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Nightjar Travelled
28 Oct 2013
 
     

Clanwilliam

Watching the late afternoon sun stroking the grass in the Clanwilliam valley, I can see why this spot was chosen for settlement. Clanwilliam is actually one of the 10 oldest towns in South Africa, and still holds many historical buildings. Venture out of town, and the rugged scenery will surely win you over. There are also a myriad of trails to explore in the area.

  – Erik on Instagram (@nightjartravel)

Visit Pilgrims Rest
26 Oct 2013
 
     

Nestled in the eastern escarpment region in Mpumalanga, Pilgrim's Rest is a living museum forming part of South African history and it’s monumentally known as the place where the first gold rush in South Africa began. I couldn’t wait to go back to 1873 where once wagons and oxen roamed!

As soon as I arrived in town, I made my way to the ‘Information Centre’ to gain some history and background to some of the shops that are situated along the road. Every wood and corrugated iron building... every aspect of this town tells a story. It was fascinating standing in a street that was once a dirt road where a community would go about their everyday lives accepting deliveries... saying their goodbyes and even walking in the hope of discovering gold in the nearby creek. 

Across the street ‘The Royal Hotel’ is a proclaimed National Monument and still has guests staying overnight from all over the world. Its infamous ‘Church Bar’ that was once a chapel shipped from Cape Town is an impressive location to have a cold draught. If you’re not looking at spending the night in their Victorian dated bedrooms then this is still a great place to have some lunch to refill your energy levels before exploring further. 

Whilst investigating all the buildings, I was astonished at the items that were used back then. I couldn’t imagine ironing my clothes with a heavy doorstop looking object and even being dressed up in long winter looking dresses with the heat that we get in this country. 

Exploring the Old Print House I noticed a poster of ‘Jock and the Bushveld’ and it dawned on me that these were the very streets where Percy Fitzpatrick used to travel to deliver gold field supplies from Delagoa Bay with his trusty dog companion - Jock. Sometimes it puts things into perspective when you read an incredible story like ‘Jock’ and you actually visit a piece of that history. 

Climbing up Cemetery Hill, famous for its ‘Robbers Grave’, I passed the Methodist Church that was built in 1911 and looked back down at the little town almost hidden amongst the trees. 

Although there has been some negative news sparking about the future of Pilgrim's Rest, it still is a great place to visit on the Panorama Route. It does seem a little neglected but I think through everything the tiny town still deserves our support.

Arniston
11 Oct 2013
 
     

Arniston bustles with activity during school holidays, but out of season it turns into a sleepy little village. We were there on a Tuesday morning recently, and the place was practically asleep on its feet, just the way we like it. We took the drive out to the lighthouse, and there was only one other truck on the parking lot, but its passengers were only dots on the horizon, fishing one of the better known spots of this prolific coastline. So we had the lighthouse all to ourselves and spent the morning taking dozens of snaps and scouring the beach for interesting debris. The drive only takes 10 odd minutes, but is strictly for high clearance vehicles only. The alternative is to walk there. At low tide, much of this route can be done along the shore line, and it’s a more interesting way to get there anyway.

Mazeppa Bay
5 Oct 2013
 
     

This beach is missing a cow

The Eastern Cape is a gem of a landscape underappreciated by many South Africans. If you find yourself in the Wild Coast neighbourhood, I strongly suggest a trip to Mazeppa Bay. The area offers both a variety of hotels, for those who enjoy more stable accommodation, but there are camping and caravanning areas as well. The sand dunes are spectacular and if you’re not a sandboarder or snowboarder I suggest you collect all of the empty beer boxes you have and prepare to spend your days sliding down the dunes in true South African style. A walk along the beach reveals an expansive dream-like landscape that you can easily get lost in for hours. Also, you’ll more likely be sharing the beachfront with a cow than a Camps Bay deckchair. Livestock seem to roam freely in the area and are quite happy to plonk down next to you. I’m sure that they do belong to someone in one of villages along the coast, but they don’t seem to know that. It’s quite a surreal experience seeing such a domesticated animal in such a wild environment, but that really does sum up Mazeppa Bay in a nutshell: a place where boundaries are a little more unclear than you might be used to.

 - Matthew Jones

Relaxing in Paternoster
21 Sep 2013
 
     

The Western Cape is picturesque with so many beautiful towns or villages to explore! The horizon on the sky seems endless and the transition from the city to the open landscape of fynbos is magnificent with the sand dunes making up so much of the topography. 

Paternoster is a fishing village that is approximately 90min from Cape Town. This charming little village is surreal, with white washed beach houses, crushed shell driveways, a long white beach and massive coastline boulders making up this romantic getaway destination! 

