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Dinorben Rock Art
30 Dec 2013
 
     

Dinorben Rock Art

This 40m-long site is easy to access from the road that runs between Barkly East and Elliot. It is just above the notorious Barkly Pass, which is often covered in ice or snow in winter and susceptible to rain and mist in summer. Dinorben makes for a wonderful visit for a few hours if one is driving through this remote part of South Africa. It is one of the most easily accessible rock art sites in the Eastern Cape. Usually one would have to hike across steep and rough terrain for some hours before getting to see a site of this size and quality...

(GPS coordinates: -31.166214, 27.75273)

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

Glenmore 4x4 Trails
30 Dec 2013
 
     

Glenmore 4x4 Trails

Head into the rugged beauty of the Great Karoo and enjoy real Karoo farm hospitality with a bonus fish eagle wake up call in the morning. If your main objective of the weekend is 4x4ing, you will not be disappointed. Even though the trails are not extreme, there are five of them and they all vary in difficulty from easy to moderate. They are aptly named the Kudu, Springbok, Dassie, Duiker and River trails after the abundant animal and bird life of the region and offer something for every level of experience. 

As the trails are in the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area, there is an abundance of plants, animals and birds. The scenery is magnificent and changes from rugged mountains to vast open plains. A maximum of 15 vehicles are allowed on the trail at any one time. The trails are all well mapped, so relax and take time out to spot some of the 79 bird species identified on the farm...

(GPS coordinates: -33.17744, 23.695461)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/4x4/glenmore-4x4-trails

Seweweekspoort
30 Dec 2013
 
     

Seweweekspoort near Ladismith.

Jabali MTB Trail
29 Dec 2013
 
     

Jabali MTB Trail

Jabali means “small mountain” and, as the name indicates, the reserve is located at the foot of a flat-topped, pyramid-shaped mountain called Renosterkop. From the summit, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views over Gauteng. During the Anglo-Boer War, there was fighting at Renosterkop. All kinds of interesting artefacts can be found around the mountain, so visit the graves of the vanquished and follow in the footsteps of early pioneers…

(GPS coordinates: -25.576054, 28.969483)

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

Maltese Cross Trail
29 Dec 2013
 
     

Maltese Cross Trail

Buy a permit at Dwarsrivier farm (Sanddrif), and then drive along the road towards Algeria for about 800 metres to the rather rough road on the left that leads to the Maltese Cross. Continue past the Cederberg Observatory (which is definitely worth a visit if you’re there on a Saturday night), through the gate and on for about six kilometres until you reach the parking area.

The path to the cross, which is obvious and marked by cairns, goes over a stream then basically follows the right-hand bank of the valley, climbing gradually until you cross the stream bed again at the top. There is usually water in the lower section but not at the crossing point, so make sure you carry water or fill your bottles low down...

(GPS coordinates: -32.50484, 19.203665)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/maltese-cross-trail

Summer fun with man's best friend
29 Dec 2013
 
     

Summer fun with man's best friend.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
29 Dec 2013
 
     

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Fabled Angkor Wat is truly a spiritual awakening. Wandering through the ruins of this ancient civilization, we felt like Indiana Jones or Lara Croft discovering long abandoned temples, and with the immense size of this sanctuary we were rarely interrupted in our adventures by hordes of tourists and happy-snappers. 

There is no way I can possibly describe every temple, every intricate carving, every shape and silhouette. In three days we spent over 21 hours walking the magical sites of some of the most important archaeological ruins in the world. We saw everything from the earliest Ruluos group to Preah Khan, Ta Som, Pre Rup, the famous Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom Complex and our favourite, the “Tomb Raider” temple Ta Prohm! 

Over 9 centuries old, Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world and a destination that should be at the top of your bucket list. 

- Shan Routledge

Riemvasmaak MTB Trail
29 Dec 2013
 
     

Riemvasmaak MTB Trail

Here is rugged but breathtaking beauty, awesome scenery, towering granite cliffs and the bliss of natural hot springs to wash the desert dust and worries of the outside world away. Riemvasmaak occupies a special place in South African history as it was one of the first land-restitution projects in the new South Africa. About two-thirds of the people of Riemvasmaak belong to the Nama culture and live at the mission station.

