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Beautiful, not-so-peaceful, Stilbaai
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Beautiful, not-so-peaceful, Stilbaai

Stilbaai, also known as Still Bay, is well known amongst Capetonians as a peaceful, seaside getaway on the Garden Route, perfect for weekends. It has, to a large degree, managed to maintain an unspoiled and natural environment that is particularly beautiful during spring, with a pretty beach village atmosphere on the eastern side of the village, and beautiful beaches. But come here during the festive season, and you begin to wonder whether the residents may not have been a little hasty in calling their bay 'still'. It has become so popular and so busy at this time of year that 'hectic' is p...
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Oh I do want to be beside the seaside of St Francis Bay
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Oh I do want to be beside the seaside of St Francis Bay

Set on the shores of the Indian Ocean, just south of Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape, St Francis Bay has to be one of the most beautiful spaces on this part of the coast. We arrived there on a wind-swept afternoon knowing little about the pretty resort but that we had managed to nab ourselves a cottage with sea views within walking distance of the beach! We arrived in the village in the late afternoon, tired from our journey and gasping for a day or so of sun-filled beach time, as we had just descended from the Amatola Mountains and the little town of Hogsback, where it had been rather chi...
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Hogsback – a town of pure magic and mystical atmosphere
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Hogsback – a town of pure magic and mystical atmosphere

Not many people know much about Hogsback, or where it is, for that matter, which perhaps is just as well given that its charm is something one might want to protect, and because the very essence of Hogsback is its almost otherworldly silence, where it lies high up in the Amatola Mountains, surrounded by centuries old indigenous forest. All I knew about Hogsback, as we wound our way up the steep mountain roads covered in  fine mist and rain at the beginning of December, was that I had read and heard enough to want to visit, and that we were probably in for a far colder week than my suitc...
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Addo Elephant Park – a commune with elephants
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Addo Elephant Park – a commune with elephants

Addo Elephant National Park is the third largest park in South Africa, and offers the chance of sighting the Big 7 (elephant, black rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, great white shark and sperm whale) and the opportunity of a combination of guided walks, hikes, 4X4 trails, horseback and
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Addo, addo, addo!
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Addo, addo, addo!

If it weren't for the Addo Elephant National Park, Addo would still be an obscure little town off the beaten track, roughly an hour from Port Elizabeth. It really is something of a one-horse town, and locals use the police station as a landmark, rather than the town, which isn't surprising given that it is almost the same size. That said, it isn't the town one comes here to experience. And the area between the town of Addo and the Addo Elephant National Park, which is a ten minute drive away, is filled with a series of restaurants, Addo accommodation venues and exciting places to visit ...
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Teniqua Treetops – a slumber in amongst the trees
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Teniqua Treetops – a slumber in amongst the trees

Think of a childhood dream of living in a treehouse, something like the magic faraway tree, then add the further dimension of handcrafted wood interiors, furniture, a tented bedroom, a wooden open-to-the-elements bathroom, complete with de luxe bath, and you have an idea of Teniqua Treetops. Teniqua Treetops, in a nutshell, is a collection of eight simply beautiful, hand-crafted and eco-friendly treehouses hidden in amongst an indigenous forest in the Garden Route that boasts thousand-year-old trees, fairies, an array of birds, and breathtaking views. The nature lovers' resort market...
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A stay in Vermont
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A stay in Vermont

Tell people that you're on your way to Vermont and many give you a puzzled response. They obviously are not expecting you to go all the way to America for the weekend, but whilst their brains are whizzing around trying to place the town on a map, I rescue them and explain that it lies close to Hermanus. The relief is palpable. Acquaintances of ours have a wee cottage set in the heart of Vermont's 'old' quarter. After staying in the town twice now, and familiarising myself with its streets, I have divided Vermont into the 'old' and 'new', or 'east' and 'west' quarters for my own reasons....
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Why I’m telling no-one about McGregor
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Why I’m telling no-one about McGregor

It isn't easy to find somewhere to stay on a farm that is remote but still close enough to a small town to provide light entertainment when needed and supplies when necessary. I spent quite a bit of time on the internet before I found our little gem on a farm just outside Robertson and McGregor (bonus as we got two quaint towns for the price of one!). The unbelievably beautiful valley that holds Robertson, McGregor, Ashton, Bonnievale and Montagu in its embrace has something magical about it. And if you don't believe me, visit it yourself and you'll understand what I mean. The secret is to ...
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A hop, skip and a jump to Pilgrims Rest
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A hop, skip and a jump to Pilgrims Rest

Getting to Pilgrims Rest from Johannesburg takes longer than you think it will. It shouldn't, as the obvious route along the N4 is pretty straight forward - Witbank, Belfast, Waterval Boven - but this is where it starts getting fuzzy, because by this stage not only were we tired, having only left work at around 3pm, but by the time we hit Sabie there was also a not-so-fine mist to contend with. Oncoming traffic became somewhat indistinct, the world took on the ambiance of Narnia (I kept waiting for Mr Tumnus to come trotting out from under a lamppost) and my stomach took the opportunity to ...
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A Weekend in Pringle Bay
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A Weekend in Pringle Bay

About a month ago, we were lucky enough to take a weekend away from Cape Town and decided on the charming coastal town of Pringle Bay. Apart from the fact that it rained virtually all weekend, Pringle Bay most ably managed to live up to its reputation as one of the more popular holiday towns on the Cape Whale Route. A conservancy village, Pringle Bay lies on the Whale Coast at the foot of the rather unique Hangklip Mountain, after which the coastline turns abruptly north into Stony Bay. One might be only 80 kilometres from Cape Town, but the laidback lifestyle of 'shorts and t-shirts...
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The Big 5 Shamwari Game Reserve
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The Big 5 Shamwari Game Reserve

There is something distinctly colonial about Shamwari Game Reserve. Perhaps it's that I don't get out much, but there is nothing like a lovingly restored Edwardian mansion, the cool verandah and furniture a throwback to a bygone era, to make one feel distinctly elegant, even if I wasn't exactly attired for the occasion. How I got there is another story, but I happened to 'gatecrash' Shamwari, in a way. We stumbled off an overnight train from Johannesburg, to find ourselves awaited by a 4x4 vehicle and escourted onto the Shamwari grounds ... I wasn't officially supposed to be on the t...
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Fly Away Weekend to Zebula Golf Estate
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Fly Away Weekend to Zebula Golf Estate

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did - so explore, dream, discover - and this is exactly what NAC Training does at least once a year by arranging heart-soaring helicopter excursions for all their past and present students, friends, families and colleagues ... The most recent of these being a weekend at Zebula Golf Estate & Spa – the only 5 star venue of its kind, set in the Waterberg of the Limpopo Province, 1.5 hours north of Pretoria Accommodation by road or 1 hour flying time for the 11 helicopters who took ...
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Vredendal in the Olifants River Valley
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Vredendal in the Olifants River Valley

Vredendal; Afrikaans for Peaceful Valley, is a modern town that thrives on the banks of the Olifants River. The town marks the boundary between the Mediterranean climate of the southern part of the West Coast and the dry, arid north. The Olifants River is the large artery that drives the economy of the town and the region and makes this a small paradise for those who want to get away from the city, yet have access to all the modern amenities; the best of both worlds in technology and the warmth of small-town hospitality and living ... Vredendal is surrounded by diverse farming made p...
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