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A Sunset on a Clifton Rock
24 Feb 2015
 
     

I couldn’t believe that it was 8pm in the evening and yet here we were, still waiting for the sun to make the world go dark. The mountains were bathed in an orangey glow, and the ocean was still, waiting for the painting that is created when it is met by the setting sun.

Everyone has heard about the glory of Clifton beach during the Cape summer and naturally everyone has heard that it's the place to be to watch sunsets. But I have discovered that the actual beach is not the best place to watch the sun kiss the ocean. Slightly to the right of the beach lies an array of massive rocks which seem to have been designed specifically for us to sit on, staring out over the vast expanse of the Atlantic ocean while the Twelve Apostles boasts its splendour next door to us.

 - Daniella Toscano

Signal Hill Sunset
8 Jan 2015
 
     

Signal Hill Sunset

Being the famous and most popular viewpoint of Cape Town, next to Table Mountain, Signal Hill attracts a group of us at least once a week to watch the sun setting. We pack a bottle of red wine, cheese and crackers, a blanket, and four excitable friends. On arrival we were at first disappointed to realise that we couldn't drink our red wine in a public place, but then we made do with cheese and crackers while watching the sun sink behind Cape Town’s blue horizon. The sea encompasses your view, spreading from Camps Bay to the CBD and onto the suburbs (if your eyes are good enough). Your appreciation of the coastal city becomes realised on this famous hilltop.

- Brad Harris

Richmond Park, England
30 Dec 2014
 
     

Richmond Park, England

As you drive through the yellow and white boom, green fields with yellow and orange shrubs extend toward scattered trees. It’s typical English countryside that has been preserved since King Richard’s reign, one that is overflowing with deer, birds and other wildlife. St Paul’s Cathedral is visible from the lofty viewpoint of a preserved man-made mound dating back to prehistoric times. Deer roam around you while you walk through the park or take the eleven-kilometre jog around its perimeter. We arrived late in the evening, just before closing time, and found the Bambi-like animals grazing lazily, allowing us to walk right up to them. It’s the magic that England has sustained from centuries ago that makes it so appealing.

- Brad Harris

Arderne Gardens
25 Dec 2014
 
     

Arderne Gardens, Kenilworth

We used to live just behind these gardens, yet only discovered them late into the year. Our cameras were begging to be let out after gathering too much dust, and so we waited until the golden hour before sunset, and entered the Arderne Gardens. It’s a magical place. Moss-covered paths lead you onto intimate lawns surrounded by indigenous plants that hang over your head in a thin canopy. After lying on the lawns and wondering at the flora, we happened across the lower section of the gardens. Wooden walkways stem out of a bricked area that holds a fountain and a little pond with Koi and lilies. The place emanates a fairytale feeling - and if we lay under that thin canopy for the rest of the day, no one could blame us.

- Brad Harris

The Bronze Age
9 Dec 2014
 
     

The Bronze Age, Woodstock Foundry

I was sitting at Tribe Coffee, trying to ignore work by glancing through the window. Outside, some men were gathering from out of The Bronze Age’s foundry opposite me. The air was expectant. I looked past them, inside the foundry, and saw a young man firing a flat rod and then beating it across an anvil – the industry of it made the men’s wait more exciting. Something big was happening. Ten minutes later, I was sated. A life-size bronze horse was offloaded from the back of a pickup, and two of the men went to work on it. Refining, sculpting… creating. It’s moments like these that generate inspiration, that raw creativity at the hands of a blowtorch. 

www.bronzeage.co.za

- Brad Harris

Mossel Bay Point
27 Nov 2014
 
     

Mossel Bay Point

We were on our way to George when we stopped off at Mossel Bay’s popular ‘Point’. It was midday and surfers were still committed to the windswept waves, oyster catchers scrambled on the rocks, an elderly couple shuffled through the coarse sand trying to find good shells, and the little café set up for visitors was thriving. Watching this scene, we never guessed that the town was really an industrial place, and couldn’t believe it when we found out. It was the white foam blowing off the backs of the waves that did it for us, made the place natural and untouched, despite the town’s industry. We found nature hidden, and far more special because of it.

