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uShaka Marine World
6 Feb 2014
 
     

uShaka Marine World

uShaka Marine World in Durban is dedicated to the ocean and all things that live within it. It is also an entertainment hub and shopping haven. The shipwreck theme gives guests a sense of being on an isolated island, but with more than enough to keep them occupied. The beach at uShaka presents the perfect opportunity to enjoy the sun and the sea, and there are a number of activities on the go. There are diving expeditions in the reefs along the coastline, dolphin and whale watching, surfing, kitesurfing and sea kayaking. Lessons in all of these are offered as well...

(GPS coordinates: -29.86781, 31.044815)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/ushaka-marine-world

Bloukrans Bridge Bungy
6 Feb 2014
 
     

Bloukrans Bridge Bungy

Bloukrans Bridge, at a whopping 216m is the world's highest commercial bungy jump and will scare even Chuck Norris. It is also the highest and largest bridge in Africa; the third highest in the world and the largest single span concrete arch bridge in the world. Howzat! 

Hold your breath as you’re secured into a full-body harness before you walk along a catwalk to the top of the bridge’s arch, a gut-thumping 216m above the Bloukrans river. Here an experienced jump crew will give you final instructions. Then you’ll override every impulse in your body by hurling yourself off the bridge...

(GPS coordinates: -33.966369, 23.658859)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/bloukrans-bridge-bungy

Zoo with a View
6 Feb 2014
 
     

Zoo with a view

Set aside a full day to explore the National Zoological Gardens in Tshwane, Pretoria. It’s so big you need a cableway to fully experience its magnitude. Take an aerial journey across the 85-hectare property and try spot some of the 7000 animals on your way across. Once you arrive at the far side of the zoo take a moment to enjoy the hilltop views of leafy Pretoria. At only R10 for a one-way ticket it’s a magical way to experience the concrete jungle. And if heights aren't you’re thing, whiz around the zoo in a golf cart. 

- Megan Pilditch

Hlokomela Herb Party
6 Feb 2014
 
     

The annual Hlokomela Herb Party in Hoedspruit brings together top chefs from lodges and restaurants in the area to help celebrate – and raise funds – for this local NGO. 

As an HIV-prevention and care project, Hlokomela’s herb garden began as a way to supplement the diets of workers living with HIV. Since then, it has become an important supplier of fresh herbs and herb-based products to supermarkets, restaurants and lodges in the area. 

Hosted by Thornybush Game Lodge, the event challenged local chefs to put together an original tasting menu using different herbs supplied by Hlokomela. 

Our job was to go along and taste everything they’d prepared, while enjoying a selection of wonderful wines on offer from Guardian Peak and Safari Wine Club under the stars in the middle of the bush. It was hardly a chore, but knowing that Hlokomela uses all the funds raised to support its HIV peer education, awareness raising, prevention and treatment programmes, made the whole experience even better.

Among others, Kapama, Ngala Safari Lodge, Hat&Creek, Madhams, Blyde River Lodge and Hoedspruit’s own Travelling Chefs outdid themselves with their sweet and savoury canapés – think vegetable tempura, lavender brownies, tiny portions of steak tartare, fresh prawn and strawberry spring rolls, brandy, apple and lemongrass cocktails, homemade mint-infused nougat and fragrant polenta bites… you get the idea. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.

- Dianne Tipping-Woods

Glen Lynden Church
5 Feb 2014
 
     

Glen Lynden Church

Built in 1828, the Glen Lynden Church lies just outside of Bedford on the way to Huntly Glen farm on the Tarkastad turnoff. The government at the time, through the influence of Thomas Pringle, built the church for the Scottish Settlers and their Dutch neighbours. It became the Dutch Reformed Church in 1829...

