• 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.

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

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Top Ten Natural Attractions in Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga’s rare combination of lowveld and escarpment, sub-tropical weather, summer rains and unbelievable scenic beauty makes the province one of the country’s best-kept secrets.

Yet despite the millions of tourists who enter the Kruger National Park annually a huge proportion pass through Mpumalanga without exploring the richness of natural beauty beyond the park’s boundaries.

Mpumalanga, place of the rising sun, has a history and natural beauty that will take your breath away. Explore the Top Ten Natural Attractions in Mpumalanga … Continued

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

10 Karoo towns with weird sounding names

It isn’t difficult to find unusual names in the Karoo. It seems as if this vast, effortless aridity gives rise to names that are the deuce to pronounce, if you’re a visitor, and difficult even if you live in South Africa.

Here are 10 Karoo towns with weird sounding names… Continued

Monday, 13 July 2015

Here is How The Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve Is Saving The Klein Karoo

People come from all over the world to visit the Klein Karoo. Its wide landscapes, solitude and the spiritual calm of the mountainous, dry landscape is a hugely valuable commodity.

The vegetation of the Klein Karoo, and the adjacent coastal plain, includes 4 500 species of plants that occur nowhere else on Earth, over 70% of which has been damaged and needs protection.

To acquire recognition as a hotspot a region must have at least 1 500 species of endemic plants under threat. The Klein Karoo has three internationally recognised biodiversity hotspots– Fynbos, Succulent Karoo and Valley Thicket. Continued

Thursday, 9 July 2015

10 Oddities that make the Northern Cape such a gem

The Northern Cape is a vast province. It occupies a chunk of South Africa’s north western territory, curving around the southern projection of Namibia, sharing parts of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park with Botswana, and bordering on the Eastern Cape’s Venterstad, and the Free State’s Christiana.

People head to the Northern Cape to disappear. It isn’t difficult given the countless little towns about which nobody has heard – Melkboom, Breeshoek, Aggeneys, Rooiputs and Hotazel are just a few of them. Continued

Friday, 3 July 2015

10 of the Karoo’s most historically iconic towns

The Karoo conjures up a vista of wide open spaces, dusty back roads, historical churches and the endless overhead dome of the sky. It is South Africa’s heart, occupying huge tracts of the country’s inner, and more arid, land; often described as unforgiving.

Once simply a vast area through which to travel en route somewhere else, today the Karoo is a series of little historic towns and various geological and botanical anomalies that attract visitors in their own right.

It is difficult to find a Karoo town that does not boast something of historical note. Our third in a series on the Karoo towns of South Africa, brings you 10 of the Karoo’s most historically iconic townsContinued

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Dinosaurs amongst the cycads at Kirstenbosch – 10 things you’ll see at Kirstenbosch right now

It’s a clever idea, putting life-size dinosaurs in amongst near-extinct cycads at Kirstenbosch. Not only does it give you a very real idea of just how large, or small, the dinosaurs actually were by standing next to them but you get a real appreciation for the critically endangered cycads that were part of the dinosaurs’ landscape, at the same time.

On since early June 2015 the open-air art exhibition, known simply as ‘Extinction! Dinosaurs, and Cycads?’, features David Huni’s anatomically correct tin dinosaur and pterosaur sculptures. The dinosaurs and the cycads would have co-habited in a similar way some 65 million years ago.

Dinosaurs and 75% of life on earth died, presumably as a result of a massive asteroid or comet that struck earth leaving environmental havoc in its wake, whilst the cycads survived. This fact alone sharply emphasises their endangered status today.

You can see the dinosaurs from the air up on the Boomslang walkway, from where they appear anything but intimidating. Once down in amongst the cycad amphitheatre (just above The Dell and Lady Barnard’s Pool), however, their true size and the almost life-like tin medium combine to bring these massive beasts alive in the imaginations of both young and old… Continued

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Discovering the Spitskop Viewpoint outside Knysna

The Garden Route is full of gems – some are well known and frequented by tourists (such as the Bloukrans Bridge, Knysna Heads, and the Tsitsikamma), while others are secreted away for only the avid explorer to enjoy. Spitskop is one of the latter. It is part of the Ysternek Nature Reserve, which is a forest reserve that covers almost 12 square kilometres and showcases some of the most stunning scenery in the country… Continued

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

15 top Johannesburg Instagrammers to follow

Ansel Adams, the photographer and environmentalist whose black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West are highly regarded, once said, ‘A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.’

Even more beautiful are the words of Yann Arthus-Bertrand who said, ‘The earth is art, the photographer is only a witness.’

