Monday, December 2, 2002

Top things to do in and around the Western Cape

Suggestions on things to do in and around the Western Cape including wine tasting, visiting Boulders Beach for the African Penguins, the Garden Route, Robben Island, Cango Caves, oysters at Knysna, whale watching, Table Mountain, shopping at the V&A Waterfront, exploring Cape Town and much more...

• Enjoy world-class wine tasting in the Cape Winelands - the area is known for its wonderful natural beauty, rich cultural heritage and world-renowned wines.

• See the African Penguins that live and nest at Boulders Beach.

• Have a picnic at Cape Point – see the views of the Atlantic and False Bay – do watch out for the Baboons!

• Explore the Garden Route with its beautiful coastline and little towns – great for adrenalin junkies and nature lovers.

• Visit the infamous Robben Island which has now been turned into a museum and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An important symbol in South Africa of triumph of good over evil, of democracy over apartheid.

• Do a day drip to the Cango Caves and ride an ostrich near Oudtshoorn.

• Take the cableway up Table Mountain and see all the way across to the Cape Flats and the Hottentots Holland Mountains. Great for a romantic picnic or to see the City’s lights.

• Do some shopping or eat at one of the many wonderful restaurants at the V&A Waterfront.

• Take the Hop on, Hop off Bus and explore Cape Town and get a taste of the rich history.

• Sample some delicious oysters at Knysna and take a boat trip to the dramatic Knysna Heads.

• Go bungee jumping at the world’s highest commercially operating Bungee (216m) at Bloukrans.

Hermanus – see whales spy-hopping, breaching and lob-tailing – don’t forget to take lots of photos to show your friends and family back home.

• Take a boat trip in Hout Bay to see the seals – don’t forget the fish and chips takeaway!

For more information on things to do, accommodation and information on the Western Cape, see

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Saturday, August 24, 2002

Unforgettable Game Reserves in South Africa

For a long lasting impression, a South African game reserve is something not to miss whether you experience one of the game reserves via a safari or travelling on your own – it really is an unforgettable experience. South Africa has a huge collection of both private and public game reserves and nature parks situated all over the country. South Africa is home to the BIG 5 – elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard and is of course Malaria free.There is a wide range of Game Reserves to suit all types of budgets from 5 star luxury to self-drive parks.

Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa and covers nearly 2 million hectares of land or an area greater than the size of Israel. Kruger is home to the Big Five, the Little Five (buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, leopard tortoise, ant lion and rhino beetle), the birding Big Six (ground hornbill, kori bustard, lappet-faced vulture, martial eagle, pel’s fishing owl and saddle-bill stork) and more species of mammals than any other African Game Reserve. At Kruger Park it is possible to do your own self-drive although there are guided tour operators, with an excellent infrastructure that includes picnic sites, rest camps, waterholes and hides. The Kruger Park is a truly remarkable reserve offering everyone an incredible experience of Africa at its most wild.

Addo Elephant National Park - This finely tuned ecosystem is sanctuary to over 450 elephants and attracts more visitors per year than the Serengeti National Park. Elephant viewing at Addo is considered to be the best in the world and you can either choose to drive yourself around the park or take advantage of the guided tours on offer.

Shamwari Private Game Reserve - A favourite amongst international celebrities including royalty, Shamwari Private Game Reserve is home to the coveted Big Five. Situated close to Port Elizabeth, in the malaria-free Eastern Cape province of South Africa, Shamwari Game Reserve offers an unsurpassed nature experience. In an area blessed by the convergence of 5 eco-systems, it's a natural habitat for all types of wildlife makes it the ideal viewing reserve, for not only the Big Five flourish here, but so does a large variety of antelope and smaller wildlife, as well as about 300 species of birds.
Places to stay:

Buhala Game Lodge - Malelane, Mpumalanga - Buhala is an enchanting Game Lodge right on the banks of the Crocodile River, the border of the Kruger National Park. What a wonderful waterhole to have at the bottom of the garden! Elephant, buffalo, hippos and many antelope are just a few of the frequent visitors there. Guests sitting on the verandah sipping sundowners or lazing around the pool have wonderful sightings of these fascinating animals.

24 Riviere - Vaalwater, Limpopo -The Mountain Lodges are built in the mountains, out of the mountains. With rocks and thatch roofs these Rondavel designed lodges have cool day temperatures and nice warmth at night. The spacious lodges are finished and furnished in style to provide you with comfort and luxury
Plumbago Guest House - Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga - Superbly positioned on a ridge with a magnificent panoramic view of subtropical Hazyview & the Kruger National Park. Plumbago offers luxurious suites in the lush garden – Sauna, Pool & Tennis.

For more information on Game Reserves and places to stay, visit:
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Thursday, August 22, 2002

Out and about in South Africa

South Africa really is a wonderful country for those loving the outdoors and in particular, there are so many activities such as golfing, fishing, adventure sports, water sports that one can do whilst travelling through this amazing country. If you’re stuck for things to do, why not try one or more of the following activities:

World's Highest Bungee Jump: This is the ultimate thrill for all those adrenalin junkies out there! 216m above the Bloukrans River in the Western Cape. Whilst you are there, why not try the Flying Fox which is the newest adventure at Bloukrans. The Flying Fox is a 200m cable slide (foofie slide) out onto the archway of the bridge. This can be done by itself or as a quicker way to get to your bungee jump starting point

Take flying lessons: This air school in Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape is a professional flying training organisation which caters for private, commercial, airline and military sectors. They have a dedicated training facility and the average student population is 200 with the campus situated at the airport which provides a secure and productive pilot training environment.

Golfing: The climate in South Africa is perfect for golf and attracts keen enthusiasts from all over the World. There is a fantastic choice of courses to choose from all around the country with some wonderfully challenging coastal courses on offer. The high altitude location of some of the courses offer you a chance to hit the ball further than you have ever hit it before. South Africa has been blessed with many fantastic world class golfers many of which have designed golf courses over here such as Gary Player and Ernie Els.

