Category Archives: South Africa

5 Amazing Holiday Experiences in South Africa

With soaring mountains, barren deserts, dense woodlands, modern cities and incredible wildlife, South Africa is one of the most interesting countries of the world.

durban-Beach

Not surprisingly, millions of travellers fly to different parts of South Africa to unravel the many gems it holds. Take a look at some of the country’s most potent charms.

Wildlife

South Africa is home to over 230 different types of mammals, 175 endemic species of birds, and different reptiles and amphibians.

wildlife

The African elephant, lion, Cape buffalo, black rhino and leopard are the major draws in the country when it comes to wildlife. While most safari tours operating daily offer small excursions, a few guided tours take you deep inside the forest and allow you to spot wild creatures in their natural habitat.

Beach

With the Indian Ocean on one side and Atlantic Ocean on another, South Africa, unsurprisingly, boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Hobie Beach, Bloubergstrand, Durban North Beach, Camps Bay, Margate and Cape Vidal are among the popular beaches here. Apart from sunbathing or enjoying some quiet time on the beach, you can explore the underwater marine world and enjoy adventure water sports such as surfing. Mossel and Sodwana Bay are among the famous snorkelling and diving sites. The beautiful landscape in the background is sure to impress you as well.

Wine

South African wine is easily among its most famous exports. Owing to the perfect soil type and moderate climatic conditions, the country produces some of the finest wines in the world. Sémillon, White Blends, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir are among the popular wines produced here. In fact, South Africa has produced over 100 different types of wines over a period of 10 years. Wine tasting events, festivals and wine making tutorials and tours to the nearby farms and vineyards are organised regularly.

Cuisine and Delicacies

Much influenced by the indigenous herbs and spices, food in this tropical country is a delight that must be enjoyed. Biltong & droewors (a traditional South African beef snack), boerewors (sausages), Mala Mogodu (tripe served as a stew with hot pap), Bobotie (spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping) and Tomato Bredie (South African stew made with mutton) are among the must try dishes here.

Culture

Known for its cultural diversity, South Africa is home to numerous ethnic and tribal groups. Preserving a major chunk of the country’s history and heritage, these groups offer visitors a glimpse into their customs and traditions. The Zulu tribe and the Xhosa community are among the oldest ethnic groups here. For the ones willing to learn more about the ancient culture and practices, village tours and guided trips are organised regularly.

Wonderful Wildlife Experiences at the Famous National Parks of South Africa

‘Rainbow Nation’, South Africa is home to numerous birds and animals including the famous Big Five (elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo). Not surprisingly, the country is a perfect holiday destination for wildlife enthusiasts. Read on to know more about the wild riches of South Africa.

Kruger National Park

Kruger-National-Park

Located in the north-eastern end, Kruger National Park is one of the largest national parks in the country. Formally launched in 1926, the park is known for featuring over 500 species of birds, around 150 animal species and over 100 species of reptiles including black mamba and African rock pythons. Numerous safari tours, regular camps and excursions allow tourists to enjoy wildlife in the park.

Addo Elephant National Park

Addo-Elephant-National-Park

Located close to Port Elizabeth, Addo Elephant National Park is the third largest National Park in South Africa. Founded in 1931, the park is home to around 600 species of elephants and over 400 species of Cape Buffalos. It is believed that in the near future, the park will be the only place in the world to house the ‘Big 7’, including elephant, rhinoceros, lion, buffalo, leopard, whale and great white shark. Regular wildlife tours and excursions to the park can be enjoyed by visitors to experience the country’s rich flora and fauna.

Pilanesberg Game Reserve

Pilanesberg-Game-Reserve

Located in the North West Province, Pilanesberg Game Reserve is a famous wildlife reserve in South Africa. Established in 1979, the site is home to a variety of birds, animals, mammals and reptiles. Lions, elephants, cheetahs, white and black rhinoceros, zebras, kudus and giraffe are among the animals found here. Over 360 species of birds have been recorded at the reserve.

