Chosen for their distinctive South African style of music, here are 10 South African music legends … Continued
This category includes our Top 10 on a given topic, whether it be our favourite hotels, restaurants, attractions, things to do or events in South Africa. Inspiration for travellers … the must-see’s, must-do’s and on our wish-lists.
In July this year the Tourism Minister announced an ‘exceptional growth in tourist arrivals’ for the first quarter of the year.
Between January and March 2 267 807 people landed on South African soil – 216 031 more than the same time in 2011. Overseas tourist arrivals were up by 17.8% and European arrivals grew by 11.9%. Visitors from the United States also grew by 16.1%.
But we’re also getting visitors from emerging markets like Brazil, India and China as well as from Africa, where growth of visitors has increased by 7.9%, and the Asian market, which grew by over 43%.
All this despite a recession. Continued
Think Durban, think a humid, sticky climate that hits you the minute you step off the aeroplane. Think gardens that appear to grow on their own and inevitably end up looking like out-of-control subtropical forests, seemingly as a result of nothing greater than the power of suggestion.
Durban brings to mind endless miles of white, sandy beaches (Durban lays claim to the only surfing museum in the country), the Golden Mile, and beachfront high rise flats that have re-emerged as the ‘place to stay’. Perched on the top of a ridge is the city’s university in the gentrified and academically artsy neighbourhood of Glenwood, whilst on the other end of the ridge you’ll find the fashionable Florida Road, where a few restaurants and choice shops are a better place to hang out by far than the centre of town.
Business has escaped the city centre choosing the north coast’s Umhlanga as its home, where hugely ambitious malls nestle in amongst a flurry of new and modern townhouse complexes and business parks with sea views, and an avenue of green acacia trees. Continued
The northernmost province of South Africa, Limpopo is regarded as the eco capital of the country and is where you go to experience wildlife, incredible scenery and a lot less traffic congestion, unless the Kruger National Park in peak holiday season is your idea of a traffic jam.
Limpopo is also heavily shrouded in mystery and legend, an area heavily endowed with ruins, relics, ancient forest and hot mineral springs that invite rejuvenation. Other than a lot of farmland and the odd mine, the Limpopo is wide open country predominated by game reserves that stretch endlessly and allow one to experience bush safaris of note. It might have a capital city in the form of Polokwane, but the province’s numbers make up only 10% of the country’s total population, despite being larger than the US state of Pennsylvania and the fifth-largest province in South Africa. Continued
They speak about Mpumalanga as the place of the rising sun. Indicative in many ways of the outdoor lifestyle that is the essence of time-out in Mpumalanga, one goes there for the wide open spaces, the sweeping mountains, torrentous rivers and waterfalls, and valleys enshrouded in mist.
The romance of the lowveld beckons with its game farms, lodges and bush breaks in the southern parts of the Kruger National Park. Think Mpumalanga, and Bourkes Luck Potholes come to mind, followed swiftly by other geographic icons like God’s Window and the Three Rondawels. So much of the Mpumalanga province that lies in the northern eastern parts of the country is now geared to visitors that it becomes a case of being selective about what one does, rather than having to scour for things to do.
The team at SA Venues has put together a list of the top things you absolutely MUST do when in Mpumalanga, followed by a few of the out-of-the-way, need to have been there before places and spaces that you may not know about … Mpumalanga top things to do: Continued
Whether you call it Jozie, Jo’burg, or just plain Johannesburg, if you live here you love it, whilst the rest of the country talks about it in hushed tones as a place riddled with crime and best avoided, especially at peak hour, which is most of the day. A visit to Jo’burg is a crash course in staying aware, all the time. But if you want to experience a real metropolitan buzz then you can’t beat it. Time speeds up. So does the traffic, the number of advertising billboards, the speed at which traffic does (and sometimes doesn’t) get around. Continued
Our team got together and wanted to bring you a top 10 that was both exhilarating and refreshing. We cast our minds to the gorgeous coastline that surrounds us here in beautiful South Africa and took a closer look at the Top 10 Dive Sites in South Africa on offer. Although the challenge was to only mention ten locations, the purpose of this is to get the soul exploring and open your hearts and minds to what is on offer.