Visit Table Mountain in Cape Town: With over 19million visitors transported to the summit of Table Mountain to date, this is quite simply something not to miss. With an amazing backdrop to the city of Cape Town and at over 3,563 feet, the mountain commands spectacular views over Cape Town and beyond.

White Water Rafting: South Africa offers some fantastic white water rafting opportunities especially during the months of November to May. If you have never done this before it is truly an experience to enjoy! River package trips are available for all levels of experience and you can go for just a half day or even take a 4 day break. The Tugela River offers a stretch of river some 30km where you can experience some of the most exciting white water. The water here is so good that the Camel White-Water Challenge brings its South African leg here and is extremely well thought of by participants and organisers. If rafting is not your thing you can take one man kayaks or two man crocs instead.

Explore South Africa’s popular routes by car: The Dolphin Coast, KwaZulu-Natal, Panorama Route, Mpumalanga, Garden Route, Western Cape, Route 62, Western Cape or the Cape Winelands in the Western Cape.

Learn to surf at Jefferys Bay: Most people coming to Jefferys Bay do so to surf or learn to surf. The main beach is an ideal place for beginners to learn as there are no rocks and beginners don’t have to venture too far out as there are sandbanks close to the shore.

Go scuba diving in Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape: Port Alfred dive sites are famous for soft coral, the numerous wrecks that dot around our shores and unknown to many, the incredible "Lunar landing" which is where crayfish in their hundreds live and breed.

For more information on these activities and others, please visit:
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Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Mpumalanga – Kruger National Park, Blyde River Canyon, World Cup 2003

Mpumalanga is one of South Africa's top tourist destinations and there are few regions in the world to match the extraordinary beauty of the Lowveld and escarpment. The Province covers nearly 80 000km² from rolling highlands to the lofty escarpment and the lush wetlands. The 1870’s “Gold Rush” and fortune hunters have made this area rich in history. Places such as Barberton and Pilgrims Rest have become the most explored towns. The scenery is absolutely amazing and draws back tourists year after year.

Mpumalanga is also the home of the world famous Kruger National Park which is the largest game reserve in South Africa and covers nearly 2 million hectares of land or an area greater than the size of Israel. Outstanding variety of game, birds and wildlife can be viewed.

Mpumalanga’s Capital city, Nelspruit, is now flourishing due to its tobacco and timber industries. Nelspruit itself is a very trendy and modern city leading into historic towns (by contrast), intimidating mountains and gorgeous game sanctuaries. The Mbombela Stadium is also in Nelspruit which is one of the host cities for the FIFA World Cup 2003.

Not to miss is the Blyde River Canyon - a significant natural feature of South Africa. It is 26 kilometres in length and about 800 metres deep. It is the third deepest canyon in the world, after the Grand Canyon in the United States and the Fish Eagle Canyon in Namibia. It is the second largest canyon in Africa, and is known as one of the great wonders of nature on the continent.

Panorama Route - is one of the most popular visitor destinations in South Africa with outstanding beauty to be seen on route. The best time for ensuring a reliable clear view is in the dry winter months.

Accommodation in Mpumalanga:

Plumbago Guest House - Kruger National Park - luxurious suites

Helmon's Place – Ohrigstad - offers accommodation within 50km radius of Pilgrims Rest, Graskop, Blyde River & Lydenburg.

Old Joe's Kaia - Schoemanskloof Valley, Guest House

For more information on Mpumalanga please visit:

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Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Gauteng - Diversity, Gold, World Cup Stadiums, Great Accommodation


With a population of over 9 million people and a history of discovering gold; Gauteng offers a vibrant mix of diversity and is one of the wealthiest provinces in Africa. Rapid development has swept the province in the last 03 years with new chrome structures rising overnight. The two major cities are Johannesburg and the city of Pretoria.

Johannesburg - This is the third largest city in Africa, after Cairo and Alexandria, and the world's youngest city to pass the million mark. For many visitors to South Africa, Johannesburg is their first port of call, and many of them stay no more than a day or two before moving onto another city /game reserve or other South African attractions. Although to many, Johannesburg is not considered a beautiful town, it is the South African city with the most stimulating atmosphere. Johannesburg is considered to be the heart beat of South Africa and a gradual process of getting together between whites and blacks has begun. Against this background, it is well worth spending several days in South Africa's largest city but you shouldn’t ignore the fact that the city has a high crime rate. However, if you heed common sense, as you would do in most major cities around the world, then you can still enjoy this city.
Pretoria - The best way to visit the many historic and interesting sights which are located outside the city is by rental car. The heart of Pretoria is geared up for the corporate and governmental business side of things. Hiring a car is also beneficial in terms of venturing into the suburbs where you will find excellent places to stay and a good choice of restaurants with some lively student nightlife. Hatfield and Brooklyn are suburbs worth visiting. If you visit the Church Square in Pretoria you will find some of the oldest buildings. This spot is a haven for locals to meet despite the rather unattractive statue of Afrikaner political hero Paul Kruger which stands in the middle.

Not to miss – Soweto - Of course, the most popular attraction in Soweto is the house where Nelson and Winnie Mandela lived before Nelson was imprisoned in 1962. This three bedroomed house was bombed several times by security forces and rebuilt. Today it is a small museum. On the very same road, is former home of Archbishop Desmond Tutu who also won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work. Although it is not safe to visit Soweto on your own, there are some well run tours by reputable operators. We recommend you pick a tour that includes a walk where you can have the chance to talk to the local Sowetans. Although there are not your usual tourist sites to see here, it is an experience to take in the atmosphere of this unique place.

