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Giants Castle Main Caves Trail
11 Jul 2015
 
     

Giants Castle, named after the sleeping giant you can see silhouetted on the horizon, is a hiker's paradise, with trails ranging from three kilometres to several days. One of the most popular hikes is to Main Caves, one of the most accessible and varied rock art sites in the Drakensberg. Sadly the paintings are not the best-preserved thanks to the extensive damage inflicted by the 75th Carbineers, who used the evocative images for target practice when they camped nearby during the Langalibalele Rebellion...

(GPS coordinates: -29.269807, 29.52028)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/giants-castle-main-caves-trail

Zebra Stripes
11 Jul 2015
 
     

Nobody knows for sure why the zebra has stripes, but it has been argued in a recent study that black and white stripes are unattractive to horse flies. It is also thought that the stripes of the zebra merge together in a herd, making it difficult for predators to distinguish and pursue a single animal. Zebra-like patterns, called Dazzle Camouflage, were used by the British and US Navies during both World Wars. The hope was that painting dazzling patterns on warships would prevent artillery rangefinders from accurately calculating the movements of a ship.

Oorlogskloof Trail
10 Jul 2015
 
     

The Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve comprises 4 776 hectares of mountains that have been dissected by deep river gorges through which the Oorlogskloof River flows. The area has a rich and varied plant life, being situated on the transition/ecotone area of the Fynbos and Karoo Biomes. The reserve is dominated by rugged sandstone formations, with a number of stunning San rock art galleries. The hiking trails at Oorlogskloof are for experienced and fit hikers as the terrain is rugged and inhospitable and they must be prepared for extremes of weather...

(GPS coordinates: -31.442065, 19.068832)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/oorlogskloof-trail

Lake Fundudzi
10 Jul 2015
 
     

There are many striking aspects about Lake Fundudzi in the Soutpansberg in Limpopo. For a start, it is the country’s only true lake of a size to speak of, most of the others being freshwater lagoons or pans. It was created centuries ago by a landslide that blocked the Mutale River. It’s not easy to visit the lake and permits must be sought from the Chief at least two days before any intended visit. Newcomers must approach the waters backwards, only looking at it by bending over and peering at it through their legs…

(GPS coordinates: -22.857017, 30.307868)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/lake-fundudzi

Sentinel Rock Climbing
9 Jul 2015
 
     

The Zulu name for this impressive peak is ‘Ntabamnyama’ (‘the Black One’), and in bad weather the great sheer-sided buttress at the northern end of the famous Drakensberg Amphitheatre is certainly a dark, intimidating massif. But when the sun shines it looks appealing. This, and the short walk-in from the car, make it is the most frequently climbed peak in the ‘Berg. ..

(GPS coordinates: -28.727463, 28.890822)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/climbing/sentinel-rock-climbing

The Royal Hotel Pilgrims Rest
9 Jul 2015
 
     

While today we regard Pilgrim’s Rest with his gold-mining history as quaint, it was once an elegant cosmopolitan centre. This sophistication has been retained by the town’s Royal Hotel, which was declared a National Monument in 1986. Consisting of 10 buildings that date back to the late 19th century, the hotel has been restored to the splendour of its Victorian origins and offers 50 en-suite bedrooms. In keeping with the period, they feature brass beds, washstands and ball-and-claw bath. The modern hairdryers and shavers seem a little misplaced...

(GPS coordinates: -24.908888, 30.757288)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/shopping/royal-hotel-pilgrims-rest

Grey Dam to Toposcope Trail
8 Jul 2015
 
     

This mountain outing on the outskirts of Grahamstown is a great quick escape. You can either walk from town through the Botanical Gardens and past the Settlers Monument, or park at Grey Dam. From the dam, cross the Mountain Drive jeep track, following the signs to Mayor's Seat and the toposcope. The steep, winding path meanders uphill to a T-junction, where you turn right. You are now walking along a ridge from where there are fantastic views over Grahamstown...

(GPS coordinates: -33.323841, 26.528158)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/grey-dam-toposcope-trail

Kouga Wilderness Sukkelpoort 4x4 Trail
8 Jul 2015
 
     

In the Kouga region your journey is part of the destination. Time seems to run more slowly here in the Goa!ab region as you marvel at mountains meeting the sea and rivers cutting out deep gorges. The Sukkelpoort trail runs along a narrow rocky kloof for about 5km before it joins another trail that goes on to the abseil cliff. The narrow kloof can get a bit tricky and you will need some guiding as you really have to place your wheels on rocks to prevent your undercarriage from being scraped…

(GPS coordinates: -33.715657, 23.842725)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/4x4/kouga-wilderness-sukkelpoort-4x4-trail

Ditsong Museum of Natural History
7 Jul 2015
 
     

The Ditsong National Museum of Natural History used to be the Transvaal Museum of Natural History, which in turn developed from the 1892 Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek’s Staatsmuseum. Gauteng’s only natural history museum, it is one of the largest of its kind in South Africa. The museum, which collects and preserves South Africa’s natural heritage, has fantastic collections of original fossil material, skeletons, skins and mounted specimens. It can all be viewed by the public and accessed by researchers and academics...