Mountain Zebra National Park

Mountain-Zebra-National-Park

Situated in the Eastern Cape, Mountain Zebra National Park is a famous attraction among the wildlife enthusiasts. Established in 1937, the park was built to provide a natural protection area for the endangered species of Cape Mountain Zebra. Today, the park is known for being home to a variety of mammals including caracal, Cape buffalo, gemsbok and grey rhebok. Cape vulture, blue crane, Secretary bird and Ludwig’s bustard are among the bird species found here. For a unique wildlife experience, family friendly cottages and overnight huts are available for tourists around the park.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Situated in the Kgalagadi district, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a famous wildlife protection zone. It is home to a variety of mammalian predators including Namibian cheetah, leopards and hyenas. Springbok and eland are among the herbivores found here. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is home to more than 200 species of birds.

West Coast National Park

Located in Cape Town, West Coast National Park is another prominent national park in South Africa. Formally established in 1985, the Park is home to a wide variety of antelopes including eland, mountain zebra, steenbok, and duiker. Migratory birds and the variety of flowers found in and around the park are the popular attractions here. Regular tours and excursions are organised by the authorities for the visitors to enjoy the wildlife.

Popular Wineries in and around Cape Town, South Africa

It was on 2nd February 1659 that Commander Jan van Riebeeck wrote an entry in his diary reading: ‘Today, praise to be God, wine was made for the first time from Cape Grapes’. This was the beginning of producing wine in the coastal city of Cape Town.

capetown

Today, the city is known to produce a wide range of world renowned wines. A perfect destination for the wine lovers, Cape Town has some well known wineries. Read on to know about them.

Saxenburg Wine Estate

Nestled between two mighty ocean bodies, Saxenburg Wine Estate is home to the award-wining Shiraz. The estate produces a wide range of wines, crafted using a combination of finest ingredients and other elements. Wines at Saxenburg are a collection of three different types including the Guinea Fowl, Private and Vintage collection. The Vintage Collection has some of the finest Shiraz produced in South Africa. Visitors can enjoy award winning wines in the most relaxed atmosphere at the wine tasting events and excursions organized by the estate.

Zevenwacht Wine Estate

Situated on the Stellenbosch Wine route, Zevenwacht Wine Estate is a 300-year old leading wine property in South Africa. The estate is known for producing a distinguished range of wines, crafted using unique ingredients and modern technology. Wines at Zevenwacht include the famous Chenin Blanc, Pinotage, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Tourists can enjoy a tour to the estate cellar for a firsthand experience on the mechanism behind the transformation of grapes to fine wine. Wine tasting events are a regular feature at the estate.

Lourensford Wine Estate

Nestled amidst the ranges of Helderberg Mountains, Lourensford Wine Estate is a beautiful wine property in Cape Town. Originally founded in 1700, the massive estate is known for featuring a vintage collection of wine created and crafted using authentic flavours and rich aromas. Popular wines at Lourensford include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Shiraz and Sauvignon. Guided hikes to the nearby grape farms along with mountain biking to the manufacturing units are organized by the estate for the visitors.

Altydgedacht Wine Estate

Altydgedacht Wine Estate is one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa. Established in 1698, the estate is known for featuring a 300 year old wine cellar along with an open air restaurant serving some of the best homemade wines. Manufactured using traditional ingredients and modern methods, some of the well-known wines at Altydgedacht include Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Pinotage, Sauvignon Blanc, Weisser Riesling and Merlot. There’s an in-house tasting room, offering visitors a chance to enjoy best in class wine.

Hartenberg Wine Estate

Located on the slopes of Bottelary Hills, Hartenberg Wine Estate is another famous wine property in the city. Established in 1692, it is well known for featuring a wide range of award winning wines. Classified across three categories, wines at Hartenberg include the popular Chardonnay and Riesling. The onsite underground cellar is one of the largest privately owned cellars in South Africa. Most tourists visiting the estate take up field tours to the nearby grape farms or enjoy wine tasting from a wide range of specially brewed wines.

