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10 Great Things to do in Port Elizabeth
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10 Great Things to do in Port Elizabeth

Regarded as both the friendly and windy city, depending on who you're talking to and when, Port Elizabeth is deemed a great place in which to holiday, its people genial, its beaches enviable and its weather gorgeous almost the whole year round – winter beach moments can easily surpass scorching summer sizzlers. And despite the jibes about copious amounts of 'industrial scenery', the warm waters of the Indian Ocean are enough of an attraction for the average Capetonian to turn a blind eye to the factory-scattered skyline. There is a list a mile long of great things to do when in Port Eliz...
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Kei Fever – The Wild Coast Experience
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Kei Fever – The Wild Coast Experience

The anticipation of a new destination punctuated the air with laughter. None of us had been to the Wild Coast before and our minds conjured images stolen from budget travel guides and well-thumbed backpacker manuals. Still in Hogsback, in the midst of a bitterly cold winter, we shared stories gleaned from others, of the abundance of oysters and warm waters for night swimming, sun-kissed bodies, perfect surf and endless summers. We exhausted the cocktail menu that night, already preparing for the next chapter of our already poetic getaway. Morning finally broke and we bundled ourselves in...
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The Otter Trail in Photographs
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The Otter Trail in Photographs

The Otter Trail is one of South Africa’s most well-known hiking trails, popular with both locals and international visitors thanks to its incredible scenery. The trail starts at the Storms River mouth and ends at Nature’s Valley in the beautiful Tsitsikamma Nature Reserve on the Garden Route. Our team of 5 hikers recently "did" the Otter Trail - herewith a preview of their experience of The Otter Trail in photographs. We look forward to bringing you a series of articles about the 41 kilometre, 5 day hike which changes in elevation from sea level to about 150m above. Though only 42.5 k...
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Grahamstown, the ‘Festival City’
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Grahamstown, the ‘Festival City’

Grahamstown is renowned as Festival City, as it is host to the largest arts festival in Africa - the National Arts Festival. Most people visit the town during the festival period, and experience the crazy bustle of thousands of tourists jostling their way down High Street, dodging between the hawkers touting their African wares, and on to the next fantastic show. In-between festival time, Grahamstown is a sleepy town. Grahamstown is also known for its many schools, and Rhodes University, and the town’s population seems to swell during term time when the students return to this quiet town th...
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Graaff-Reinet, Gem of the Karoo
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Graaff-Reinet, Gem of the Karoo

Stargazing, like whisky, is an acquired taste. It takes patience, an appreciation of subtle nuances and enough time to fully become involved in either activity. Stargazing while drinking whisky? Well, that might just be the path to travel enlightenment. Graaff-Reinet, the Gem of the Karoo, offers some of the best star gazing in the world with enough space and an atmosphere conducive soaking up some of the radiant cosmological wonders that the Southern Hemisphere’s heavens have to offer. Graaff-Reinet is the fourth oldest town in South Africa and home to some of the most superb examples o...
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So much to do in Mbotyi on the Wild Coast
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So much to do in Mbotyi on the Wild Coast

Whether you’re looking for an adventurous holiday or just a peaceful break from everyday life, Mbotyi River Lodge can do both. In the Eastern Cape on the Wild Coast, the lodge is 26 km from Lusikisiki, on the Mbotyi river mouth. Snuggled between the undulating hills of Pondoland, surrounded by flourishing indigenous forestry, this picturesque valley is the ideal location for anyone looking to experience South Africa’s true beauty. This popular family resort, in the midst of Pondoland, is renowned for its friendly Pondo people, whose intriguing culture has captured the hearts of many and...
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The Kowie Canoe Trail
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The Kowie Canoe Trail

Have you decided to have a weekend away and want to combine activity and adventure?  Canoe trails make for an ideal holiday.  The Kowie Canoe Trail will lead you approximately 21kms up the Kowie River past attractions such as The Old Wreck, Windy Beach, Rabbit Rocks, Cob Hole, Black Rock, The old Mill, The Reef, Ferry Glen, White Rock and on to the Camp at Horseshoe Bend. If you are the adventurous kind continue a short way past Ebb and Flow where fresh water flows down the Kowie River and into the sea.  Look out for sightings of game on the east bank of the river. Holiday makers are...
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Picadillis in Middelburg in the Karoo Heartland
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Picadillis in Middelburg in the Karoo Heartland

I recently bought the sweetest little scarf.  My brother and I were en route to Ficksburg from Graaff-Reinet and stopped in Middelburg for a) Karoo biltong and b) petrol (in that order of importance). To be honest, Middelburg is not much to look at but our biltong search was proving futile (I know, you wouldn't think so, it was the Karoo after all!) so we drove around the town a bit trying to find a butchery. Right at the end of a road I spotted a mustardy coloured shop called Piccadilli's.  ‘Let’s try down there’ I said to Gareth and he duly turned left and steered us towards the shop i...
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Wash day in the Transkei (photographs)
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Wash day in the Transkei (photographs)

