• 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.

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

Monday, 23 June 2014

10 things you may not know about Table Mountain

Table Mountain is Cape Town’s most prominent landmark. The view of the flat-topped massif, as seen from Table Bay or Blouberg, is recognised throughout the world and has placed Cape Town on the map. That it is one of the seven new wonders of the world is no mystery.

The triptych of Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain and the Lion is as famous, as is the mountain’s ‘tablecloth’ – the result of the south-easter, one of the prevailing winds of the Cape peninsula.

But the mountain’s bulk is not there simply to be admired, although this is a large aspect of its appeal. It is also there to hike, climb, worship, drive, walk and explore. From the paths that lead to its summit, to the inescapably rare fauna and flora, Table Mountain is attractive to every visitor… Continued

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

South Africa’s four small wild cats – where to see them

The big cats in South Africa receive a lot of attention. In fairness lions, leopards and cheetah deserve the focus; most of these top predators are in danger – we live in their space, we hunt them illegally and kill them when they prey on livestock.

But South Africa is also home to four smaller cats – the African wild cat, the black-footed cat (now known as the small spotted cat), the caracal, and the serval. To this list I wanted to add the civet and genet but they are not, in fact, cats at all. Instead they belong to a family known as Viverrids, related to the mongoose and meerkatContinued

Friday, 13 June 2014

30 things you MUST do in Port Elizabeth in winter

Port Elizabeth might be regarded as Cape Town’s poorer cousin, and far less glamourous than Jozi, but it does have rather mild winters, which makes it a far more attractive option once winter’s cold sets in.

In fact there are those who say that Port Elizabeth has more sunshine hours than any other city in South Africa (we’ll just cast a blind eye to the wind factor).

It’s also just down the road from St Francis Bay and Jeffreys Bay (but cheaper), and has access to plenty of swimming beaches and a beachfront lifestyle that is easy to access. And Port Elizabeth has loads of action-packed activities (in the bungi-jumping, sandboarding, adrenaline junkie vein).

So if you haven’t yet reached for your mouse to find the next low-cost flight out of your seat in to the slow city (slow as in ‘chilled’) then cast your eye over the list below for further impetus… Continued

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

6 historic windmills, 2 mock mills, and one museum – where to see windmills in South Africa

South Africa is no stranger to windmills. The figure doing the rounds is 280 000  – the number we claim to have on farms spread across the country.  But the windmills of modern day are actually windpumps, rather than mills. Most of them pump water from the ground, although a few may be attached to saw mills and feed mills.

The old-fashioned windmill did exactly as it name implies. It used wind to mill grain for food production.  South Africa has a number of these, to which we still affix the Dutch word ‘molen’, meaning mill. It describes Dutch tower and smock mills with their common sails (blades) that now function as landmarks.

There are several windmills in South Africa, in particular in Cape TownContinued

Thursday, 15 May 2014

7 South African Adventures that will Change Your Life

Life-changing, life-affirming events are a dime-a-dozen these days. Every adrenalin-filled activity claims to change your perspective on life and, to be fair, many of them do.

But here is a list of South African adventures that are more akin to journeys; personal inward journeys to change your life. For each of them takes place in such incredible natural beauty, and involves just enough adrenalin-filled action, to facilitate a change in perspective… Continued

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Why you should visit South Africa NOW

If you were here for the World Cup in 2010 and swore blind you would return, now is the time to do so. Because things in South Africa, for the average tourist, are rather peachy.

Whilst those who live here are struggling as things become more than a little tight – petrol and food prices have risen exponentially on the basis of the Rand’s weakness against the Pound, US Dollar and other major peers – those who visit are only too happy.

Their already cheap world-class bottle of wine just got cheap – er.

In 2010 the US Dollar was able to buy about R7. Today it will get you R11. An average burger in America will cost around $13, whilst here it comes in at around $7. Continued

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Top 5 wildlife parks in South Africa (other than Kruger)

South Africa has 700 publically owned reserves. The list includes 19 national parks. Over and above that are at least another 200 private reserves.

Making a choice as to which ones to visit can be rather difficult. As a consequence most visitors simply head to the Kruger National Park – it’s an obvious choice.

South Africa is hugely diverse. It’s habitats range from the intense heat and red sand dunes of the Kalahari to the subtropical wetlands of the Elephant Coast. It has great swathes of mountain belts like the Drakensberg and the Cape Fold Mountains, densely forested kloofs, heaving waterfalls, and savanna grasslands that extend to meet the horizon.

Within this medley are a myriad protected areas that house game.

We list the five wildlife parks in South Africa we consider worthy of a visit, and why… Continued

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Pack a picnic basket and explore these South African Botanical Gardens

If you haven’t already cottoned on to the idea of a Botanical garden being the perfect place to picnic, trail, bird watch, get married, hike or have lunch, then it’s time you got the memo.  There are many reasons why hundreds of thousands of locals and foreigners flock to South Africa’s Botanical gardens each year ranging from the wildlife, unique vegetation and biodiversity, natural beauty and entertainment. Continued

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Ten Natural Wonders of South Africa

posted to: Attractions

Little of what we claim today as natural wonders will be here in a hundred years time.

Little is today as it was a century ago.

But we are blessed with many phenomenon hewn by the natural world in South Africa… Continued

Monday, 21 April 2014

The city of saints – 10 slightly off-beat historical attractions in Grahamstown

Grahamstown is not known as the town of 60 churches, or the city of saints, for nothing. It is steeped in colonial English history, filled with historical buildings and churches, and is also a university town – which goes some way to explain its reputation for tolerance and left-of-centre thinking.

The town of the annual avant-garde Arts Festival, Grahamstown is also home to the oldest independent newspaper offices (still producing the Grocott’s Mail), and was home to author André Brink, who lectured at Rhodes University between 1961 and 1990 whilst producing numerous novels, many of which went on to win literary awards (more controversially: a couple were banned during apartheid, making him something of a cult hero).

Grahamstown’s churches are worth investigation in their own right. But below are a selection of historical buildings that have something slightly quirky or different about them and are thus interesting to visit. Continued

Monday, 7 April 2014

10 Best Public Art Pieces in Johannesburg

posted to: Attractions, Gauteng

Visual art in public spaces can be big or small. It can loom overhead, forcing you to squint into the sun to see it, or it can scream for attention from beneath your feet on the pavement. There are no rules about how it must look, what medium it should use, or what shape it should take.

What it must do is play with expectation, heighten awareness, spark debate, shift the way you think, celebrate imagination, and make art accessible to everyone. In Johannesburg much of the city’s public art is concentrated in the Newtown Cultural Precinct. Continued

Thursday, 3 April 2014

10 Best Places To See Cheetahs In South Africa

The Cheetah: fastest land animal on earth over short distances; can reach a speed of 120 kilometres an hour; measures two metres from the snout to the end of its tail; weighs between 40 – 60kgs; is the only cat with semi-retractable claws, and has a spotted coat.

Cheetah are listed as Vulnerable, and Critically Endangered in North Africa and Asia.

Cheetahs prefer open plains where they run down their prey, but they can function as well in savanna woodland. They no longer occur in almost 80 percent of their historic range in Africa, although they have been reintroduced in about 38 reserves in South Africa. However, their populations are small and isolated… Continued