Game Reserves in the Western Cape Ideal for a Wilderness Experience
Mar13

Game Reserves in the Western Cape Ideal for a Wilderness Experience

Visitors to South Africa arrive en masse to the Kruger during peak safari season, and the summer season sees them flocking to the shores of Cape Town for a bit of coastal splendour in Cape Town. Peak safari season and the coastal summer are poles apart in terms of time frames, which makes it hard to combine a Kruger bush and Cape Town beach combo. Visitors generally have to prioritise one of these types of holidays and settle for their second choice being outside of peak season when it’s not the most idyllic time to visit. Do you want peak safari or peak beach? The choice is entirely yours, but even out of season, both destinations are still exquisite and have a lot to offer! For travellers who have decided that the Cape Town coast is their number 1 choice, but still want to enjoy some kind of wilderness/safari experience, we recommend these game reserves in the Western Cape : Sanbona Wildlife Reserve Sanbona is famous for its White Lion Project that aims to return white lions into the wild. There’s already been a high success rate with the reintroduction of the Sanbona white lions into the wild. Sprawling across 54 000 hectares of pristine fynbos smothered Cape fold mountains, malaria-free Sanbona provides the perfect habitat for big game, general game and even the rare riverine rabbit. Located a mere 3-hour drive from the centre of Cape Town, Sanbona is close enough for a quick weekend escape from the Mother City. There are 4 accommodation options available, each catering for a different type of safari-goer. There’s the elite and exclusive Tilney Manor, ideal for a luxury wilderness retreat. There are six spacious open-plan suites complete with private verandas giving rise to sweeping views of the raw wilderness. Tilney Manor has a luxurious lounge, a tranquil rim flow pool and a spa room. Dwyka Tented Lodge is hugged by rocky outcrops and is home to 9 luxury tents, with private decks and heated jacuzzis. Snaking around a bend of a dry Karoo ravine, Dwyka is the perfect option for a remote wilderness experience. Gondwana Family Lodge is the perfect option for families and small groups travelling together and overlooks the mountains and Bellair Dam. Explorer Camp is a seasonal camp that offers adventurous guests a guided walking experience in the Karoo. Located along a shaded riverbed, this wilderness trail takes two days to complete. Activities at Sanbona include guided nature walks, photography, bird-watching, rock formations and features, trout fishing, a Wellness Centre, and spectacular star gazing. De Hoop Nature Reserve De Hoop Nature Reserve not only offers a wilderness experience, but it...

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Cape Town 1 of 3 African cities in global City Nature Challenge 2019
Mar12

Cape Town 1 of 3 African cities in global City Nature Challenge 2019

If you are a nature lover interested in getting to know the great outdoors of Cape Town, then this is something to diarise in April! For the first time, Cape Town is participating in the City Nature Challenge – a global annual event that is only in its fourth year of operation and already has more than double last year’s numbers participating. This is a challenge to residents and tourists in over 150 cities to photograph as many living organisms as they can within their city and urban nature reserves over four days from April 26 to 29. Launched in 2016 in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the City Nature Challenge has grown exponentially, and this year Cape Town is among three African cities and over 150 cities in the world partaking in the global BioBlitz. See your city differently This initiative to assess the biodiversity of urban areas throughout the world is an exciting and adventurous way to spend time outdoors and pay attention to what plants and creatures live among us. It is so easy to get lost in the cityscapes and forget that there are mosses and insects and algae and weeds that are found in every nook and cranny. Not only that; there are floral kingdoms and forests and birds and mammals that live on the outskirts of our cities, existing alongside us as we go on with our daily lives. The City Nature Challenge is something that encourages us, our families, and our children to pay attention to our natural world and to be a part of the global documentation of the biodiversity makes this a challenge worth participating in. How to take part in the City Nature Challenge in Cape Town Taking part is easy, and it even requires using your smartphone! The challenge is so accessible for city dwellers and requires nothing more than downloading the iNaturalist app, signing in, and uploading pictures of every species of fauna and flora you find in your city and surrounding nature reserves. As participants, you are the data collectors, sending thousands of pieces of evidence to the teams at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and California Academy of Sciences. Here, the data is analysed and the results form part of globally important biodiversity studies and scientific research. In Cape Town, official activities for participants will be held in designated urban nature reserves on the 26, 27, 28, and 29 April, so families and friends are encouraged to get out and enjoy the sunshine while exploring and discovering as much of the natural world around them as possible. The impact the City Nature Challenge...

