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Martindell
23 Jul 2014
 
     

Martindell

Martindell has a number of interesting and well preserved paintings, including rare depictions of dogs. It is situated in the picturesque Martin’s Hoek Valley, a 15-minute drive from Rhodes. Similarly to nearby Buttermeade, there is a painting of a bird in close association with a dying eland. The site is fenced and there is no charge for visitors. It is easy to visit this site if you are staying over at Rhodes, which is a delightful town with excellent fly-fishing...

(GPS coordinates: -30.817549, 27.866674)

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

Bhangazi Horse Safaris, iSimangaliso Wetland Park
22 Jul 2014
 
     

Bhangazi Horse Safaris offers horseback safaris for both novices and old hands in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park has spectacular beaches, lush subtropical vegetation and real sense of wilderness. This makes it an absolutely wonderful place to ride. The beach rides start at Iphiva Beach at the northern end of the town of St Lucia. They only run at low tide so that neither the horses nor anything living in the softer sand higher up the beach are harmed. The mounts are beautiful ‘boerperd’, thoroughbreds or ‘boerperd’/Arab cross breeds. You ride out along the endless, beautiful white sands, taking in the majesty of your surroundings and the sounds and smell of the Indian Ocean...

(GPS coordinates: -28.362803, 32.431726)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/bhangazi-horse-safaris-isimangaliso-we...

Kungwini Academy 4x4 Trail
22 Jul 2014
 
     

Kungwini Academy 4x4 Trail

Kungwini is situated just 50km from Pretoria, right at the eastern tip of the Magaliesberg Mountains overlooking the picturesque Kungwini Lake (formerly known as the Bronkhorstpruit Dam). This is your chance to slip away from the rush and get back to earth on a secluded farm with its adventurous 4x4 route. The 8km off-road eco-trail on the eastern extremity of the Magaliesberg will not only test your driving, but also your ecological knowledge. The 4x4 Academy obstacle track is another story. This is the perfect place to test your vehicle and your own driving skills without the risk of damaging your vehicle. The Advanced Academy track for the more experienced driver is a natural track offering another 20 obstacles with a difficulty grading of up to 4/5...

(GPS coordinates: -25.866204, 28.700339)

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

Wild Trout, Hidden Streams
22 Jul 2014
 
     

Wild Trout, Hidden Streams

A wild trout, tiny, but perfect, in streams made of no more than pockets connected by ribbons of water that flow out of high mountains, that’s the stuff that dreams are made of.  These trout are the descendants of those that were originally seeded into these waters in the late 1800s after the ova survived the 3-week journey by sea in frozen wooden crates from Scotland, across the equator to South Africa. And, through the devoted efforts of certain individuals, were eventually hatched after many hardships and failures, in rudimentary wooden troughs in a small cool forested stream not far from the village of Nottingham Road in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands. 

I have visited these streams often over many years, the well-known ones; those less so and even discovered a few in hidden secret places. It is these little gems that when I go there I still get that magical feeling I once felt many years ago when I discovered it for the first time. These are the ones where the wilderness has remained untouched and survived human interference.

Guest blog by Peter Brigg 
callofthestream.wordpress.com

Game Pass Shelter
21 Jul 2014
 
     

Game Pass Shelter

One of the best preserved sites in southern Africa, Game Pass Shelter is situated in the Kwazulu-Natal Nature Conservation reserve at Kamberg. It has become one of the most famous rock art sites in the world because of a cluster of images at the site that have been called the ‘Rosetta Stone’ of southern African San rock art. In the late 1970s and early 1980s these images allowed researchers to interpret something of the code of San rock art. Today the site has a visitor centre with a coffee shop. Guides, which are compulsory, can be booked here for the long hike up to see the site...