- Brad Harris

Meulspruit Dam
26 Nov 2014
 
     

Meulspruit Dam

Situated some five kilometres from Ficksburg, between Ficksburg and Clocolan, the Meulspruit Dam Resort is a water sport and angling venue with camping and caravan facilities. An unusual and popular leisure attraction at the resort is the 'White Mischief', a luxury floating cigar bar. Trips last two to three hours and guests cruise in style though the privately owned Thaba Sediba Private Nature Reserve where they are treated to a game drive and gourmet meal. Work off any extra calories by walking Meulspruit's 23-kilometre long trail and hike up the Imperani Mountain that overlooks Ficksburg to see San rock art and admire the region’s indigenous fauna and flora. Alternatively, Meulspruit has some fantastic mountain biking and quad biking trails...

(GPS coordinates: -28.874084, 27.835257)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/meulspruit-dam

University of Cape Town
25 Nov 2014
 
     

University of Cape Town

Any place that’s 185 years old is probably a must-see. The University of Cape Town fits into this assumption well. Six campuses make up the school, but Upper Campus, lying against the famous mountain and just below Rhodes Memorial, is where I sit to admire the fiery city. It’s night, something like eight thirty: the sky is black with little white spots, the city is sparkling in coloured lights, and UCT is lit softly. Only corners of the vine-covered Elizabethan buildings catch the light, or just the fronts of Jameson Hall’s giant pillars, and darkness finally eats the never-ending stairs descending into the city. It isn’t only a place for academics – between the cobbled paths and tiled roofs is kept a piece of Cape Town’s history. It’s the city’s personality.

- Brad Harris

Kirstenbosch Canopy Walkway
20 Nov 2014
 
     

Kirstenbosch Canopy Walkway

It is shorter than you expect, but who actually cares? I didn’t. The Boomslang Walkway, modelled after a twisting snake, sits above the trees’ canopy and, on its greatest curve, offers a view of Cape Town’s southern suburbs that sates your childhood wish of flying. It feels like that – when the walkway sways with people’s heavy steps, you can imagine yourself flying over the gardens and toward Cape Town’s southern suburbs. Then it twists back, under the thick branches, and leads you onto green lawns and blooming flowers. But, like me, you’ll probably deny the ending and circle back to experience it all over again.

- Brad Harris

Maboneng
4 Nov 2014
 
     

Maboneng  

You would never guess that in the heart of Hillbrow you would find a world filled with thriving businesses, trendy markets, delicious coffee shops, museums and creative spaces. The Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg has taken me and, I’m pretty sure, the rest of South Africa by surprise by emerging as one of the favourite places to go to when visiting Jozi. The atmosphere is tangible with the excitement of this new urban development and the experience of Maboneng satisfies all the senses. The food from the Neighbourgoods Market, the sounds of colleagues and friends chatting on their lunch breaks, the taste of Origin coffee, the feeling of community and finally the visual. Maboneng is a space of collaboration, of development, of integration and of creativity and this is evident no matter where you look – in the people, in the businesses and in the design. Watch out Cape Town and Durban – Jozi has brought the party!

- Daniella Toscano

Cycling Around Cape Town
28 Oct 2014
 
     

Cycling Around Cape Town

Sure, there are a lot of things to see and places to go in Cape Town, but one of my favourite things about this city is that even the means of getting to these places is a great experience. Whether you are in the Southern Suburbs or the streets of Woodstock, cycling is a MUST. I love all the interesting people I get to meet when I go bicycling into town, and the fact that there is such a massive bicycle culture here. Recently, cycling around my block, I discovered hidden roads that led to beautiful street art and secret parks. I have realized there is so much beauty not just in the popular tourist spots, but also right at my doorstep. 

- Daniella Toscano

Edinburgh Castle
26 Oct 2014
 
     

Edinburgh Castle

The city was well-known to me for inspiring Harry Potter and other gothic novels, but I hadn’t experienced it until I entered the castle. My mind revelled in the old stone and lichen-covered walkways and, staring out through a cannon embrasure, Edinburgh’s church steeple let me sit and wait for day’s climax patiently. It was to be the noon gun – a fiery telling that lunch was on its way and my trip was nearly over. The tour of the castle had been exciting and mysterious, with oddments such as the “Dog Cemetery” thrown in to lighten the otherwise quite heavy experience of dungeons, memorials and dirty dormitories. But, the grand noonday gun ended it off with a very literal bang, and sent us tourists scattering.

