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Landers Diving
6 Oct 2014
 
     

Landers Diving

The little-dived sites of Landers Reef, about two to four kilometres offshore just south of Aliwal Shoal, are the best-kept secrets of South African diving. The sites are accessible, even if they involve a fairly long boat ride, from Umkomaas, and several operators launch out of the small controlled slipway at Rocky Bay about 20km to the south. The topography and marine life on these reefs, which includes fossilised sand dunes, are fairly similar to Aliwal Shoal but the reefs are deeper so there are exciting opportunities for experienced divers to explore the walls and deeper sites, while novices can dive the top of the reefs…

(GPS coordinates: -30.33547, 30.734535)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/scuba-diving/landers-diving

Vaal de Grace Golf Estate
6 Oct 2014
 
     

Vaal de Grace Golf Estate 

The Vaal de Grace Golf Estate in Parys has taken the concept of ‘island green’ to a whole new level with the establishment of what could be described as an entire inland island course. Situated smack-bang in the middle of the mighty Vaal River, the Nick Price designed layout at Vaal de Grace must rank as one of the most imaginatively conceptualised courses in the country. Unique also, is the fact that fourteen of the course’s holes are located in the North-West Province, with the other four in the Free State.

Due to its high altitude and manageable length, the course can be a happy hunting ground for both beginners and the more experienced, but some clever bunkering and a need to shape the ball will require golfers to keep their wits about them. Keep an eye out for the wildlife on the islet, which includes impala, springbok, mongoose and a variety of birds. Green fees start at R280 for affiliated golfers.

(GPS coordinates: -26.921864, 27.422341)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/vaal-de-grace-golf-estate

Valley of a Thousand Hills
5 Oct 2014
 
     

Valley of a Thousand Hills

A long series of bends runs through the Valley of a Thousand Hills in KwaZulu-Natal. This relatively unspoilt area allows guests to cast their eyes over a series of hills and valleys, dotted with huts and grass pathways carved by goats and villagers. The valleys themselves have been forged over years by the rivers from the Drakensberg mountains making their way to the ocean. Now a peaceful retreat, the area was once plagued by conflict as Shaka’s warriors overtook smaller tribes in the expansion of their Zulu empire. It was also the first stopping point for white settlers as they made their way from the coast into the previously unexplored KwaZulu-Natal region.There are a number of tourist facilities along the route known as the Valley of a Thousand Hills Experience... 

(GPS coordinates: -29.715582, 30.775473)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/valley-thousand-hills

Beaches of Clifton
5 Oct 2014
 
     

Beaches of Clifton

Clifton’s four beaches are as beautiful and popular as the holiday-makers and residents who frequent them. Situated along Cape Town’s ‘millionaire row’, the clean white sands edge a turquoise sea dotted with luxury yachts and jet-skis. Clifton is set against a backdrop of some of the most sought-after real estate in the world. All four beaches are usually well sheltered from the wind and are great vantage points from which to enjoy Cape Town’s mild climate and the spectacular sunsets over the ocean. The beaches are also close to trendy nightlife spots and restaurants in the neighbouring Camps Bay, Seapoint and Green Point suburbs...

(GPS coordinates: -33.93972, 18.37752)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/beaches-clifton

KarMichael Farm
5 Oct 2014
 
     

KarMichael Farm is a peaceful 35ha working dairy farm near Himeville in the Natal Midlands, commanding superb views into Lesotho, with Hodgson's Peaks very prominent on clear days. A preferred choice for a peaceful getaway or stopover in the Underberg area, KarMichael Farm offers a choice of upmarket and comfortable B&B or self-catering countryside accommodation with meals available on request. Catch and release bass fishing is available in 2 fresh water dams on the farm...

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/karmichael-farm

(GPS coordinates: -29.735334, 29.521088)

Hartbeespoort Dam
4 Oct 2014
 
     

Hartbeespoort Dam

Hartebeespoort Dam is the watersports mecca for landlocked Johannesburgers and Pretorians. The dam is a scenic spot, surrounded by tourist and adventure attractions, eateries and shopping (particularly arts and crafts). The name translates as ‘pass of the hartbees’ - the hartbees being a species of indigenous antelope.  But to most people it is fondly referred to as ‘Harties’.  It was built for irrigation purposes in the early  1920s and is fed by the Crocodile and Magalies Rivers...

(GPS coordinates: -25.725607, 27.848378)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/hartbeespoort-dam

Pure Venom Reptile Park
4 Oct 2014
 
     

Pure Venom Reptile Park

Dubbed the biggest reptile farm in Africa, Pure Venom is a venue aimed at providing sanctuary for and education on these misunderstood and beautiful creatures. The reptiles range from the great to the small and there is also an animal farm. Pure Venom is a prime tourist destination in a beautiful setting amidst old trees and a picturesque landscape, close to the ocean...

(GPS coordinates: -30.783652, 30.384847)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/pure-venom-reptile-park

West Coast NP 16-Mile Beach Trail
3 Oct 2014
 
     

West Coast NP 16-Mile Beach Trail

The West Coast National Park lies in the heart of the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve, which borders on the magnificent 16 mile-long beach that stretches all the way down to Yzerfontein. The park is an extremely important conservation area - not only for its wild flowers but also for its many mammals and birds, including half the world’s population of swift terns. A walk down the beach to the Patelis A Lemos shipwreck, which came to grief in 1978, will refresh your soul. It takes about 45 minutes to reach the shipwreck, which lies wedged on a reef and returns through the coastal fynbos, popping out at some dunes near the Tsaarsbank gates, a hop and a skip from the start… 

(GPS coordinates: -33.148237, 18.001871)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/west-coast-np-16-mile-beach-trail

Tafelberg Rock Climbing
3 Oct 2014
 
     

Tafelberg Rock Climbing

The great walls of Tafelberg, which dominate your view as you drive through the central Cederberg, have long attracted rock climbers. The lofty peak is close on 2 000m high, and has a rock band of about a kilometre long. There’s no shortage of great routes, and plenty of opportunity for the adventurous to open new lines. It’s a long, tough walk in, but the bizarre landforms, the incredible views and the chance to climb on stunning rock in such a wild, exposed location more than make up for the toil...

