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White Umfolozi Rock Climbing
21 Feb 2014
 
     

White Umfolozi Rock Climbing

KwaZulu-Natal has some pretty impressive rock climbing areas, but the superb riverside location of the White Umfolozi crags is hard to beat. Over the millennia the river has cut a small gorge through the ancient Pongola quartzite. The resulting cliffs have been the main area of new trad route development in KZN over the last decade. In recent years many high quality sport routes in easy to moderate grades have been put up. Currently there are about 250 routes, over 100 of which are bolted...

(GPS coordinates: -28.234074, 31.189145)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/climbing/white-umfolozi-rock-climbing

 

African Bird of Prey Sanctuary
21 Feb 2014
 
     

African Bird of Prey Sanctuary

Set amidst the lush bushveld between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the African Bird of Prey Sanctuary offers visitors a unique opportunity to see indigenous birds of prey up close against a backdrop of picturesque scenery. Dedicated to the care, conservation and rehabilitation of these magnificent birds, the Sanctuary provides a premium learning experience. As well as the birds that they hope to release into the wild again in the future, there are a number of birds that are captive-bred or cannot be released. These birds are kept in environments constructed to resemble their natural environments as closely as possible...

(GPS coordinates: -29.67582, 30.51219)

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

Makaranga Gardens
21 Feb 2014
 
     

If you feel like escaping from the hustle and bustle of city life then look no further than Makaranga Gardens. Hidden in Kloof, this 30 acres lush garden has eighteen ponds, a labyrinth, meandering streams, a charming Japanese garden and even a waterfall. Choose a delicious picnic from their deli and head out into the large gardens to find a peaceful spot to relax for the afternoon. They also provide picnic blankets and cushions. There’s even a pool, if the Durban heat becomes too unbearable. And if you’re really feeling like treating yourself, they have an impressive spa and restaurant too.

- Megan Pilditch

Bain's Barn
21 Feb 2014
 
     

Bain's Barn

Named after Andrew Geddes Bain of Bain's Kloof Pass, Bain's Barn has a rich history. Before the 1969 earthquake, this now restored Cape Dutch historic building in the heart of historic Church Street was once the schoolroom of the first 'English Free School' in Tulbagh. Today, guests can enjoy the romantic atmosphere and country lifestyle in tastefully decorated comfort - a perfect self-catering getaway in this tranquil valley...

(GPS coordinates: -33.284508, 19.138589)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/bains-barn

Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication
20 Feb 2014
 
     

Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication

Kliptown is Soweto's oldest suburb and the location of the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication, formerly Freedom Square. This is where more than 3 000 people gathered to adopt the Freedom Charter on 26 June 1955. This two-day meeting was known as the Congress of the People.

Today the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication, named after the late struggle icon, is a beautifully paved area, planted with over 100 indigenous trees. Ten sculptures atop ten columns represent the 10 clauses in the Freedom Charter...

(GPS coordinates: -26.278058, 27.890226)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/walter-sisulu-square-dedication

Sandwani Adventure 4x4 Trail
20 Feb 2014
 
     

Sandwani Adventure 4x4 Trail

Sandwani Game Lodge is situated on a private game reserve in a small valley with typically hilly landscape and within easy driving distance of Johannesburg and Pretoria. It is part of the De Tweedespruit Conservation Area and is an ideal destination to inhale the fascinating atmosphere of Africa. You can admire, close up, the docile impala, gemsbok, blesbok, blue wildebeest, warthog and many more members of the wonderful local fauna.

This is a great place to come and have some fun. What makes this trail different is that it spans three quarry excavations; each of them offering a series of different 4x4 obstacles. It is an excellent training ground for novice drivers, while the experts will have enough to play with...

(GPS coordinates: -25.562802, 28.520443)

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

Hinterveld Mohair
20 Feb 2014
 
     

It starts warm and smelly, it gets loud and dirty and it ends with the luxurious whisper of the world’s finest mohair against your skin… I’m talking about the Hinterveld Mill Tour, an unexpected highlight on a recent trip to Uitenhage, hosted by Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism. 

