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Castle of Good Hope
3 Mar 2014
 
     

Castle of Good Hope

The Castle of Good Hope – the oldest building in South Africa - sits in the Cape Town city bowl. It has assumed many roles in the history of the Cape, from fort and jail, to museum.In addition to structural renovations, the building’s 18th-century décor has been restored and today, as well as being the seat of the military in the Cape, it houses the Castle Military Museum and William Fehr Collection of paintings and decorative arts as well as showcasing the lifestyle and tastes of early settlers in the Cape colony.

(GPS coordinates: -33.925423, 18.426195)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/castle-good-hope

Chantilly Guest House
3 Mar 2014
 
     

Chantilly Guest House, a lovely Cape Dutch style home situated in a serene residential area in Ceres, is the ideal place for guests who want to be 'at home' away from home. Your hosts Tanya & Frank Freeman are there to make sure you have a fabulous time, with a wide choice of activities available in the surrounding area including seasonal cherry picking or snow revelling, or the option of simply staying in to enjoy the quiet life in great comfort...

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/chantilly-guest-house

(GPS coordinates: -33.367314, 19.300403)

Wilderer Distillery
2 Mar 2014
 
     

Wilderer Distillery

Wilderer Distillery, located on the R45 between Franschhoek and Paarl, is where you’ll find the Pappa Grappa restaurant run by Helmut Wilderer. The cheery outdoor pizzeria serves Alsatian specialties, including the very popular Flammenkuchen - thinner than a pizza base but thicker than a crepe.

Skinny pizzas aside, the real reason to visit Wilderer is Helmut's award-winning grappa. After your tasting, enjoy a strong espresso in the garden and be sure to ask for Helmut's homemade biscotti, or try a sweet Flammenkuchen, topped with baked apples and laced with Calvados apple brandy...

(GPS coordinates: -33.800157, 18.951711)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/food-wine/wilderer-distillery

Nursery Ravine Trail
2 Mar 2014
 
     

Nursery Ravine Trail

This is a pleasant, if at times steep, uphill route, which starts from the contour path just to the left of Skeleton Gorge and should take no more than two hours one-way. Park at the Rycroft gate at the top of Kirstenbosch Gardens (at the junction of Rhodes Drive and Klassens), pay your entrance fee and follow signs up towards the contour path through the fynbos and protea gardens in the direction of the dam...

(GPS coordinates: -33.986993, 18.422004)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/nursery-ravine-trail

Koh Tao, Thailand
2 Mar 2014
 
     

Koh Tao, Thailand

I have found paradise and it is called Koh Tao. It is so picturesque and perfect – it lives up to all expectations. Straight out of a movie, it is the definition of an island, with the perfect combination of rocky cliffs, white beaches, jungle and transparent turquoise waters. 

The best way to explore this incredible island is to pack some bags, buy some of the local beers and head down to the harbour. Locals will clamber around offering you their services, and you can easily haggle the price down. Before you know it you will be climbing into a longboat and stretching out to tan and enjoying a tour around the island.

When our boatsman eventually expertly steered our boat into one of the coves and dropped anchor, we all jumped over board to do some snorkeling – I have never seen so many fish and different types of coral in one place! The gigantic granite rocks that emerge out of the water create little caves, tunnels and ledges to swim around and under. It all seems so surreal and almost as dreamlike as the island – what an incredible combination. 

After a week of exploring everything Koh Tao Had to offer, I had to be dragged off the island before I settled there for good. In my mind, no trip to Thailand would be complete without stopping at this Eden!

- Shan Routledge

Leliekloof Farm
2 Mar 2014
 
     

Located in a magnificent valley in the Skulpspruit environs, Leliekloof is the place to visit for for at least two days, to experience the 'Valley of Art' San rock art, unique fly fishing, walking, bird watching, everyday farming activities, or just to get away from everything. Accommodation is in the main house with the owners, who provide an insight into life on this Beefmaster breeding and Boran stud farm, by sharing their home with only one group of 2 or more guests at a time in this stunning 1800m high altitude wilderness landscape where the river has chiselled a tortuous gorge through the sandstone and dolorite hills…

(GPS coordinates: -31.171616, 26.717945)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/leliekloof-farm

Steenbok Day Trail
1 Mar 2014
 
     

Steenbok Day Trail

This little-known trail in the Postberg Section of the West Coast National Park is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways of enjoying the annual wild flower display for which the west woast is famous. The trail, which is open only in August and September, is limited to 20 hikers a day and must be booked in advance. A map is issued at both the entrance gates (on the R27, and in Langebaan, open at 7am), where you must pay a conservation fee.

Keep your eyes peeled for leopard tortoises crossing the road as you drive to the start of the trail at the Tzaarsbank Gate. The reserve is well-stocked and there are ostriches aplenty, as well as eland, gemsbok, springbok, wildebeest and bontebok...

(GPS coordinates: -33.109396, 17.986856)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/steenbok-day-trail

Durbanville Nature Reserve and Wine Route
1 Mar 2014
 
     

Durbanville Nature Reserve and Wine Route

Durbanville estates produce some of the country's top wines. Estates to visit include Altydgedacht, Bloemendal, Capaia, Diemersdal, Durbanville Hills, Havana Hills, Meerendal and Nitida, among others.