Whilst Cape Town’s instagrammers capture the beauty of the landscape – mountains, seas, skies; Johannesburg Instagrammers are having a love affair with the inner city; the grunge of Jozi’s Maboneng, Braamfontein, and Berea. Their pictures, like their city, are intense, introspective, frank and bold.

Here are 15 artists on Instagram that paint a picture of Johannesburg that cannot be contained in words… Continued

Thursday, 4 June 2015

8 Charming Karoo Towns For Nature Lovers And Outdoor Enthusiasts

The Karoo: South Africa’s semi-desert region – a rare mix of desolation, ragged mountains, vast plains, star-studded skies, sheep farms, quirky little towns in the middle of nowhere, and a whole lot of space.

The Karoo spans almost 400 000 km² across the centre of South Africa; an invitation to travel.

Whilst this arid belt was surely a trial for early explorers and travellers for whom the heat, frosts, floods, droughts and little rainfall translated into a harsh existence, today it is road trip country into the back of beyond where windmills, donkey carts, red hills, corbelled houses, a range of small-town historical architecture, and corrugated farm roads envelop one in the essence of the Karoo.

For those who love the great outdoors the Karoo is a playground in which to test your metal, and reconnect with life and stillness. One can commune with nature anywhere in the Karoo, but here is a list of 8 Karoo towns for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, the second in our Karoo series … Continued

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Drive the Seven Passes of the Garden Route

The Cape Fold mountains that rise out of the land like the quills of a porcupine on the Garden Route, unassailable for years by farmers who toiled on farms in the Klein Karoo, are riddled with routes, many of them forged by rivers along which wagons filled with produce battled the mountains to market.

A route known as the 7 Passes explores many of these. Drive or cycle the beautiful old route; a road forged under the guidance of Thomas Bain.

Bain fashioned the road along with his brother-in-law, Adam de Smidt, amidst some acrimony, apparently (Bains started on the Knysna end, whilst de Smidt tackled the George side of things), but this doesn’t seem to have affected its beauty for the exceptional 7 Passes is now a national monument… Continued

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

8 Things you’ll find in De Rust that you won’t easily find elsewhere

The Klein Karoo town of De Rust lies on Route 62 wedged between the Swartberg and the Kammanassie Mountains.

Most people know about the Victorian village because it won Small Town of the Year in 2011. It lies just outside Oudtshoorn and serves as a ‘spillover’ space for those who attend the annual KKNK (Klein Karoo Nationale Kunsfees) and the KKK (Klein Karoo Klassique), but still value peace and quiet.

Others know about De Rust because it lies at the southern end of Meiringspoort. For a friend of mine it’s become home for a year. And she’s loving it. I visit her to find out why.

Continued

Thursday, 7 May 2015

10 Things To Do On The Prince Alfred Pass – Make A Day (Or A Holiday) Of It

Route 339 stretches from the Karoo town of Uniondale to the Fourways intersection with the N2 just outside Knysna.

It is 80 km of gravel road connecting the Klein Karoo with the Garden Route; Knysna with the Langkloof. It serves as an appealing alternative to the Outeniqua Pass between George and Oudtshoorn.

Which does nothing to describe its beauty – the glorious views of early morning mist, proteas, heather and ericas on either side of the road, forests in which elephants are easily lost, and kloofs, valleys and mountains that appear to go on forever.

However, for all its beauty Prince Alfred Pass is not a short cut, neither is it for the faint hearted… Continued

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Puntjie – A Hideaway Lost In Time; Visit This Unintentional Open-Air Museum

Where the Duiwenhoks River meets the sea is a cliffside hideaway known as Puntjie. It stands to the east of the river mouth atop eroded sandstone cliffs, known only to those who stay here.

During sultry summer days it is a piece of heaven, the long stretch of deserted beach a haven for walking, the cliffs a gentle, idyllic space in which time stands still. Holidays here are exactly as they should be – far from everything, amongst friends.

It takes little to imagine the wind-driven rain that must whip these exposed cliffs during winter. At Puntjie three ocean currents meet – the Agulhas, the Mozambique and Benguela. As a result, winters produce sodden wet, grey days, and often the Duiwenhoks floods… Continued

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Slow Life –7 Detours On The N2 Between George And Knysna

One of the most exceptional parts of the coast in the Western Cape, the area between George and Knysna is riddled with appealing seaside villages, beaches, delightful finds and magnificent scenery.

Too often, though, we merely use the N2 as a means to our destination.

Next time you’re passing this way, make the time to slow down, savour the beauty and charm of the heart of the Garden Route, and take at least one of 7 detours on the N2 between George and Knysna… Continued