With Hinterveld Mohair’s marketing manager Jackie Gant as guide, we explored the world of merino wool and, in particular, mohair production in South Africa. Jackie herself grew up on an Angora goat farm outside the village of Jansenville, where the country’s earliest Angora flocks were established.

From the account of how the first Angora goats arrived in South Africa from Turkey in the 1800s to the volatile world of today’s global trade in Mohair; I was fascinated.

I found myself picturing the small goats that seem to thrive in the austerity of the Karoo and the farmers who, for centuries, have raised and sheared them for their pelts. Fingering the ‘raw’ mohair and then its silky counterpart, the coils of washed and processed mohair fibre, I appreciated the mechanics of its production. I considered the way in which the large, noisy machines process pelts as they come in from the farms, auctions and brokers, and how the processed pelts are baled for export around the world in a highly competitive market. Watching the looms at work, I imagined the elegant end products, the knits and weaves that are bought by top European fashion labels and used to make high-end, luxury couture items. 

The tour ends in a store full of gorgeous Hinterveld products: their own beautiful range of mohair and wool blankets, scarves, hand knitting yarns and other products. They often collaborate with local designers to ensure that the products reflect their South African origin and express the full character of the mohair blends they work with.

Trying on scarves, feeling the softness of beautifully woven blankets and marvelling at the colours of the yarn, I thought how removed these products seem from the piles of raw wool and mohair I saw at the start of the tour. How marvellous to have seen their transformation – and to buy a few wearable souvenirs to remember it all.

- Dianne Tipping-Woods

Mbotyi River Lodge
20 Feb 2014
 
     

Mbotyi River Lodge is a child friendly beach resort in a remote, beautiful location, 25km from Lusikisiki. The beach is 200m away, with the clear Mbotyi river and lagoon offering endless entertainment. Mbotyi's natural beauty is unsurpassed, with 9 spectacular waterfalls and many deep gorges adding to the natural beauty. The blue ocean, large indigenous forests, many river estuaries, green hills dotted with colourful Pondo huts, and amazing beaches are shared with the most unusual companions: the daily herd of Nguni cattle claim a section of the beach where they laze about, the local soccer teams have a section for training, and the village ladies and fishermen arrive for their daily catch of fish or shellfish. Walking along trails and on beaches one is always greeted with a friendly smile. Excellent and friendly service as well as good cuisine, will ensure a special stay...

(GPS coordinates: -31.465, 29.7326)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/mbotyi-river-lodge

 

Thule 4 Peaks Mountain Challenge
19 Feb 2014
 
     

Thule 4 Peaks Mountain Challenge Trail & Event

The Thule 4 Peaks is arguably the toughest 24km in South Africa with a vertical ascent of over 1 800m. It is the massive altitude gain over the first 4km that will get under your skin. Thule 4 Peaks is a self-supported and self-navigational race. Though only 24km, this is extreme mountain running; equivalent to an ultra-marathon. Only 200 athletes may enter on a first come, first served basis...

(GPS coordinates: -28.631555, 27.999475)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/trail-running/thule-4-peaks-mountain-challenge-tr...

St Augustines MTB Trail
19 Feb 2014
 
     

St Augustines MTB Trail

Previously an extensive mission station dating back to the early 1800s, St Augustines is still run by the Anglican Church. Today, guests come for conferences or just to break away from the stress of city life to enjoy the peace, tranquility and spirituality that are unique to St Augustines. Here, you can share in the rich history, breathtaking scenery and warm hospitality. There are five sacred sites, among them a cave where the first missionaries lived, San rock paintings and an interesting graveyard.

Guests and day visitors are welcome to bring their bicycles and ride a 25-kilometre route along quiet public dirt roads that are used to access farms in the area...

