Kate and Phil of Wild Mountain Adventures are one couple who are mightily relieved to see the start of spring in South Africa. Whilst building their lodge in the Drakensberg Mountains near Barkly East, they spent this winter under canvas in one of their permanent safari tents. With snow on the ground and night time temperatures as low as minus 14 degrees Celcius they are living proof that ‘You need attitude to do the altitude’. Kate is pleased to report that temperatures are now balmy, and guests are welcome to stay at Wildside with no fear of their bedside drinks freezing, which is what regularly happened to them this winter!
Some cities are ideal for lovers, some for shoppers and some for - well, let’s be honest - scoundrels. Such as Panama City, synonymous with sleazy deals, laundered money, the classic cad’s hat and, of course, a canal. With its history determined by being at the narrowest point between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, it’s always attracted more than a fair share of bounty hunters, pirates, adventurers and rogues.
From here, it’s only a short hop to Bogota, the capital of Colombia, synonymous with coffee, cocaine and a national footballer being shot dead for scoring an own goal. Once famous primarily for murders and kidnappings, Bogota’s now also renowned for its pulsating, energetic nightlife. Not that you should discard your bullet proof vest just yet. Of course, you don’t need to be a scoundrel to visit Panama or Bogota. But if you are one, you’ll certainly feel at home.
- Matthew Holt
You might remember, last week, how seriously impressed we were by Shaen Adey and Fiona McIntosh for being the first women's team in history to place on the podium at the Waterfall Boven Roc Rally 2012 (With a 2nd overall?!
Well, I've thought about it, and I've decided that... impressed or not, the world has got to see this pic :-) Hehe!
Micro-brewed beer in a dorp - Yes please. The Darling Brew’s Slow Quarter is worth the hour’s drive from Cape Town. Located in the theatrical town of Darling, the tasting room has four beers on tap accompanied by meals with a distinctive South African flavour. On offer are: Slow Beer, their good old lager; Native Ale, a spicy brown ale; Black Mist, a deep black ale, and the Bone Crusher. The Bone Crusher, named after the spotted hyena, is a love-or-hate-it Wit Beer with more than a hint of orange peel and coriander. I’m a fan, though I won’t be cuddling hyenas any time soon.
- Sara Barnes
By now you've heard plenty about bouldering in Rocklands, and flowers on the Cape West Coast... so what if you're itching to go, but you have friends/family to consider?
Well I've put together an itinerary that touches on a few different interests to get you started... and if it doesn't quite suit your style, remember that you can always pull it into your account and replace my suggestions from your own favourites list! If you have any questions, drop a comment here and I'll see what I can do.
With rain forecast for the Cape last weekend we decided that a culinary tour of the pretty winelands town of Franschhoek might be just the thing to chase away the blues. Contrary to popular belief that all accommodation in the valley is pricey we found good value at Delicious, and, best of all staying at Le Quartier Français’ little sister meant we breakfasted in the Common Room - quite the most lavish spread of fresh fruits, patisseries and hot treats that I have ever enjoyed. Two hours later we rolled out for a few wine tastings before returning to the cozy Common Room to sample celebratory chef Margot Janse’s small plate skills. Winter ain’t so bad after all!
Rocklands, in the Cederberg, is renowned for its spectacular rock formations and naturally-sculpted boulders. It has also become a world-renowned venue for the sport of bouldering: a low-level, highly-gymnastic form of climbing and every year the top practitioners will spend months here, searching and solving new boulder ‘problems’. But, you don’t have to be able to dyno a gaston or stick a crimper to appreciate this unique place, with its burnished rocks, brilliant sunsets and big blue African skies. Especially now, with the west coast flowers in bloom.
- Matthew Holt