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National Museum
6 Nov 2014
 
     

National Museum

Bloemfontein’s National Museum dates back to 1877 and over the years it has accumulated important and fascinating collections of artefacts spanning natural and cultural history and the arts. Its 13 research departments are responsible for conserving the vast national heritage kept by the museum and anyone from serious academics to families will find something in its varied collections to keep them entertained...

(GPS coordinates: -29.115024, 26.218722)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/national-museum

Karoo Gariep Conservancy MTB Trail
6 Nov 2014
 
     

Karoo Gariep Conservancy MTB Trail

Set in the weeping landscape of the Karoo Gariep Conservancy with wide open spaces, amazingly fresh air and spectacular sunsets, New Holme combines traditional Karoo hospitality with vast scenic beauty, and this is also the only place in South Africa where you can actually ride past some hippos in the middle of the Karoo. Spend hours pedalling single-track and jeep-track “veldpadjies” on the conservancy. This is an experience for every level of mountain biker, with sand, rocks, plains, koppies and creatures great and small as part of this package...

(GPS coordinates: -30.898395, 24.627507)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/mountain-biking/karoo-gariep-conservancy-mtb-trail

Half-Collared Kingfisher Hike
6 Nov 2014
 
     

Half-Collared Kingfisher Hike: Garden Route

Hidden inside the forests of Wilderness, the trail is 7.2 kilometres long. It replaces an old favourite, the Giant Kingfisher trail, and roughly follows the same path, ending in that celebratory waterfall. But, now it was the path that I enjoyed most, and not just the final moment. We lunched at Tolkien-esque picnic spots, uncaring if we ever made it to the end, and sated my “birder” friends by noting the tambourine doves, Knysna loeries and, of course, the half-collared kingfishers. The path twisted around giant trees and forced us to cross the Touw River by aid of a tug-boat, after which solid boardwalks led us enchantingly to the awaited waterfall.

- Brad Harris

Crawford's Beach Lodge
6 Nov 2014
 
     

Crawford's Beach Lodge, set adjacent to the beach in Chintsa East on the magical Wild Coast, offers rustic accommodation, gourmet dining and a world of activities for travellers looking for fun, sun and relaxation away from the madding crowds. Located in unspoilt wilderness overlooking the warm Indian Ocean, the family run beach resort is suitably designed around the contours of the coastal dunes on which it resides. Most of the 30 units, as well as the communal area, feature ocean views...

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/crawford’s-beach-lodge

(GPS coordinates: -32.826911, 28.118583)

Muizenberg to St James Trail
5 Nov 2014
 
     

Muizenberg to St James Trail

The concrete walkway along the False Bay coast is a wonderfully refreshing, easy walk that is frequented by hikers and runners of all shapes and sizes. The trail starts on the seaward side of Muizenberg station at the southern end of Surfers’ Corner beach, where there is plenty of parking, and then winds along the coast above the broad wave-cut platform and dramatic orange sandstone boulders that are so typical of this section of coast...

(GPS coordinates: -34.109471, 18.468248)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/muizenberg-st-james-trail

Mkomazi River Rafting
5 Nov 2014
 
     

Mkomazi River Rafting

The Umkomaas has a fearsome reputation among whitewater enthusiasts. The largest river on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal, it runs almost 300 kilometres from its source just south of Giant’s Castle in the Drakensberg to its mouth into the Indian Ocean at the town of Umkomaas. The river is susceptible to flooding due to unpredictable weather patterns higher up in the catchment area and the steep valley that houses the river. This fast run-off makes the river quite temperamental for commercial rafting trips, so it is best experienced during the wet summer months from November to April. However, a recent travel article voted it the best continuous section of white water in South Africa, so it is a must-visit for the adventure-minded...

(GPS coordinates: -29.896299, 30.061802)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/rafting-kayaking/mkomazi-river-rafting-i

Nxala Ranch
5 Nov 2014
 
     

Nxala Ranch is situated in a wild, malaria-free reserve, where the thatch-roofed lodge nestles amongst willow and paperbark trees in the tranquillity of a lush, park-like garden, and where your only disturbances are bird calls and the distinctive whooping of zebras. Located on 1 600 hectares of mountains, grasslands and streams, 45km from Rorkes Drift in the Dundee area of Kwazulu-Natal, Nxala Lodge pays tribute to Africa at every turn and is a wonderful place for a private family or friends getaway...

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/nxala-ranch

(GPS coordinates: -28.359074, 30.540653)

Induna Adventures MTB Trails
4 Nov 2014
 
     

Induna Adventures MTB Trails

The Sabie Valley (between Sabie and Hazyview) boasts world-class mountain-bike trails. All the ingredients for real mountain biking are found here, seemingly endless downhills, gruelling climbs, fast rollers and technical problems that will rattle your teeth. The purpose-built Induna single track is well designed and very scenic and features anything from river crossings to serious downhills. Induna Adventures is also home to the Big Induna MTB Race that takes place annually. A network of trails includes the tough yellow trail, a route characterised by snaking trails next to the Sabie and Mac-Mac rivers under the canopy of indigenous trees.  A magnificent cascading waterfall along the way makes it a must-do. Duration depends on your level of fitness, but plan to spend about two hours in the saddle…

(GPS coordinates: -25.031838, 31.025125)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/mountain-biking/induna-adventures-mtb-trails

Hermanus Wine Village
4 Nov 2014
 
     

Hermanus Wine Village

The Hermanus Wine Village has been open for business since 1997 and claims to have the largest collection of South African wines under roof. More than 600 wine producers spanning 1600 different labels are represented. The Wine Village also stocks a selection of bubbly, noble late harvest, sweet wines and wine-related gifts. On average, visitors are entitled to six free tastings and the owners, Paul and Cathy du Toit, and their staff go the extra mile to ensure visitors find the perfect bottle of wine. Buyers can shop online and the Wine Village will ship wine purchases worldwide...

