Travel tips and advice on where to go and where to stay. This section also offers general advice on travelling to and within South Africa.
Escape to the West Coast and the Berg River Region
Think West Coast, think sand, heat, sea and little fresh water. And you wouldn't be far off the mark. The West Coast is arid, wild and windswept, but it does have water. And one of the major sources of water available that makes farming possible, in the arid Sandveld and undulating hills of the Swartland, is the Berg River - its source in the Drakenstein Mountains just south of Franschhoek and its mouth at Laaiplek on the Atlantic Ocean. In the presence of the Berg River (more commonly known amongst locals as the Bergrivier – one word) the towns of the West Coast between Velddrif and Ela...Continue reading
Tips for a stress-free xmas holiday travel experience
There is something almost deranged about the festive season. People become gripped by an inexplicable mania. Take my average shopping experience during Decembers of late where shoppers hurl themselves at the shelves in similar fashion to post-Christmas sales. Are they frightened that the shop will run out of items? Has Woolworths ever run out of turkeys or mince pies before? As far as I know, they were selling mince pies on special well into February the following year, so why the fanatical devotion to filling the trolley as if we're about to be snowed in for the entire season, and then som...Continue reading
Shosholoza Meyl – an alternative to air travel?
Everyone has a fond memory of taking the train in their childhood – piling on with mom and dad, the luggage (ours were a series of rather dramatic, bright red suitcases that included a small, square one for my mother's cosmetics), egg and mayo sandwiches and the welcome delight of sleeping under crisp white sheets as the wheels chugged gently beneath you. Remarkably, the inter-city train of our youth still exists, in the form of the Shosholoza Meyl, named such after the popular South African song about train workers. The word 'meyl' refers to a long distance by train. One would think I coul...Continue reading
How social media can find you a holiday
One mother's journey to find a house swop on Facebook – the ins and outs, pros and cons We recently found someone with whom we are swopping houses. Or, as she puts it, swopping lives. Because when you move into someone else's home, use their car, feed their cat, flick through their photo albums on a rainy day, stock their fridge with your food, and sleep in their beds, then you've practically taken on their lives, haven't you? I'm not a fan of Facebook. I intensely dislike the compulsion I act under to check FB at least three times a morning to see who is saying what. I cringe when I ge...Continue reading
Escape the Vuvuzela – Your antidote to World Cup Fever
The chance to host a major sports tournament on a world stage is a wonderful opportunity for South Africa. The positive aspects of World Cup Fever will bring this country a heightened sense of optimism, valuable foreign income and a patriotic pride at being the first African nation to stage the FIFA festivities. That said, some city-based indivduals are worried about their home town being infected with World Cup Fever. Fears of stressful side-effects include increased traffic congestion, hooliganism and of course the endless cacaphony of the Vuvuzela army. Our simple remedy to the potential...Continue reading
Focus on 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...Continue reading
South Africa in 9 days? Here are the ‘must see’ spots
You've hit the shores of our rugged, gorgeous, riddled with contradictions, big on diversity South African land, and have but 9 days in which to say you've done it all? A tall order at the best of times, but not impossible. South Africa is huge by anyone's standards, with unforgettable scenery, and memory-making places to visit, whether it's mountains, beaches, deserts or cities you're after. You will already have heard of the 'biggies', the 'must do's' when on our soil. And they've been selected because they truly are incredible places to visit and sights to see. For those of you who ha...Continue reading
Green Map for Cape Town
Those who live in Cape Town are the envy of most of the country. It is one of the most spectacular settings on the planet, although its unique environment is also its most fragile asset. It lies in the heart of the Cape Floristic Kingdom, the smallest and most diverse of the world's six floral kingdoms, is one of few cities in the world with a national park within city limits, and is home to two world heritage sites - Table Mountain National Park and Robben Island. Now Cape Town has its own green map to illustrate its natural beauty, and the myriad green, eco and sustainable options availab...Continue reading
Are you a “Responsible” Traveller?
Are you a responsible traveller? Believe in travelling green? When travelling in South Africa, you can travel responsibly, travel green and give back to communities, by choosing providers who subscribe to the ethos of eco-tourism (see: What is Eco-Tourism?). How to Travel Green: book eco-friendly accommodations trains offer economical travel with a lower carbon footprint than a plane or car ... share the footprint by using public transport when possible (and safe) or "share-ride" with companies like The Green Cab if you need wheels of your own, consider a bicycle if distance...Continue reading
What is Eco-Tourism?
Ecological tourism or eco-tourism is a highly popular term and possibly one of the most misused in the travel industry. It should describe travel to fragile areas where the fauna, flora and cultural heritage are the main reasons for travel. Essentially eco-tourism protects and empowers local people and natural areas, and at the same time provides visitors with a unique, but low impact experience. The Ecotourism Society defines it as 'responsible travel to natural areas, which conserves the environment and improves the welfare of the local people'. Essentially eco-tourism should unite conserv...Continue reading
Public Transport in Cape Town
Every day, thousands of Capetonian commuters use public transport to get where they need to be. Squeezing into minibus taxis and train carriages, it’s a long haul to and from work for many of the Mother City’s citizens. Public transport offers a cost-effective way of travelling in our fair city and also allows one to immerse oneself in its day-to-day culture. The bedrock of transport on Cape Town's roads is the minibus taxi. From dawn until well past midnight, these rugged little 12- to 15-seaters shuttle back and forth along the city's main roads and highways. Although the driver often ta...Continue reading