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South Africa’s national symbols – a guide for dummies
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South Africa’s national symbols – a guide for dummies

I'm prepared to bet the average person knows our national flag, our national flower (king protea), and probably our national bird (blue crane). But when it comes to national symbols like the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli or even our national fish (the galjoen) some of us need a little help ... South Africa national symbols - a guide for dummies South Africa's coat of arms If you have a new(ish) South African passport (and they need renewing every 10 years so you will have, sooner rather than later) you'll see our new coat of arms (official since 2000) on the cover. Our old o...
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18 Travel Trends for 2014
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18 Travel Trends for 2014

The latest Travel Trends for 2014 show South Africa and Cape Town are to be reckoned with, airports are becoming more liveable, mobile bookings are on the up, and travellers are demanding a more 'local' experience ... 1 - Despite the recession, tourism continues to grow 2.5 billion internet users worldwide mean that countries like India and China have increased buying power, and are travelling more. Asia was 2013's hot spot for travel, both incoming and domestic, and Southern Europe – Malta, Portugal, Croatia – expect a high tourist rate this year; higher than Northern Europe. 2 - South Afr...
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How eco friendly is your tour operator, really?
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How eco friendly is your tour operator, really?

Is your eco friendly tour operator really environmentally friendly? And how do you recognise one? So many organisers of tours and trips these days attach the prefix 'eco' to their offering. How far reaching this 'umbrella' claim is depends on a number of issues. But when is it just a wishful title, and when is it credible? The good news: it isn't difficult to assess yourself The bad news: you cannot assume that the term 'eco' means the company is accredited (in South Africa there is no formal eco accreditation in the travel sector, other than Fair Trade). There are also no univers...
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An Interview with Joe Cloete of the Shamwari Group
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An Interview with Joe Cloete of the Shamwari Group

Joe Cloete is the General Manager of the Shamwari Group, which represents the exquisite Shamwari Game Reserve just outside Nelson Mandela Bay. This reserve has consistently been voted the World's Leading Safari and Game Reserve and Conservation Company, and promises visitors an experience of sheer luxury. Mr Cloete sheds some light on the lodge, its facilities, and what makes it so very special... An Interview with Joe Cloete of the Shamwari Group: When was Shamwari Game Reserve established? What was the vision? It was established in 1992 and the vision was to conserve a vanishing...
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15 tips on how to save for your next trip
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15 tips on how to save for your next trip

Friends often ask me how we manage to go away as often as we do. Somewhere in the disbelief at yet another trip, is the inference that we must have loads of money to be able to do as we do. Far from it! Our monthly earnings would not make an investment broker sit up straighter. Our going away often has less to do with earning pot loads, and more to do with living frugally so that we have money over for fun – i.e. travel. Here are a few ideas on how to find the money for travelling - Our 15 tips on how to save for your next trip ONE: MINIMISE DEBT Many of us are so deep in debt that mon...
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Snapshot South Africa – 20 interesting and informative facts
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Snapshot South Africa – 20 interesting and informative facts

South Africa is vast - 1 233 404 km² – making it the 25th largest country in the world, twice the size of Texas, and five times the size of Great Britain. South Africa has the second highest waterfall in the world (the Tugela Falls) And the third largest canyon in the world (Blyde River Canyon). We also lay claim to the longest wine route in the world – Route 62 through the Klein Karoo, from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth – 850km. South Africa's wine tourism was rated the best developed in the World by International Wine Review, 2012. (see South Africa's Wine Estates) South Africa ...
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Where Will You Chop ‘n Dop On Braai Day?
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Where Will You Chop ‘n Dop On Braai Day?

24th September is National Heritage Day in South Africa, this public holiday was set by the government for South Africans to celebrate and enjoy our rich heritage. National Heritage Day is called something different by each culture, some call it Ukosa, others Chisa Nyama and of course Braai Day. The one thing in common is that we all commemorate the day by lighting a fire and enjoying fabulous food. It is tradition to braai on 24th September, which is exactly what I intend to do. If you are a visitor to the county and enjoying a holiday here, I suggest you get involved in the festivities an...
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10 great ways to cope when your flight is delayed
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10 great ways to cope when your flight is delayed

You're hemmed in on one side by a Japanese tour group making its way to Sun City, whilst the family next to you can barely contain their three-year old in the throes of an extraordinarily bad hair day, when there is a public announcement that your connecting flight is delayed. Flight delays are a large part of the travel experience. They happen. But there are ways to survive them ... 1. EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS The most logical place to start is at the information desk to double-check the delay and to see if you can change your flight to another. If that is too busy, get online and have a...
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Sussed on travel – 10 top tech travel gadgets
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Sussed on travel – 10 top tech travel gadgets