Upcoming Events and Festivals in South Africa

South Africa is a vibrant destination and turns all the more dynamic during the annual events and festivals, when the country’s colourful cultures, traditions, and customs dazzle one and all. We have mentioned a few of such celebrations below. Join them and have fun like never before!

capetown

Up The Creek Festival

Up The Creek Festival is an enjoyable event in which bands play from a stage on the river banks. Some of the many performers playing this year round will be Dan Patlansky, The Black Cat Bones, Rubber Duc, Albert Frost, Ben Dey and the Concrete Lions, The Kiffness, and Gerald Clark. There’ll be three stages: Main Stage, River Stage, and Late-Night Stage. None of them display acts simultaneously. This means, the audience will not miss out on anything!

Date: 26th – 29th January, 2017

Cape Town Motor Show

Cape Town Motor Show brings together ‘a well-respected group of individuals with vast experience and knowledge across a plethora of media and events that includes outdoor adventure and travel, music festivals, business and entertainment.’ As the name suggests, this exposition showcases cars, motorcycles, trucks, and city emergency vehicles to the visitors. Cape Town Motor Show is not restricted to automobile enthusiasts and is open to people of all age groups.

Date: 27th – 29th January, 2017

Franschhoek Summer Wines

Get ready to check out some of the best wineries showcase their products! Winemakers such as Grande Provence, Haute Cabriere, Solms-Delta, Black Elephant, Bellingham, La Bri, Rupert Rothschild, and Boschendal will quench your thirst! The dress code of Franschhoek Summer Wines is white to signify elegance. Participants can pair their favourites with mouth-watering food from the rotisserie kitchen.

Date: 4th February, 2017

Cape Town Sixes Cricket & Culture Festival

The Cape Town Sixes Cricket & Culture Festival aims to take sporting events to greater heights by merging sport, music, food, and social development in the townships of the Western Cape. The music that’ll play here includes the country’s top and upcoming acts. For hunger pangs, ‘Food Village’ offers a world of choices. Needless to say, the well-stocked bar loaded with ice cold beer, cider, gin, and wine also await you!

Date: 18th February – 19th February, 2017

Cape Town Cycle Tour

Previously called the ‘Cape Argus Cycle Tour’, the Cape Town Cycle Tour is a globally famous bike race, which grabs the attention of cyclists as well as tourists. The race starts in City Bowl and after covering several points, ends at the Green Point Stadium. Thousands of volunteers ensure that Cape Town Cycle Tour runs successfully.

Date: 12th March, 2017

Fabulous Experiences to Look Forward to in Johannesburg, South Africa

johannesburg

Set in the heart of South Africa, Johannesburg is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and has a sea of attractions and activities for you! If you find yourself in the city, here’s a list of things to see and do!

The Big Red Bus

First things first, if you’re feeling ‘touristy’, you can hop aboard the attractive red bus and travel around the city. There is audio commentary, so you can have a clear idea of what’s what; this trip is as educating as it is entertaining, and would cost the bare minimum.

Bounce!

This crazy interconnected trampoline web is where you can (along with your friends and family) get ‘jumpy’! Situated in the Waterfall Lifestyle Centre, it’s a cool place, where you can have a whale of a time!

Chill Out at The Living Room

Put your feet up and relax with the coolest cocktails at the sassy little joint ‘The Living Room’. This place is famous for its great casual ambiance as well as good food and drinks. You can definitely have a good time here with your friends and family.

Transport to the Wonder Times!

You have to visit the James Hall Museum of Transport to know about the superb culture and history of the country. The colourful cars and the upbeat atmosphere of this place are going to lift your spirits up and set you in the right frame of mind for the rest of your holiday.

Shop to Your Heart’s Content

The Oriental Plaza is one of best places for shopping in Johannesburg. You will find everything from clothes and bags to rugs, linen, and jewellery! And who knows; something entirely unexpected may also catch your attention and you could jolly well end up with a fabulous souvenir!

Connect with Nature

The Zoo Lake is a place to experience nature! Feed the ducks and geese here or simply soak in the sun, while pedalling away in the serene waters of the lake. Have a picnic, go bowling, take a long walk; you will never run out of options in Johannesburg.