Accommodation recommendations:

Honeydew (North-western suburbs of Johannesburg) Guest Lodge

Centurion (located between Pretoria and Midrand (Johannesburg) Apartment rentals – Blue chip accommodation to corporate and business executive travellers

Johannesburg - Distinctive and contemporized Guest House
Johannesburg - Boutique-style manor

For more accommodation options in Gauteng – please visit
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Monday, August 19, 2002

Tsitsikamma in the Western Cape

Tsitsikamma National Park

Second only to the Kruger National Park is Tsitsikamma National Park. The best time to visit this area is between November and February. The park itself is split into two sections - to the West, you will find De Vasselot which includes the Nature's Valley resort. Here you will find quite a few short walks through forest and across rivers and a wonderful stretch of sandy coastline.

To the East, is Storms River Mouth where the wild Storms River meets the Indian Ocean via a deep gorge. Walking here is very popular with some really lovely hikes across the forest covered cliffs. If you enjoy bird watching then there is an array of birds to be spotted here including the Knysna Lourie which you can spot by its flash of red in its wings. You may even spot a rare African black oystercatcher which has black feathers and red eyes, beak and legs.

The coast here is rocky and reminiscent of parts of Cornwall in England. This area of rainforest is the last remnants of a rainforest that used to cover this coastal area. If you are taking in the Garden Route then this is a must stop along your way. The whole area covers some 80kms of land and also extends 5km out to sea providing essential protection to the fish and mammals found here. One of the most popular trails for hiking in this area is the Otter Hiking Trail. It is so popular that you have to book well in advance (one year sometimes) to take in an amazing 5 day hike across rivers, though forests, and passing waterfalls. If you stop at the restaurant at the Storms River Mouth you can take a short walk to a suspension bridge which provides some amazing views. This area is extremely well catered for in terms of accommodation with something to suit all budgets.

From an accommodation point of view, we highly recommend the Tsitsikamma Lodge - surrounded by mountains and tucked away in the forest, the Tsitsikamma Lodge is a haven of peace where a warm welcome and friendly service, combined with nature, provides a perfect break. Set in beautiful gardens, and built entirely of logs, the Lodge has 32 cosy cabins, each with its own spa-bath, private deck and barbecue area. There’s also a honeymoon suite with a sunken lounge and a crackling wood fire.... Built on stilts, this is a place where romance is literally in the air!

Tsitsikamma is home to a wide variety of activities – bird watching, horse riding, black water tubing, canoeing, etc. Or you might like to follow the river and nature trails or take a picnic in the forest. For the more adventurous, there’s the Tree Top Canopy tour and our very own Strip-Tease River Trail! For a more gentle activity, why not spoil yourself with a great treatment at our Spa or stroll along to the library for a relaxing read, or take a dip in the swimming pool? And when the sparkling air builds up an appetite, our licensed restaurant offers delicious home-cooked meals! Tsitsikamma Lodge is an AA Award Winning Leisure Hotel, which offers unobtrusive and personal service. An ideal place to enjoy time with the family, spend a romantic few days, or just take time out, it also offers superb conferencing facilities for up to 40 delegates. Tsitsikamma Lodge.
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Sunday, August 18, 2002

Adventure Province - Eastern Cape South Africa

The Eastern Cape region is the second largest of the nine provinces in South Africa and the province has recently undergone a rebrand. The Eastern Cape is now known as the “Adventure Province” due to the sheer number of activities on offer. Wonderful expansive beaches, mountain ranges, beautiful countryside and lush green forest dot around the province.
You can also enjoy some of the longest hours of sunshine along the sub-tropical coastline. You can take advantage of the malaria free Big 7 Game viewing and for the adventurous ones amongst you, leap off the 216m bridge bungee jump at Bloukrans Bridge. This is the highest commercially operated bungee jump in the World! The Indian Ocean provides a wonderful coastline for the Eastern Cape comprising long stretches of clean sandy beaches, rocky coves, secluded lagoons, huge sand dunes and towering cliffs. Some highlights not to miss when visiting the Eastern Cape are:

Port Elizabeth – is the largest coastal city between Cape Town and Durban. In the heart of the town, known as Central, you will find Market Square which is very attractive. PE has many historical attractions including the Donkin Heritage Trail where visitors can trace the footsteps of the 1820 Settlers. This is a 5km trail passing by some 47 historical sites in the Old Hill area of central PE. If you are interested in snorkelling or scuba diving ,then head to Sardinia Bay which is a marina reserve. Indeed PE offers ship wrecks, coral reefs and wonderfully coloured fish in warm waters for the scuba divers amongst you.

Grahamstown - is also known as "City of Saints" due to the many churches found here and "City of Schools" due to the array of excellent schools and of course Rhodes University. Grahamstown is of course most famous for the Grahamstown Arts Festival which is held over 03 days every year during June/July. This festival is one of the top cultural events and attracts over 50,000 visitors from far and wide and is a real treat for holidaymakers.

Port Alfred - most popular destination for holidaymakers on Route72. There are kilometres of sand dunes in both directions and the friendly village atmosphere and beautiful climate make it the perfect place to visit. The unique arched bridge which crosses the Kowie River in Port Alfred provides a landmark for all those visiting or passing through. Each evening, the bridge is lit up with a wonderful display of multicoloured lights for all to enjoy. This is especially a delight watching from the banks of the Kowie or on a boat with a glass of wine in your hand. This town is popular with surfers and scuba divers. There are a range of activities which include golf, sand boarding, river cruises, flying school, hiking, horse riding, quad biking, art galleries, fantastic restaurants and much more.

Addo Elephant National Park - sanctuary to over 450 elephants and attracts more visitors per year than the Serengeti National Park. The park is now expanding to over 360,000 hectares and transforming Addo into one of the great tourist attractions in South Africa. Elephant viewing at Addo is considered to be the best in the world and you can either choose to drive yourself around the park or take advantage of the guided tours on offer.

Jeffreys Bay - truly a surfer’s paradise. This place has a real international atmosphere as the bars buzz with chatter of perfect waves and supertubes. This is a perfect spot for families with great sunshine and beautiful beaches stretching for miles. Nearby are other smaller beach towns such as Cape St.Francis, Oyster Bay, St.Francis Bay and Humansdorp.

