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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

Rooiberg Pass
17 Jul 2014
 
     

Rooiberg Pass 

The Rooiberg pass does not form a logical part of most popular routes through the southern Cape, but is still worth a mention for travellers who have the time to explore the basin between the Langeberge Mountain range and the Mountains of the Swartberg. The countryside here is pretty sparsely populated, and it really transports you away from the hustle and bustle of the typical provincial road network. And the Rooiberg pass itself is not too shabby either.

Turtle Tours, Bhanga Neck
16 Jul 2014
 
     

Turtle Tours, Bhanga Neck

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has a turtle monitoring project in Maputaland from the north of Sodwana Bay to Bhanga Nek. Bhanga Nek Community Guides runs tours in the area during the laying/nesting season between November and February. A typical tour starts after sunset around 18h30 and runs for 2 to 4 hours, depending onsightings. You wander down the beach near Bhanga Nek on the lookout for the seasonal visitors. The loggerhead and leatherback turtles return to the sandy beaches on which they were born to lay their own eggs...

(GPS coordinates: -27.011191, 32.863959)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/turtle-tours-bhanga-neck

Schapenberg Stagger
16 Jul 2014
 
     

Schapenberg Stagger

Tucked in-between the N2, Helderberg and the little known Schapenberg hills, this trail offers interesting hiking on the granite slopes and in the Sir Lowry’s River valley. There are spectacular views of the impressive Hottentots-Holland Mountains and over False Bay to the Cape Peninsula. The Schapenberg Stagger starts at Waterkloof and takes hikers to four other wineries: Onderkloof, Journey’s End, Wedderwill and Da Capo (the home of Idiom wines)...

(GPS coordinates: -34.098561, 18.889468)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/schapenberg-stagger

Graskop Big Swing
15 Jul 2014
 
     

Graskop Big Swing

Adrenaline will surely ooze from every pore after you’ve committed your mind and body to the 68m free-fall on one of the world’s highest cable gorge swings. If three seconds of absolute terror is too much to handle, zip across the gorge attached to a 131m high wire (also known as a flying fox) for an exhilarating view of the Graskop Falls. And what goes down must come up, right? Tramp up the 442 stairs heading back up the gorge and through the indigenous forest, which will give you time to settle your nerves amidst the gorgeous fauna and fauna of this pristine eco-system...

(GPS coordinates: -24.943529, 30.839857)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/graskop-big-swing

!Xhariep Rafting, !Xhariep Dam
15 Jul 2014
 
     

!Xhariep Rafting, !Xhariep Dam

Travellers along the north-south N1 highway will find the Orange Valley Guest Farm within walking distance from the Orange River near the Gariep Dam, with a number of adventure options available on the outdoor menu. If river rafting is on your bucket list, all you need to do is wander down to the banks of the Orange River. A number of rafting trips can be booked, with options including a quickie 2-hour guided trip below the dam wall or a multi-day downriver trip to explore the conservancies and game farms further along the Orange. You need to book at least a couple of days beforehand to ensure space...

(GPS coordinates: -30.645786, 25.476791)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/rafting-kayaking/xhariep-rafting-xhariep-dam

A Rod Named Didima
15 Jul 2014
 
     

A Rod Named Didima

Sometimes you need to share with others who will understand the things that get you excited. A week or so ago Stephen Boshoff, bamboo rod maker and innovative craftsman extraordinaire, called me and said he was sending me one of his rods to use and give him feedback. 

I had in fact seen the rod before and said then that when I grow up I would like to commission him to build me one. Alas, my wife the exchequer would have to agree to release the appropriate funds. I, of course, consider it appropriate, but if it’s the truth you are after, she and I can’t always reach consensus on what is a priority and what is not!

It’s not everyone’s idea of a small stream rod, but it grabs me – it is blonde, only 5ft, has a palm grip, invisible bindings and is designed for a 3wt line. In my eyes, and for those tiny mountain streams in well-hidden secret places I have discovered and have yet to discover, it is exquisite. 

Stephen named the rod after a Lilliputian stream we have fished together, the Didima that flows through a deep, wild, unspoiled gorge high in the mountains. It captures the pristine character and soul of that little crystalline stream that threads and picks its way among the ancient water-worn boulders, over pebbled runs and beneath over-hanging vegetation – a place of cherished memories, of trout and friendship.

Guest blog by Peter Brigg 
callofthestream.wordpress.com

Black Water Tubing
14 Jul 2014
 
     

Black Water Tubing

Blackwater Tubing is situated at Tube 'n Axe Backpackers in Storms River Village. It offers tubing trips on the Storms River between September and April. A typical tubing trip lasts about five fun-filled hours and includes a lunchtime braai. Depending on the water level, you may be kloofing on low water, or white-water tubing when the river is flowing strongly. Trips start at 7am and must be pre-booked...

(GPS coordinates: -33.972784, 23.883226)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/rafting-kayaking/black-water-tubing

Sammy Marks Museum
14 Jul 2014
 
     

Sammy Marks Museum

The Sammy Marks Museum, east of Pretoria, is a heritage site that preserves the legacy of Lithuanian-born entrepreneur, Samuel Marks (1843 – 1920). Between 1844 and 1920, the Marks family played a leading role in the mining, industrial and agricultural development of the former Transvaal. Zwartkoppies Hall, the Marks family residence, is a grand Victorian mansion. It showcases original and perfectly preserved interiors, and furniture and personal effects belonging to the Marks family...

