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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

Christmas Markets
17 Aug 2014
 
     

Christmas Markets 

December spent in Europe should directly be translated to Christmas markets. Warm wine, marzipan and dried fruit litter the flashing stalls. And there’s lots of whipped cream, for some reason the Europeans pile that on everything. Magical and glittering, these condensed stalls offer everything you need for Christmas, except maybe Christmas itself? 

- Megan Pilditch

Keurfontein
16 Aug 2014
 
     

Keurfontein

This site is typical of those throughout the Northern Cape province. The engraved images are found on low ridges of black dolerite rock that are ideal for engraving. At Keurfontein the scratched technique of engraving can be seen in abundance. In comparison to pecking and incising, the scratching technique does not produce finely detailed images. Both pecked and incised images are found at the site; this is a good place to compare all three. It is also one of the very rare sites where a ‘rock gong’ can be seen. Although well off the beaten path - it requires staying over in Vosburg or Britstown - this site will appeal to those with an adventurous spirit...

(GPS coordinates: -30.620639, 22.93739)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/rock-art/keurfontein

Horseback Africa
16 Aug 2014
 
     

Horseback Africa

Horseback Africa offers a range of outride options within a private game park and within easy reach of Pretoria. The equestrian excursions aim to transport you into the big-sky spaces and natural grandeur of the Highveld bush, allowing you to forget about the rat race for a few hours. You will get a unique opportunity to see wild animals close up and escape the noise and pollution of the city...

(GPS coordinates: -25.556889, 28.550528)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/horseback-africa

Deelfontein Trails
15 Aug 2014
 
     

Deelfontein Trails

Deelfontein lies in a network of more than 60km of hiking trails criss-crossing the Vredefort  Dome Conservancy. For trail runners this is an unexplored paradise, as you will find that at least 15 trails can be accessed from Deelfontein. Distances vary from 1km to 16km. The terrain is mountainous bushveld and grassveld. The routes include dirt roads, farm tracks and rugged jeep tracks. There are also some good single-track sections exploring the mountaintops...

(GPS coordinates: -26.942247, 27.269903)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/trail-running/deelfontein-trails

Glass Cuttings
15 Aug 2014
 
     

Glass Cuttings

Specialising in all varieties of stained-glass products, Glass Cuttings offers grand as well as more delicate handcrafted products along the Midlands Meander. The store – located on the cusp of Pietermaritzburg and the start of the Meander – stocks glass creations that manipulate the light for your viewing pleasure. Using a process that dates back to the late 1800s, items at Glass Cuttings are made with the deepest passion for the craft and the creation of unique pieces. This translates into seemingly two-dimensional objects being given new life in glass...

(GPS coordinates: -29.541579, 30.283572)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/art-craft/glass-cuttings

One Ingredient Workshops
15 Aug 2014
 
     

One Ingredient Workshops

If there’s anything I have learned whiled living in Cape Town, it’s to appreciate great food and to embrace new experiences. Which is why I really didn’t complain when I had the opportunity of attending a foodie event that provided me with a 4-course meal, an abundance of wine and a workshop “a la Masterchef” where I learned to cook and plate up gourmet dishes. The weekly occurrence of this workshop by Chef Matt Manning is what had me salivating a little – with every week having a different ingredient infused into all four courses.  As if I needed another reason to love Cape Town.

- Daniella Toscano

Mzimpunzi Trail
14 Aug 2014
 
     

Mzimpunzi Trail

The coastal walks along the Wild Coast are not strictly speaking trails. All you really have to do is get yourself on one of the may footpaths (or cattle paths) that run along the coastline and go! One such trail runs between Mbotyi and the Mzimpunzi River mouth. Just make your way to the beach in front of the Mbotyi River Lodge and head South. The coastline is rocky, interspersed with sand beaches – each more tempting than the next.  In fact, it will be quite a feat if you make it to the river mouth and not get stuck at one of the six beaches on the way there…

(GPS coordinates: -31.520459, 29.687977)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/mzimpunzi-trail

Zulu Mpophomeni Tourism Experience
14 Aug 2014
 
     

Zulu Mpophomeni Tourism Experience

What better way to fully experience a culture than to join it for a day? Zulu Mpophomeni Tourism Experience is a non-profit organisation that was established by locals in the district to empower and provide sustainable employment to the members of the community. As time has passed, this venture has become a full-fledged, award-winning enterprise that brings the ‘township experience’ to the masses. It presents a glimpse into the lives of the locals, as well as into Zulu culture, in a completely unparalleled way...