(GPS coordinates: -29.111994, 27.447431)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/mountain-biking/st-augustines-mtb-trail

Ike's Books & Collectibles
19 Feb 2014
 
     

Ike’s Books & Collectibles

As soon as you walk into Ike’s you know you have entered a literary paradise. Stacked full of antique books, classics, first editions and second hand gems, this bookshop almost feels more like a museum. Vintage typewriters, telephones and antique collectibles lie in between bookcases that sit in the various rooms. There’s even books stacked to the kitchen ceiling. Something of a literacy institution in Durban well-known authors, political leaders and celebrities have taken to Ike’s walls to express their musings. Inspirational messages litter the green walls. Find this treasure on Florida Road in Morningside, Durban.

- Megan Pilditch

Vrederus Farm
19 Feb 2014
 
     

Vrederus Farm

If you know the upland country halfway between Rhodes and Maclear, where the Naude’s Neck Pass just about touches the clouds, then you know some of the best trout country God ever put on this fine planet. It is high altitude grassland, cold and sparse and remote, treaded throughout with mountain streams, all swift and clear and full of the promise of trout. It also happens that some of the best stillwater in South Africa is found here. Vrederus offers two fully equipped self-catering thatched cottages on the farm, set about 70m apart in remote countryside filled with scenic splendour and tranquillity...

(GPS coordinates: -30.782, 28.2763)

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

Amazwingzwing Zipline
18 Feb 2014
 
     

Amazwingzwing Zipline 

Amazwingzwing Zipline Tour consists of seven slides, the longest of which is 240m. You can choose to do some fast for the fun and some slow for the scenery. You get a great view over the Cradle of Humankind and there’s a very good chance you’ll spot some game while flying through the air.

Amazwingzwing is situated in the heart of the Cradle of Humankind. It’s less than half an hour’s drive from Pretoria or Johannesburg. This makes it an easy day trip – perfect for an adrenalin-fix detour through the area...

(GPS coordinates: -25.810301, 27.879758)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/amazwingzwing-zipline

Greenmarket Square
18 Feb 2014
 
     

Greenmarket Square

The square was originally built in 1696, when the first burgher watch house was erected here, and was known as ‘Burgher Watch Square’. The watch house was replaced by the Old Town House, built in 1761, which today houses a precious collection of the artworks by 16th to 18th century Dutch and Flemish masters, and forms part of the Michaelis Collection. The square was declared a national monument in 1961.

In the past it has been a slave market, a fruit and vegetable market and, during the 1950s, a humble parking lot. Today it does a roaring trade in clothing, glassware, hand-painted fabrics, footwear, music, sunglasses and curios from all over Africa...

(GPS coordinates: -33.92267, 18.420136)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/shopping/greenmarket-square

Learn to Kitesurf, Jeffreys Bay
17 Feb 2014
 
     

Learn to Kitesurf, Jeffreys Bay

If you’re looking for a new thrill on your next trip to J-Bay, sign up for an introduction to kitesurfing and challenge your water and air skills simultaneously. After a few lessons on how to kit up, and a handful of leaps and bounds on land to grasp the basics, you’re ready you hit the water. The nearby Kabeljouws lagoon is ideal for beginners to hone their skills on before taking the leap and heading out to sea...

(GPS coordinates: -34.006664, 24.932216)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/learn-kitesurf-jeffreys-bay

1820 Settlers National Monument
17 Feb 2014
 
     

1820 Settlers National Monument

Perched above the city of Grahamstown on Gunfire Hill is the 1820 Settlers National Monument.  It is a memorial to the arrival of successive waves of immigrants from the United Kingdom beginning in 1820, and the role their English language has come to play in South African society. It also doubles as a sophisticated conference centre and is the location of the country’s annual National Arts Festival, which takes place each July...

(GPS coordinates: -33.319354, 26.518534)

Photo: Chris Marais/Mainline Media

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/1820-settlers-national-monument

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