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10 Karoo towns with weird sounding names
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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... De Aar When it comes to the weird names of some Karoo towns there tends to be a strong association with underground streams (I'm thinking here of Lekkersing). De Aar is no exception. Its name means 'artery' which could well refer to its location as a major railway junction. Through here steam trains used to boom and p...
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Here is How The Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve Is Saving The Klein Karoo
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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 T...
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Dinosaurs amongst the cycads at Kirstenbosch
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Dinosaurs amongst the cycads at Kirstenbosch

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...
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A Guide To Entertaining Any Visitor To Cape Town
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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 visi...
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8 Charming Karoo Towns For Nature Lovers And Outdoor Enthusiasts
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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...
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7 Jaw-Dropping False Bay Tidal Pools For Swims With A View
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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 poo...
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6 Favourite Second Hand Fashion Shops In The Southern Suburbs of Cape Town
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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 ...
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8 Things you’ll find in De Rust that you won’t easily find elsewhere
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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. When...
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10 Things To Do On The Prince Alfred Pass – Make A Day (Or A Holiday) Of It
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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 Pri...
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Puntjie – A Hideaway Lost In Time; Visit This Unintentional Open-Air Museum
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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, ...
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10 Short Beginner Hikes In Cape Town – Perfect For The (Relatively) Unfit, Or Those With Children
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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... 1. Pipe Track, Kloof Nek: 1-3 hours The Pipe Track is eff...
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15 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Cape Town
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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. 2. All the hype about Jan van Riebeeck is misleading He and the Dutch East India Company officially 'founded' South Africa in 1652 but Bartholomew Dias rounded the southe...
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5 Insider Things To Do When In Vermaaklikheid
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5 Insider Things To Do When In Vermaaklikheid

The fairytale hamlet of Vermaaklikheid lies on the lower reaches of the Duiwenhoks River, south of Heidelberg. To find it on Google maps we have to do a precise search, for it appears only as a map marker two-thirds of the way up the river, on a dirt road east of the R322 between Heidelberg and Witsand. Vermaklikheid isn't on any tourist routes, and has little to lure the Toyota Fortuners and their ilk – no farmstall or artisan bread-and-pie-producing bakery here. Vermaaklikheid (meaning 'entertainment' or 'amusement' - which may or may not allude to the town's original subsistence on sweet ...
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7 Cape Town Community Gardens That Are Setting A Trend
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7 Cape Town Community Gardens That Are Setting A Trend

A community garden is a piece of land gardened collectively by a group of people. They serve as a way to build a sense of local community, a connection to the environment and to provide fresh produce and plants. They range from small plots of vegetables, to large 'greening' projects to preserve natural areas. And not all of them have an open gate policy. Some grow only ornamental plants, others function as market gardens. In Cape Town Community gardens have been a rising trend for a while now. Whether they're tiny backyard plots, a portion of a city park, rooftop gardens, vertical gardens o...
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Top Cape Town Instagrammers To Follow
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Top Cape Town Instagrammers To Follow

A picture paints a thousand words. Or more accurately: a picture is worth a thousand words is a fitting phrase to describe how a picture tells a story just as well as wordy, descriptive text (the latter quote was adapted into the former by David Gates (of Bread fame) for the album: Manna). I'd even go as far as saying that today pictures speak louder than words. To coin a Chinese proverb: one picture is worth ten thousand words. Which is why Instagram is so big. Snap a photo with your mobile phone, choose a filter, and you've a picture to share with the world. It's faster than news, i...
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