(GPS coordinates: -29.385354, 29.66922)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/rock-art/game-pass-shelter

Nieuwoudtville Waterfall
21 Jul 2014
 
     

Nieuwoudtville Waterfall

Just outside the quaint town of Nieuwoudtville, the Doring River snakes its way through a unique landscape. Here in the Bokkeveld, the wide expanses of the Hantam Karoo collide with the Cape Fynbos, the unique vegetation that has put South Africa firmly on the botanical world map. A few kilometres after the last building, the river suddenly plunges down into a lush rocky gorge: the beauty of the Nieuwoudtville waterfall takes many visitors by complete surprise...

(GPS coordinates: -31.319538, 19.117474)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/nieuwoudtville-waterfall

Yengele Trail, Mpenjati Nature Reserve
20 Jul 2014
 
     

Yengele Trail, Mpenjati Nature Reserve

This lush, 66-hectare coastal reserve, which comprises interlinking wetlands, grasslands and dune forests, is a twitcher's paradise and, since it's varied and many of the trees are labeled, it's a great place to hike with kids. The Trafalgar Marine protected area that stretches from the reserve to San Lameer, 4,5 kilometres away, is the smallest marine protected area in South Africa, proclaimed to protect the marine fossil beds that are exposed in the intertidal zone. The Yengele Trail, on the northern bank of the Mpenjati River, starts at the very end of the car park along the lagoon...

(GPS coordinates: -30.969551, 30.282129)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/yengele-trail-mpenjati-nature-reserve

Durbanville Rose Garden
20 Jul 2014
 
     

Durbanville Rose Garden

The Durbanville Rose Garden is just 30 kilometres from the stress and bustle of the Cape Town city centre. The garden is home to over 500 rose varietals and there are 4 500 individual rose bushes planted over the garden’s 3.5 hectares. There are beds of miniatures, a gazebo that includes the ‘Fairest Cape’ rose, beds of prize-winning roses, antique roses, floribundas, climbers and shrubs...

(GPS coordinates: -33.850575, 18.643678)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/durbanville-rose-garden

Dingwall: Northern Scotland, UK
20 Jul 2014
 
     

Dingwall: Northern Scotland, UK

A castle-like hotel was what attracted me first, but the countryside kept me there. This was my last stop on a tour of the UK, and it reminded me most of home. On a shaky bus into Dingwall, I overheard an elderly couple expressing their distaste with the season: ‘Marge, do you know what I’d do if I saw a bloody tourist this season? I don’t know what I’d do!’. It’s a miracle I heard it through their sing-song accent, but even though I did, I wasn’t put off. The experience encouraged me. This was the real Scottish countryside, where tourists are looked on poorly. It’s where you always eat local produce, because they don't get anything else. I hardly noticed the grey skies and cold. I noticed the rolling green lawns, red leaves and twisting trees that form little forests with chimney smoke snaking above.

- Brad Harris

Platberg Mountain Reserve
19 Jul 2014
 
     

Platberg Mountain Reserve

The Platberg, an extension of the eastern foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains, is the Free State’s own “Table Mountain”, and overlooks the town of Harrismith. Its western slopes and the summit of the mountain are a nature reserve with a number of endemic/near-endemic alpine plants that are unique to the region. The reserve is also home to eland, black wildebeest, blesbok and mountain reedbuck. Every year in October, Harrismith welcomes outdoor sports enthusiasts to the Berg Bohaai festival, which sees the peaceful town becoming the location of one of South Africa’s toughest cross-country running events: the Platberg, or Berg Marathon…

(GPS coordinates: -28.278922, 29.150579)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/platberg-mountain-reserve

Vaal River Rafting
19 Jul 2014
 
     

Vaal River Rafting

Escape the river rats along the upper reaches of the Vaal River and enjoy a full-on aqua adventure with Tapimanzi Adventures. It’s only an hour from Johannesburg, but it will feel like a whole new world once you get out there in the countryside. Big rapids and good water are on the outdoor menu while you navigate your way between reed islands and through many a winding river channel. Tapimanzi Adventures is situated on the banks of the scenic Vaal River between Vanderbijlpark and Vereeniging. The departure point of your adventure will depend on which section of the river you’ve decided to run, so confirm a meeting upon making your booking...