Sussed on travel – 10 top tech travel gadgets - Much as you'd love to have a holiday from them, rather than with them, when travelling, particularly overseas, there are some travel gadgets you just can't leave at home... TOP 4 ESSENTIAL TECHNOLOGIES FOR TRAVEL SMARTPHONE Smartphones are now virtually mandatory, but more so when travelling. Better still is an unlocked smartphone (it's apparently quite complicated to unlock once it's locked), which makes it cheaper to plug in SIM cards local to the countries you intend visiting. BUT buying an unlocked smartphone is expensive. Get a secon...
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Travel Then and Now – 16 Changes
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Travel Then and Now – 16 Changes

Ever wondered how much travel has changed in the last thirty or forty years? For those of us who would be lost without cell phones, that's going back to when unless a phone was plugged in at the wall, or you had access to a tickie box (aka pay phone or phone box), you would have to rely on the kindness of shop keepers, or random agony aunts, if you needed to make a call home. But has travel improved? Have all the 'progressive' changes that have delivered an apparent simplicity to the travel experience been good for us? TRAVEL THEN PEOPLE SMOKED ON FLIGHTS AND THEN SOME Not only di...
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5 types of traveller – which one are you?
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5 types of traveller – which one are you?

I took an online quizz recently to discover what type of traveller I am. It turns out that not only am I a 'cultural' traveller who explores all the art and food a city has to offer (true) but I can sense a tourist trap from miles away (I can?) and I also gravitate towards more authentic experiences and don't need a guidebook to show me what to do (well, ja, but I have a husband who reads them from cover to cover!). The results were questionable, but it got me thinking about the 'types' of travellers we are – from those who simply want to sun worship, to others for whom a list of top att...
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Beer, Biltong, Braai – My 3 Favourite Things About South Africa
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Beer, Biltong, Braai – My 3 Favourite Things About South Africa

When I was 21, I decided to broaden my horizons and move to the United Kingdom to visit my family, gain some new experiences and to travel a bit. I was there for eight years and returned home to Cape Town not so long ago. Although I had a wonderful time abroad, filled with laughter, great memories and fabulous photos, I missed South Africa. It is by far the most beautiful country and when I was living here I took its beauty for granted. As the plane was landing in Cape Town after an hour stopover in Jo-burg, there were only about ten of us on board, all Capetonians. When we rounded past Tab...
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Jo’burg’s Ponte – It’s Back On The Map
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Jo’burg’s Ponte – It’s Back On The Map

Not only has the interior of the Ponte building leapt up a notch from sleeze to fashionable, but it's now part of an inner-city walking tour. Everyone knows the Ponte building – the iconic cyclindrical skyscraper in Berea, right next to Hillbrow, with its upper end encrusted with the Vodacom logo. The tallest residential skyscraper in Africa it might be but very few of us have visited it. Certainly nobody I know has ventured as far as Berea recently; it's one of Johannesburg's 'no-go' areas, if you want to live and tell the tale. Not quite true. Things, it seems, have changed. Po...
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My New Buzz Word – Flashpacking – What It Means, And Why I’m Doing It
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My New Buzz Word – Flashpacking – What It Means, And Why I’m Doing It

I was recently discussing with my better half (I say this with complete candour as when it comes to shoe-chucking, word spewing bouts of frustration, my husband has a lot more control than I; which must make him a better human being. He also plants great vegetables, builds legendary lego towers, and ignores the phone more readily than I) the ins and outs of packing for a just over three-week holiday. There are more outs than ins when packing. Of the bulging variety. As in bags; the sit-on-to-close variety. Whether we leave for a week or a month we generally look as though we're going away f...
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3 Great Meanders – Drift At Your Own Pace, In Your Own Car
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3 Great Meanders – Drift At Your Own Pace, In Your Own Car

South Africa is one of the most diverse and beautiful countries in the world, its myriad landscapes easily explored by car on roads that are, by and large, excellent. There are plenty of unguided tour routes visitors can follow, particularly if you enjoy finding the little out of the way spots; the back roads; the out of the way gems. We share three great meanders; short enough to slow right down, long and busy enough to keep you entertained for a long weekend. 1. THE MIDLANDS MEANDER, KWAZULU-NATAL Overview: The Midlands Meander is one big art and crafts route with a some wonderful outd...
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