Whatever beach house you rent in Paternoster, it’s going to surprise you with its simplistic decor and small touches of the locals' artworks. Though every house was white with blue shutters, each villa had its own characteristic... its own identity! 

The best way to get to know Paternoster is to discover it by foot! The sand on the beach was so soft that my feet just sank between the sandy particles leaving an imprint between my toes. I found a little seafood restaurant on the beach that served fresh fish and wine with a delightful atmosphere.

As beautiful as Paternoster is, many say there’s not much to do... then why visit Paternoster? Well I’ve come up with my own list of what to do and here it is... 

- Get a beach house with a balcony and view of the ocean and watch the sun rise in the morning! A hot cuppa tea will just make this ideal!
- Take a walk on the beach and climb the boulders! Best to do this at low tide because you can see some awesome sea life living near the rocks.
- Whale watching! This area of the coast is great to watch whales...
- Relax!
- Eat crayfish sold by the locals... not sure how legal this is but super yummy to try!
- Have sundowners at the local seafood restaurant on the beach and enjoy a fresh piece of hake!
- Walk down the small streets and admire the houses and scenic views!
- Travel to Cape Columbine Lighthouse and go on a tour! Driving through this reserve and checking out the coastline is also an incredible experience.
- Sit on the beach and reflect with hot chocolate!

If you are looking for a quiet little place to visit that truly is inspiring and welcoming, then Paternoster is a wonderful option.

Gansbaai
20 Sep 2013
 
     

Gansbaai is a modern seaside town mixed with old-fashioned platteland values and friendly residents. It has a bustling main street dotted with Norfolk pine trees and a mish-mash of old and new shops. There are numerous water-related activities in the area, such as deep sea, rock, and beach fishing, kayaking, crayfishing, and scuba diving. Of course, the heart of Gansbaai is a thriving fishing industry. Here we watched one of the fishing vessels heading off to sea on a late Sunday afternoon, while enjoying our fish and chips. Although there are a number of good eateries in town, we think it is mandatory to have fish and chips at the little restaurant in the harbour itself.

Nightjar Travelled
16 Sep 2013
 
     

Paarl Sunset

Isn't this just country living at its finest? Paarl is one of those towns that is almost encapsulated by mountains, giving you a beautiful view in nearly any direction. The town is also filled with history, and well worth exploring.

http://www.nightjartravel.com/regions-towns/paarl

 – Erik on Instagram (@nightjartravel)

If you ever need bread in Arniston
7 Sep 2013
 
     

If you ever need bread in Arniston

In my first encounter with this seaside destination, settled a short distance from Cape Agulhas, Africa’s southern most tip, is that is was a popular holiday destination. The caves are quite something to behold, more so when you discover that there’s no red carpet leading up to them, and you’re going to get a bit wet if you miss low tide. Despite having a decent, if overpriced restaurant, the town itself is not as equipped as one might think. I recall driving up and down the manicured roads in search for a shop to buy bread, only to find a minute tuck-shop hidden in a parking lot behind a restaurant. They didn’t have bread. But if you have constant craving for XXX mints and Simba chips, you’ll be fine.

Nonetheless, bring a caravan or bring a tent and go experience the caves for yourself. There’s a good chance you’ll be the only one in them, which gives ample opportunity for self-indulgent Instagram pics. Just bring your own bread.

 – Matthew Jones

Paternoster
7 Jun 2013
 
     

We decided to shoot out to Paternoster for the weekend, to switch off from the buzz of the city for a bit - and there's no better place than a little seaside village for that! As a matter of fact, we were still in 'city mode' when we got to the first 4-way stop into town, and in our rush we almost ran over a young chap who was trying to peddle a flapping live crayfish! Needless to say, we (got a fright and then) had a good chuckle and were instantly transported into holiday mode.

This sunset greeted us from the upper level of Abalone House where we are staying in complete luxury, just what you need to relax! There are some more photos in our Instagram feed, which you can see here:

http://www.nightjartravel.com/magazine/instagram-feed

Erik

Prince Albert
18 Apr 2013
 
     

We have been to this little hamlet countless times over the years and have seen it grow in stature as a tourist destination. From a dusty, and often dirty little town, it has flower into one of the gems of the Karoo. Having travelled through a fair number of dorps and towns over the festive season, it was refreshing to see a town as clean as Prince Albert. What a pleasure! Not a scrap of litter lying around. The townsfolk clearly take pride in their town - and it shows. The same was true for Willowmore and Aberdeen, so clearly somebody is doing something right in that part of the world. 

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Nightjar

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