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Western Cape

The city of Cape Town, watched over by the unique and majestic Table Mountain is South Africa’s oldest town and one of South Africa’s jewels. With its melting pot of cultures, rich historical and cultural heritage and the pristine white beaches that sweep along its coastline, the Western Cape Province has much to offer any visiting tourist … MORE \ Discover Western Cape \ or to find the perfect place to stay visit Western Cape Accommodation, Cape Town Accommodation or Cape Town Hotels on SA-Venues.com. (Popular searches include Camps Bay, Constantia, Hermanus and Franschhoek).

Monday, 5 October 2015

10 top natural attractions in the Karoo

What the Outback is to Australia, the Karoo is to South Africa.

It occupies 400 000 km²- practically one-third of the country’s total area; a vast, semi-arid region in the heart of the country, bounded by mountains in the south and west, and the huge Senqu, or Orange River, on its eastern and northern flanks.

This area of little rainfall, blue and cloudless skies, and extreme temperatures may have acted as a barrier to the interior from Cape Town for early settlers, but today it has come out of isolation to become a major tourist attraction – its immense spaces, incredible mountains, idiosyncratic towns and promise of escape the reason for its popularity.

These 10 top natural attractions are only a taste of what the Karoo holds in store for you. Continued

Monday, 21 September 2015

Top Ten Natural Attractions in the Western Cape

Africa’s most southern region, the Western Cape is also the country’s most mountainous and, some would argue, most beautiful province (certainly those who live in Cape Town like to think so).

It has more iconic-style attractions than any other province, and the combination of winelands, beaches, mountains and cosmopolitan lifestyle appeal enough to attract over 50% of international visitors to the country (Cape Town’s big six tourist attractions are visited by a higher number of foreign tourists than locals).

Here are Top Ten Natural Attractions in the Western Cape that keep them coming… 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

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

Friday, 12 June 2015

A Guide To Entertaining Any Visitor To Cape Town

Ever noticed how popular Cape Town is? You just have to look at how many Gautengers have moved here, or the many Europeans, for that matter, to realise that Cape Town really is the happening capital of South Africa.

But because it is popular, it’s also a place many people come to visit. And usually they stay with you. Not everyone is going to understand your partiality, after a week of hard week, for a good book and a DVD (Table Mountain, pah, who needs it!).

Here is our handy list of activities, aimed at a variety of guests, to get you through even the toughest weekend entertaining visitors in Cape Town… 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

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

7 Jaw-Dropping False Bay Tidal Pools For Swims With A View

For those who ask if it’s safe to swim in Cape Town’s waters, here is a list of, not only the safest spaces in which to swim, but also some of the most beautiful.

Cape Town has various ‘artificial’ tidal pools, as opposed to natural tidal pools (natural sea shore depressions that fill with tidal sea water). These pools exist because of white cement walls that retain the sea water after every high-tide.

When the tide goes out, the sun is able to heat the water, making them wonderful, protected areas in which to swim, for children and adults. Other than St James’ tidal pool many of the pools lie hidden from the coastal road in False Bay, and are not that easy to find. However the views, from each of the pools on our list, are worth seeking out.

Here is the list of 7 jaw-dropping False Bay tidal pools… Continued

Thursday, 28 May 2015

10 Far-Flung Karoo Towns For Fabulous Festivals

If you’ve ever looked at a map of the Karoo (the Groot and Klein Karoo) you may have noticed that it occupies a huge chunk of central South Africa.

It stretches from Alexander Bay on the West Coast, encompassing the bulk of the Northern Cape, all the way to the Free State towns of Smithfield and Cookhouse on the Karoo’s eastern boundaries, whilst its southern borders are dotted with Route 62’s well-known towns from Robertson through to Uniondale.

Its towns read like a list of who’s who of the Platteland – Loeriesfontein, Van Wyksvlei, Prieska, Putsonderwater, Philippolis, Bitterfontein, Koffiefontein and Kuboes.

With so many towns to choose from, just where in the Karoo does one go? In this, the first of a series of blogs on the Karoo, we bring you 10 Far-Flung Karoo Towns For Fabulous Festivals... Continued

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

6 Favourite Second Hand Fashion Shops In The Southern Suburbs of Cape Town

There is no accounting for taste, and what one person thinks of as worn and worthless is easily someone else’s treasure. Never more so than in the mother city where second-hand stores flourish. If you are a bargain hunter, or love vintage, Cape Town is full of ‘gently used’, ‘nearly new’ second hand goods’ stores.

The more obvious of these lie in the city bowl (Second Time Around, Glitterati) frequented by those after a more reasonably priced, vintage and retro look. But there are other, less well-known, stores in the southern suburbs.

This list of favourite second hand fashion shops is worth sharing: one or two are charity stores, whilst others are more upmarket ‘barely worn’ stores. Each of them offers something unique. At the very least, you’ll walk out with a scarf or cardigan that you could never have found anywhere else… 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.


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

Thursday, 30 April 2015

10 Short Beginner Hikes In Cape Town – Perfect For The (Relatively) Unfit, Or Those With Children

Most of the hikes in Cape Town involve scaling a mountain (if you hadn’t already noticed, there are a fair number in the city).

If Tranquillity Cracks, Platteklip Gorge, Maclear’s Beacon and India Venster are not on your list of must-do hikes, then this list of ‘sedate’ trails, even if one or two involve a short (though not overly taxing) uphill, is for you.

Some of the 10 beginner hikes in Cape Town are perfect for children. Most of them, because of their ease, are popular and busy, particularly on hot summer, windless days… Continued

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

15 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Cape Town

Here are a few fascinating things you probably don’t know about Cape Town

1. Cape Town is the best place in the world to visit

According to the New York Times (2014). The Telegraph Travel Awards voted Cape Town the ‘best city in the world’ in 2013; it is one of the top 25 destination in the world, according to Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards; and Africa dot com voted Cape Town the most liveable city in Africa. Continued