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Olive Jam Recipes
16 Nov 2012
 
     

I recently made a ham and fig jam sandwhich, which made me feel like a masterchef (my girlfriend, however, felt otherwise)! And then Fiona picked up some tips on how to really make magic with jam while she was at Kloovenburg Wine and Olive Estate, and now I feel a little embarrassed admitting to my sandwhich! So here's what they had to say...

Kloovenburg Olive Jam is more savoury than sweet. A savoury jam is a good accompaniment to a cheese platter. Add some smoked cold meats, ciabatta bread and rocket leaves for the tapas platter. Spread some olive jam on toasted bruschetta and top with buffalo mozzarella.

It also perfect for meat, especially venison. Debone a springbok leg of lamb, marinate overnight in some Balsamic (Kloovenburg also makes a good one). Spread some olive jam on add some crushed black pepper and braai it over hot coals. Be careful to not over braai, it should still be pink in the middle. Add a green salad and some rosemary baby potatoes and you have the perfect Sunday lunch.

Sounds delicious, and I think I'll stick to confirmed recipes from now on!

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Khamai Reptile Park
15 Nov 2012
 
     

Khamai Reptile Park

This beautiful Burmese python is one of hundreds of snakes and other reptiles that live at the Khamai Reptile Park, just outside the Limpopo town of Hoedspruit. The centre does really valuable conservation work in an area with a particularly high concentration of snakes. Allowing visitors to handle one of their non-venomous snakes is part of Khamai’s educational tour, which helps address fears and misconceptions about snakes, chameleons and other reptiles that often lead to them being killed. 

These unnecessary deaths place additional pressure on reptile populations already affected by agricultural development, urbanisation, mining, erosion and pollution. The centre also conducts important reptile-related research and helps lodges, farmers and local communities within the region to relocate so-called ‘problem’ reptiles into the wild. 

- Dianne Tipping-Woods

p.s. Thanks to Warren Garvie for the edit.

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Creative Photography
14 Nov 2012
 
     

There is no reason why your holiday photos have to be boring... After all, you're on holiday, so throw out all the rules! Your holiday is all about fun, so get creative. We are going to run a photo a day (glitches notwithstanding!) from our most creative sets, to inspire you... 

I'm not saying these photos are good, but I am saying we chucked out the rule book and just had fun. And remember, if you get some nice ones, upload them to the Nightjar Gallery and tell us what you did!

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Meeting Mrs. Masindi
14 Nov 2012
 
     

Meeting Mrs. Masindi was a highlight of my trip to the lush green hills of Venda. She is the mother of local tour guide Thambatshira Masindi, who hails from the village of Sibasa not far from the city of Thihoyandou. We stopped for a drink of water and, when she heard I admired the traditional Venda clothes, she got some of hers out and insisted I try them on. 

In Venda culture, women’s clothing is an important form on non-verbal communication. Cut, colour and embroidery combine to form a complex lexicon and even subtle differences in design can mean different things in different regions or contexts. While these colourfully embroidered garments signify Mrs. Masindi’s status and dignity as an older woman in the community, it’s her warm hospitality that made the biggest impression on me. 

- Dianne Tipping-Woods

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Beautiful Dancers
12 Nov 2012
 
     

Aren't these guys just the most beautiful dancers..?  Although our Facebook commenters note that they pack quite the bite!

Grey Crowned Cranes at the top of Naude's Neck; Eastern Cape.

Image from the Nightjar Gallery

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Nightjar Travelled
12 Nov 2012
 
     

This weekend, Nightjar travelled a little bit further than usual... That's right, good old London town! Here's what our man on the ground had to say:

Looking for a quick cup of coffee while on business in the fair city of London, imagine my surprise when I turned a corner and walked straight into... a Vida e Cafe! Now even the Brits will know what a good coffee tastes like.

Hehe, nice one South Africa :-)

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Germans on Safari
9 Nov 2012
 
     

Anfang September 2012 fuhren wir mit dem Auto in den „Gamepark“. Hier kann man mit dem Auto bis zur Lodge fahren, gibt den Schlüssel ab und die Erholung beginnt. Die Lodge hat ein Wasserloch nur 50 m entfernt von den Bungalows und dem Haupthaus. Da viele Wasserlöcher zum Ende des sehr trockenen Winters trocken waren, wurde dieses Wasserloch sehr gut besucht. So konnten wir von unserer Terrasse jeden Tag Herden von Elefanten, Impalas, Kudu, Wasserbüffel, Zebras, einige Giraffen, Wildschweine, etc. beobachten. 

Aber auch sonst können wir diese Lodge nur empfehlen. Es stimmte alles und auch der Ranger, der uns fuhr, war sehr kompetent und freundlich. Auf unseren Gamedrives haben wir viel erlebt. Unter anderem tauchte wie aus dem Nichts plötzlich links neben unserem langsam dahinfahrenden Auto ein schwarzes Rhinozeros auf, rannte an uns vorbei ins Gras. 

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Three Peaks Challenge 2012
8 Nov 2012
 
     

With mist over the city bowl for most of the morning, conditions were perfect for this year’s Three Peaks Challenge so it came as no surprise that Andre Calitz smashed his own course record, becoming the first Challenger to finish in under five hours. Katya Sogot came home in 6 hours 15 minutes, shaving two minutes off Sylvie Harris’ long-standing women’s record. Nightjar Travel’s Fiona McIntosh also put in a good performance finishing in eight hours – an hour and 43 minutes faster than her previous best! She puts her dramatic improvement down partly to the wee bit of training that she did on the Camino in July, but also the result of wearing a pair of specialised, La Sportiva mountain running shoes, which allowed her to hurtle down the steep rocky paths.