(GPS coordinates: -32.423714, 19.166186)

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

Schoone Oordt Country House
3 Oct 2014
 
     

Schoone Oordt Country House is an elegant Victorian mansion in historic Swellendam that dates back to 1853, and its ornate architecture, fascinating history and sprawling grounds helped to make it a national monument in 1983. Schoone Oordt was bought in 2003 by present owners, Richard and Alison Walker, who spent nine years restoring the home to its former glory and developing a boutique hotel of world-class standards. Set among clipped lawns, fountains and rose gardens on the doorstep of the Garden Route, this charming venue has 6 luxury rooms, 2 standard rooms, a honeymoon suite and a family cottage set in lush gardens, an intimate gourmet restaurant, and a sparkling saltwater pool. The emphasis here is on unaffected luxury, elegance, and attention to detail…

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/schoone-oordt-country-house

(GPS coordinates: -34.016237, 20.449638)

Stanley's Light Trail
2 Oct 2014
 
     

Stanley's Light Trail

Besides the spectacular views and a feeling of getting into real mountain territory, this popular circular hike, 3km from Ladismith WC, is of interest due to the now-famous light on the steep rock slabs of the Toringberg (aka Elandsberg), which Stanley de Wit’s installed on May 31 1963. After several trips up the mountain, he came upon the idea of installing a light (powered by a bicycle dynamo) using the perennial water that runs down the steep rock faces in a series of waterfalls. The bicycle light was later replaced by two 24V truck lights and the dynamo by an alternator. A solar panel was also installed in order to start the alternator again after periods of drought. De Wit maintained the light for 30 years - taking 278 trips up the mountain – but it’s now maintained by local volunteers…

(GPS coordinates: -33.462255, 21.262107)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/stanleys-light-trail

Fort Trail, Wonderboom Nature Reserve
2 Oct 2014
 
     

Fort Trail, Wonderboom Nature Reserve

There are a number of trail loops in the Wonderboom Nature Reserve, which are shown on the excellent trail map issued at the entrance gate. The Interpretive Walk around the Wonderboom itself is a mere 500-metre long boardwalk, a wonderfully environmentally educational designed trail. The Waterfall & Cave Trail is 500 metres long and the main Fort Trail is 2,5 kilometres, with a shorter, straight-up-and-down option of one kilometre. There are also shorter loops for the less fit, as well as a longer three-kilometre guided trail...

(GPS coordinates: -25.692082, 28.193074)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/fort-trail-wonderboom-nature-reserve

Victoria Bay
2 Oct 2014
 
     

Victoria Bay: Garden Route

I walked out along the cool pier road. I’d woken up before sunrise to try and catch a few shots of the locals hitting their favourite spot – Point Break. Tourists emerged from the seaside lodges towards my feet slapping the pier, as I realised that the sun was breaking the horizon and, still trying to cool the coffee from the bay’s café, I began attaching a longer lens to my camera. Behind me, children had already begun a soccer game on the strip of beach and a fisherman was setting up his tackle on a far-out rock. Life was beginning. I quickly found my seat on a barnacle-covered boulder and waited… the wave built, the sun was blocked and the surfers turned wild. Life was really beginning.

- Brad Harris

De Zeekoe
2 Oct 2014
 
     

De Zeekoe is a stylish establishment situated on a beautiful 2 000ha working farm in the Klein Karoo, and is a convenient base from which to explore the Oudtshoorn area. Surrounded by the famous Swartberg and Outeniqua mountains, De Zeekoe offers a variety of accommodation options, and activities, including an absorbing meerkat adventure. It promises top class facilities and high service standards, with an emphasis on showcasing the natural wonders of the region…

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/accommodation/de-zeekoe

(GPS coordinates: -33.637802, 22.142342)

Royal Natal Trails
1 Oct 2014
 
     

Royal Natal Trails

The Royal Natal National Park is difficult to beat as a prime wilderness region, and is rated by hikers worldwide as one of the world’s top trail destinations. Hike 23 kilometres along the Thukela River, following the rugged trail into the Amphitheatre for a breathtaking view of the 850-metre Thukela Falls. Face up to your vertigo along the natural obstacles posed by “The Crack” and “The Mudslide” on this very tough 11-kilometre section. You may also summit Mont-aux-Sources’ highest point by traversing the summit plateau and scaling a 100-rung chain ladder, but you’ll need at least a couple of days to complete this strenuous 45-kilometre hike...

(GPS coordinates: -28.685835, 28.954489)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/royal-natal-trails

Braamfontein Spruit Trail
1 Oct 2014
 
     

Braamfontein Spruit Trail

The Braamfontein Spruit is important for a number of reasons. Along with its tributaries, the Westdene Spruit and the Montgomery Spruit, it forms the main drainage system for the northern area of Johannesburg. It also is one of the main sources of the Limpopo River. The part of the spruit from the Field and Study Centre to the confluence with the Sandspruit at Paulshof is probably the most beautiful of the river sections and is nine kilometres one way. Safe car parking is available near the Riverside Cafe at the Field and Study Centre. The trail begins with a short walk of about 100 metres down to the banks of the river...

(GPS coordinates: -26.08422, 28.029535)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/braamfontein-spruit-trail

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