There is something here for everyone from the adrenaline junkie to the more experienced diver, up for a challenge, and even some sites for beginners. This is our take on the top ten Dive Sites in South Africa, we hope you enjoy and are inspired to keep exploring!
- Raggie Cave / Shark Alley – Aliwal Shoal, KwaZulu Natal
- Sardine Run – Protea Banks, KwaZulu Natal
- Uniforms – Sodwana Bay, KwaZulu Natal
- Hotspot – Sodwana Bay, KwaZulu Natal
- Avalanche Reef – Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
- Haerlem Wreck – Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
- Storms River Mouth – Mossel Bay, Garden Route
- Paquita Wreck – Knysna Heads, Garden Route
- A Frame – Simonstown, Cape Town
- Clifton Rock – Cape Town
Waiting for holidays to simply ‘happen’ when you have children is tantamount to expecting your fairy godmother to make an appearance, wings and wand intact. The chances are that the holiday, unless other children and a ream of activities are ‘on tap’, could go horribly pear-shaped and find you in the starring role of circus ringmaster responsible for a list of children’s entertainment. If you want ‘down time’ then a little planning doesn’t go amiss.
There are several child-friendly venues in South Africa that cater for exactly this. Whilst not everyone’s idea of a holiday is getting cozy with a host of other couples with whom you have only children in common, gone are the days of ‘holiday camp’ style venues. These days some venues manage to create a wonderful balance between keeping your child out of sight and barely in mind, and laying on a number of activities that children and parents can do together … Continued
The criteria for our top 10 list this month is all about the outdoors, entertainment, food, family and friends! This summer is all about invigorating the senses and making the most out of the breathtaking scenery around us. With December being such a festive month we have highlighted various outdoor entertainment events happening around South Africa. Maybe you prefer to embrace the outdoors with a picnic in a botanical garden while listening to a philharmonic orchestra?
Or perhaps you are more of an arts & cultural festival kind of person? Either way this December is packed with opportunities for Outdoor Theatre, Summer Sunset Concerts, Music, Fun, Food and Happiness. Whichever way you choose to indulge, you definitely need to take a moment and enjoy the summer season, in some of South Africa’s premier holiday destinations. With entertainment options such as these at your fingertips, there’s no reason not to rejuvenate your cultural senses! Continued
10 Pamper-Perfect Spas (in no particular order):
- Angsana Spa at The Vineyard Hotel (Newlands, Cape Town)
- Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat (Cederberg Mountains, Western Cape)
- Sanctuary Spa at The Twelve Apostles Hotel (Oudekraal, Camps Bay, Cape Town)
- The Spa at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve (Kalahari, Northern Cape)
- Karkloof Spa (Karkloof, KwaZulu Natal Midlands)
- The Spa at The Gorge Private Game Reserve & Spa (Oribi Gorge, KwaZulu Natal South Coast)
- Botanica Spa Suites at The Westcliff (Westcliff, Johannesburg)
- Chicama Country Spa (Muldersdrift, Gauteng)
- The Aroma Boma Spas at Ulusaba Game Reserve (Sabi Sand, Mpumalanga)
- Amani Spa at Shepherds Tree Game Lodge (Pilanesberg National Park, North West Province)
10 Eateries with Views for Lunch (or Sundowners) this Summer – Some things you need to take upon yourself to change, but the beauty of life is that with most things it’s a given. After the cold, will come the warmth and after winter will come spring and with it, the all gorgeous summer sun, allowing us golden opportunities to sit back and sip in the beauty that surrounds us. So dust off the winter cobwebs, get outside and breathe in the splendour of our South African summers, which is: spectacular views, fresh open air, gorgeous wines and succulent foods.