In the lush hills of the Transkei, these women sway to an African rhythm in a burst of colour as they return from a day at the stream where they share stories and song making the chore of laundry more pleasurable as well as pleasing to the eye of the onlooker. The brightly dressed women leave the river, balancing wash baskets on their heads in the traditional manner. Big smiles belie the difficulty of accomplishing this frequent errand and contribute to the welcoming nature of the Xhosa homelands ... Photographs: Washing day in the Transkei Eastern Cape Links Wild Coast Attract...
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Explore the Makana Heritage Route – The umgwashu tree, hidden churches, Mlanjeni cave & long-drop lavs
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Explore the Makana Heritage Route – The umgwashu tree, hidden churches, Mlanjeni cave & long-drop lavs

Up until recently, I had no idea that there is a sprinkling of little villages in the Eastern Cape called Potsdam, Berlin, Breidbach, Braunchsweig, Frankfort, Hanover and Marienthal. Named after the German towns and cities with the same names, obviously, but on a much smaller scale; some of them on such a small scale that they barely exist, so that even tourist marketing material is given to referring to them as 'not in very good condition', which must surely be a euphemism for 'on their last legs' ... These villages form a mixture of what once were military posts and little domestic settle...
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Lady Grey – secret of the Eastern Cape, and best kept that way
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Lady Grey – secret of the Eastern Cape, and best kept that way

Lady Grey, the cutest little hamlet just inside the border of the Eastern Cape when coming at it from the Free State side, is one of those insider secrets about which I'm going to tell you, but about which you will say nothing. Let me assure you that when you finally travel there, you will appreciate why. Lady Grey is not a village that deserves the 'crowd-pull' appeal of places like Clarens! Lady Grey is described as a rural village, which is a pretty apt account, although don't expect to see cows and sheep chewing the cud in breeze swept meadows. You might see the odd alpaca if you happen...
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Hogsback – a magical town ideal for weekends away and extended stays
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Hogsback – a magical town ideal for weekends away and extended stays

This month we focus our attention on the magical little town of Hogsback in the Eastern Cape, home to numerous accomplished artists - potters, painters, musicians and poets - who have chosen the beauty of Hogsback over the rush of city life. Hogsback offers so much as a weekend destination or extended holiday stay - think exploring the village, fabulous hiking trails, mountain biking, horse riding, bird watching, and mountain climbing - these are only a few of the things that draw people to Hogsback time and again. Magical views, peace and tranquility add to the mix of what makes Hogsback s...
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Mbotyi, Wild Coast – photographs one of the best hidden secrets in the Eastern Cape
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Mbotyi, Wild Coast – photographs one of the best hidden secrets in the Eastern Cape

If you're after desolate beaches, rolling hills, the odd appearance of oxen pulling carts, and not much else, then Mbotyi is possibly one of the best hidden secrets in the Eastern Cape's Pondoland. The coast south of Port Edward is wild, and life here has not yet caught up with the western world's clamour for development and the acquiring of things ... Isn't it beautiful? To find out more see ... Mbotyi Photographs of Mbotyi © SA-Venues.com Wild Coast Links Mbotyi Popular Attractions Wild Coast Attractions Wild Coast Holiday Accommodation Eastern Cape Holi...
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Nieu Bethesda – why it’s worth a visit
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Nieu Bethesda – why it’s worth a visit

These days, Nieu Bethesda is described as a charming alternative to Graaff-Reinet. But back when I first paid the little town a visit, it was still 'in the middle of nowhere', rather off the beaten track. You went there primarily to visit Helen Martin's Owl House. In fairness, things were starting to happen even then. There was a little restaurant I remember, called something like the 'wild fig' or 'burning brinjal', or an equally creative name, on the sleepy main road in town (there are but two, main roads that is), the pretty Village Inn was already serving as an information / accommodati...
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Take a walk on “The Wild Side of the Drakensberg” – Wartrail Skywalk
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Take a walk on “The Wild Side of the Drakensberg” – Wartrail Skywalk

Since 1996 top athletes from South Africa and beyond have ventured to the little-known Eastern Cape Highlands to participate in what is probably one of the toughest adventure races in the country – The Salomon Skyrun. Starting in the picturesque town of Lady Grey, armed with their own supplies, a GPS and a map their aim is to run 100km across mountain peaks to finish at Tiffindell. The top runners finish in approximately 14 hours, orienteering themselves across the dramatic route through day and night. The guest house owners of the Wartrail and New England valleys realised that it wo...
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