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Macrorie House
23 Aug 2014
 
     

Macrorie House

Macrorie House in Pietermaritzburg is a mid-Victorian era, double-storey house that has become a South African Heritage Site and National Monument. Built in 1862, this beautiful old home was the residence of William Macrorie, who was the bishop of Pietermaritzburg in the 19th century. Now a museum showcasing perfectly-preserved memorabilia, the personal belongings of the bishop merge with apostolic artefacts. The house thus captures the lifestyles of the early British settlers, and of this man of the cloth in particular...

(GPS coordinates: -29.611724, 30.371967)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/macrorie-house

Wild Meerkat Tours
22 Aug 2014
 
     

Wild Meerkat Tours

One of the most charming things you can to in Oudtshoorn is to go on a tour of a colony of wild, habituated meerkats. The choice of words may sound a little strange, but these meerkats are indeed wild. They  are never fed or handled by humans. Its just that they have become used to having the odd human in the vicinity. Tours commence at sunrise, but only once it is clear that the weather is going to be fine. On cold and rainy days, these little creatures do what any sensible person should do - they lie in! Meerkats are part of the so-called Shy 5 which also includes the bat-eared fox, the aardvark, porcupine and aardwolf. The meerkat tours last between 2-3 hours and booking is essential...

(GPS coordinates:  -33.59644, 22.181009)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/wild-meerkat-tours

Dias Museum
22 Aug 2014
 
     

Dias Museum

The maritime history of Mossel Bay can be explored at the Dias Museum Complex, where you can board a replica of Bartholomew Dias’s caravel in the Maritime Museum. This ship sailed from Portugal and arrived in Mossel Bay in 1988 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Dias’s landing here. Standing on the deck of this 23,5-metre-long boat, it’s hard to imagine how 30  crew members spent six months on calm and stormy seas with little to protect them from the elements. Check out the display of navigational instruments, and put yourself in the early European explorers’ shoes.

(GPS coordinates: -34.180106, 22.142099)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/dias-museum

Twigs With Beans: Harfield Village
22 Aug 2014
 
     

Twigs With Beans: Harfield Village, Cape Town

On my first visit to the corner café I couldn’t order a coffee. They were in full motion of setting up for some big gig that they were hosting that evening – I wasn’t even disappointed, only impressed that this small café held gigs. The second visit was more successful on a coffee-front and, armoured with free Wi-Fi, I pretended to work while playing with another customer’s bored dog. Dogs are allowed inside – it’s different like that. Even more different is their obsession with plants, which decorate the place inside and out. They hang from the walls, sit in coloured pots, cling to wire structures and are even sold from the back. It’s not like sitting in a café – it feels more like a small city-park that vends coffee and cakes.

- Brad Harris

Goegap MTB Trail
21 Aug 2014
 
     

Goegap MTB Trail

Biking is along a 35-kilometre network of 4x4 tracks and gravel reserve roads, starting off from the reserve offices set in a narrow valley bisecting the granite domes of the Klein Koperberge. Although there is quite a bit of rock and sand, it is possible to adapt the route choice in order to suit your level of fitness. The trail is harsh in places; minimalist in most, but eminently rideable if you are a moderate-to-accomplished mountain-biker. All in all, Goegap Nature Reserve makes for a fascinating pedal-power exploration, but most enjoyable is the fact that it is a truly undiscovered landscape. The Geogap MTB Race is held annually in November…

(GPS coordinates: -29.665979, 17.998095)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/mountain-biking/goegap-mtb-trail

Noordhoek Beach SS Kakapo Shipwreck Trail
21 Aug 2014
 
     

Noordhoek Beach SS Kakapo Shipwreck Trail

This walk, which leads along a beautiful stretch of white sand to the SS Kakapo shipwreck, will take you about 40 minutes each way. From the parking lot on the Chapman’s Peak side of the beach, simply follow theboardwalk down to the sand and turn left before your feet get wet. This stretch, also known as ‘Long Beach’, links the toes of Chapman’s Peak to Kommetjie in the distance. Towards the Kommetjie side of the beach you’ll find the shipwreck lying high and dry. This colossal steamship was on her way to Sydney when she ran ashore on 25 May 1900...

(GPS coordinates: -34.098288, 18.357747)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/noordhoek-beach-ss-kakapo-shipwreck-trail

Muizenburg Beach
21 Aug 2014
 
     

Muizenburg Beach

We woke up before sunrise and drove in the dark towards Muizenburg. When we arrived, I was starving, but Knead Café was still closed. 7:30 a.m. That’s when I get my croissant and coffee. An hour and a half away. So we sat down on the still grey beach, with surfers already slipping their wetsuits on around us, and waited. It starts slowly, the sunrise, with pinks and reds and yellows stripping the night sky – beautiful. The sun rises over distant mountains, and then turns the sea into liquid gold… 8 a.m. hits. It’s that beautiful. But still Knead welcomes us in with coffee and croissants, except now we run back out. Already the beach is attracting the crowds, but, early in the morning, when no one besides the oldest surfers thinks to go out, it’s at its best.

- Brad Harris

Nelspruit Golf Club
20 Aug 2014
 
     

Nelspruit Golf Club

Consistently ranked within the top 100 courses in the country, Nelspruit Golf Club is one of Mpumalanga’s premier golfing locations and provides a high class but affordable experience with a distinctly Bushveld twist. Devised by renowned South African golf course designer Bob Grimsdell in 1939, the course has since 1998 played host to the Jock of The Bushveld Festival of Golf, the biggest amateur tournament in the country...

