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Mo and Rose at Soekershof
8 Aug 2014
 
     

Mo and Rose at Soekershof

Mo and Rose's wine bistro is ensconced in the beautifully renovated old barn just outside Robertson on the road to Ashton. Experience genuine Tischkultur (fine dining) - a refined dining experience filled with attention to detail and a friendly atmosphere, in a lovely country setting. Mo & Rose's mission is to serve thoughtfully handcrafted fare utilising fresh local produce with most of the vegetables and herbs farm-grown. The wine bistro pays tribute to the passion of winemaking with its stellar selection of boutique wines from renowned wineries both local and beyond...

(GPS coordinates: -33.81122, 19.979579)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/mo-and-rose-soekershof

Padstal near Yzerfontein
8 Aug 2014
 
     

Padstal near Yzerfontein

It’s raining when we arrive, but we have spotted the giant sign inviting us to see a tiger and there’s no holding us back from that. In the middle of nowhere (Yzerfontein), we have stumbled across a “padstal” that is full of glorious creatures. I find myself being photo-bombed by a cockatoo and having a conversation with a rainbow macaw. We are served a delicious farm-style breakfast next to a fireplace and the waiter tells us all about the hour-long tour where we get to see a tiger and a panther! It feels like we have stepped into this magical world of exotic birds and exciting creatures. You never know what you may find in the middle of nowhere.

- Daniella Toscano

Fish Hoek
7 Aug 2014
 
     

Fish Hoek

The traditional angling community coexists with the leisure pursuits of surfing, sailing and sunbathing along the Fish Hoek beach front. The long, white, sandy beach at Fish Hoek is one of the safest on the False Bay coast, popular for swimming and snorkelling. The beach is about 1.5km long and flat, while the bay is protected from the strong currents and vigorous surf prevalent in the rest of False Bay. 

Lifesavers are on duty at the beach during the summer peak season, and body surfing, boogie boarding, wind surfing and kayaking are popular...

(GPS coordinates: -34.137268, 18.43375)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/fish-hoek

Helderberg 4x4 Trail
7 Aug 2014
 
     

Helderberg 4x4 Trail

At the Helderberg Farm, at the very foot of the Helderberg Mountain olde worlde charm and atmosphere reign. African fauna and flora are well represented by the fish eagle cry that is heard almost daily, the Cape clawless Otters leaving their footprints in the mud, hundreds of bird species and one of the biggest klipkershout trees in SA. The 12km trail is well marked and colour-coded, offering variations in grading and escape routes should you prefer to bypass some of the more hectic obstacles… 

(GPS coordinates: -34.032779, 18.83433)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/4x4/helderberg-4x4-trail

Kruger Scavengers
7 Aug 2014
 
     

Kruger Scavengers

The sound of the bone scraping against the road as the hyena dragged the heavy leg across the tar was spine chilling. The leg had become detached from the giraffe’s carcass, and the group of hyenas were having a field day gobbling it up. In the background sat a little jackal, patiently waiting for his chance to pick up the scraps.

- Megan Pilditch

Marievale Bird Sanctuary
6 Aug 2014
 
     

Marievale Bird Sanctuary

The approximately 1 000ha sanctuary is situated at the southern end of the Blesbokspruit floodplain - a RAMSAR site and a designated Important Bird Area (IBA SA021). Open all year round, with free access, the Marievale Bird Sanctuary is among Gauteng’s best birding spots, with over 280 wetland and grassland species. The reserve is characterised by expanses of marsh with large reed beds and open patches of water (becoming mudflats during drier periods)...

(GPS coordinates: -26.384421, 28.510267)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/marievale-bird-sanctuary

Atlantic Seaboard Shore Diving
6 Aug 2014
 
     

Atlantic Seaboard Shore Diving

One of the attractions of Cape Town diving is the number of spectacular shore dives within the marine reserve. But be warned, getting to the water usually involves scrambling over boulders - no mean task in full cold-water dive gear - and once in the water you’re often faced with a longish swim through kelp forest. (Don’t be deterred, diving from a boat is always an option!) Some of the best and most accessible dives on the Atlantic Seaboard are at Oudekraal...

(GPS coordinates: -33.982442, 18.357024)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/scuba-diving/atlantic-seaboard-shore-diving

Knysna Diving
5 Aug 2014
 
     

Knysna Diving

Diving Knysna is a bit unpredictable and very weather-dependent but the lagoon is usually warm and sheltered even when the sea is rough – and of course there’s always the lure of spotting an elusive Knysna seahorse. One of the most popular shore dives in the lagoon is the wreck of the Paquita, a German vessel that sank in 1903 on her way to Barbados. Other top reefs include Christmas and New Year, a fairly protected site halfway between the Eastern Head and Brenton-on-Sea. Advanced divers will enjoy East Cape Wall, off East Cape Point…

(GPS coordinates: -34.039085, 23.040588)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/scuba-diving/knysna-diving

Boe Boes Nest Trail
5 Aug 2014
 
     

Boe Boes Nest Trail

Although slate is not the most sought after rock these days, there are still a number of slate quarries from which their owners eke out an existence. North West province is home to a few of these and Elephant Slate, near Koster, is one such blemish on the landscape. The Boe Boes Nest explores the pleasant Elands River gorge on land that belongs to the slate company and although the area cannot be classed as pristine, it's a surprisingly beautiful trail that has some interesting relics that take you back to the heyday of slate roofs and floors...