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A Conscious Safari Experience at Roam Private Game Reserve
Mar07

A Conscious Safari Experience at Roam Private Game Reserve

Roam Private Game Reserve in the Western Cape’s Great Karoo combines a traditional safari experience with an opportunity to give-back. The team at Roam encourage guests to get involved in contributing to the overall success of their reserve by actively participating in a choice of activities and conservation research projects currently underway. This is a conscious safari experience where the perfect balance between a luxury safari holiday and conservation experience is achieved. The safari experience is NOT a volunteer program, and it’s not your average safari experience. It’s a way to enjoy a luxury safari while playing a part in conservation. The overall experience will bring you closer to the wild and ensure a greater understanding of the various behind-the-scenes jobs vital to sustaining a reserve.  Roam Private Game Reserve is located on 5000 hectares of malaria-free scrubveld, and is home to a recently introduced buffalo herd, and a coalition of cheetah. There are also over 240 species of bird in the Great Karoo, 13 species of antelope, and small predators such as colonies of meerkat, black-backed jackal, caracal, Cape fox and the bat-eared fox.  Below are the various aspects that you might become involved in when you sign-up for a conscious safari at Roam Private Game Reserve. Monitoring Flora and Fauna Roam is home to a wealth of wildlife and plant life. The overall health of the reserve needs to be monitored and effectively managed on a regular basis. Guests will have the opportunity to become involved in a few of the already established and long-term monitoring programs available. Monitoring processes include anything from establishing corridors of vegetation to monitoring species composition, creating transects along riverbeds, and making exclusion plots. The flora programs are generally conducted every 2 weeks. There are also animal monitoring programs available, each of which fulfils a different objective. High profile animals such as buffalo and cheetah, will be monitored regularly while more common species less frequently. Tracking cheetah will be done using telemetry, and guests will help to observe and document their behaviour. You will learn basic animal tracks and signs that various species leave behind for us to interpret to help find them. You might even be able to help set up camera traps in the wild, count tortoises, help with meerkat habituation, and get involved in a host of other monitoring activities needed. Bird Ringing Bird-ringing is a method of capturing, tagging and releasing birds into the wild. Guests will be involved in helping to release birds into the wild after the necessary data has been captured. The data is sent to a central database, and throughout the bird’s life historical data is...

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3 Classic and Classy Hotels in Cape Town
Feb01

3 Classic and Classy Hotels in Cape Town

We’ve spent ample time sharing blogs about our favourite hotels in Cape Town, which tend to include a variety of categories of lodgings from sophisticated, to glitzy, ocean facing and even historical. In Cape Town, you’ll find hotels of international standing, quirky boutique hideaways, historical hotels that form part of the Cape’s narrative, and cascading villas with commanding views of the icy blue ocean. Today we’re going to share 3 classic and classy hotels in Cape Town. These 3 premier hotels often fly under the radar, but are worth their weight in gold (or Rands!) and have certainly deserved their spot in our top choice of Cape Town Hotels. The Taj Located in the heart of Cape Town’s historic district; the stylish and elegant Taj Hotel is certainly the ideal place to explore the Mother City. With a distinct middle eastern feel, complete with the warm colours and well-appointed furniture, the Taj has the ability to transport us into absolute luxury that is fit for royalty. There are Heritage rooms, Standard rooms, Tower rooms, Bedroom suites and even the Presidential suite. Not only is the Taj a hotel, but it’s also a place to be seen. Locals and international visitors flock to the Twankey Cocktail Bar that has a delightful evolving cocktail. Expect wood-chip smoking methods when creating cocktails while barmen utilise the freshest ingredients in a creative way. Gourmet cuisine is served at the choice of restaurants located in the hotel. The Bombay Brasserie is possibly the best Indian fine dining experience in Cape Town, and if that’s not up your street; then we recommend Lobby Lounge or the Mint Local Grill. After an evening of eating, relax the next day with an indulgent spa treatment at Jiva Spa. This spa uses numerous eastern wellness philosophies to ensure relaxation of both body and mind. If relaxing isn’t your thing, then hit the fitness centre to sweat out your heavy night in the swanky Twankey Bar! Cape Royale  The Cape Royale Luxury Hotel is such a stylish place, and its main drawcard (apart from its New York style hotel facade) is the Rooftop sky bar and pool deck. The top level of the hotel gives rise to panoramic views of the city and Table Mountain. Located in the trendy neighbourhood of Green Point, the Cape Royale is just the perfect place for discerning travellers wanting to experience luxurious living combined with convenience. It’s within 1 km of the famous VA Waterfront, 1 km of the golf course and 5 km to the beachfront. When you aren’t sunning your body around the pool deck and sky bar, we suggest you mosey...