(GPS coordinates: -25.753043, 28.188603)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/ditsong-museum-natural-history

Groot Constantia & Constantia Winelands
7 Jul 2015
 
     

Constantia’s vineyards are the oldest in South Africa, dating from the 1600s. Groot Constantia is among the oldest of them all. It was established in 1685 on the farm of the governor of the Cape Colony at the time, Simon van der Stel. After Van der Stel’s death in 1712, his estate was divided and sold off as separate wine estates. Today these eight estates - Groot Constantia, High Constantia, Constantia Uitsig, Steenberg Vineyards, Klein Constantia, Buitenverwachting, Constantia Glen and Eagle’s Nest Wines - make up the Constantia winelands...

(GPS coordinates: -34.029651, 18.420049)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/food-wine/groot-constantia-constantia-winelands

African Paradise Flycatcher
7 Jul 2015
 
     

African Paradise Flycatchers are busy birds, often seen flitting around in forests and woodlands chattering prettily. This is either a female or a male without breeding plumage. In the breeding season males develop long, elegant, russet tail feathers which are not visible here. Most bird-books depict the African Paradise Flycatcher with a black head and breast. This photograph captures the true blue-black colour of their heads which, along with their sky-blue eyes and beaks, forms an attractive contrast to their chestnut wings.

Save the Rhino Trail Running Event
6 Jul 2015
 
     

Botlierskop Private Game Reserve is nestled between the magnificent Outeniqua Mountains and the unspoiled beaches of the Indian Ocean. Botlierskop is named after one of the spectacular rock formations on the reserve. Trail running through the 3 000ha Botlierskop Big Four Game Reserve takes you along a combination of single-track, jeep tracks and game tracks.  The area is home to four of the Big 5 animals, with breathtaking views of Mossel Bay and the Indian Ocean…

(GPS coordinates: -34.030784, 22.14182)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/trail-running/save-rhino-trail-running-event

Main Caves
6 Jul 2015
 
     

Main Caves, in the Giant’s Castle Nature Reserve, is an ideal place for one-day visits from Pietermaritzburg for tour groups and families. It is in an area that is steeped in South African history. It was close to Main Caves that the Hlubi leader, Langalibalele, made a bid for Lesotho just over the high mountains to escape the authority of the Colonial Government in 1873. A magistrate, Joseph Millerd Orpen, was sent from the Eastern Cape in pursuit of Langalibalele to try to convince him to return to his lands and submit to Colonial authority. A young San man called Qing accompanied Orpen as a guide. On their journey they visited rock art sites in present-day Lesotho and Orpen recorded Qing’s comments on the paintings that they saw. Today, the Orpen material provides invaluable insights into the meanings of San rock art...

(GPS coordinates: -29.280742, 29.515478)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/rock-art/main-caves

Shelter Rock Via Ferrata
5 Jul 2015
 
     

The concept of the Via Ferrata, Italian for “Iron Way”, was developed in the Pyrenees by soldiers during the World Wars. It refers to a vertiginous system of metal walkways and bridges. You may now experience the excitement of this unique trail along Shelter Rock in the Magaliesberg peaks. Ascend all the way to the summit, a domain previously reserved for ardent rock climbers, as you face off against vertigo on this intense and extreme adrenalin experience...

(GPS coordinates: -25.836108, 27.652631)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/shelter-rock-ferrata

Kalk Bay Harbour
5 Jul 2015
 
     

The scenic town of Kalk Bay is a popular destination on the False Bay seaboard. Kalk Bay's Main Road is home to a colourful mix of antique stores, coffee shops, galleries, second-hand bookstores and restaurants – many with views of False Bay. Originally a fishing village, Kalk Bay is still a lively working harbour and one of the best places to buy fresh fish straight off the boat. It is also home to Kalkys, a dockside fish and chip shop that sells only the freshest of fish at fantastic prices. There are also a number of more upmarket restaurants and characteristic cafes in the area... 

(GPS coordinates: -34.129187, 18.449017)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/kalk-bay-harbour

Cape Point
4 Jul 2015
 
     

Cape Point, the distinctive tip of the Cape Peninsula, is a narrow finger of land that extends into the ocean. It is covered in endemic fynbos and cross-crossed by a network of roads and hiking trails from which to explore the picturesque bays, beaches, hills and valleys. This national park offers visitors many ways to enjoy the diverse plant and animal life, spectacular seascapes and mountain scenery. As well as exploring by car or by foot, you can take the popular ‘Flying Dutchman’ funicular to a viewing point just below the light house. The Two Oceans Restaurant is beautifully situated for a relaxed meal, or you can pack a picnic and discover cultural and historical spots within the reserve...

(GPS coordinates: -34.350629, 18.483778)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/cape-point

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