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Butterflies for Africa
26 Dec 2014
 
     

Butterflies for Africa

Butterflies for Africa in Pietermaritzburg bestows a touch of magic on the world with their passion for these beautiful, winged insects. The Butterfly House is a greenhouse-style fairyland of waterfalls, wooden bridges and lush plant life – all perfectly suited to replicating an ideal environment for butterflies. The air is resplendent with indigenous and exotic butterflies, many of which will rest on you if tempted with a bit of banana. The rest of the complex has also been constructed with butterflies in mind. The Butterfly Garden is a 6000m² oasis, and after exploring, a broad range of butterfly-inspired goods are available at the Butterfly Shop, as well as delicious snacks and drinks at the Painted Lady Coffee Bar. With conservation as a part of the ethos at Butterflies for Africa, the staff also runs a Cotton-Top Tamarin Monkey breeding programme within the facility. A showcase of South African art and craft talent is on display at the Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery…

(GPS coordinates: -29.5948, 30.40544)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/butterflies-africa

Gubas de Hoek
26 Dec 2014
 
     

Gubas de Hoek is an eco-friendly guest house where you will experience charm, elegance and individually decorated, classy rooms which are comfortable to the hilt, as well as fine dining options. Located amongst the mountainous, lush valleys of the wine-growing region of Robertson only 150 km from Cape Town, the elegant Cape Dutch inspired Gubas de Hoek is all about meeting, eating and sleeping under the hospitality of your German hosts, and provides the perfect venue for a business trip, holiday or special event…

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/gubas-de-hoek

(GPS coordinates: -24.732542, 30.463188)

Rust de Winter Bundu 4x4 Trail
25 Dec 2014
 
     

Rust de Winter Bundu 4x4 Trail

Rust de Winter, the official camp site of the 4x4ATV Club, is a 27ha property on the banks of the Elands River less than a 10km from the hustle and bustle of the Gauteng concrete jungle. It is even said that the ancient apiesdoring trees on this camp site are the oldest in the southern hemisphere. Be that as it may, the surrounding bushveld terrain, rocky ravines, mountain passes, valleys and gorges make for a 4x4 enthusiast's dream come true. The Rust de Winter Bundu Trail sets off from the club on Saturdays at 10h00 and usually returns around 14h00. It is your only chance to access the privately owned land around Rust de Winter via sandy bushveld tracks that head up into the mountains through gorges and rocky passes...

(GPS coordinates: -25.19851, 28.575348)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/4x4/rust-de-winter-bundu-4x4-trail

St Francis Links Golf
25 Dec 2014
 
     

St Francis Links Golf

Coming in at number 9 on Golf Digest’s top one hundred courses in South Africa, the Jack Nicklaus designed St Francis Links is set in a spectacular wind-swept dunescape covered with indigenous grasses and gorgeous fynbos, outside the village of St Francis Bay.

An hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth, the magic of this seaside course can be evidenced by Nicklaus’ words at its opening in 2006, when he said that it may be not just the best course he has ever designed, but the best he has ever seen.

With no two holes the same, the dramatic layout of the undulating links course combines every element of shot-making, with its sloping greens, challenging fairways and fierce rough. 

In the true spirit of links golf, St Francis is often battered by potent seaside breezes considerably ramping up the difficulty factor on a course, which can yield great rewards or be the demise of all but the most superhuman golfer. 

Green fees range from R250 to play with a member, to R510 for a walk-on visitor.

(GPS coordinates: -34.161445, 24.826891)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com//activities/st-francis-links-golf

Arderne Gardens
25 Dec 2014
 
     

Arderne Gardens, Kenilworth

We used to live just behind these gardens, yet only discovered them late into the year. Our cameras were begging to be let out after gathering too much dust, and so we waited until the golden hour before sunset, and entered the Arderne Gardens. It’s a magical place. Moss-covered paths lead you onto intimate lawns surrounded by indigenous plants that hang over your head in a thin canopy. After lying on the lawns and wondering at the flora, we happened across the lower section of the gardens. Wooden walkways stem out of a bricked area that holds a fountain and a little pond with Koi and lilies. The place emanates a fairytale feeling - and if we lay under that thin canopy for the rest of the day, no one could blame us.

