Combine the Famous Route 62 with a Karoo Wilderness Experience
Apr02

Combine the Famous Route 62 with a Karoo Wilderness Experience

The Cape’s famous Route 62 has been named as one of the must-do road trips while visiting the Western Cape. It’s an iconic drive that winds its way through numerous country towns hugged by vineyards and fruit orchards, and offers visitors an opportunity to explore the more remote and historical country-style part of the Cape. Looming mountain ranges and cliffs offer sweeping views of carpets of countryside and endless farm lands. Route 62 most certainly is a journey into the heart of the Cape, and it’s an unexpected delight. This country route is also a prime destination for food, wine and friendly people. You don’t have to travel far to discover off-the-beaten track gin distilleries (Six Dogs in Robertson), and stand alone craft beer brewery’s with rustic and delectable food. The plethora of farm stalls, art galleries and fresh country fare attracts many visitors, with each small town offering something different to its neighbour. The vast areas of this country part of the Cape certainly don’t only cater for foodies. There’s plenty of wilderness and adventure activities on offer, especially close to the Breede River which is ideal for canoeing and water sports. There are even expansive nature reserves just waiting for eager visitors to discover the archeological and historical significance of the Karoo region. A recent discovery of ours is the Roam Private Game Reserve in the Great Karoo. A stay at the reserve ties in perfectly with a Route 62 trip and a Garden Route exploratory trip. Staying at Roam will allow you to immerse yourself in the semi-arid desert surrounds of the Karoo. Roam offers its visitors a choice of three accommodation options, and their primary focus is to offer its visitors insight into conservation efforts of the area. You will have the opportunity to observe cheetah that have been rehabilitated and introduced into the area, and there are also opportunities to watch buffalo herds roaming the reserve. Coupled with observing these current conservation projects at Roam, you will also be able to spot a wealth of plains game such as giraffe, Kalahari gemsbok, hartebeest and even a colony of meerkats. In terms of the immediate environment, the Great Karoo is the place where time began. Flanked by the Swartberg mountains and hugged by endless arid savannah with craters and canyons; the Great Karoo is quite the biome. Palaeontologists delight in the fact that remnants and fragments of dinosaur bones have been found scattered throughout the expansive reserve. Dry riverbeds also have evidence of ancient civilisations and more recently, tools used by the original inhabitants of the area – the San people. The three accommodation options include the...

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Our Love Affair with 5 Star Grootbos Nature Reserve in the Overberg
Mar12

Our Love Affair with 5 Star Grootbos Nature Reserve in the Overberg

At the foot of the mountain along the Walker Bay Coastline in  the midst of carpets of indigenous Fynbos, lies the 5 star Grootbos Nature Reserve. Walker Bay is part of the Overberg region, a part of the Cape home to the world reknown whale watching town of Hermanus. Grootbos is set back from Walker Bay and views from the lodge extend across the mountains, and the scenic Walker Bay. The pristine surrounds of this eco-friendly destination offer plenty of natural wonders. There are over 100 species of bird fluttering about, 800 unique species of plant and 29 mammal/amphibian species making their home in this 2500 hectare indigenous bush. Grootbos is the perfect combination of beach and bush – Cape style! Grootbos Nature Reserve is is an easy self-drive from Cape Town, and makes an ideal detour if you’re driving from Cape Town via Hermanus to your final destination of the Garden Route. Alternatively, this star studded nature destination is worth earmarking on the map; even if it’s not en route to a more tourist orientated destination. There are a variety of accommodation options at Grootbos, each catering for a different type of traveller. The focus is always on conserving the environment, minimising your carbon footprint and sharing knowledge about conservation with guests. Under the milkwoods lies the 11 roomed Garden Lodge that is constructed from a natural mix of heavy wood and stone; and has uninterrupted views of the Walker Bay Coastline. It’s relaxed, and offers the perfect place to relax, while being surrounded by peace and quiet. There’s a swimming pool, library and even a beauty salon for the more indulgent guest. Forest Lodge is a slice of luxury amidst the tangled and unruly Fynbos. It’s modern, minimalist and boasts clean lines throughout. There are 16 suites linked via walkways, and each of the suites are located on a hill and give rise to exceptional view of the bay and surrounding Fynbos. Of course, it goes without saying that there are plenty of facilities that are typical to a five star destination. Expect a restaurant, boma, lounge, barista bar, and infinity pool housed in a romantic setting. Grootbos has two private villas offering an absolute sense of sophistication and grandeur in a secluded position with panoramic vistas from all angles of the lodge. Your private villa comes complete with a chef and butler; swimming pool, cinema, wine cellar and gym. And there’s even a landing strip for those who are, enviably, arriving in a helicopter or small plane. It’s not just the accommodation options that are mind-blowing, it’s also the culinary journey. Fine food prepared with locally...