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3 Luxury Beach Hideaways on the West Coast of Cape Town
Dec05

3 Luxury Beach Hideaways on the West Coast of Cape Town

The West Coast of Cape Town is a rugged stretch of coast extending from Bloubergstrand all the way through to Lambert’s Bay. This charming coastline is lined with small fishing villages that are quintessential “Cape”. Dotted between villages there are fynbos covered sand dunes and endless stretches of barren land. The West Coast  National Park forms part of the region and a wealth of plains game call the reserve their home. It’s the place to see the wildflowers in bloom during springtime; and the many bays, lagoons and wild beaches are also a major drawcard for road trippers from Cape Town. The 270 km coastal stretch of the West Coast is full of heritage and colour and remains relatively unspoilt. This is the place to discover derelict wooden fishing boats, ancient whitewashed fishing cottages, the history of the strandlopers, stretches of pristine beaches, rolling breakers, brazen sunsets, and perfectly cooked seafood.  We’ve scoured the coast for a handful of coastal gems, and have found 3 luxury beach hideaways on the West Coast of Cape Town. The Oystercatchers’ Haven in Paternoster  Paternoster is an old fishing town that is now popular with tourists. The ancient fishing village still remains a charming seaside village, but now buzzes with activity during the summer months. The village hugs the long stretch of beach and is home to a few top-notch restaurants and guesthouses. The old fishing houses and new guest houses are washed in white, to keep that West Coast feel. Watch the trawlers come in, walk on the beach, swim, or hike to the lighthouse – the choice is yours! Our choice of accommodation in Paternoster is the Oystercatchers’ Haven. This is a 4-star graded property located in a peaceful area and offers sweeping views of the surrounding coastline. Rooms have all been designed to take advantage of the sea view, and each comes with a private patio. This establishment injects style into simple beachside living and the elegant decor complements the serene surrounds. Antique pieces ensure there’s a sense of history and refinement to the guest house. It’s a hop down to the beach and the perfect place to wake-up to the sound of the ocean and smell of the salty sea air. There are 2 luxury Queen rooms, 1 Twin room, 1 Luxury Suite and a Honeymoon suite complete with a private lounge area. Rooms come complete with complimentary WiFi, satellite TV, mini bar, electronic safe and walk-in showers. Cocoon yourself in the 500 thread count percale linen at night, and envelope yourself in the magic of the seaside atmosphere during the day. The Farmhouse Hotel in Langebaan Langebaan is a...