‘Go go’ to the Gallery MOMO!

One of the most stylish and contemporarily designed art galleries, the MOMO gallery is a place you should definitely visit, while you’re on your Johannesburg trip! You will see intricate pieces of art, each with a story to tell; and would undoubtedly get mesmerized by the creativity and hard work of the artists.

Experience the Charm of Luxury Safari Lodges in South Africa

South Africa equals wildlife, right? This is what travellers experience when they visit this stunning country. The extensive species of animals and birds surprise locals and tourists alike.

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Checking them out here is a veritable once-in-a-lifetime experience, undoubtedly. While you explore South Africa, consider putting up in the luxury safari lodges. Each has its own unique charm.

Singita Ebony Lodge

Step into Mpumalanga’s Singita Ebony Lodge and immerse yourself in a world of huge open spaces and interiors reflecting an amalgamation of ‘local tribal culture and the animal kingdom’. The golden radiance of time-honoured brass, hand-made baskets, brownish-yellow tent canvas, and uncovered thatch have a soothing effect. Singita Ebony Lodge consists of 12 suites, featuring private plunge pools.

Tswalu The Motse

Tswalu The Motse in Kalahari comprises nine suites, three of them developed for families. They are well-furnished and have amenities and facilities such as broadband Wi-Fi access, direct dial phone, separate dressing area, and private sundeck. The family suite has two separate bedroom suites with their own en-suite bathrooms. The large central living room will take you to the private terrace, from where you can admire the beautiful surroundings. The lodge’s secluded spa will rejuvenate your body, mind, and soul.

&Beyond Phinda Forest Lodge

KwaZulu Natal’s &Beyond Phinda Forest Lodge is one of the world’s first eco-designed luxury lodges. By staying here, you can wake up to the rustling forest sounds and bird songs. The leaf-filtered light may fall on you. These are what the city folks desire the most when holidaying. Thrill-seekers can go for the day and night game drives, walking safaris, and river cruises. In the forest, you can spot wild animals such as Cheetah, Nyala, and White and Black Rhino.

Royal Malewane

Royal Malewane, located in Hoedspruit, is an upscale and intimate safari lodge featuring six Luxury Suites, two Royal Suites, and Africa House. For instance, Luxury Suites showcase ‘refinement and opulence’ with their elegant colonial-style attributes. Royal Suites have huge outside decks with pools encouraging you to appreciate natural beauty and enjoy the warm sunshine in absolute privacy. Furthermore, the Africa House has six bedrooms with multifaceted furnishings.

Makanyi Private Game Lodge

The Makanyi Private Game Lodge in Hoedspruit is a blissful place where you can find ultimate comfort and pleasure. The seven luxury suites come with a bed, sitting area, fireplace, private deck, and bathroom. Newlyweds can select from any of the two honeymoon suites, subject to availability of course! These suites have been designed keeping in mind the possible requirements of couples.

Enjoy a Fun Family Holiday in South Africa

How do you wish to spend your family holiday? Do you want to laze around on sunny beaches and make sand castles or do you wish for a thrilling family safari to spot exotic wildlife or does a gastronomic tour excite you? For all these reasons and more, visit the Rainbow Nation – South Africa.

family-holiday

The country is blessed with a warm, sunny weather all through the year and boasts of an active outdoor lifestyle with picturesque beaches, delicious barbecues, upmarket shopping avenues and world-class accommodation options. Read on to know more about the top reasons to pack your bags and board flights for South Africa for your next family holiday.

Scenic Natural Beauty

South Africa is home to some of the most amazing and scenic sights in the world. From the Table Mountain to God’s Window, the country is teeming with famous and fabulous natural attractions. Spend some unique moments with your family exploring through its varied landscapes of mountains, beaches, forests and deserts.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The diverse and huge country is home to several UNESCO designated World Heritage Sites, including the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, the Robben Island, the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas and the Drakensberg Park. Have a fun-filled time travelling across the vibrant nation with your family to explore the wonders of the World Heritage Sites here.