Durbanville’s natural beauty is as celebrated as its wine farms and the Durbanville Nature Reserve is a popular place to enjoy the area’s unique fynbos. A rich variety of bird life is attracted by the abundance of indigenous plant species. There are also short hiking trails in the reserve and a number of picnic spots to choose from...

(GPS coordinates: -33.841363, 18.644325)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/food-wine/durbanville-nature-reserve-and-wine-route

Cable Car Beach Front
1 Mar 2014
 
     

Cable Car Beach Front

Durban’s fun fair on North Beach offers a wide mix of activities, my personal favourite being the cable car ride. The chance to view Durban’s spectacular beaches and harbour from above, whether at day or night, is so enticing! As I am quite afraid of heights it was a comfort to share a cable car seat with my two close friends, and to be in the vicinity of many an unfamiliar yet encouraging and friendly face on the seats in front and behind us. For a mere R20 we were able to sit in silent awe as we circled the night sky looking out at twinkling boats and crashing waves.

- Ashleigh Bargate

Bloupunt Hiking Trail
28 Feb 2014
 
     

Bloupunt Hiking Trail

This stunning trail starts at Die Ou Meul information centre in the Montagu Mountain Reserve, where you pay your entrance fee and fill in the hiking register. Follow the white footprints from behind the mill up the river, which flows between colourful orange walls of rock then continue upstream until you come to a blue signboard with Bloupunt written on it. 

If you don’t feel up to doing to the full circular route to the summit, the walk to the waterfalls (which you’ll reach in about 20 minutes if you continue straight on here) is beautiful. But if you’re fit, dig deep and turn left onto the start of the circular route. Near the summit, you can look down on the jagged profile of Cogman’s Kloof and Montagu town...

(GPS coordinates: -33.779736, 20.112716)

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

Oudtshoorn Rock Climbing
28 Feb 2014
 
     

Oudtshoorn, just up the road from the Cango Caves, is unique in that it’s the only place in South Africa where you can climb on limestone. And what a different experience that is – huge juggy holds allow those with the nerve and power to scale typical tufa formations or crimp up the overhanging face.

High in the Swartberg Mountains, this awesome crag is a short distance from the entrance to the De Hoek Resort. There are two main areas: the Main Amphitheatre, and the Short Circuit Area across the river from the campsite, which has a handful of routes from grade 10 to 31, some of which are seriously overhanging...

(GPS coordinates: -33.371234, 22.176289)

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

Rondevlei Bird Reserve
27 Feb 2014
 
     

Rondevlei Bird Reserve

The mix of strandveld and endangered sand plain fynbos in the reserve provides a unique home for more than 200 bird species. You can also spot grysbok, Cape clawless otter and Cape grey mongoose in Rondevlei. It is also the only reserve in Cape Town that is home to hippo, although they are seldom seen.

While keen anglers might like to cast a line, those interested in the park’s history and animals should visit the reserve's Leonard Gill Museum. You can picnic along the shoreline of the reserve or arrange an overnight stay at the island bush camp...

(GPS coordinates: -34.062259, 18.499196)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/rondevlei-bird-reserve

Kalahari-Oranje Museum
27 Feb 2014
 
     

Small-town museums have a special kind of allure that travellers can discover in hamlets throughout South Africa. The Kalahari-Oranje Museum is one such museum, where visitors can learn more about the resourcefulness and hardships of the people that have lived in the largely inhospitable expanses of the semi-desert that covers huge swaths of the Northern Cape…

(GPS coordinates: -28.461667, 21.243567)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/kalahari-oranje-museum

Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre
26 Feb 2014
 
     

The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre (formerly known as the De Wildt Cheetah Centre) is a 15-minute drive from Hartbeespoort Dam and is definitely worth a visit. It is here that you can witness first-hand the spectacular speed of the cheetah. The experience comes with spectacular  photographic opportunities  as these lithe beasts reach speeds of up to 120km per hour.

You won’t only see cheetah at the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre. In a three-hour guided wildlife tour offered twice a day, guests will also see African wild dog, caracal, African wild cat, vultures and some antelope species... 

(GPS coordinates: -25.676312, 27.925615)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/ann-van-dyk-cheetah-centre

BBK Horse Trails
26 Feb 2014
 
     

BBK Horse Trails

The Mpumalanga escarpment is the perfect backdrop for a fabulous day out in the saddle and BBK (Blaauwboschkraal) Trails offers a range of options. For special occasions, a champagne breakfast ride or a sundowner ride offers a combination of indulgence, exercise and the outdoors.

BBK also offers pony camps for children during school holidays and weekend camps for stressed urban horses. These self-catered ‘Me and My Horse’ weekends give urban riders a chance to take their urban showjumpers for a few days in the country. Accommodation is in tents or hiking huts (for the humans) and comfy stables for the horses...

(GPS coordinates: -25.598593, 30.290693 )

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/bbk-horse-trails

 

Bamboo Guest House
26 Feb 2014
 
     

Relaxed, friendly, unstuffy, quirky, artistic, tranquil, laid back, hospitable, homely, inspirational... all of these combine to make Bamboo Guest House ‘a magical hideaway’. Five minutes' drive from Knysna's bustling town centre and its vibrant waterfront, with three superb golf courses within easy reach, as are the famous Knysna Heads and Leisure Isle with its two sandy beaches, Bamboo offers elegantly furnished en-suite rooms, each with its own unique style and character, dotted around the garden and accessed via elevated timber walkways…

(GPS coordinates: -34.060877, 23.082162)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/bamboo-guest-house

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