- Brad Harris

Lily Pond Country Lodge
25 Dec 2014
 
     

Lily Pond Country Lodge, with its unique architectural design and contemporary décor, is set in one of the most beautiful settings to be found in the area. From the popular resort town of Plettenberg Bay, the scenic Garden Route winds through rural farmlands and indigenous forests to this hidden gem of Nature's Valley on the edge of Tsitsikamma National Park. The extremely private Lily Pond Country Lodge is surrounded by 12 hectares of magnificent indigenous forest and unique lily ponds. Guests can experience the tranquillity of unspoiled nature with gorgeous views from private patios, be impressed by the delicious fusion kitchen and explore the peaceful forest abounding with bird and butterfly life...

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/lily-pond-country-lodge

(GPS coordinates: -28.377943, 32.415281)

Kirstenbosch to Rhodes Memorial Trail
24 Dec 2014
 
     

Kirstenbosch to Rhodes Memorial Trail

This wonderful trail follows the contour path through the Afromontane forest on the eastern flanks of Table Mountain.  It starts at Constantia Nek and goes all the way to the King’s Blockhouse above Rhodes Memorial. The entire path can be hiked in about six hours, but the second half, from Kirstenbosch to the Rhodes Memorial (or the nearby King’s Blockhouse), is the most popular. Reach the contour path by following signs from the Gardens to Skeleton Gorge, then turn right across the stream and continue on the contour path until you pass a second ravine, Window Gorge...

(GPS coordinates: -33.989101, 18.434283)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/kirstenbosch-rhodes-memorial-trail

Lotheni Contour Path Trail
24 Dec 2014
 
     

Lotheni Contour Path Trail

Although this is a long walk, it is arguably the best hike in the Lotheni area, taking you to two waterfalls, past one of the really grand overnight caves of the Little Berg and up very close to some of the highest peaks in southern Africa. From Lotheni campsite, follow the river upstream for about two kilometres to eMpophomeni Falls. Continue up the Lotheni River to where the path splits and take the left option up Ka-Masihlenga Valley. Yellowwood Cave is in a rock band on the right-hand side of the stream. From here, the path gets steep as you ascend a narrow gorge to the top of the Little Berg...

(GPS coordinates: -29.437804, 29.517399)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/lotheni-contour-path-trail

Christiana Lodge
24 Dec 2014
 
     

Christiana Lodge is a luxury establishment where beach-chic meets Karoo romance in the exclusive and upmarket Solar Beach area of Plettenberg Bay, one of South Africa’s most spectacular Garden Route towns. You’ll enjoy absolute privacy at the boutique guest house, thanks to architect-designed, light-filled interiors, clean lines and panoramic views over the pristine Brakkloof wetland, with the acclaimed Robberg Beach just a short 5-minute walk away...

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/christiana-lodge

(GPS coordinates: -33.993111, 22.57386)

Mosamane Hiking Trail
23 Dec 2014
 
     

Mosamane Hiking Trail

The trail, which means ground squirrel in Sotho, is a situated on the farm, Beatrix, close to the small Free State town of Rosendal. The area has some of the most stunning sandstone rock cliffs to be seen in the Malutis, testimony to the ancient times when it was part of wind-swept desert terrain. The elements have carved out magnificent formations in the mountainside that have been given evocative names, such as Elephant Trunk and Owl’s Eyes. There are a number of mountain streams that cascade off the rock faces during the summer months and spring brings with it a beautiful array of wild flowers...

(GPS coordinates: -28.554728, 27.953682)

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

Game Viewing at Aquila
23 Dec 2014
 
     

Game Viewing at Aquila

If you plan to do some game viewing while on a visit to Cape Town, Aquila Private Game Reserve is a good place to go. Home to the Big 5, it’s a beautiful, 90-minute drive from the Mother City, through winelands and the historic Touws River Valley. On arrival at Aquila, you decide how you wish to see Africa's legendary lions, elephants, buffalo, leopard, rhino and other game species. Go on a day safari in an open 4x4, climb on a horse or quad bike for even more intimate encounters, or choose a combination of activities accompanied by a knowledgeable expert. You can even throw in some viewing of ancient rock art sites. The Animal Rescue and Conservation Centre is also a worthwhile visit...