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4 MUST See Historical Hotels in Cape Town
Mar07

4 MUST See Historical Hotels in Cape Town

Cape Town is home to a number of top end hotels catering for both the business and leisure traveller, and most of these hotels are of international standard. We love luxury rooms hiding behind expansive glass windows, swanky cocktail bars and business lounges; but sometimes we want something a little different. Something that offers an elite sense of privacy and luxury but has hints of authentic Cape. We want a cocktail of classy and historical. Something that makes us feel like we’re entrenched in the history of Cape Town. With that being said, we’ve come up with 4 hotels in Cape Town that are not only hotels but also landmarks. There plenty more on the list, but these are our 4 MUST see historical hotels in Cape Town. The Heritage Hotel The Heritage hotel is a unique hotel in that it combines an eclectic designer feel with the ancients of Cape Town. Conveniently located on Heritage Square, this bold boutique hotel is cocooned in a buzzing area of the city centre. Situated across the road from the colourful and significant Bo Kaap area, the Heritage is the ideal base for those seeking a cultural stay combined with fine dining opportunities. There are 17 well-appointed bedrooms that make-up this hotel, and there are numerous eateries on the square. The Heritage Hotel has a beautiful courtyard and is ideal for coffee meet-ups and dinners out. Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in the Centre of Cape Town The foot of Table Mountain is home to a hotel that is probably one of Cape Town’s finest hotels in terms of history and heritage. The hotel is smothered in a salmon pink paint, ensuring it stands out from the crowd. But its colour bears plenty of meaning. It was painted pink for peace during 1918, and has remained the same colour ever since. The Mount Nelson is plush, ornate and grand. It’s THE destination for an authentic high tea experience and the entire atmosphere is a delightful cross between modern times and old world charm. There are a variety of suites and garden cottage suites, each of which is dotted throughout the gardens or in the main hotel. There are 7 wings to the hotel, and some of the rooms have balconies while others are more equipped for families travelling together. The Mount Nelson is the grand old lady of Cape Town, and she’s worth your time. Five Star Colona Castle on the False Bay Coast This 5 star classic hotel is set against a backdrop of mountain splendour. Located along the False Bay Coast, it’s the perfect base for guests wanting to stay in a boutique...

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3 Absolute Must Do Off-the-Wall Tours in Cape Town
Dec04

3 Absolute Must Do Off-the-Wall Tours in Cape Town

Cape Town is an eclectic place with an interesting mix of cultures, adventure activities and nightlife. It’s a coastal “vibe” mixed with a unique sense of creative flair. We’ve discovered 3 unusual ways to experience Cape Town – ways that stray from the standard bus tours and day trips. Here are our must do Off-the-Wall tours in Cape Town. Cape Town Sidecar Adventures Fancy a vintage motorbike journey exploring the highlights of Cape Town? Cape Town Sidecar Adventures allows you to be a passenger in a sidecar, which is basically a motorbike with a side cart. There are three options available, depending on how adventurous you are feeling. There’s the 2 hour journey, the half-day trip and full day adventure. We recommend the Atlantic Seaboard and Chapman’s Peak Drive option, given that Chapman’s Peak is nominated one of the world’s most scenic drives. This whirlwind tour will also introduce you to Cruise along cascading cliffs and roads with views of undulating vineyards while your motorbike hugs the road and navigates tight corners. A great idea, and so much more fun than being in a car! Cape Town Sidecar Adventures says, “All our sidecars are decommissioned military bikes originally used by the Peoples Liberation Army of China between the early 1950’s and mid-1970’s. They are known as cj750’s and are based on the old German BMW R71 used extensively during from World War II. Our fleet has been fully refurbished & modified to suit South African Road traffic requirements.” Gin Campervan Tours with Kiff Combi Tours When the craft beer culture hit the scene, we had an array of creative brewers cropping up left right and centre. Craft beer became trendy, and it has since become a part and parcel of the Cape Town culture. Unique craft beers are everywhere, and available on tap together with traditional beers synonymous with South Africa. Gin became the new kid on the block, and we followed our international counterparts with their fascination with this old school drink spirit from Juniper berry and coriander. Gin bars, mixologists, secret gin bars and liquor stores lined with gin bottles are the new norm. Gin is now where craft beer was a few years ago. Cape Town has burst onto the gin scene with plenty of brands and local brews with fynbos flavours and more. Kiff combi’s is an exquisite idea. It combines two of Cape Town’s finest – our fascination with gin and our coastal culture. The gin campervan takes you on a tour of various distilleries, combing tastings with food pairing and ending off at the Cape Town Secret Gin Bar. Campervan’s remind of us...

