Sunday , 22 October 2017
South Africa Blog / Author Archives: South Africa Bloggers

Author Archives: South Africa Bloggers

Amatigulu Nature Reserve

Amatigulu Nature Reserve

KwaZulu-Natal is a magnificent South African province that offers a particularly multifaceted experience for visitors from all over the world. It has busy metropolises, exciting cultural and historical attractions, adventure sports, beautiful landscapes and irresistible beaches. Its capital city is Durban, which boasts the King Shaka International Airport, and a plethora of malls, museums, galleries, restaurants, and other attractions.

KwaZulu Natal is also where the gorgeous Amatigulu Nature Reserve is found. This is a wonderfully peaceful, picturesque retreat that is nestled between two rivers mouths – the Tugela and the Amatikulu. This idyllic placement puts Amatigulu in the prime position for a huge array of animals, plants, sights, and sounds. Read More »

Explore Durban

Explore Durban

Durban in KwaZulu-Natal is where you head for a sub-tropical beach holiday. The added bonus of being able to holiday here all year round means Durban accommodation not only caters to jet setting business executives during the winter months, but to those after a bit of sun from colder regions of South Africa, or overseas visitors after accommodation in Durban that satisfies their picture of sun-kissed beaches and friendly residents.

Durban’s position on the east coast of South Africa makes her one of the warmest places to be during winter. And in essence, the city is all about the beach, despite its cultural diversity, the allure of the Drakensberg Mountains just a few hours inland, and Zululand up the north coast.

From Durban’s Golden Mile all the way out to the now business hub of Umhlanga, the city has a series of enviable beaches. The city even has a surfing museum, the only one in the country, and a large surfing community who, like those from Cape Town, watch the waves from their corporate glass towers, heading into the waves directly after work.

Most of Durban is hilly. The central suburbs lie inland from the beaches up against what is termed ‘the ridge’, with the university on one end and the suburb of Overport on the other. Accommodation ranges from beach side 5-star Durban hotels with sea views, to suburban bed and breakfast and self-catering venues in the leafy suburbs of Morningside and Berea. Read More »

Where is Dwarskersbos?

Where is Dwarskersbos?

Along the western shores of South Africa, aptly called the West Coast, a myriad fishing villages lie sleepily as the Atlantic Ocean laps the sand and the breeze of the Cape blankets the settlements. This is the idyllic setting for the holiday resort of Dwarskersbos, a small fishing hub just 11 kilometres north of Laaiplek and about two hours outside Cape Town.

Dwarskersbos was once a farm, named after the candle bushes (Euclea polyandra) in the area and belonging to the Smit family. As it grew, a residential area was added onto the family farm, and this eventually evolved into the little town of today. Read More »

Exploring the Soutpansberg

Exploring the Soutpansberg

Limpopo Province is home to the beauty of the Soutpansberg, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that is situated in the far north of the country. These mountains are 130 kilometres long, utterly majestic in their expanses. The region’s name hails from the salt pans that have continued to be mined at the foot of the mountains since the 1800’s.

Being on the border of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana, the Soutpansberg is central.

The Soutpansberg is the perfect retreat for visitors that crave the splendour of the outdoors. The mountains, forests and wide open spaces make for breath-taking vistas and plenty to do. The forests are home to more than 540 different bird species, making for some very rewarding bird watching.

These forests are Roodewal, Entanbeni and Hanglip. The mountains are, of course, fabulous to explore on foot, and there are a number of hiking and walking trails through the peaks and valleys.

The entire region has a lovely array of plant- and animal species. There are almost 100 mammal species and 23 amphibian species, amongst many others. There are even crocodiles in the Soutpansberg. Some visitors may not be happy to hear that the region is home to 66 different spider species, granting it the status of being the most diverse in terms of these arachnids.

The Soutpansberg region is also a cultural hotspot, being the site of the lost Mapungubwe Kingdom. Thulamela was a fortress during the period between 1 200 and 1 600 of our Common Era (CE). This is a significant archaeological site.

There are also a number of sites in which rock art and pottery remains can be discovered. In addition, tools (or parts thereof) that are estimated to be millions of years old can be found in the Soutpansberg area. This makes for fascinating exploration. Significant areas for art and remnants are the Dambale Hills, Domboni Hills and the area between the Mutale River and Limpopo River.