(GPS coordinates: -32.537904, 25.995841)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/glen-lynden-church

Rainbow Gorge Trail
5 Feb 2014
 
     

Rainbow Gorge Trail

This stunning walk is one of the ‘must-dos' if you’re in the Cathedral Peak area of the Drakensberg. It’s a relatively easy trail that takes you through indigenous forest to a gorge of rainbows. In the heart of it are two huge boulders wedged in between the walls. At the right time of day the sun catches the spray from water cascading down the sides and tosses beautiful rainbows into the crispy cool air. But even without the rainbows it’s still very beautiful. You can roll up your pants and wade through the water to stand under the impressive rock for a fun photo...

(GPS coordinates: -28.94523, 29.23055)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/rainbow-gorge-trail

Hermanus Sea Kayaking
4 Feb 2014
 
     

Hermanus Sea Kayaking

Getting up close and personal with the marine life doesn’t get much better than this, with seals, dolphins and birdlife possibly all on show. The real highlight is paddling in a protected whale sanctuary during the southern right whale breeding season from August to November. By law, you cannot get closer than 300 metres to a whale, which means that if they come close to the kayaks you are obliged to paddle away from them. Still, sightings and breaches are magnificent occasions and well worth the minimal effort required to get out in the stable kayaks...

(GPS coordinates: -34.420133, 19.243884)

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

Palmiet River Trail
4 Feb 2014
 
     

Palmiet River Trail

The Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, one of the most pristine areas of wilderness in South Africa, lies at the heart of the Cape Floral Region Protected Area World Heritage Site. The easiest trail is the Palmiet River Trail, a glorious ramble through the fynbos that offers many opportunities for swimming so, although unshaded, is ideal as a summer hike.

The trail is an absolute delight. Sunbirds and sugarbirds flit around and the flora is so magnificent that even if you’ve little botanical interest you can’t fail to be impressed. Although there are numerous places you can swim, there’s a wonderful surprise at about the four-kilometre mark. A sign indicates a beach and, sure enough, there is a perfect beach of white sand next to a deep pool...

(GPS coordinates: -34.322554, 18.966488)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/palmiet-river-trail

Port Natal Maritime Museum
3 Feb 2014
 
     

Natal Maritime Museum

The Port Natal Maritime Museum in Durban Harbour contains a comprehensive nautical history of the city. The museum celebrates all aspects of shipping and the position of Durban as a major South African port and trade hub. Its position, with views of the harbour, is almost symbolic of this. It evokes the inner workings, technicalities and lifestyles of the seamen in the industry, both historically and currently.

This is a prime destination for anyone with the slightest interest in maritime history…

(GPS coordinates: -29.861811, 31.028666)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/natal-maritime-museum

Iziko Slave Lodge Museum
3 Feb 2014
 
     

Iziko Slave Lodge Museum

The Slave Lodge in the centre of Cape Town is the second oldest building in South Africa. It was built in 1679 and initially served as a lodge for the slaves of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). It then went on to serve as Cape Town’s first post office, a library and a supreme court.

Currently the Iziko Slave Lodge Museum houses collections of ceramics, toys, silver and textiles, as well as artefacts from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Near East and the Far East. There are also displays on Cape history, Khoisan herders, African money and slavery...

Photo: Chris Marais/Mainline Media

(GPS coordinates: -33.924936, 18.420213)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/iziko-slave-lodge-museum

The Road to Ladismith
3 Feb 2014
 
     

The road to Ladismith just over the top of Garcia pass.

Encounters of the Close Kind
3 Feb 2014
 
     

Encounters of the Close Kind – People, Fish and Snakes

I look forward each year to a hiking, camping and fishing expedition into foothills of the Drakensberg mountains to enjoy being close to nature, stalking wild trout and sharing the experience with a few likeminded friends. 

This year didn’t disappoint. We experienced rural Africa at its best; warm, friendly, poor only in a financial sense, and welcoming people that left you feeling humbled by the experience. 

We made connections with trout as well as hard fighting indigenous yellowfish and even endured a close and unpleasant encounter with a less than friendly puffadder. Fortunately for me, he decided against the final act despite being poised to strike. A frightening experience some two hours hike away from the nearest habitation and one that would have certainly put an immediate end to our trip and an emergency stay in ICU!

