliffs.

A weekend’s break in the Magaliesberg takes little more than a phone call and a bag on the back seat. But we’ve made it easier for you by designing 4 day trips in the Magaliesberg that include a little of this and a little of that (something for everyone, in other words). You can either choose one day trip and do it as is (we’ve tried to keep each day in a particular geographical area), or you can mix and match attractions until you have the perfect day for your friends and family… Continued

Monday, 6 October 2014

4 jam-packed day trips to the Cederberg

The Cederberg is the place of rooibos and buchu tea, blue and cloudless skies, intensely hot summers, little towns and fertile valleys that summon holiday makers all year round.

For Capetonians, it is a playground and long weekend hiking paradise, whilst hikers, rock-climbers, cyclists and nature lovers treat it as a refuge.

Dominated by burnt orange mountains and jagged sandstone rock formations, like the Wolfberg Arch and Maltese Cross, and ancient !Xam rock art, it is a 70 000 hectare mountainous wilderness ripe for outdoor adventure.

It gets its name from the Clanwilliam Cedar, an endemic and protected tree in this undeveloped, and largely isolated part of the Western Cape.

Choosing a list of things to do from the myriad attractions of the area is a task, but we rose to the occasion and selected a line-up for 4 day trips to the Cederberg, jam-packed with things to doContinued

Friday, 3 October 2014

Lighthousing South Africa – visit these 10 lighthouses (and stay at 4 of them)

posted to: Attractions

Lighthouses pepper the country’s coastline all the way from Port Nolloth in the west to Cape Vidal in the east. Why? Well, sailing the 3 000 km stretch that is the country’s shoreline is obviously nothing short of hazardous.

Many of these lighthouses went up in direct response to a major shipwreck.

But for most of them we need to thank a man called Harry Claude Lee Cooper, a lighthouse engineer sent from England to sort out our coast’s navigation.

Under his instruction a paltry 17 lighthouses grew to 45 in number, most of which have withstood the worst of weather and continue to guide ships to safety.

Whilst most of our lighthouses are now automatically operated, South Africa is one of a handful of countries that still manually mans the odd lighthouse.

This blog recognises those invincible light-keepers, their wives and children, who lived in isolation close to the blast of a foghorn, or the relentless beams of light, to keep our shores safe… Continued

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

20 most beautiful natural places in South Africa

posted to: Attractions

South Africa: a world in one country.

20 most beautiful natural places in South Africa … Continued

Friday, 12 September 2014

Common ailments when travelling – use these 10 wild South African plants

You are on a road trip and someone comes down with earache, a rash, a sore throat or needs a little help with the daily, well, let’s just say that they need help.

And there is not a pharmacy in sight. Fear not. There is help at hand. As close as the side of the road.

South Africa has many medicinal plants – 3 000 species are used as medicine. In fact, many of the plants that surround us are used in primary health care throughout the country… Continued

Thursday, 11 September 2014

7 Reasons Why You Should Visit Kwelera – South Africa’s 10th National Botanical Garden

Kwelera’s 164 hectares form a narrow strip of coast that runs parallel to the Indian Ocean for about five kilometres, between the beachside town of Gonubie and where the Kwelera River meets the sea just north-east of East London.

Few of us know anything about this small, unobtrusive nature reserve. Yet since late July it is the country’s 10th National Botanical Garden.

Kwelera, or Kwelegha (the ‘r’ is pronoucned as a ‘gh’ as in loch), comes from the Khoi language and means place of aloes (the Eastern Cape’s emblem). Continued

Monday, 8 September 2014

20 Things Jo’burgers LOVE

posted to: Attractions, Gauteng

Johannesburg - dynamic, edgy; as electric as the storms that brew on hot summer’s evenings. It sprawls as wide as the eye can see; it demands that you live life to the full.

Here are 20 things Jo’burgers love about their city … Continued

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Top 5 Steam Train Rides in South Africa

Rail adventure, in the good old-fashioned sense of the word, might be a thing of the past but you have only to contact one of the 5 following groups of steam railway fanatics to enjoy a ride. Chug along behind a class 15F steam locomotive that, back in the day, transported the likes of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth when they visited the country in 1947.

It is thanks to a handful of groups across the country that steam train rides are available at all today. Continued

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

South Africa’s peace parks – top 5 parks that transcend borders

Peace parks, also known as Transboundary Protected Areas (TBPA), allow animals to migrate freely between neighbouring countries in a return to their natural migration patterns. They promote tourism and goodwill between neighbouring countries.

It is also a potential tool to save a deteriorating ecology. Once parties or countries involved realise the importance of biological diversity, they are more likely to co-operate.  Environmental cooperation, in turn, can help resolve political and territorial conflicts. Sharing physical space and management responsibilities sustains peace among countries.

Real-life examples of such successes include the Seslous-Niassa Wildlife Corridor, and the Emerald Triangle conservation zone in Indochina.

But the bonus for visitors is the increased access to a greater variety of game, and far greater variety of wildlife habitats.

South Africa has eight peace parks, and one in the making. All are worthy of a visit. Here is more on 5 of them: Continued

Friday, 27 June 2014

A Visit to Harold Johnson Nature Reserve

When you live on a farm, like we do, and the closest Ster Kinekor is an hour’s drive and two toll gates away, it is sometimes necessary to make your own entertainment.

We did this a few Sunday’s ago when I suggested breakfast at the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve. The Skottel and breakfast supplies (including a tin of condensed milk …necessary for any game reserve cup of coffee) were loaded into the double cab and off we went. Continued

Thursday, 26 June 2014

19 secret spots in South Africa – places you’ve probably never been

There is a danger in thinking that every little bolthole and haven has been discovered in South Africa.

Whilst travel magazines, blogs and websites undoubtedly make our lives as travellers a lot easier with their vivid accounts of places and spaces, the vastness of South Africa means that there will always be uncharted areas… Continued