Wildlife

South Africa is home to a variety of plant and animal species. Go on a family safari and have an amazing time spotting exotic wildlife including The Big Five – Lion, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Leopard and Rhinoceros. You can choose to spend time together while whale watching at Hermanus or observing penguins and seals at Boulders Beach and Seal Island.

Outdoor Activities

South Africa, being a reputable travel destination, is known as the adventure capital of the world. Different sites across the country offer completely safe and exciting adventure opportunities, which can include mountain hiking, shark cage-diving and zip-sliding.

High Quality Tourist Facilities

Being a popular tourist destination, the country boasts of quality infrastructure and facilities for tourists. The accommodation options in the country are all fantastic, with some of the world’s best properties found in large cities such as Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. Also, there are several terrific restaurants, serving great food and promising exceptional ambience.

Luxury Train Trips

South Africa’s luxurious Blue Train offers one of the most renowned luxury train experiences in the world. The Blue Train takes travellers on a 994-mile scenic journey from Cape Town to Pretoria in a little more than one full day. The train offers great meals, wine and cigars onboard.

Beaches

Relax with your entire family at the stunning beaches of the country. Stroll around or make sand castles at the pristine beaches of Plettenberg Bay and at the lively beaches of Cape Town. Spot the playful penguins at the Boulders Beach or explore the tropical coral reefs at Rocktail Bay.

Spectacular Surfing Spots Across South Africa

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South Africa is a popular tourist destination for beach bums and surfing enthusiasts due to its nearly 3000 kilometre coastline famed for waters with great swells and waves. It has become a Mecca of sorts for the high adrenaline water sport – surfing! The fact that the sport has become an important part of its culture is an added advantage for surfers visiting the beaches to collect some great surfing memories. Some of the most stunning surfing spots across the country are mentioned below. So go ahead and book your flight to enjoy surfing.

Jeffrey’s Bay

Jeffrey’s Bay is a world famous surfing spot in South Africa. Surfers from all over the world visit the spot to surf on its consistent tubes and supertubes waves. The place also hosts the famous international surfing event, the Billabong pro surfing challenge at Supertubes every year.

Gansbaai

The popular fishing town of Gansbaai, which is located in Southern Cape, is a good and less crowded surfing spot in the country. Just watch out for the Great White Sharks. The waters around this town offer some big waves.

Dungeons

The Dungeons is a famous surfing spot for seasoned surfers. Beginners should best leave this spot alone! The spot offers huge waves and swells that categorises it as one of the ‘big wave’ spots in the world.  The swells and waves it creates can reach as high as 15-30 feet. Body surfing is another popular activity here.

Durban Cave Rock

This is the place to head to if you want to surf alongside the locals. This welcoming surfing spot comes alive with locals and foreign surfers particularly during the months of April to September each year. The place is ideal for experienced surfers and is frequented by the braver local surfers used to its swells and waves.

Eland’s Bay

This fantastic surfing spot, the Eland’s Bay, has everything to make it a surfer’s paradise. There are some reasonably priced hotels and guest-houses and a campsite for backpackers and picture-perfect beach beauty. Summer months are the best time to visit the place to surf on fine waves and swells. Only experienced surfers should surf in its waters.

Long Beach

The Long Beach is well-known to offer some of the country’s best and most consistent shore breaks. The beach is quite popular with surfers as at some spots it offers small to medium swells for beginners and less experienced surfers as well as huge swells for the more experienced and daring surfers.

Bay of Plenty

The Bay of Plenty in Durban is a popular surfing spot, which offers waves and swells for all levels of surfers. The waves here are consistent on most of the days at most of the times. Surfers can choose a spot according to their comfort levels and enjoy world class surfing experience.

Whale Watcher’s Paradise: The Hermanus Whale Festival 2016

Come late September and the world’s best land-based whale watching region, Hermanus in South Africa, will get ready to celebrate the migration of whales, with the Hermanus Whale Festival. South Africa’s sole enviro-arts festival, the Hermanus Whale Festival will be held from 30th September to 2nd October this year.