Riemvasmaak, encompassing 74 000 hectares of fascinating desert wilderness, offers harsh rides along a dedicated mountain-bike trail and three 4x4 routes. Terrain varies from thick sand and rugged tracks to deep dongas and rocky plateaus – you can expect to suffer and push at times...

(GPS coordinates: -28.450393, 20.307713)

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

African Art Centre
28 Dec 2013
 
     

African Art Centre

So much more than simply an art space, the African Art Centre has been cultivating local artistic talent for fifty years. Located on Florida Road in Durban – an area synonymous with trend-setting, style and dynamism – it is one of the inaugural venues in the road that helped to develop this reputation.

In an effort to preserve cultural heritage, the works of the “old masters” are displayed alongside those of the fresh, new talent that has been sourced by the Centre. The result is that the works available are a far cry from the standard African curios found on street corners. With a collection of works in different media and styles, a visitor may be fascinated by a portrait of the wizened face of a village elder, or amazed by the range of objects ingeniously sculpted with wire and beads...

(GPS coordinates: -29.83536, 31.01845)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/art-craft/african-art-centre

Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour
28 Dec 2013
 
     

Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour

Explore the hidden secrets of the high forests along the Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour as you cable-slide between tree-top platforms set high within the branches of giant forest trees and amidst the towering cliffs. Keep your eyes open and you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the giant kingfisher as you “fly” above this spectacular waterfall gorge.

Thirteen purpose-built platforms, linked by steel cables, allow you to foefie-slide dozens of metres above the forest floor within the tangled afro-montane woods along the banks of the Great Letaba River. This incredible journey will give you an exhilarating peek into the spectacular fauna, flora and geology of one of the Limpopo Province’s most diverse natural wonders...

(GPS coordinates: -23.97619, 29.993979)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/magoebaskloof-canopy-tour

Van Wyksdorp
28 Dec 2013
 
     

Van Wyksdorp.

Marico Oog Diving
28 Dec 2013
 
     

Marico Oog Diving

Marico Oog is a small but very scenic dive site on a farm in the Zeerust/Lichtenburg of North West, which is used as an advanced training or night dive venue by some of the Gauteng dive clubs and by self-sufficient divers in search of a weightless fix.

Formed by a natural spring that produces crystal clear cool water, it hosts lush plant life, including beautiful water lilies whose stems trail down in the water below. The bottom of the pool is also carpeted with plant life and you’ll see various species of fish, including bass, kurper and, occasionally, fresh water eels...

(GPS coordinates: -25.789111, 26.367005)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/scuba-diving/marico-oog-diving

Tsitsikamma canopy tours
27 Dec 2013
 
     

Treetop canopy tour in the Tsitsikamma

There are certain things in life you have to do at least once. Or in my case, I only have the guts to do it once. Although as safe as sleeping in your own bed, I have asked myself a few times “what type of a mother allows her children to do this…” before gliding to the next tree!

The Stewarts rewarded themselves with a Canopy Tour in the Tsitsikamma a while ago. What an amazing experience! Of course putting on the safety gear makes you feel very adventurous and extreme, but all in all, safety is number one, and the team really takes good care of you.  The tours are only cancelled in extreme weather, but the forest is normally well protected.

The Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour is a unique eco-wilderness adventure that takes place in the magnificent Tsitsikamma indigenous rainforest, and involves gliding from one tree to another along a steel cable suspended up to 30 meters above the forest floor… “I believe I can fly….”

Most platforms are located in giant Outeniqua Yellowwood trees. The scenery and bird life is spectacular and professional guides provide interesting facts about the forest ecology during the 2½ to 3 hours. It is a breathtaking form of eco-tourism which allows  people to enter and experience a previously inaccessible natural environment – and in all honesty, I think there are far less creatures (read snakes and spiders) 30m up in the air than on the forest floor!