The Venda, Tsonga and Pedi people have age-old histories in the Soutpansberg region. Visitors to the area are invited to see the arts and crafts of these local ones, which represent their cultures and provide insights into their customs.

There are a number of rural villages on the cliff sides that are open to visitors. Touring these villages is a fantastic way to get to know more about the people and heritage of the area. The products on offer and the tours of the villages not only give visitors a unique opportunity, but also uplift the community, enabling them to support themselves and their families through sustainability.

Significant towns of the Soutpansberg include Elim, Louis Trichardt, Mapungubwe, and Musina.

 

Explore Kaapsehoop

Explore Kaapsehoop

Kaapsehoop is situated 25km southwest of Nelspruit on a buttress of the Mpumalanga escarpment. Kaapsehoop is a well looked after and protected area that has a wide array of endangered bird species to be seen. This is one of Kaapsehoop’s biggest attractions and it draws 1000’s of bird lovers each year to come and explore.

If you read a little on the history of Kaapsehoop, you’re bound to find a mystical story or two about the wild horses that roam around the area. Approximately 160 to 200 feral horses roam the 17 000 hectares of Kaapsehoop and surrounds. Herds range in size from bachelor herds of around 3 to larger more structured herds of 15 to 20 horses.

They are enjoyed by visitors and locals alike and share a protective interest by the residents of Kaapsehoop. Visitors can be seen staring at the horses for hours in amazement just watching them wild and free, roaming around. One of the most popular activities as you can imagine is horse riding and many horse riding trails are available including some lengthy 7 day trails.

Kaapsehoop is most popular during the summer months when morning and evening temperatures range from 18 to 20 degrees and midday temperatures around 28 to 30 degrees. Summer rainfalls are typical either late afternoon or during the evenings and are ideal for the family to get together and spend quality time together. Winter seasons are chilly yet comfortable during the day with temperatures around 20 degrees midday.

Kaapsehoop is a beautiful quiet place to visit and the wild horses will definitely amaze you. If you’re an animal lover and enjoy horse riding then this will be a wonderful holiday destination for you when you visit South Africa.

Pigeon Valley Park

Pigeon Valley Park

In the heart of the balmy east coast city of Durban, South Africa, is a verdant retreat from the commotion of the city centre, the exquisite Pigeon Valley Park. This has been proclaimed a Natural Heritage Park and a municipal nature reserve, thanks to its natural diversity and its aesthetic loveliness, all within an otherwise urban setting.

Pigeon Valley Park was originally set up in an effort to provide a safe habitat for coastal forest trees, particularly (but not exclusively) the Natal elm and the Natal loquat. The slopes that benefit from their south-facing orientation are covered in canopy forest, while those facing the north are bedecked in thorny brush. This unique positioning, therefore, gives the park so much natural value and lends it an extraordinary biodiversity.

Because it is so diverse, the 11 hectare extent of Pigeon Valley Park is the home of choice to a number of bird species, including rather rare finds. Avid bird watchers love to visit the park and look out for some of the more than 150 recorded species in the area. These include the Narina trogon, spotted thrush, Cape white-eye, African paradise flycatcher, European nightjar, black-throated wattle-eye, buffspotted flufftail and the green twinspot. The spotted ground-thrush is an endangered species that can regularly be found here during the cooler winter months (June to August). Of course, birds are not the only wildlife to make this their home. Visitors should keep an eye out for the red and blue duikers, banded mongooses and water mongooses.

There is a walking or running trail called the Natal Elm Trail, which takes visitors around the reserve. The trail is only some 400 metres long, but promises gorgeous views and plenty of photo-perfect moments. The picnic area and public toilets make this the ideal spot at which to enjoy a day with friends and family during your time in KwaZulu-Natal.

Website Link: Pigeon Valley Nature Reserve
Contact: 031 205 1919
Overnight: See hundreds of options.

Delish – A Must Stop on the N2 to Garden Route

Delish – A Must Stop on the N2 to Garden Route

Along the N2, on the scenic route between the Garden Route and Cape Town, is the welcome pit stop and favourite diner, Delish. Perched in the gorgeous countryside of the Western Cape, this eatery is a great stop for the family and hungry travellers needing an invigorating cup of coffee, a tasty meal, and a chance to recharge.