(GPS coordinates: -25.794308, 26.746345)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/boe-boes-nest-trail

The Mayfly Spinner
5 Aug 2014
 
     

The Mayfly Spinner

The Mayfly Spinner rates among my all time favourite dry fly patterns for small mountain streams. Not that we have prolific hatches on South African waters, but the distinctive profile is familiar and recognisable to the trout as something they have seen and eaten and enjoyed before. 

In a generic context this little fly simply looks like an insect of sorts. I used to use the conventional hour-glass style for the wings, but more recently have tied the fly using the Ellis Triple wing method. I have found that although a little more complex to tie, it has improved the pattern’s appearance, resembling more closely the wings of the natural insect and thereby improving the trigger qualities of the fly. 

For the tail I use a few strands of Coc de Leon and splay these by taking a loop or two of thread under the tail, two different coloured strands of Moose mane for the abdomen, white Z Lon for the wings (trimmed to shape) and a 2 to 3 mm strip of black razor foam over and below the wings to create a distinctive thorax. The foam also aids the fly’s floatability.

Guest blog by Peter Brigg 

callofthestream.wordpress.com

Magaliesberg Rock Climbing
4 Aug 2014
 
     

Magaliesberg Rock Climbing

The beautiful kloofs of the Magalies Mountains are only an hour’s drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria so are very popular with climbers in Gauteng. Most of the 1 800 or so routes are trad climbs, but there is sport climbing at Fernkloof and Wigwam. The climbs range from super-easy to those that will test the country’s top rock jocks. They are generally multi-pitch, on high quality quartzite with excellent natural protection...

(GPS coordinates: -25.836282, 27.475691)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/climbing/magaliesberg-rock-climbing

Silvermine MTB Trails
4 Aug 2014
 
     

Silvermine MTB Trails

Enter through a metal boom at the trail head and turn left 50 metres along a rutted road ascending towards the Elephants Eye cave. Pass the turn-off to your left at 1,3 kilometres, riding up towards the Sentech radio mast that is visible in the distance. At about the two-kilometre mark, the surface changes to dual concrete strips before you eventually crest at 2,2 kilometres. Pass the faint route to the fire lookout hut on the right and carry on straight up. The ride has views over False Bay and the Atlantic Ocean before reaching the ride’s highest point of 775 metres at the 4,5-kilometre mark. This is where the fun really starts...

(GPS coordinates: -34.076732, 18.405951)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/mountain-biking/silvermine-mtb-trails

Mandela Monument
4 Aug 2014
 
     

Mandela Monument

“I could not imagine that the future I was walking toward could compare in any way to the past that I was leaving behind.” Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom. (Picture taken at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal.)

- Megan Pilditch

Bourke's Luck Potholes
3 Aug 2014
 
     

Bourke's Luck Potholes

The Motlatse Canyon Provincial Nature Reserve stretches over an area of 25 000 hectares.  Bourke’s Luck Potholes is on the reserve’s western border, where the Treur (now Sefogane) and Blyde (now Motlatse) rivers meet.  Long ago, swirling underwater vortexes, through erosion, caused these cylindrical potholes or cavities, which are also referred to as giant’s kettles. The potholes are visible from the cliffs above, where there is a 700-metre circular path with metal pedestrian bridges connecting viewpoints over these geological phenomena. They are named after a hapless fortune seeker, Tom Burke, who staked a claim close to the site in the 1880s.  He predicted the finding of large gold deposits in the region, but he was unsuccessful...

(GPS coordinates: -24.673738, 30.810122)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/bourke’s-luck-potholes

Sani Spoors MTB Trails
3 Aug 2014
 
     

Sani Spoors MTB Trails

Sani Spoors offer an intoxicating mix of mountain-bike trails of varying difficulty and skill levels, providing fun and excitement for the whole family. Adrenalin-filled downhills, strenuous climbs, gentle river trails and technical bridge-crossings all in one safe and scenically beautiful area. The Intshitshi Spoor is an easy amble along the banks of the Umzimkulu River, suitable for novices and children. The Milk Run and Jackall Joll are for the big boys... 

(GPS coordinates: -29.766119, 29.460847)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/mountain-biking/sani-spoors-mtb-trails

The New Forest
3 Aug 2014
 
     

The New Forest: Burley, South West England

I definitely remember the man in the aged bicycle shop saying that this hike was possible to finish before lunch, but here I was. It was lunch-time and I was staring at the sun blaring through needle-like trees covered in moss, exhausted. I made the worst error, and mistook 8 miles for 8 kilometres… but I didn’t regret it. I found the New Forest is blanketed in a thick layer of orange and browning leaves in winter, the sky goes smoky grey and the sun filters through heavy leaves. After the sixth or so encounter, I stopped naming the wild horses roaming freely in the forest – after one stood obstinately in my path and I had to brave the underbrush to get around it. But, with the exhaustion and strange encounters, 8 miles is still nothing in a place like this.

- Brad Harris

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