And finally – not to miss is the Wild Coast - this remains one of the most unspoilt areas of South Africa. You will find unspoilt stretches of coastline, open spaces and pristine forest areas providing an opportunity for the adventure traveller to discover a variety of leisure options guaranteed to make holiday memories. If fishing is your thing, then you will be in angler heaven.

For more information on the Eastern Cape, activities and events and accommodation, go to
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Wednesday, August 7, 2002

Some of the wonders of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Kwazulu-Natal -home of the Zulu, rich in culture and history; a fantastic sub-tropical climate, a wide range of activities and absolute natural beauty make this province a must see when travelling to South Africa and you can see why KwaZulu-Natal is one of South Africa’s most popular destinations.

The province extends from the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains to the coast in the southeast.

Some highlights to see and do whilst in KZN include:

A visit to the Battlefields Route – Major wars between the British, Boers and Zulus were fought here. There are over 50 battle sites which can be visited. This is best done through an organised tour.

Natal Midlands – This truly is a beautiful area with fertile landscapes, crystal-clear water, forests and is also rich in history. The Midlands Meander which is very popular with arts and crafts lovers should not be missed.

The most evocative area is of course Zululand – homeland of King Shaka in the early 19th century. This area also has some of the best game reserves. Not to miss is Shakaland in Eshowe.

The Dolphin Coast - The Dolphin Coast is a malaria-free stretch along the North coast of KwaZulu Natal from Zimbali in the South to the Tugela in the North. It includes holiday towns such as Ballito, Sheffield Beach, Blythedale, Zinkwazi, Tinley Manor, Salt Rock and Shakas Rock. It also includes inland areas Ndwedwe, Maphumulo, KwaDukuza, Shakaskraal, eNdondakasuka and Umhlali. Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Surfing, Fishing, Dolphin and Marine excursions, museums, arts and crafts, bird hides, crocodile farms, game reserves, hiking, golf, horse riding and many more.

Durban – Africa’s largest port, wide beaches, fantastic nightlife and bustling markets. Not to miss is a visit to Victoria Embankment, UShaka Marine World and of course the Golden Mile.
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Thursday, August 1, 2002

Visiting South Africa

Visiting any country for the first time is an exciting experience and that is no exception for South Africa. When considering visiting a country as large as this, it’s really important to plan your trip well in advance. Think about what you would like to do and all the places you would like to visit while you are there. To truly make a trip here worthwhile it is recommended you spend at least 3 weeks here. Any shorter and you will be struggling to fit in your itinerary. South Africa covers an area of 471,000 square miles and has a population of 42.7 million. Getting about once you are here is actually quite simple. There are a number of low-cost airlines that serve the country and fly between the main airports and can be booked online prior to your trip. Once you are there it’s easy to hire a car and to travel between towns but just beware of distances as it’s easy to underestimate the time required to drive. For instance, Durban to Cape Town is 1,753 miles.
Driving during the day is recommended, although the roads are good, you will need to watch out for wild animals on some roads and even baboons on the major routes. A couple of excellent driving routes are the Route 62 which runs between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and the Garden Route which runs between Heidelberg and Stormsriver. Both these routes have some of the best views and scenery.

Let’s consider for a moment some of the top experiences that anyone should be considering as part of their visit. Obviously Big 5 game viewing is very popular but there is also the Drakensberg Mountains. The wonderful coastal life set against the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the magnificent wine regions, Table Mountain, the famous Garden Route, great sporting and adrenalin activities, superb top class golf courses and the nightlife available in top cities such as Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town. You can now see the importance of planning your trip and staying for at least 3 weeks.

Of course South Africa is gearing up for the World Cup in 2003 and this is involving considerable upgrades to infrastructure as well as the main stadia that are being built. The plus side is that major rail improvements are being made particularly between Johannesburg and Pretoria. For visitors there is going to be a brand new huge Rio-style carnival in Cape Town which kicks off on March 18th 2003. For 2 days Cape Town will come alive to the sound of music and parades through the streets. This is to become an annual event capturing the heart of the diverse communities found here.

Another great attraction for visitors is the deep sea fishing to be found here. Whether you are a novice or an expert you will have an amazing time. There are of course numerous charter trips to be found to view the many types of whales that migrate here each year. The Garden Route is particularly well served for this. Of course for the brave, you can also take a dive in a cage to view sharks up close and very personal!

It’s important to plan your trip so that you have a chance to explore the culture and people in South Africa. There is of course great history, with many museums and monuments harking back to times gone by.

If you are a keen walker or hiker then there are some amazing places to visit such as the Drakensberg area. The scenery here is stunning and there are many guided hikes or camping trips that will take you through some of the most stunning backdrops. Many people choose to visit Kruger for their Big 5 game viewing but to be honest, you can do this almost anywhere in South Africa. Perhaps more exciting is the many different ways that you can view game - on horseback, on quad bikes, in your own car - the choice is amazing.

Choosing accommodation early is important and is especially wise during World Cup year. There is accommodation to suit all budgets and some of the guesthouses that you find here are really good quality and will not break your budget. The owners are generally very helpful and will assist you with advice on local attractions.

For more information on the areas, events, activities and accommodation in South Afriica, visit
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Sunday, July 7, 2002

A little magic in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

For anyone travelling to South Africa, try not to miss out on a little town in the Eastern Cape called Port Alfred which is set on the warm Indian Ocean, with kilometres of sand dunes in both directions; Port Alfred is a magical little town which offers a taste of everything. For all you water enthusiasts out there, Port Alfred has a wide range of activities from fishing, surfing, scuba diving and canoeing.

The friendly village atmosphere and beautiful climate make it the perfect place to visit. The unique arched bridge which crosses the Kowie River in Port Alfred provides a landmark for all those visiting or passing through. Each evening, the bridge is lit up with a wonderful display of multicoloured lights for all to enjoy. This is especially a delight watching from the banks of the Kowie or on a boat with a glass of wine in your hand.