The menu is filled with homemade delights that are as tasty as they are comforting. Wood-fired breads and hearty pies are par for the course, as are homemade preserves and sauces. These make for awesome take-aways and gifts for those back home.

The menu has a great selection of breakfasts, ranging from the traditional bacon and eggs to the creamed spinach and bacon with poached eggs, or the smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers on rye.

Lunch favourites include a range of wood-fired pizzas, a lamb burger with minted Greek yoghurt, chicken burger with brie and sweet chilli, peri-peri chicken liver salad, halloumi salad, and roast chicken sandwich. Dinners are heartier, and just as delicious.

Choose from the 500 gram T-bone steak, the springbok shank, pan-fried kob, or the chicken and basil pesto pasta. There are some Banting meals on offer too. Delish is open for breakfast and lunch every day, as well as for dinners from Wednesday to Saturday. The Sunday lunches are hearty and beautifully presented.

The wine shop’s stock is comprehensive, with a selection of local labels to impress the winos, as well as craft beers and some rather special spirits.

Heidelberg is just over 270 kilometres from Cape Town, and is known for its pretty landscapes. There are a number of hiking and cycling trails around it, and the area is great for bird watchers that want to combine their love for birds with the peace and tranquillity of this gorgeous part of the Western Cape.

Delish’s Details

Delish Restaurant, Kloof Street (N2), Heidelberg, Western Cape, 6665
Telephone: +27 (0) 28 722 185
Website: http://www.delishn2.co.za/

A Visit to La Mercy

A Visit to La Mercy

Say ‘La Mercy’ and the obvious connection will be ‘airport’. Anyone who lives in and around Durban knows that La Mercy Airport, known as King Shaka International Airport, lies just north of Umhlanga close to Tongaat. The airport is confusing for those of us who used to live in Durban and caught flights in and out of Durban International Airport, south of Durban. Now we have to remember that it has been replaced, by La Mercy. And it has a different name.

It makes absolute sense to have Durban’s airport so close to Umhlanga, given that this is the new hub of the city. Comparitively, it is rather like having an airport close to Sandton in Johannesburg – good for business.

Despite the airport and the ease it brings visitors to the seaside city, La Mercy is also a little seaside village with a strong Indian heritage. This is a rather obvious link, given its proximity to the large sugar town of Tongaat, the oldest Indian community in South Africa. During the 1860s indentured Indian labourers arrived on our shores to work in the sugar plantations. And stayed.

As its immediate neighbour, La Mercy has a very similar flavour. It is also close to a number of attractions. Surfers regard the beach. The waves break on sandbars and reefs and provide a pretty big swell and a long wave. It’s thus fairly popular as a surfing spot.

But when not on the beach, head a little further north up the coast to favourite seaside villages like Ballito, Salt Rock and Zinkwazi Beach. En route stop off at the Lithuli Museum in Groutville on the R102, dedicated to a man who fought for human rights in this country. Also include a visit to the market in Verulam for spices, fresh produce and a colourful atmosphere.

Church Square and the Slave Lodge

Church Square and the Slave Lodge

The Slave Lodge, now part of the Iziko Musuem Collective, was first constructed in 1679 by the Dutch East India Company with the purpose of housing large numbers (in the thousands) of slaves. When Jan Van Riebeeck came to the Cape in 1652, the Groote Kerk was built as the first Christian place of worship.  Church Square, just outside Groote Kerk, is the place where slaves waited for their owners to return from church. Read More »

Exploring Pietermaritzburg

Exploring Pietermaritzburg

The Natal Midlands of South Africa are unrivalled in their beauty. They are characterised by deep valleys that are blanketed by gorgeous jade-coloured vegetation, dense forests of towering trees, and rolling hills adorned by flowers and greenery. In the heart of this idyll is the city of Pietermaritzburg, where these beautiful surrounds are complemented by an undeniable sense of history and heritage.