(GPS coordinates: -33.352407, 19.936224)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/game-viewing-aquila

The National Gallery, London
23 Dec 2014
 
     

The National Gallery, London

I visited England in December, when Norway’s Christmas tree was already decorated and lit up in Trafalgar Square against the backdrop of the National Gallery. The famous art museum rises proudly behind Trafalgar Square, and after walking up its steep stairway, you enter a magnificent array of art spanning the centuries. Inside, there are whole rooms dedicated to portraiture, landscapes, single artists and sculpture. There is even a room reserved for taxidermy models - it is that specific and detailed. Your only worry, after entering the tall, wooden double doors, is that you may not find your way out again. The art sucks you in and draws you around corners, leading you deeper and deeper into the maze of the gallery, and finally you will need to ask an official where in the hell you are. But you’ll never regret that you got lost.

- Brad Harris

 

Hawksmoor House
23 Dec 2014
 
     

Hawksmoor House, located on the 220-hectare wine farm, Matjieskuil, near Stellenbosch, is a meticulously restored Cape Dutch country retreat offering guesthouse accommodation in fifteen en-suite rooms, beautifully and individually decorated with exquisite antiques. Hawksmoor House occupies a stunning location amidst vineyards with an expansive view from the verandah towards beloved Table Mountain. The emphasis here is on authentic country-style living where guests can enjoy spectacular sunsets in the serene surroundings, a mere 25 minutes away from Cape Town…

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/hawksmoor-house

(GPS coordinates: -34.406155, 19.244771)

Truitjieskraal Rock Climbing
22 Dec 2014
 
     

Truitjieskraal Rock Climbing

Nestled in the heart of the Cederberg near the famous Stadsaal Rock Art site, Truitjieskraal rivals Rocklands as the premier sport-climbing area in the Cederberg, with some outstanding single-pitch climbing in a truly spectacular setting. Small but impressive orange cliffs and huge boulders offer a range of routes, from easy beginner scrambles to serious challenges that will test even the hardest rock jocks. The crags are sprawled over a square kilometre accessed from three different parking areas and, in addition to plenty of potential for new routes, there are some great trad lines, including some very easy lines from grade eight upwards...

(GPS coordinates: -32.541079, 19.325852)

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

Arabella Golf Estate
22 Dec 2014
 
     

Arabella Golf Estate

Being rated as the number one golf course in the Western Cape is no mean feat, considering that 30 of Golf Digest’s top 100 courses in South Africa are found in the province.

Situated close to Hermanus, the layout at Arabella Country Estate can lay claim to this title, and is as well balanced and scenically impressive a course as one could find.

Rolling terrain provides spectacular views of the Bot River lagoon - the largest natural lagoon in South Africa - which bounds the course, where a challenging mix of long and short holes were carved skilfully into the fynbos-filled landscape by Peter Matkovich.

The quality and conditioning of the kikuyu fairways and bent grass greens is of the highest possible standard, and the round ends with the memorable par five 18th, which is protected by bushy fynbos, waste bunkers, grassy banks and the lagoon. 

Summer green fees are R775 for unaffiliated visitors, R560 for affiliated golfers and R530 for hotel guests. In winter, visitors and guests will pay between R350 and R475.

(GPS coordinates: -34.310999, 19.130007)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/arabella-golf-estate

Thatchwood Country Lodge
22 Dec 2014
 
     

Thatchwood Country Lodge, in the prestigious St Francis Bay village, is a family-run luxury guesthouse situated in between 2 golf courses, the famous St Francis Links golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus, and, adjacent to the garden, the 6th tee of the local St Francis golf course. Decorated in a tastefully African style, the atmosphere and ambiance of this luxury thatched guesthouse is a blend of warm homely hospitality, great cuisine, and friendly, personalised service...

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/thatchwood-country-lodge

(GPS coordinates: -33.990707, 18.45989)

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