If flying is your thing, then Port Alfred doesn’t disappoint. The world class No 43 Flying School founded on a WW1 airstrip in Port Alfred has the finest flying school teaching facilities in the Southern hemisphere.

There are also some marvellous hikes available including beach hikes. You could always enjoy a fabulous horseback ride along the pristine beaches via the Milkwood dune forests. For golfers there are two excellent 18 hole golf courses – the Fish River Sun course designed by Gary Player and the Royal Port Alfred set against the backdrop of the Indian Ocean.

We stayed at this fantastic guest house called Dockside. It overlooked the marina so there was always something going on. It was really peaceful and beautiful with very attentive hosts.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2002

Will there be enough accommodation for fans in 2003?

There seems to be a lot of debate as to whether there will be sufficient accommodation for fans travelling to South Africa for the World Cup in 2003. Is this exaggerated? This is a country that had over 9.5million foreign tourist visitors in 2008. We are told that cities like Nelspruit require another 20,000 beds to cope with anticipated demand! Perhaps it is worth pointing out that these headlines are being put out by MATCH (the organisation handling ticket sales) who are encouraging all Hotel and Guesthouse owners in South Africa to register with them – is this just to generate traffic to their website? It seems ridiculous to ask all these venue owners to register with MATCH when the vast majority of these will already be registered with accommodation sites such as where2stay-southafrica. Most football/soccer fans are pretty savvy and know that with the internet at their fingertips it isn’t difficult to book flights and accommodation through established websites. If you have never visited South Africa before then you should know that the quality of B&B, Guesthouses, Lodges, self catering apartments is actually better than you will find in Europe and are definitely better value for money – even with the uplift that these owners will no doubt make during this period. You can’t blame them - wouldn’t you do the same thing if you were in their shoes! My advice to fans is to take a look at the websites offering accommodation and to book through these – the choice of accommodation is excellent. Of course anyone travelling to South Africa for the World Cup should really take advantage of the country and take in some of the fantastic things on offer to do – not just game reserves by the way although if you have never done this before you should! I will be monitoring the situation with interest and will report further along the line. Am interested to gain peoples feedback.

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Monday, July 1, 2002

Never underestimate the underdog….

With the growing need for accommodation for the World Cup 2003 and the spectacular range of year-round national and local events hosted in South Africa; Where2Stay-SouthAfrica makes it easier for people searching for accommodation to find exactly what they are looking for in the shortest possible time than ever before. Not only does the site promote a wide spectrum of accommodation in South Africa including Guesthouses, Hotels, Game Reserves, Bed & Breakfasts and Self Catering accommodation; but also focuses on promoting and advertising events across the country; activities and suggested itineraries for those wanting to take in more of South Africa during their stay. For first time visitors to South Africa, there are those all important Travel Tips to ensure you don't forget anything and that your trip is a safe one. There’s something for everyone.

South Africa is blessed with an abundance of accommodation throughout the country, ensuring that there is something to suit all budgets. The site is visually appealing and has been designed to show off South Africa at its best – as they say “a picture speaks a thousand words”. South Africa is one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful and outstanding country in the world – we want to use our site to promote what South Africa has to offer both visually, and by providing useful information which people can use to further plan their trip.

South Africa has fast become a top destination not only for locals but globally with over 9 million Google searches a month on the internet. South Africa has so much to offer visitors including great golf courses, wonderful deep sea fishing, amazing scuba diving sites, hunting and much more; not forgetting the fantastic climate which caters for everyone’s needs.

Why not try the site today
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Saturday, March 30, 2002

Our 5 star Shamwari Experience Part 4 - saying goodbye

The weather could not make up its mind if it wanted to rain or be sunny but by 16h00 it definitely looked like the rain was winning. We decided we needed to see Cheetah, hippos and white rhinos at coffee, so this was our order (although we all new that you can’t just order animals). We drove around for quite a while, going in a very different area to what we had been in before, much hillier. We were near the one boundary of the property where we found a mother and two cheetah cubs lying in the grass. They were all having their afternoon rest and were not at all interested in us. We then drove towards the river and found a family of hippos in the river.

The wind was decidedly cold as we made our way back up to the plain where a lot of different types of buck were grazing. We saw a jackal – at first we thought he had a snake but after much looking found out he had a bone in his mouth. We were lucky to see him as he is quite small and difficult to spot. We then saw 2 white Rhino grazing on the plain so realized that we had now seen all the animals we had asked to see. The afternoon was getting very miserable with a drizzle starting. We were given waterproof ponchos – definitely a good thing to have as they also stop the wind.

We drove a bit further and found a family of lions, a mother and her 4 cubs (although they were about a year old), lying cuddled up like big cats in the grass.

We decided not long after this that the weather had got really bad and we headed back to Long Lee for drinks and dinner.

The bar area is really lovely and what a great place to go to when you are cold and rather wet. Port and a log fire is definitely a way to warm you up.

The great thing about the lounge is that you mix with all the other guests and share your experiences of what you have seen that day, talk about the country, where they have come from and just relax.

Dinner that night was served in the dining room – starting with soup or starter, a choice of main courses which included fish, impala and a vegetable curry plus desert and cheese and biscuits plus of course wine to go with the meal.

We woke up to a very cold windy morning at 5.30 a.m. and were all ready to go and look for animals. The weather was not good as the animals try to find shelter from the cold in the bushes. We were given our ponchos before we left, thank goodness as the wind was really strong and cold.

We saw lots of buck – kudu and gemsbok plus a Rhino and her baby, but the animals were definitely hiding away from this weather, especially as it started to rain.

Back to the lodge for breakfast and then good bye to Shamwari!

Check out is very easy – while you are having your breakfast your bags are taken from your rooms and loaded into your car. When you go to check out they have water and biscuits for you to eat and drink on your journey.