- Brad Harris

Hartbeespoort Dam
4 Oct 2014
 
     

Hartbeespoort Dam

Hartebeespoort Dam is the watersports mecca for landlocked Johannesburgers and Pretorians. The dam is a scenic spot, surrounded by tourist and adventure attractions, eateries and shopping (particularly arts and crafts). The name translates as ‘pass of the hartbees’ - the hartbees being a species of indigenous antelope.  But to most people it is fondly referred to as ‘Harties’.  It was built for irrigation purposes in the early  1920s and is fed by the Crocodile and Magalies Rivers...

(GPS coordinates: -25.725607, 27.848378)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/hartbeespoort-dam

The Isle of Capri
30 Sep 2014
 
     

The Isle of Capri 

Pebble beaches, warm, turquoise oceans and soaring cliffs. I felt like I was in heaven. Floating in the Mediterranean, looking at the Isle of Capri in front of me, I decided this was my favourite place in Italy. You have the option of lying on the beach all day or going for a hike to the Blue Grotto, where there are magical caves to explore and cliffs to leap off. The best part is that either option is perfectly satisfying! Just make sure that you take sunscreen because this is a beach you will want to spend the entire day at.

- Daniella Toscano

Hyde Park: London
25 Sep 2014
 
     

Hyde Park: London

The place is bigger than I thought it would be. I didn’t expect not to be able to see the end of it. But, encompassed by browning trees, blankets of leaves and flowered paths, the park holds a dam, old statues, residents' homes and little animals. I walked through, kicking up autumnal leaves and chasing pigeons or searching for squirrels. At one point, I came across a single lamppost standing black, tall and unlit. It was so odd that I didn’t move for fifteen minutes. I was waiting for Mr Tumnus from Narnia to jump out with a pipe flute. Alas, he did not. But, you find the places you’re looking for in these short moments. Let Narnia have its fiction, because England is made of so much more.

- Brad Harris

Five Reasons to go Topless in Cape Town
3 Sep 2014
 
     

Five Reasons to go Topless in Cape Town

Nicole Biondi for Cape Town Tourism

What better way to experience a deliciously warm Cape Town day than by going topless? Picture it: feeling the kiss of the sun on your skin... the whisper of a gentle breeze… Wait a minute - you do know what I’m referring to don’t you? By topless, I am naturally speaking of the open-topped upper deck of the hop on-hop off Cape Town City Sightseeing Red Bus.

If you haven’t yet tried going topless yet, you're missing out!  Here are five reasons why... 

TWO OCEANS AQUARIUM

Take the Mini Peninsula Tour or Blue Route and hop off at the Two Oceans Aquarium. After exploring the multitude of world-class exhibits, take a seat in the amphitheatre in the I&J Predator Exhibit area and be amazed by this 2-million-litre display which an impressive range of predatory fish call home.

KIRSTENBOSCH

Next, hop off at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, the most beautiful garden in Africa, and take a walk along the “Boomslang” Canopy Walkway. The snake-like walkway winds through the treetops and offers spectacular views of the Garden and surrounding mountains.

GROOT CONSTANTIA

After you’ve worked up a thirst by exploring Kirstenbosch, hop back onto the top of the bus and then off again for the wine route section of the tour. Groot Constantia, the historic 300-year old wine estate just 20 minutes from the city centre, offers a decadent chocolate and wine pairing experience. 

AWESOME VIEWS

On your way back to the city, don’t forget to use your topless opportunity to snap some pics of the gorgeous sea and mountain views. 

CAMPS BAY BEACH

Finally, once you’ve had your fill of exploring the city and seeing the sights, make your final stop Camps Bay Beach. Here you get to kick off your shoes and wiggle your toes in the white sand while looking out over the crisp cool water...and at the crowds of beautiful people this beach is famed for accommodating.

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