We have highlighted some of the locations where you and your family and friends can treat yourselves to top class dining with breathtaking views – the beachfront, vineyard and mountain surroundings of South Africa were our inspiration palette. We hope to inspire you to enjoy an afternoon lunch in one of these idyllic settings, while sipping on your favourite wine and soaking up the fresh air and warm afternoon sun. All you need to do is take the time to make the time, because you deserve it!
10 Eateries with a View for Lunch or Sundowners this Summer (in no particular order):
- Salt Restaurant & Bar (Bantry Bay, Cape Town)
- The Twelve Apostles (near Camps Bay, Cape Town)
- La Vierge Restaurant & Champagne Verandah (near Hermanus, Western Cape)
- Grande Provence (Franschhoek, Cape Winelands)
- Bel Punto Restaurant (Umdloti, KwaZulu Natal)
- Casalinga Ristorante (Johannesburg, Gauteng)
- The Goatshed at Fairview (Paarl, Cape Winelands)
- Zachary’s at Pezula (Knysna, Garden Route)
- Granny Mouse Country House (KwaZulu Natal Midlands)
- Harbour House Restaurant (Kalk Bay, Cape Town) Continued
10 Sexiest South African Hotels (in no particular order):
- Singa Town Todge (Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape)
- The Lofts Boutique Hotel (Thesen Islands, Knysna, Garden Route)
- Karkloof Spa Wellness & Wildlife Retreat (Karkloof, KwaZulu Natal Midlands)
- Hartford House (Mooi River, KwaZulu Natal Midlands)
- The Oyster Box Hotel (Umhlanga Rocks, Durban)
- The Peech Hotel (Melrose, Sandton, Johannesburg)
- Airstream Penthouse Trailer Park at The Grand Daddy Hotel (Cape Town City)
- The Last Word Constantia (Constantia, Cape Town)
- Nova Constantia Boutique Residence (Constantia, Cape Town)
- Vineyard Hotel & Spa (Newlands, Cape Town)
To say this is a subjective list is a huge understatement. There are literally hundreds of gorgeous South African hotels which are ideal for couples looking for a “sexy” weekend away from the kids and the daily grind of modern life. I’ve tried to choose some of the lesser known hotels and have (where possible) focused on boutique hotels, where each of the rooms available is unique (rather than carbon copies of each other). Most of these have only a few rooms (privacy and exclusivity being high on our agenda), services that will make you feel like royalty and locations that you’ll be tempted to explore with your significant other. Continued
10 Romantic Hideaways (in no particular order):
- Atlantic Suites Camps Bay
- Great Fish River Lodge
- Paternoster Dunes Guest House
- Kennedy’s Beach Villa
- Kanonkop House
- Woodall Country House & Spa
- Thonga Beach Lodge
- Flycatcher Castle
- Serenity Forest Eco Reserve
- Jock Safari Lodge
Please bare in mind that this is a subjective list, not a definitive list – there are hundreds of romantic hotels in South Africa, guest houses, apartments and villas. It is not my intention to offend other establishments, but rather to inspire travellers with the beauty of our country. I have tried to show of range of establishments from hotels and lodges to b&b and self catering establishments, all suitable for couples looking for a little romance (so have not included villas that cater for large groups). Continued
10 Amazing Game Lodges (in no particular order):
- Safari Lodge at Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
- Bayethe Lodge at Shamwari Private Game Reserve
- Ivory Lodge at Lion Sands Private Game Reserve
- Tree Camp at Londolozi Private Game Reserve
- Msenge Bush Lodge at Pumba Private Game Reserve
- The Motse at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
- Gorah Elephant Camp
- Dwyka Lodge at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve
- Jock Safari Lodge
- Botsebotse Luxury Retreat
Please bare in mind that this is a subjective list, not a definitive list – there are hundreds of outstanding game lodges in South Africa. It is not my intention to offend other game lodge owners, but rather to inspire travellers with the beauty of our country. Continued