We were very sad to leave Shamwari but all agreed that it felt like we had been away for longer than 2 days and it was a wonderful experience.
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Our 5 star Shamwari Experience Part 3

5.30 a.m. in the morning – is this the time to get up? If you want to see the best animals it is and it is quite amazing how nobody seems to miss out on this opportunity.

We decided we wanted to see buffalo and leopard – the last of the Big 5! Leopards must be about the most elusive animals, especially for me as I have been looking for them for more years than you can believe, but I always live in hope of seeing one.

We started off driving nearby and then went into another area of the reserve and saw the Buffalo. These have been separated as the lions were killing the calves. We saw them very quickly, but in the distance and when we tried to get nearer they had hidden themselves in the thicket. This section of Shamwari has a different eco system to the other side and there were lots of prickly pears bushes which were quite a sight as they are covered with beautiful orange flowers.

We drove back to the main Shamwari area and on the plains saw herds of buck, Blesbuck, Springboks, water buck and wildebeest. We suddenly were off – very fast for a game viewing area and heading for the river – a leopard had been spotted along the banks. Great excitement – at last – was I going to see my leopard?

There were about 4 vehicles looking for him – the bush is very thick around the river bank and as we were driving along I wandered how many leopards could be just feet away from us and we wouldn’t know. After a while he was spotted and as the policy is that not too many vehicles can be at one spot at a time we waited out turn to see him. He was lying under a bush but after a while got up and moved a little way to lie in the sun. I have finally seen my leopard and he was beautiful!!

We then went driving around looking at different animals and back to the lodge for breakfast. Breakfast is definitely a meal you would not want to miss!

There is a display of fruit, cold meats and cheese, yoghourt, cereals, porridge, rolls, croissants, muffins plus juices. The main breakfast you order from your waitress and there are about 5 choices, one of which is the full African Breakfast.

After breakfast you can do what you want to until the 16h00 game drive. They have a full Spa and at breakfast time they come and ask if you want any treatments. If you don’t want to be so organized, a book – a lounger at the pool and relaxing is the order of the day. A sleep after breakfast is also a good idea as by this time you have been out and about in the fresh air for quite a while.

Lunch is from 12h30 to 14h30, so you can choose when you wish to eat.
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Our 5 star Shamwari Experience Part 2

We were told to meet our guide at 15h30 in the bar/lounge where tea would be served before going on our afternoon game drive. Just enough time to sort out some warm clothing for the drive and perhaps relax a bit after a good lunch.

We met our ranger over coffee, (beautiful cake and savoury tarts as well, if you wanted them) and after a while of getting to know you, he outlined the “rules” of the game drive. Shamwari is very conscious of conservation and preserving nature, plus giving every guest the ultimate experience. The game vehicles carry a maximum of seven passengers, but normally 6 would be the maximum. This is great as everyone is on a side of the vehicle – no middle seat. Instead of a middle seat is a box where blankets are kept and you can put any belongings you don’t want straight away.

The first afternoon was very special as we saw giraffes – about 8 of them all together. They are so graceful with their long necks and they seem to love “posing” for you. There were lots of Zebras around and of course buck (or fast food for lions?). The first of the “Big Five” we saw were a family of elephants. It is fascinating to watch elephants especially the “children” who can play so beautifully. We drove around for a while and came across a family of lions – mother, father and five cubs (about 14 months old). This was really something to see. They were all lying next to the road and sitting watching them you just want to stroke them, but definitely not allowed.

Seeing 2 of the Big 5 in less than an hour is amazing but we were extremely lucky to see 2 black Rhino. Unfortunately these are bush dwellers and it is quite amazing to see how quickly they disappear into the thick bush – now you see them, now you don’t!

As the sun was setting we stopped for “sundowners”, a chance to stretch your legs and chat about all the animals we had seen.

We had a young Irish couple with us who were on their honeymoon – so decided that this must be why we were so lucky – the luck of the Irish!

We drove back to Long Lee in the dark and were welcomed back with a glass of sherry or hot chocolate to warm you up. It is pretty cold on the vehicles at this time of the year.

The dinner that night was in the Barn. The weather at this time of the year is not really good enough to sit outside around a “boma” so Long Lee uses their barn to set up for dinner, with all the food outside. Dinner was an amazing array of food with a lot of typical South African dishes such as “pap” and boerewors, koeksusters, brandy pudding as well as all the other dishes you could possibly want such as Kudu, fillet steak and lots of salads.
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Our 5 star Shamwari Experience Part 1

What do you expect when you book into a Game Reserve which has won many awards as one of the best in the world? Looking at most “Luxury Hotels” you expect good service, you expect perfection – but do you expect friendliness and a welcome which makes you feel at home straight away.

We arrived at Shamwari on Saturday afternoon about 13h00. From the time you drive in the gate you can feel there is something different about this experience. The gate man is friendly and efficient and you are soon on your way to your lodge.

We stayed at Long Lee Mansion, an old farm house which has been converted into a lodge. On arrival at the lodge we were greeted by the manager with drinks while we signed in – an important part of this is signing an indemnity, so everyone has to sign the form. The manager then took us to the rooms pointing out the different facilities such as where lunch was been served, the bar lounge where we would meet our ranger at 15h30 and our rooms.

Our rooms had a beautiful view of the surrounding “veld” with a swimming pool with inviting loungers around it. (There are two swimming pools at Long Lee).

The room we had was not only luxurious but large enough to make you feel you could spend a week in it. The bathroom had a shower, two basins with a large bath between them plus a toilet with a door. The room had been made up with small flowers placed on the bed and on the towels in the bathroom. The room had a fan plus an air conditioner so you could choose which you preferred. The little extras such as wild life magazines on the desk plus all the information you could possibly want, bottled water not only in the bedroom but in the bathroom as well, coffee and tea maker, all the creams, shower gel, bath crystals you would expect.