Guest Blog by Peter Brigg 
callofthestream.wordpress.com

Port Elizabeth Diving
2 Feb 2014
 
     

Port Elizabeth Diving

Port Elizabeth has two very different diving locations, Algoa Bay and the Wild Side (to the west of Cape Recife), so it’s a reliable, year-round destination. The bay is the transition zone between the nutrient rich cold water of the Cape and the warm waters brought down by the Agulhas current that flows down the east coast and this makes for diverse marine life.

Port Elizabeth is also the jumping off point for two of the most exciting seasonal dive adventures in South Africa, the Sardine Run, which usually takes place along the Wild Coast and KwaZulu-Natal south coast in late June and July, and Chokka diving, a less-publicised predation of the chokka (squid) egg beds, which takes place around Port Elizabeth and Cape St Francis during late October/November...

(GPS coordinates: -33.980774, 25.657778)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/scuba-diving/port-elizabeth-diving

Liliesleaf Farm
2 Feb 2014
 
     

Liliesleaf Farm

Bought in 1960 by the South African Communist Party on behalf of the African National Congress (ANC), Liliesleaf was the former secret headquarters of the ANC’s military wing, MK, or Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation).

Made infamous by a police raid that led to the Rivonia treason trial and resulted in Nelson Mandela, along with eight other ANC leaders, being convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment, a visit to Liliesleaf farm is fascinating and disturbing. Great effort has gone into preserving the authenticity of the site and the museum’s content is state-of-the-art and highly interactive...

(GPS coordinates: -26.04366, 28.053613)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/liliesleaf-farm

Climbing Mt. Rinjani, Indonesia
2 Feb 2014
 
     

Climbing Mt. Rinjani, Indonesia

Arriving at Mt Rinjani we were mildly apprehensive but optimistically cheery as we laced up our takkies and packed three days worth of clothes into our little backpacks. We took one look at our porter who was wearing slip-slops and carrying a billion tons of food, sleeping bags, mattresses and tents in baskets on either side of a big piece of bamboo! If he could manage like that, then it couldn’t possibly be that bad – little did we know!

All sorted, pre-emptive plasters on our feet, we started off, backpacks sitting somewhat uncomfortably on our backs and my camera bag slung around my neck. The next few hours were not what we expected. We went from drenched in sweat to just drenched full stop as a torrential downpour hit. The path we were struggling up rapidly turned into a river as we tried to keep our guide in sight.

When we finally stopped, tents were erected around us, channels dug to try and prevent water flooding them and covers quickly pulled over to try and keep them as dry as possible. Our guide laughed at us, making jokes about “satay sleeping bags” as we all but set them on fire trying to get them dry for the long night ahead! 

And long it was, with hours seeming to stretch on forever, and sleep was nowhere to be found. When we realised the next morning that we wouldn’t be reaching the peak due to weather and altitude sickness, it was an important lesson in our travels. We learnt you can’t always rush into things without thought or preparation; that as much as you might want to, you can’t always succeed in achieving your goal because some things are just out of your control. 

- Shan Routledge

Pinnacle Point Golf Resort
1 Feb 2014
 
     

Pinnacle Point Golf Resort

Designed by Peter Matkovich and Open Championship winner Darren Clarke, Pinnacle Point has been uniquely described as a ‘clifftop fynbos’ golf course and is spectacularly perched on cliffs fringing the Indian Ocean, earning its reputation as one of the most dramatic layouts in the world.

At under 5 800 metres long, the course is not overly long, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in challenge, with slanting fairways, small greens and sharp changes in elevation providing an all-round test for the golfer’s wits and shot-making abilities. Emerald coloured fairways and greens are offset by jagged white bunkers, large mounds and typical ‘linksy’ pot bunkers, complemented by colourful fynbos and uninterrupted views over the ocean...

(GPS coordinates: -34.196017, 22.091326)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/pinnacle-point-golf-resort

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