(GPS coordinates: -34.411304, 19.200518)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/food-wine/hermanus-wine-village

Maboneng
4 Nov 2014
 
     

Maboneng  

You would never guess that in the heart of Hillbrow you would find a world filled with thriving businesses, trendy markets, delicious coffee shops, museums and creative spaces. The Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg has taken me and, I’m pretty sure, the rest of South Africa by surprise by emerging as one of the favourite places to go to when visiting Jozi. The atmosphere is tangible with the excitement of this new urban development and the experience of Maboneng satisfies all the senses. The food from the Neighbourgoods Market, the sounds of colleagues and friends chatting on their lunch breaks, the taste of Origin coffee, the feeling of community and finally the visual. Maboneng is a space of collaboration, of development, of integration and of creativity and this is evident no matter where you look – in the people, in the businesses and in the design. Watch out Cape Town and Durban – Jozi has brought the party!

- Daniella Toscano

De Bergkant Lodge
4 Nov 2014
 
     

De Bergkant Lodge in Prince Albert is a delightful base from which to explore this sweet little town. Arriving via the awe-inspiring twists and turns of the Swartberg Pass, or the scenic Meiringspoort, you are instantly enfolded in tranquillity. With origins dating back to the mid-1800s, this beautifully restored Cape Dutch house in the peaceful town of Prince Albert is the epitome of Karoo hospitality, and continues to delight visitors from around the world…

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/de-bergkant-lodge

(GPS coordinates: -33.231863, 22.031632)

Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research
3 Nov 2014
 
     

Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research 

The Bernard Price Institute (BPI) for Palaeontological Research is part of the school of Geosciences at the University of the Witwatersrand. It collects, conserves, and interprets African fossils. If you dig dinosaurs, then you must visit their James Kitching Gallery museum. The museum is filled to the brim with all sorts of fascinating old bones and fossils and, would you believe it, a couple of live dinosaurs named Fang and Fred. Okay, Fang and Fred aren’t really ‘live’, but they are among several life-size animated reconstructions of fossils that make the museum such a cool place to learn about South Africa’s rich fossil heritage... 

(GPS coordinates: -26.189761, 28.0321

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/bernard-price-institute-palaeontological...

Maduma Boma MTB Trails
3 Nov 2014
 
     

Maduma Boma MTB Trails

At just 15 minutes from Hoedspruit and 30 minutes from the Kruger National Park's Orpen Gate, Maduma Boma is one of the bushveld's best-kept secrets. You have the freedom to walk or ride anywhere on this secluded game farm. There are no Big 5 on the property, which makes for safe cycling, but Maduma Boma does share a boundary with the Kapama Game Reserve for folk who are after the Big 5.

(GPS coordinates: -24.501798, 31.069073)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/mountain-biking/maduma-boma-mtb-trails

Grand Dédale Country House
3 Nov 2014
 
     

Grand Dédale Country House, located on a wine estate at the foot of the Bainskloof Pass, invites its guests to an exclusive brand of elegant country house living with understated luxury, discreet service, superb cuisine, and complete privacy amidst a beautiful winelands setting. The Doolhof Wine Estate, 6km from Wellington, is set on 380 hectares of vineyard, forest and fynbos, surrounded by three dramatic mountain ranges. The Kromme River runs through the estate and is a major natural attraction. Rooms reflect the Cape Dutch elegance of the buildings while offering premium 21st century comforts...

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/grand-dedale-country-house

(GPS coordinates: -33.626784, 19.083333)

Cathedral Peak Climbing Wall
2 Nov 2014
 
     

Cathedral Peak Climbing Wall

The altitude, remoteness and long walk-ins mean that rock climbing in the Drakensberg is reserved for hardy mountaineers. So it’s a relief to know that there’s an easy alternative. The climbing wall at Cathedral Peak Hotel offers safe, top-roped sports climbing in a spectacular setting. There are routes up two faces of the 10m-high tower, ranging from easy to difficult. As you climb, you can gaze across to some of the Drakensberg’s most alluring peaks including The Bell, The Inner and Outer Horns, Cathkin, and of course, Cathedral Peak...

(GPS coordinates: -28.947124, 29.208071)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/climbing/cathedral-peak-climbing-wall

Seven Dams Conservancy Trail
2 Nov 2014
 
     

Seven Dams Conservancy Trail

Just to the north of ‘The City of Roses’ CBD you’ll find a protected area of 86ha on the edge of the urban spread. Four distinctive habitats exist here, from woody shrub land, grassland and wetlands to the unique Bloemfontein Karroid shrub land. The veld, dams and koppies are home to a variety of small mammals and 120 species of birds, as well as some interesting archaeological sites. The Seven Dams conservancy is great for trail running, mountain biking, walking the dog, or just chilling with the family on an afternoon picnic. A network of jeep tracks, rocky single tracks and forest paths traverse the varying vegetation biomes. Terrain ranges from flat gravel cruises to technical running along testing and rugged terrain…

(GPS coordinates: -29.074899, 26.217795)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/trail-running/seven-dams-conservancy-trail

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