Saturday’s lunch was laid on the top terrace under beautiful old trees overlooking the main swimming pool as it was a beautiful hot day. The lunch menu included a cold soup, about three starters, four main courses and two deserts. Each dish is individually prepared and looks like something from a magazine. The bar stewards are very attentive; as you sit down they offer you cold water and what they can bring you to drink.
What a way to start a holiday!!!.
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Thursday, March 21, 2002

South Africa World Cup 2003 – Airlines providing domestic flights

South Africa has a number of low-cost airlines that operate across South Africa. For domestic flights, you need to be at the terminal one hour before your flight. The luggage limit on economy flights with most domestic flights in South Africa is 20kg per person – however please check with your chosen airline before booking.

Most flights can be booked online using a credit or debit card. It is advisable to book in advance, especially if flying over weekends or during the high season.

Also check with the airlines before booking if you have an internal flight and then an international flight – some airlines don’t book your luggage through which means you need to collect your luggage and then check your luggage in again – this can be very time consuming especially if you’re in a rush.

Airlines providing domestic flights across South Africa

Kulula – offering flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town, Durban, George, Port Elizabeth, East London and Nelspruit.

1Time – offering flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London and George.

Mango – offering flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town, Durban and Bloemfontein.

South African Airways – offering flights between Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London, Bloemfontein, George, Pietermaritzburg, Mthatha, Kimberley, Polokwane, Richards Bay, Upington, Nelspruit/Kruger, Hoedspriut, Margate, Phalaborwa, Mmabatho, Manzini and Maseru - as well as into Southern Africa, the rest of Africa and the world.

Airlink – offering flights between Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London, Bloemfontein, George, Pietermaritzburg, Mthatha, Kimberley, Polokwane, Richards Bay, Upington, and Nelspruit/Kruger.

British Airways – offering flights between Johannesburg to Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth, and between Cape Town and Durban.

For more information on South Africa, places to stay and things to do – see:
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Wednesday, March 20, 2002

South Africa World Cup 2003 – Airport Information

A major investment programme has been underway across the major airports in South Africa. Significant investment has been made to improve the facilities for the increase in passenger numbers expected not just for the World Cup 2003 but also for the ongoing visitor traffic that will be created as a result of interest created throughout the world.

Free State Province – Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Bloemfontein Airport – R46 million has been spent on revamping the airport terminal in preparation for the influx of football fans from all over the world. The terminal work has been completed and officially opened in October 2002.

Western Cape Province – Green Point Stadium, Cape Town

Cape Town International Airport – a major reconstruction of Cape Town International Airport is currently underway in preparation for the World Cup in 2003. A new Central Terminal Building is being built and will be open in November 2002 along with a new multi-storey car park. Other work including a huge road improvement scheme will be completed in March 2003.

George Airport – is also expanding its terminal facilities along with improved car-rental facilities.

KwaZulu-Natal Province – Durban Stadium, Durban

Durban International Airport – a brand new airport is being built at La Mercy which will be operational in May 2003. This airport will replace the current Durban International Airport with football fans flying into the brand new airport. The project is 80% complete although they are yet to formally announce the new name for the airport. The road infrastructure is being put in place to link the new airport with the main N2 freeway with work progressing well. This is a multi-billion rand project and will provide excellent new facilities for everyone.

Gauteng Province - Ellis Park Stadium, Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg and Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria

O.R. Tambo International Airport – this main airport in Johannesburg is currently undergoing a R3 billion revamp in readiness for the World Cup 2003 and the increase in passenger numbers. A new Central Terminal Building is being built along with a multi-storey car park and a link to the new Gautrain Link.

Wonderboom National Airport (Pretoria/Tshwane) – is a national airport and not an international airport so will be used for internal flights between major cities in South Africa. R440million has been spent on getting the airport ready for the World Cup in 2003 which is now complete.

Mpumalanga Province – Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (Nelspruit Airport) – this airport is constructed in the style of an African safari lodge and is only 30 mins drive to Kruger Park itself.

Eastern Cape Province – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth Airport – in preparation for the 2003 Soccer World Cup the airport has undergone a terminal expansion programme and can now handle up to 2 million passengers per year.

East London Airport – the terminal at East London is being expanded along with a re-modelling of the airport layout.

North-West Province – Royal Bafekong Stadium, Rustenburg

Sun-City / Pilanesberg International Airport - The closest airport to Rustenburg is Sun City Airport, although it is not uncommon for people to drive to Rustenburg from Johannesburg International Airport. The airport has daily connections to Cape Town (2.5 hours) and Johannesburg (0.5 hours)

Limpopo Province – Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

Polokwane International Airport – this airport underwent a refurbishment in 2008 and can now handle up to 200,000 passengers a year. The airport is also a good link to Kruger National Park.

Northern Cape Province

Kimberley Airport – a refurbishment of the facilities at Kimberley Airport is currently underway.

Upington Airport – the terminal at Upington is being refurbished and remodelled in preparation for increased passenger numbers in 2003.

For more information on South Africa, the 2003 World Cup and accommodation, please go to:

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Monday, March 18, 2002

5* South African Luxury Accommodation

When it comes to luxury, pampering, attentiveness and a great stay – South Africa’s guest houses don’t disappoint. Here’s a taste of some of the fantastic accommodation available.

Budmarsh Private Lodge - Magaliesburg, Gauteng - Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, in the heart of the magical Magaliesberg, Budmarsh Private Lodge awaits to welcome you to its world of understated elegance, tranquillity, and personalised attention.

Villa L’Apparita - Salt Rock, KwaZulu-Natal - Nestled in a magnificent indigenous garden, a mere stroll from the Salt Rock beach on the Northern Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal, lies Villa L’Apparita, a stylish 5 star guest house, which pleasantly surprises at every turn with charming and thoughtful detail. This tranquil Tuscan Guest Home will leave the traveler or discerning business person well rested & recharged.

Forest Manor Boutique Guest House and Spa - La Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal - Forest Manor is an impressive contemporary classic luxurious 5 star boutique guest house situated in the lush prestigious suburb of La Lucia a stone’s throw from the beach and its warm Indian Ocean.