The history of Pietermaritzburg dates back to 1837, when the first Voortrekkers arrived in the area and defeated the Zulu king, Dingane, in the Battle of Blood River. It is believed that the city was named after two of the Voortrekker leaders, Piet Retief and Gerrit Maritz. Pietermaritzburg also earned its place on the historical ‘map’ for being the spot at which Mahatma Ghandi was thrown off a train for sitting in the first-class carriage, despite his having a first-class ticket. This was as a result of opposition from a white passenger during the apartheid regime. It was at this train station that a freezing Ghandi decided to stay in South Africa and fight this racial oppression. Read More »

Explore Vosburg

Explore Vosburg

Haven’t heard of Vosberg? No, nor had we. And if it weren’t for the recently tarred R384 that links Carnarvon and Britstown to Vosburg (the peaceful village is also linked by gravel to Prieska and Victoria West) it probably would not have featured on our list of dorpies you should consider visiting. Its former highly corrugated, gravel section of road was fit for the 4×4 community and farmers’ bakkies, not townies’ neat sedans.

Now tar has changed things, placing Vosburg firmly on the Namaqualand flower route and bringing greater tourism to the pretty little Karoo town. Read More »

Explore Pennington

Explore Pennington

The eastern shores of South Africa are not only aesthetically near-perfect, they are also fantastic destinations for summer holidays when families, friends and honeymooning couples want to escape city life and retreat to golden sands and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. On the face of the rolling hills of KwaZulu-Natal, with sprawling views of this vast ocean, is the little resort of Pennington.

This was established as a farming community in the latter part of the 1800’s, when an English family (with the surname Pennington) settled here. Later, the sugar magnate, Sir Frank Reynolds, bought a country home here and then built inviting accommodation on the coast for the prime ministers of South Africa. Read More »

Explore Oudtshoorn

Explore Oudtshoorn

The Little Karoo is a place of mysterious allure; where the stark beauty steeps into every part of the vast landscape. This little valley is green and fertile, its vegetation unique and delightful. The mammoth mountains of the Swartberg and Outeniqua loom overhead, erupting from the ancient land to meet the clear, crisp blue of the African sky.

Oudtshoorn is the main town of the Little Karoo and is best known for the ostrich feathers and products that come from this small, but productive region. There was a feather boom from 1865 to 1870, and again from 1900 to 1914; and these brought influxes of those in search of their fortunes, establishing what is today a vibrant town and farming community. In fact, even modern-day Oudtshoorn relies on the ostrich industry as its major source of income. Visitors are assured of excellent shopping opportunities and can look out for ostrich leather products (such as bags, wallets, belts and shoes), meat (this lean meat is known for its delicious beefy flavour), feather products (ornaments, dusters, clothing and accessories), and eggs (used for eating or as ornately decorated ornaments). Read More »

Explore Marloth Park

Explore Marloth Park

Marloth Park promises visitors to South Africa an exquisitely raw bushveld experience. It celebrates the serenity of the landscapes, the diversity of its fauna and flora, and the rhythmic heartbeat of a true South African destination. Marloth Park is a wildlife sanctuary and a fantastic holiday spot, thanks to the many accommodation options on offer here. What sets it apart even more is its convenient locale – right on the southern border of the Kruger National Park, which is one of Africa’s most significant tourist attractions.

Visitors to Marloth Park love taking a walk or drive to the Crocodile River to watch some of the country’s beautiful and exciting species congregate there. These species include four of the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhinoceros and buffalo), as well as hundreds of birds and other animals. Sipping on a hot coffee or a cool cocktail and drinking in these magnificent scenes is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Read More »

Explore Margate

Explore Margate

Margate is fun and vibey, but still manages to retain a kind of seaside village charm. This town is on South Africa’s east coast, at the southern tip of the KwaZulu-Natal Province. In fact, it is more of a seaside resort, as the vast majority of the homes are holiday homes and accommodation for the tourists that flood here every year to make the most of the gorgeous weather, serene coastal forests, and spectacular beaches.

It is these beaches that are the main attraction to Margate. A number of these have qualified as Blue Flag Beaches, which means that they adhere to very strict criteria. These include safe swimming conditions, educational information provided, an excellent code of conduct at all times, lifeguards, safe access, and more. These and the other beaches make Margate a hotspot for water sports; including stand-up paddling (SUP), kayaking, body-boarding, surfing, kite surfing, hydrofoiling, snorkelling and SCUBA diving. There are coral reefs that are occupied by beautiful tropical fish, making snorkelling particularly rewarding. Read More »