(GPS coordinates: -29.557033, 30.1705

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/zulu-mpophomeni-tourism-experience

Lion’s Head
14 Aug 2014
 
     

Lion’s Head: Off Kloof Nek, Cape Town

I’m not a hiker, but I love the views that Cape Town has to offer. My brother is a hiker, but he always wants a challenge. So when we woke up to climb Lion’s Head for sunrise, we were both excited. He was going to hike, and I was going to see the sun fall over city-views. The path was easy even for me, and when the end was in sight, someone brilliant thought it’d be far more exciting (and safer) to ascend the summit via ladders and chains. While I kept my mind on the views that the summit promised, my brother revelled in the experience of using chains to guide himself over little cliffs, or scaling ladders as quickly as possible. We weren’t disappointed – views like only Table Mountain could beat, and a profound sense of (mild) accomplishment.

- Brad Harris

Surrender Hill
13 Aug 2014
 
     

Surrender Hill

Surrender Hill is an Anglo-Boer War battlefield about 10 kilometres from the town of Clarens. The heritage site, proclaimed in 1986, marks the place where Free State Boer commandos surrendered to British troops on July 31 1900, following a series of fierce battles fought between Fouriesberg and Golden Gate. The site is a must-visit for its Anglo-Boer War history as well as the spectacular views the hill affords...

(GPS coordinates: -28.603513, 28.400731)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/surrender-hill

God's Window
13 Aug 2014
 
     

God's Window

Not to be missed while travelling the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve (Motlatse Canyon Provincial Nature Reserve) is God’s Window, for it is as wondrous as its name implies. Located at an altitude of 2 000m, it’s a view that comes with canyons, seemingly infinite peaks, waterfalls and rock formations, as this rampart of cliffs on the Klein Drakensberg escarpment plunges down about 700 metres into a ravine carpeted in indigenous forest...

(GPS coordinates: -24.876499, 30.888024)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/god’s-window

Horse riding, Mabula
12 Aug 2014
 
     

Horse riding, Mabula

Mabula, a 12 000ha Big 5, malaria-free reserve in the Waterberg, specialises in 90-minute horse safaris. Experienced rangers lead small groups of riders across the open plains and through the river valleys of the magnificent reserve. They point out the birds, the elusive little critters, and of course the big guys. Some 300 bird species, 60 mammals and numerous reptiles have been recorded, including Nile crocodiles. In addition to bush walks, birding tours and vehicle-based safaris, Mabula also has some unusual animal viewing opportunities. These include crocodile feeding and snake demonstrations, a cheetah breeding project, a ground hornbill project and a reptile centre…

(GPS coordinates: -24.73928, 27.925224)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/horse-riding-mabula

Black Eagle Trail
12 Aug 2014
 
     

Black Eagle Trail

This breathtaking trail in the Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve passes through a variety of vegetation types, from lowland bushveld to pure grasslands on the hilltops, and offers commanding views. From the high points, you get a great feel for the geology and the animal and plant life of the valley, so it’s well worth the mileage…

(GPS coordinates: -29.4754, 30.239195)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/black-eagle-trail

The Season’s Little Gems
12 Aug 2014
 
     

The Season’s Little Gems

As our river seasons drew to a rapid conclusion, I reflected on a few of the flies that deserved a note for the success they had brought during the past 8 months. 

I’m at first not a nymph fisherman, preferring dry flies whenever they are doing the job, but for those times when I’m driven below in an attempt to search for what the trout want, I do turn into a bit of nympho; not a very good one, but there is no denying that it probably is the most rewarding technique considering that the trout’s diet consist mostly of mayfly nymphs. Anyone’s fly box would be seriously lacking if it didn’t contain a small selection of patterns to satisfy this food source.

The picture below shows two of my favourite Baetis nymphs from this past season. I don’t know if it is the red and blue tags that have helped, but for whatever reason, these two have outfished my stock Zak and GRHE nymphs.

The soft hackle is named the Guru after a good friend who introduced me to this fly not long ago. It is a modern take on the original age-old soft hackle flies or Yorkshire Spiders from England – typical of the Guru’s creative, free thinking fly tying style. 

I have made a few of my own modifications by using an under-body of peacock herl over wrapped with clear vinyl rib as opposed to his which has a black V rib over the shank. The fly also incorporated a tungsten bead a few millimetres along the shank behind the Partridge hackle. It can be fished on its own, but does do a good job 30 to 40 cm behind a heavily weight point fly New Zealand style.

Guest blog by Peter Brigg 
callofthestream.wordpress.com

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