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The seaside town of Hermanus hosts more than 100,000 visitors each year during the event. One enjoys the surrounding natural environment and the overall fantastic phenomenon amidst great food, drinks, great music, and delightful activities.

Origins

The event began around 25 years ago in Hermanus, when the locals decided to grab whale watching opportunities at the time of migration of Southern Right Whales and other marine life. Sea-based adventures, exhibitions, and public awareness about the event were by-products of the event.

All about the Festival!

Whale watching is the main attraction during the family-friendly festival, with thousands flocking to suitable spots to see these deep ocean creatures along with other forms of marine life. The festival includes 3 days of fantastic food, fun sport events, coaching clinic, kiddie entertainment, and musical performances by more than 20 artists. Enjoy the signature events of the festival, including the Marine ECO Village, the Vintage Car Show, street parades, and film shows.

Awareness

Apart from focusing on the huge mammals for recreational purposes, the Hermanus Whale Festival also strives to create awareness about them through the festival. All through the event, visitors are educated and updated on the conditions of this endangered species. Marine Endangered Species Marquee acts as a platform where visitors can learn something about them. The festival also includes a Whale Filmfest, which shows films on a variety of issues associated with whales.

Adventures

The festival features a series of events, which aim to promote environmentally responsible adventure activities. Have fun during the event’s Adventure Week by participating in its fun runs, night runs, trail runs, and mountain biking.

This Year’s Events

The series of events during the festival this year includes:

•    ECO-Marine Tent, which includes the Cape Whale Coast Hope Spot.
•    Several live shows and entertainment. There will be 30 performing artists at the festival.
•    Quality Crafters.
•    Hermanus Adventure Week, which includes open water swimming, night run, MTB challenge, and trail runs.
•    Hermanus Whale Festival Classic bowls tournament.
•    Whales and wheels classic car show.
•    Arts and craft stalls.
•    Music Marquee.
•    Whale Filmfest.

Accommodation Options

Travellers have plenty of options to choose from for their stay during this festival. Hermanus has some good hotels, which can be considered by luxury seekers. Besides, there are many options for those seeking affordable lodgings by way of guesthouses, B&Bs, and self catering options such as the Hermanus Beach Villa or the Whale Coast Hotel. There are well-maintained camping and caravan parks as well.

The Charms of Orange River, South Africa

Orange River is the longest river in South Africa. The charming river transcends boundaries and flows through Lesotho and Namibia to reach the Atlantic Ocean at Alexander Bay; its final destination.

The river flows through a vast region, which allows travellers to experience a wide variety of landscapes such as grand mountain ranges and spectacular waterfalls before gushing along to its final destination; the Atlantic Ocean at Alexander Bay.

Incredible Water Sports

The Orange River is a popular attraction for water sports aficionados as its offers wonderful opportunities for canoeing, river rafting, fly-fishing and more. As far as canoeing or rafting is concerned, the rapids of the river are so diverse that they can be a challenge even for seasoned rafters, and at the same time be so flat and calm that one feels comfortable and relaxed.

Exhilarating Camping Experiences

Apart from the water sports adventures, one may also go camping to the nearby Richtersveldt Desert. For more thrilling outdoor activities, join a guided tour. These guided tours include camping and sleeping under the stars, amidst unknown, rocky terrain, for several nights near the river and soaking in the natural surrounds at daytime. The river’s banks make for exciting camping destinations as it passes through spectacular terrain encompassing craggy hills and lush forests.

Unforgettable River Guides

Take the services of one of the many skilled tour operators, who can provide qualified and safe river guides after deciding upon a good point to start your journey. The adventures packages offered by the guides can be as short as a day to as long as around a week. The guided trips can be made via a canoe or a raft, with a raft being a better alternative for new travellers.

Where to Begin Your Journey

Travellers can start their journey from the Augrabies Falls National Park, which is a national park around the Augrabies Falls; one of the two waterfalls on the Orange River. The national park is a two hour drive from Upington Airport. There are plenty of other good locations as well for canoeing, rafting, and camping. These include Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and several other places in Namibia.