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Consultant Janelle Thirsk Chats to Us About Her Rovos Rail Trip
Nov04

Consultant Janelle Thirsk Chats to Us About Her Rovos Rail Trip

Our consultants cleverly craft itineraries for potential holidaymakers based on their budget and personal needs. The only real way to recommend a destination is to have first-hand experience of the suggested activity or destination. One of our consultants, Janelle, enjoyed a trip aboard the luxury Rovos Rail train. Her family joined her on the intrepid journey through the Cape winelands, and it seems that it was a once-in-a-lifetime journey. We will share a few of her photos at a later stage, but in the meantime – here is her interview.  1. What was your favourite part of the journey?  Being in absolute comfort and luxury for 3 days ! 2. How many different carriages are there ?  There were 3 rooms per carriage, and we had 5 carriages on our trip.  There was a dining car, a lounge area and then a bar / observation car.  This had an open area at the back of the train where you could sit and enjoy the fresh air.  Not many trains have windows that open, so we were very thankful that this train still has windows that open.  It was a highlight for most of the guests we spoke to. 3. What was your kids’ favourite part of the journey?  I asked them this question, and their response was EVERYTHING!  However I do believe that the dressing up for dinner would probably be a highlight for them. 4. Which route did you go?  We went from Pretoria to Cape Town. 5. Does it stop at stations, and can you disembark? We did stop a lot along the way, waiting for signals for us to pass through.  We could not disembark a this point.  However we stopped in Kimberley where we did a tour of the Big Hole.  We were met at the station and got into Vans and they took us on the tour.  It was very interesting and we all loved it.  Another stop was about 5km outside Matjiesfontein and then we had the choice to walk into the town (the 5km) or we could stay on the train.  It is a very small town which has a hotel called the Lord Milner.  It is an interesting hotel with many stories to it.  We got to meet the piano man who sang for us and showed us around.  What a treat he was! 6. Did your family all sleep in one cabin?  No we had 2 cabins, next door to each other. 7. What’s the food like?  Gourmet.  4 course menu at lunch and dinner.  Breakfast was more low key, but they had everything you could want.  They made special...

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4 Remarkable and Relatively Unknown Activities in Cape Town
Nov03

4 Remarkable and Relatively Unknown Activities in Cape Town

Cape Town is the adventure capital of South Africa, and an adrenalin junkie’s dream destination. There are literally thousands of outdoor, cultural and foodie based activities on offer in the Mother City. Some of these day trips and activities come at a hefty cost, while others are for free. There are the guidebook listed things to do in South Africa, and then there are the relatively unknown activities that are pretty remarkable. Creative ways of experiencing Cape Town are always cropping up, and it can often be quite tough to decide on a selection of activities showcasing the best of the city.  Here are 4 relatively unknown activities in Cape Town : Kayak with Penguins at Boulders Beach Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town is renown for its protected penguin colony, and tourists flock to the protected bay to observe – and swim with – the African penguins. The penguins move between the beach and the turquoise waters, so they’re quite easy to spot. An adventurous and unique way of spotting penguins is to go kayaking in the warm waters of False Bay. The guided sea kayak tour is done through Kayak Cape Town, and trips involve plenty of sightseeing combined with a visit to Boulders Beach to spot the penguins. Don’t be surprised if you see the penguins gliding through the waters as you get closer to the bay. Kayaks are double kayaks, which means you can bring a friend along (one that you won’t end up arguing with when it comes to paddling). This tour doesn’t require any experience, and the guide will prep you beforehand with a few handy tips and hints. Enjoy a kayak trip to Boulders and see the Cape Point route from an entirely different angle. “Hey Pioneer” Bespoke Camping Adventures Bespoke camping adventures? Yes. This new kid on the block is a fun and unique concept that offers the best of the outdoors and a luxury camping experience. Considered to be “pop-up” camping experiences, Hey Pioneer is a unique concept for adventure seekers and glampers. The team will organise and set-up a fully-furnished tent with beds, rugs and other furnishings. Hey Pioneer will even do an entire backyard camp style dinner party around a roaring campfire. Get a group of a friends, or simply enjoy a romantic getaway for 2. Either way, the Hey Pioneer team with personalise your outdoor experience in a pristine location of their choice. It’s camping – done differently! Snorkelling with Seals in Hout Bay For the water adventure lovers we highly recommend a seal snorkelling trip with ocean experts, Animal Ocean. Glide your way through the turquoise waters...

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