We're very impressed - not just by our Fiona, but by those winning times! Wow!

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Boston
7 Nov 2012
 
     

As we mentioned yesterday, one of our Nightjar Travel team members is currently in the USA, and he sent us a lovely shot of Boston, MA, in the late afternoon light. I pestered him for more info, of course.

Most people, when they think of Boston, think Harvard or MIT (although both are actually just over the river in Cambridge)… or, of course, ‘Boston Rob’ Mariano (if you're a fan of Survivor). 

In fact, the greater Boston area is home to more than 100 colleges and universities. More surprisingly, Boston is one of the top 10 tourist destinations in the US. For history buffs, it played a prominent role in the American Revolution. For the culturally inclined, its covers the musical scene all the way from classical to hardcore punk and has a range of top class theatres and museums. But ultimately, it is just a friendly and fun city to spend time in.

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Democracy Plaza, NYC - Election Night!
7 Nov 2012
 
     

One of the Nightjar Travel team had the privilege of being in New York City on Election Night! He sent us some photos from Democracy Plaza, and it looks like quite the spectacle!

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Waiting for the Woodies...
7 Nov 2012
 
     

Any day now, the woodland kingfishers will be back. Their annual return, generally signalled by their loud, trilling call (treet teerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr), heralds the halcyon days of summer in the lowveld and other areas in the north of South Africa. We place friendly bets on the much-anticipated arrival of the birds, affectionately known as ‘woodies’. It usually happens in the second week of November, when the first ones make their return from Central Africa known. Within days, the area is full of them and the males start aggressively securing nest sites and partners, spreading their wings to look more impressive, and calling incessantly. Breeding starts in December and after that the birds become quieter, although you will still spot the tiny blue comets in the tree tops right up until mid-April. Note that despite their name, Woodland Kingfishers seldom eat fish; their staple food is insects.

- Dianne Tipping-Woods

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Beautiful Africa
6 Nov 2012
 
     

Just another reminder of how much beauty there is to appreciate in Africa. This stunning hillside was snapped between Kenya and Tanzania.  They say photography is a patient art, and a photo like this really illustrates that - in harsh light this would have been a photo of a muddy puddle, but with the cloud reflections it becomes something entirely different!

Photographer: Wajahat Mahmood - [License]  [Gallery]

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Paarl's Three Prongs!
6 Nov 2012
 
     

That strange three pronged edifice on the hill above Paarl – ever wondered what it is? I did, so I took a drive up, and now I can tell you. The Afrikaans Language Monument commemorates the declaration of Afrikaans as an official language in South Africa. The building is a representation of the various influences and growth of the language and was in part inspired by the writing of N.P. van Wyk Louw and C.J. Langenhoven. My favourite part though was the tallest tower, which is hollow and creates an amazing echo when you speak inside it.

- Sara Barnes

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Devon Valley Run
6 Nov 2012
 
     

Last weekend, Fiona ran the Three Peaks, which made me feel like a total wuss so I asked her about gentler ways to get into it... This is what she had to say:

Think the Three Peaks Challenge is a bit hard-core? Then this leisurely wineland ramble might be just the ticket. On Saturday 3rd November the 12km Devon Valley Run took runners through some of Stellenbosch’s most prestigious wineries including Middelvlei, Clos Malverne and House of JC Le Roux with competitors being treated to wine tastings and nibbles at the ‘watering holes’ along the route. Most folk dress up for the occasion, and it goes without saying that this is a fun run rather an ultra-competitive race! Entries are available on the day (between 6am and 8am) at Devon Valley. And the great news if you’re a young connoisseur is that it’s free for any under 18s running with an adult.

I think I'm sold - and I don't have to get fit until next year (hehe)

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Jenman Safari's Save the Rhino Charity Calender
5 Nov 2012
 
     

And now for a different kind of nature ;-) This is Jenman Safaris' Save the Rhino Charity Calendar !!! We're so impressed by the bold step these guys have taken with their tasteful yet sexy calender, which goes for ZAR120 and the full selling price goes towards saving our rhinos. Very cool - do check our their page on Facebook!

Bedford Cycle Safari
5 Nov 2012
 
     

A ride through time...

Ernest Hemingway wrote, ‘It is by riding a bicycle that you best learn the contours of a country.’ And even if the great man never actually endured much time in the saddle himself, his sentiment is true. Just back from a four-day,180km off-road cycle safari around Bedford in the Eastern Cape. The scenery was varied and always spectacular; sometimes like being in the Drakensberg mountains, sometimes like being in the Karoo. There was plenty of history along the way, such as the scene of the shoot-out which sparked the 1815 Slagtersnek rebellion and simple stone churches built by the 1820 Scottish settlers. The cycling wasn’t technical, but did require some honest hard graft, with several long grinding climbs, rewarded by fast sweeping descents. And we stayed at farms still owned by the settlers’ descendants, enjoying their hospitality, red wine and tall tales by the fireside.

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Nightjar

Welcome to our website. South Africa is awesome and you've come to the right place to help you explore it!

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Erik