(GPS coordinates: -25.481164, 31.001625)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/nelspruit-golf-club

Wandie's Place
20 Aug 2014
 
     

Wandie's Place

Wandie’s Place is arguably Soweto’s most famous shebeen. You’ll need your wallet, your trendiest threads and your autograph book, before you head out to have a good time here. Proprietor Wandile Ndala still personally cooks the buffet spread consisting of traditional South African dishes. 

More celebrities have dined here than there are ingredients on the menu...

(GPS coordinates: -26.237697, 27.889427)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/food-wine/wandies-place

Devil's Peak via Mowbray Ridge Trail
19 Aug 2014
 
     

Devil's Peak via Mowbray Ridge Trail

This long, exciting route has a bit of everything: stunning views over the whole Peninsula, some airy scrambles and wonderful fynbos. If you look up towards the mountain from Rhodes Memorial you will see a blockhouse on the ridge. Take the path from top of the car park until you reach the gravel road, then walk 50 metres or so left along this before heading up the slopes again in the direction of the blockhouse. The hike up to the summit beacons should take about three hours and the easiest way down is to continue over the peak and down towards the saddle between Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain...

(GPS coordinates: -33.952402, 18.459041)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/devil’s-peak-mowbray-ridge-trail

Mayibuye Centre
19 Aug 2014
 
     

Mayibuye Centre

The Mayibuye Centre is situated on the campus of the University of the Western Cape. It consists of a large collection of history in the form of photographs, letters and historic items that tell the story of South Africa’s freedom struggle. "Mayibuye" means "let it return", which aptly describes the ethos of the centre. They source, archive and share material relating to all aspects of apartheid and the anti-apartheid struggle...

(GPS coordinates: -33.932955, 18.629181)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/mayibuye-centre

Karoo Acacia, Trout and a Favourite Stream
19 Aug 2014
 
     

Karoo Acacia, Trout and a Favourite Stream

I had just returned from a road trip for a family celebration in Port Elizabeth. On the return journey I managed to use up some accumulated brownie points and sneak in a little flyfishing among the Karoo Acacia. It is my belief that a road trip or any trip for that matter, isn’t complete unless it involves flyfishing at some stage – not that difficult because if it’s wet there is almost always something to tempt with a fly.

Alan and Annabelle Hobson were our welcoming, friendly hosts at their comfortable and quaint Angler and Antelope Guest House, (www.anglerandantelope.co.za) a deconsecrated church and ancillary buildings converted into a guesthouse. 

What made our fleeting stop and afternoons fishing so fascinating was that it defied all logic, or certainly my understanding of suitable habitat for trout in clear, cold mountain streams. Who would have thought that there was quality flyfishing for trout in the hot, dry, dusty Karoo environment? It was my first eye-opening visit and it definitely won’t be my last. 

Guest blog by Peter Brigg 
callofthestream.wordpress.com

Dwarfs Dawdle Trail
18 Aug 2014
 
     

Dwarfs Dawdle Trail

This circular trail in the Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve starts just beyond the concrete causeway at Indulo Car Park (P4 on the reserve map). You can follow either the upper or lower path but the best option is to start on the lower path, which drops down steeply, crossing the stream at a small waterfall. It then contours around the hill, where a number of cycads line the pathway and you’ll often see trumpeter hornbills, red-billed woodhoopoes, stone chats and waxbills...

(GPS coordinates: -29.475433, 30.239267)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/dwarfs-dawdle-trail

Orange River Rafting: Namibia Border
18 Aug 2014
 
     

Orange River Rafting: Namibia Border

The entire trip was frightening, but so superb. I’d never been white-river rafting before, and neither had my paddling companion, but we committed to a four day expedition and launched in the early morning. If it had been any later, I might have reconsidered that launch. By midday the rapids had become monstrous, and my arms were begging for rest. We were propelled over boulders by frothing horses, and brought under low canopies by the currents. At one point we were even rotating relentlessly, stuck in a hidden eddy. But, the guides are like river gods in their knowledge and expertise, and by the end of it I found myself wanting to return to that early morning and re-launch. Adrenaline. Excitement. Sun… Laughs. It is entirely worth the long drive up-country.

- Brad Harris

Bass Lake Diving
17 Aug 2014
 
     

Bass Lake Diving

If you fancy a fun day out with the family, want to try scuba diving for the first time, up your qualification level or simply feel the need to get weightless, then Bass Lake, in Henley-on-Klip just south of Johannesburg, is a good option. And while inland diving can’t compare with that of the open ocean, one big advantage of fresh water is that you avoid stinging eyes as you practise your mask-clearing and other skills. Unsurprisingly, it’s the most popular training venue in the Highveld, with courses from basic open water through to instructor training, as well as casual diving...

(GPS coordinates: -26.509098, 28.065991)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/scuba-diving/bass-lake-diving

Verloorsdrif Gorge Rafting
17 Aug 2014
 
     

Verloorsdrif Gorge Rafting

The Orange River Gorge is located on the Namibian border, a roughly equal distance along the river from the famous Augrabies Falls to the east and the Richtersveld National Park to the west. The trip through the gorge is a five-night and four-day affair and is a journey of unmatched beauty that leaves you with newfound respect for the power of the river. Guests meet in the evening at the camp at Onseepkans for dinner and leave vehicles there for the duration of the trip. Bring bedding, clothes and a tent if you want (or tents can be hired), but usually this is about nights under stars on the banks of the river...

(GPS coordinates: -28.736073, 19.304287)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/rafting-kayaking/verloorsdrif-gorge-rafting

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