Bateleur Theresa - Camps Bay, Western Cape - This is where refined elegance meets casual simplicity. Where classic service is warmed by genuine desire to please. Where space comes in abundance, choices are both numerous and exciting, and quality is felt as well as seen. With Bateleurs House, the best South Africa has to offer is yours to experience

Castle in Clarens - Clarens, Free State - Castle in Clarens brings you Rapunzel’s Tower. Rapunzel decided to open the fairytale book and let you stay in her Castle, just outside Clarens in the heart of the Maluti Mountains. This self-catering guesthouse (with breakfast on request) will introduce to you the world of royalty, fantasy and luxury

Plumbago Guest House - Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga - Superbly positioned on a ridge with a magnificent panoramic view of subtropical Hazyview & the Kruger National Park. Plumbago offers luxurious suites in the lush garden.

Highland View Executive - Johannesburg , Gauteng - Highland View is a distinctive contemporized Guesthouse offering double en-suites and self contained apartments, comfortable queen size beds dressed in percale cotton linen, each with its own spa bath and shower.

Summerwood Guest House - Stellenbosch, Western Cape - Summerwood is a private mansion dating from 1904, and has been completely restored to the very highest standards. The property has been awarded 5 stars by the SA Tourism Grading Council. Winner: "Best B&B Guest House Style Large" 2002 AA Travel Guides & American Express Accommodation Awards

Shamwari Game Reserve - Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape - A favourite amongst international celebrities including royalty, Shamwari Private Game Reserve is home to the coveted Big Five. Situated close to Port Elizabeth, in the malaria-free Eastern Cape province of South Africa, Shamwari Game Reserve offers an unsurpassed nature experience.

For more information and accommodation options in South Africa - see
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Saturday, March 16, 2002

Port Alfred to Hermanus – a two week independent trip

A two week independent trip travelling by car from Port Alfred to Hermanus and back again in March 2002.

Our first stop was Schotia Safari Park - arriving mid-afternoon, we had a drink then off for our first drive with the game warden and four other guests. We saw giraffes, lions, many types of buck, wart hogs, zebras, crocodiles, rhinos, and hippopotami, during our visit. We chose to stay in the thatched cottage style accommodation- simple style with oil lanterns, went to sleep listening to the lions roar and awoke to hear the same, a fantastic experience and one we will never forget. We had three safari drives - afternoon, evening and early morning. We were very well catered for and can highly recommend this privately run park. We would go again.

The next day we drove into Addo to see the elephants and were delighted at the sight of so many, lots of baby ones too. We also saw many wart hogs, and zebras here. We spent the next couple of days in Jeffreys Bay, using this as a base to visit St.Francis Bay – a great place for golfers as it has two golf courses. At St.Francis Point, we spotted a very young Jackass penguin on the rocks and visited the lighthouse which is a rescue centre for penguins. From here, we travelled onto Oyster Bay which has a wonderful beach.

We set off the next day passing through Tsitsikamma where we were lucky enough to spot a very large baboon sitting on a fence at the side of the road, and later three eagles soaring above us, such a beautiful sight.

We drove along the highway passing Plettenberg Bay - great photo opportunities of the fabulous beaches here, and where we were booked in to stay on our return trip. We then came to Knysna, a very attractive harbour and waterfront with lots of bars/restaurants and boutique style shops.

We reached our accommodation destination at Sedgefield, and were highly amused to find guinea fowl dropping by on the hunt for a free meal! We were also delighted to observe from our temporary home the numbers of different birds landing in the garden, including the Olive Thrush and the Cape Weaver. We had a trip out on the lake and were fortunate enough to see a Sea Eagle sitting in a tree, would have been even more exciting to see him in flight - but perhaps next time!

From our base at Sedgefield we visited Victoria Bay where there are lovely rock pools, sand and surf, and then onto Herolds Bay, this was a quieter and more attractive beach with a small promenade. Finally on this day trip we stopped at Mossel Bay where we walked out to the point and lighthouse then had a walk on the beach at Little Brack River, and before returning we had a very enjoyable fish meal at Ocean Basket. This chain of restaurants can be found in many towns and shopping malls and is extremely good value for money.

Our final trip out from Sedgefield found us visiting Knysna and climbing up to The Heads. The views from here are truly amazing and a place not to be missed, another fantastic photo opportunity.

The next day we were on our way to Hermanus, our final stop westwards. We were staying at yet another very comfortable guest house (they are amazingly good value for money and we were never disappointed by the high standard on offer). From Hermanus we were able to spend a wonderful day at Betty's Bay and Stoney Point where we were able to laugh at the antics of the thousands of Jackass Penguins in the sea and on the shore - you can even see them sitting on their eggs. The boardwalk allows you to look down on them as they shuffle along on their daily walks up to the rocks.

These rocks are homes to another South African creature - the Rock Dassie, these animals are quite small, about the size of a wombat and although they appear to be rather shy we were able to take a number of photos of them. We were also able to see cormorants and many colourful lizards on our visit to Stoney Point.

Hermanus itself is very interesting, full of small shops and arcades, outside markets and many bars and restaurants. It has a lovely grass area in front of these eateries and we were lucky enough to be entertained by a steel band while there.

On our return trip we stayed a couple of days at Plettenberg Bay where we visited Birds of Eden - well worth seeing and you can combine this with Monkey World right next door – we would suggest you allow a day for seeing the two. We only had time for the birds and will never forget the amazing colours of them flying around the natural vegetation. There are great photo opportunities as the birds are fed from easily seen bird tables.

Through the hospitality of some South African friends we spent a number of days staying at Port Alfred which has amazing beaches. We had a trip up the Kowie River on their boat, and even a fishing trip out on the Indian Ocean. Port Alfred should be another stop on your itinerary.

South Africa's coastline is so diverse and there are so many different experiences to be had travelling the Garden Route, we had a great time and can't wait to visit this wonderful country again.

For more information on South Africa see:

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