The Tsistikamma Canopy Tour consists of 10 platforms and 10 ‘foefie’ slides, the longest of which is 100m.  Don’t brake too early or you will stuck in the middle… and remember, there is no turning back either!

The tour begins with a detailed safety briefing followed by a ‘kitting up’ session where full body harnesses, pulleys and climbing equipment are issued and checked. A short drive takes you into the Tsitsikamma forest and it is time to monkey around!  We were in a group of 7, so we had ample time to get ready and enjoy the slides – and to turn around and watch the faces of those gliding your way!

The platforms provide an unbelievable view of this new world – as you don’t see much while gliding (well, I didn’t!). Any fear of heights is soon lost as you gather in your new surroundings. In between glides the guides explain the ecology of the forest – pointing out different trees and the magnificent giant ferns way below. The bird life is incredible. We saw a Knysna Loerie, and sightings of the Narina Trogon and Vervet monkey are not uncommon.

About three hours later you exit the forest, having undertaken the journey of a lifetime. You have contributed to the creation of new jobs and are helping the forest regeneration project – and ticked off a bucket list item!

Guest Blog by Esti Stewart
www.stfrancisvillagenews.com

Contact details:
Stormsriver Adventures
042 281 1836 or [email protected]

Gericke's point Beach Run Trail
27 Dec 2013
 
     

Gericke's point Beach Run Trail

The Goukamma Nature Reserve covers an area of about 2 500ha, with a 14km-long coastline. The nature reserve includes a long beach and an extensive dune field with some of the highest vegetated dunes in South Africa. Also here are the Goukamma River and estuary, and the unique Groenvlei Lake, which has no in-flowing river and no link to the sea.

This is all about a beach run from Gericke’s Point to Groenvlei Beach and back, starting from the car park at Swartvlei Beach. In the west, you will see the most beautiful rock formation that enters the ocean; this is Gericke’s Point. So head east and leave the best for last. Check the tides before you run; not only is low tide easier on the legs, but two kilometres into the run, you will come across the Swartvlei Lagoon, which can be a tricky affair to cross. Only one hour after low tide, the water already reaches waist height...

(GPS coordinates: -34.024951, 22.77421)

Read more at /www.nightjartravel.com/trail-running/gericke's-point-beach-run-trail

 

Molweni Trail (Yellow), Krantzkloof
27 Dec 2013
 
     

Molweni Trail (Yellow), Krantzkloof

The Krantzkloof Reserve was established by the Natal Parks Board in 1950 and is now managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. A small reserve spanning about 584 hectares, it protects the forested gorges carved by the Molweni and Nkutu rivers and has an abundance of wildlife, including zebra, bushbuck, blue, red and grey duiker, vervet monkey, rock hyrax, several mongoose species, water monitor and genet. More than 200 bird species have been recorded and this is one of the few places in the Durban area where the Knysna turaco can be found.

The Molweni Trail, marked as the yellow trail on most maps, is the only way to access the bottom of the falls. It has three starting points, with the shortest and most popular trail being the one from the main picnic area, adjacent to the dam at the head of Kloof Falls. You need only walk 100m from here to enjoy breath-taking views across the forested gorge...

(GPS coordinates: -29.772587, 30.830432)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/molweni-trail-yellow-krantzkloof

 

Cathedral Peak Trail
27 Dec 2013
 
     

Cathedral Peak Trail

Although there’s a fairly clear path, you need a head for heights and a good level of fitness to summit this iconic Drakensberg peak, as the scramble up the final section is tricky and exposed. But if it sounds intimidating, help is at hand. 

The Cathedral Peak Hotel runs free guided hikes for its guests a couple of times a week and guides can also be arranged from Ezimvelo KZN Wildlife’s Didima Resort and the campsite. If going independently, make sure that you complete the mountain register before setting out and sign back in on your return. Start early, particularly in summer, when afternoon thunderstorms are common, and keep an eye on the weather as you go...

(GPS coordinates: -28.94619, 29.204618)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/cathedral-peak-trail

 

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