(GPS coordinates: -26.873952, 28.116353)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/rafting-kayaking/vaal-river-rafting

Strandveld 4x4 Trail
18 Jul 2014
 
     

Strandveld 4x4 Trail

The Strandveld 4x4 Trail meanders through a 30 000ha privately-owned game park. Ostrich, gemsbok, springbok and smaller antelope are common sights along the route as well as a huge variety of plants. The trail follows a sometimes nearly invisible route through two dune systems that cover approximately 1 200ha and provide spectacular dune riding opportunities. As the Strandveld Dune Field comprises dynamic mobile dunes with almost no fixed vegetation there is only a very small risk of harming any form of fauna or flora. This is fantastic 4x4 fun for the entire family and definitely not without a challenge for both novices and experienced drivers...

(GPS coordinates: -30.139138, 17.202492)

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

Old Mac Daddy Trailer Park
18 Jul 2014
 
     

Old Mac Daddy Trailer Park

If you never imagined using the two words, art and caravan, in the same sentence, then it’s time to visit the Old Mac Daddy Trailer Park. Billed as "part wholesome caravan park, part designer farm lodge", the Old Mac Daddy Trailer Park is located on a working apple farm in the Elgin Valley. Guests sleep in bespoke, individual artist-decorated vintage Airstream trailers. The restaurant in the barn serves wholesome meals, using organic and local ingredients as far as possible - their wood oven fired pizzas are not to be missed! For the kids, there's an indoor Big Apple play pen designed to inspire little imaginations, and an outdoor wooden tractor-gym complete with tunnels and walkways and nooks for hours of exploring...

(GPS coordinates: -34.230627, 19.118464)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/entertainment/old-mac-daddy-trailer-park

Thrifting
18 Jul 2014
 
     

Thrifting

Hipsters and trendy people everywhere. I wonder how they can afford to look so good all the time. And then I come across a rail of clothes that look like they belonged to my gran. A thrift shop. 

“Thrifting” has become quite a culture in Cape Town. No matter what area I am in, I can easily find a second hand store that’s stocked with all sort of interesting clothes. The best part is that most of the time, I find pretty good items for ridiculously low prices. Some of my favourite stores are Coats for Africa in Claremont, St Lukes Hospice Shop in Kenilworth, and then whatever is being at sold at various markets. 

- Daniella Toscano

Oorlogskloof Mountain Run Trail & Event
17 Jul 2014
 
     

Oorlogskloof Mountain Run Trail & Event

At nearly 5 000ha, Oorlogskloof demands more than one day of exploration. There are three day hikes to choose from, plus various combos of the 7-day multi-day routes. The Rock Pigeon Trail (Kransduifroete) covers 52 kilometres over 4-5 days. Running this will be way more strenuous than doing the African Otter Trail Run, for instance. The Oorlogskloof Mountain Trail Run is the second event in the Quantum Country Classic Series. Options include 18km or 42km mountain runs. Due to the route being remote and in a wilderness area, the event is entered as a ‘team’ of two. Two people must run as a unit from start to finish...

(GPS coordinates: -31.442689, 19.070926)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/trail-running/oorlogskloof-mountain-run-trail-event

Hemel en Aarde MTB Trail
17 Jul 2014
 
     

Hemel en Aarde MTB Trail

There is some fantastic single track situated in the beautiful Hemel en Aarde Valley. Get on your bike and come and explore this beautiful valley with its awesome views, stunning wineries and brand new tracks. Starting from the Hemel en Aarde Village, the route follows the tar road into the valley. Turn left to the Camphill turnoff and follow the gravel road. The black route will zigzag up a nasty but necessary climb if you want to enjoy some of the single track between the bluegum trees. The green route returns home from here via some awesome non technical single track all along the Onrus River...

(GPS coordinates: -34.410689, 19.200776)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/mountain-biking/hemel-en-aarde-mtb-trail

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