(GPS coordinates: -25.750521, 28.380319)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/sammy-marks-museum

Wonderwall Rock Climbing
13 Jul 2014
 
     

Wonderwall Rock Climbing

Wonderwall, Gauteng’s largest and best-known indoor climbing gym, lives up to its name – a huge area dedicated to climbing. In addition to about 500 square metres of top-rope and lead walls, with routes throughout the grade range, there’s a three-metre-high bouldering cave. Courses and individual coaching are offered for beginners through to advanced climbers. Gear is available to rent and there’s a well-stocked gear shop, as well as all the niceties such as showers, lockers, snack shop and, joy of joys, a fully licensed restaurant and bar...

(GPS coordinates: -26.025073, 27.950344)

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

Table Bay Sea Kayaking
13 Jul 2014
 
     

Table Bay Sea Kayaking

Kayak trips to lap up Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles start with an easy launch from Three Anchor Bay, where the kayaks are stored. The route takes guests in a southerly direction past the well-protected Bantry Bay, to Clifton 4th beach – a distance of five kilometres one way. If fitness and attitude allow, the trip can be extended further around to Camps Bay. In the mornings, it is often better to paddle the eight-kilometre round trip towards the waterfront for another perspective on this popular tourist attraction. All trips take about two hours. Experienced and passionate guides give personalised attention and full safety backup, and are also on hand to take photos of your trip...

(GPS coordinates: -33.906128, 18.397894)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/rafting-kayaking/table-bay-sea-kayaking

Portobello Road Market: Notting Hill, London
13 Jul 2014
 
     

Portobello Road Market: Notting Hill, London

The street is lined with stores: food, crafts, antiques, curios, books, records, plants… even an entire store dedicated to umbrellas! I came twice to Portobello Market: in the rain, and in the sun, and both adventures were great. The day it rained, I looked up to see a long train of umbrellas moving up the road – like some surreal ocean making little waves in the gentle storm. A gingerbread latte was in my left hand and an increasingly wet Beatles record was in my right – I’d forgotten an umbrella: tourist error #1. No one offered to share an umbrella, but I took hold of the opportunity that giggling locals offered. Bargaining down a happy salesman is much easier, even when you’re a soaking-wet tourist.

- Brad Harris

Fernkloof Rock Climbing
12 Jul 2014
 
     

Fernkloof Rock Climbing

Fernkloof is a relatively small but pleasant sport crag about one hour and 40 minutes from Johannesburg. There are a couple of routes below grade 20 but most of the good climbing is grade 24 and above. All the climbs are in a kloof beside a small stream, and since the walls are shady and cool from mid-morning onwards, it’s a great crag for a hot day - there is even a rock pool to swim in a little higher up the kloof. There are about 20 routes, with climbing on two sectors - the Lower Wall and the Mirror Mirror area - only a couple minutes apart...

(GPS coordinates: -25.793239, 27.320624)

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

Bushbuck Trail, Bontebok NP
12 Jul 2014
 
     

Bushbuck Trail, Bontebok NP

This delightful little park is just off the N2 outside Swellendam. Head towards the Swellengrebel Airfield and follow the signboards to the Bontebok National Park, where you can collect a good map at the park reception. The Bushbuck Trail, a “there-and-back” trail that starts at the rest camp next to the river, is an excellent family outing, especially in mid-summer. It meanders upstream along the mighty Breede River through trees, which provide some shade and are an ideal sheltering area for game...

(GPS coordinates: -34.055673, 20.472996)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/bushbuck-trail-bontebok-np

East London Diving
11 Jul 2014
 
     

East London Diving

East London offers varied diving with interesting topography, good fish life and some interesting wrecks. When the water is clean, the sites are really worth diving. Three Sisters, a kilometre off Bonza Bay (charted as Danger Point) is the top local site, and can be accessed by boat from either Nahoon or the Gonubie River mouth. Shore dives include Nahoon Reef - another favourite raggie hangout - and the shallow Gonubie Point, which is known for its corals and is a popular night dive…

(GPS coordinates: -33.025302, 27.914505)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/scuba-diving/east-london-diving

Bojaankop 4x4 Trail
11 Jul 2014
 
     

Bojaankop 4x4 Trail

Situated in the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains between Calitzdorp and Ladismith, Matjiesvlei Guest Farm will offer you the thrill of a rocky mountain ride within the stark, but striking beauty of the Klein Karoo. Farming here dates back as far as 1821 and so does the origin of the Bojaankop trail. It originated as the farmers and their sharecroppers dragged wild plum wood down the slopes with wild donkeys to make moskonfyt, raisins, and witblits or sell the wood in town. Most of the Bojaankop route follows these drag paths or the wagon trails along the lower lying areas where they loaded the wood on ox wagons and donkey carts...

(GPS coordinates: -33.473294, 21.62686)

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

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