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An Escape to the Cape: Blue Sky Arniston Guest House
Nov23

An Escape to the Cape: Blue Sky Arniston Guest House

Just up the coast from the southern most tip of Africa, enjoying the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, the coastal retreat of Arniston exists as a little piece of South African sea-faring history, and is an escape to salty air, unpopulated beaches, turquoise waters, and simple seaside cottages that leave an impression on any visitor. This is not the place of palacial beach villas, but rather, Arniston has fondly maintained its unique fishing village appeal with lime-washed, thatched houses, uneven and endearing, with low-rising doorways and blue window panes. It was named after the Arniston, which was a ship that wrecked on this coast in the 1800s, killing hundreds on board. The original Afrikaans name for this little beach town is Waenhuiskrans, which translates to “wagon house cliff”, after a local sea cave large enough to accommodate a wagon and a span of oxen. History lives in this wind-swept, white-sand, rocky stretch of Cape Coast, and you should go and see it for yourself. Our pick? The Blue Sky Guest House. This is a perfect seaside B&B, only 450 from the beach, offering accommodation to a total of 12 guests in 6 bedrooms. Each of the ensuite bedrooms is designed to sleep two guests, while 1 is a Honeymoon Suite with a king size bed, and another has special wheelchair access and bathroom adaptations for a wheelchair user. The other 4 rooms have extra-length queen size beds with shower ensuites. There is a swimming pool on the property and a restaurant run by a trained and passionate chef who is known to produce some excellent dishes. Each bedroom has Wi-Fi and air-conditioning, which offer modern luxuries and conveniences to this quaint beach cottage. The area is longing to be explored, and it has been for many hundreds of years. The famous Arniston Caves are a must-see, and the numerous coastal walking trails lead wanderers along beautifully vegetated paths with views out into the Big Blue. Look out for whales and dolphins beyond the breaking surf, and keep your eyes peeled for plenty of colourful birds that live for the indigenous flowers. Small mammals, tortoises, wild rodents, little antelope, and butterflies are all a part of the terrestrial population of this special place; while De Mond and De Hoop Nature Reserves hug the village on either side and offer some fantastic places for exploring the local nature. Guests are encouraged to take a walk down to the slipway to watch the colourful wooden chukkie boats come in with their catch of the day. It is a vibrant hub of activity, entirely not meant as a tourist attraction, and purely...

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Planning a Coastal and Safari Holiday to South Africa?
Nov14

Planning a Coastal and Safari Holiday to South Africa?

South Africa is a confident, vibrant country with a myriad of cultures, unsurpassed contrasting scenery and endless gourmet restaurants displaying a sense of creative flair. South Africans don’t follow a mould, and most certainly aren’t afraid of experimenting and trying out new things. Whether it’s food, new hotels, sports, and cultural endeavours, South Africans are always pushing the boundaries. The country is dotted with small towns, from inland farm country estates to coastal villas, bohemian city hotels, traditional villages and luxury bush camps in the wild; there’s so much waiting to be explored. It has been said that South Africa is the world in one. We have vast safari landscapes, deep lakes, forests, rocky coastlines, golden beaches, mountains, buzzing cities, deserts and an array of local cultures and traditions waiting to be discovered. So, how do you encapsulate the best of this country in one short holiday? You don’t! Unless you have 3 months to explore this mysterious land of wonder, we suggest you select a few prime not-to-missed destinations that can easily be covered in a 3 week holiday. Here are a few ideas for destinations if you are planning a safari and coastal holiday to South Africa. A Safari to Kruger The Greater Kruger is an interesting biome covering kilometres of acacia woodland, rocky terrain, sandy savannah, undulating landscapes and a myriad of river systems. The national park itself spans across 19,485 square kilometres. The big five roam wild and free in the Kruger, and there are plenty of predators such as wild dog, cheetah and other carnivores. There are also over 500 species of bird fluttering about in this wild landscape of South Africa. There are numerous lodges and campsites inside the park for a more self-catering safari holiday for those on a budget. Within the private reserves forming part of the Greater Kruger there are safari camps, mobile walking safaris and lodges offering daily guided safaris in open-topped game viewers with game rangers guiding and educating their guests. A set 3 day safari for first time safari-goers is recommended – you will learn about both the wildlife, vegetation and the natural landscape. Cape Town Cape Town is the coastal destination to visit when coming to South Africa. There are two oceans – the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean, one has sandy beaches with cold turquoise waters and the other warmer waters. Bohemian coastal villages, trendy town centres, vineyards, museums, art galleries and a rich cultural heritage all bind together to create an eccentric and remarkably good-looking holiday destination. A few highlights that should not missed include a trip to Cape Point, a drive over...

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Top 5 Road Trip Farm Stalls in the Western Cape
Nov08

Top 5 Road Trip Farm Stalls in the Western Cape

South Africa is the perfect place for a road trip, and one blog article certainly won’t do the varying landscapes, bushveld and coastal regions justice. The beauty encountered while self-driving this country remains unsurpassed, and travellers from around the world have remarked that our country is a “world-in-one”. Farm stalls and coffee shops pop-up in the middle of nowhere, on the roadside of meandering jeep tracks and winding tar roads. We’ve selected a few of the most popular road trip farm stalls to stop at for those self-driving from the Western Cape towards inland and coastal destinations. Peregrine : Modern Flair  Peregrine farm stall is a hub of activity and is a much-loved destination for Cape Town locals heading towards the whale watching town of Hermanus. Located in the Elgin valley, and hugged by the fruit orchards of the area, Peregrine is certainly one of the most scenic farm stalls in the Cape. Famed for its locally sourced artisanal products, this is not a farm stall to be missed. Peregrine farm stall has grown from strength to strength in recent years, and what was once was a small low key farm stall now has a bustling restaurant, and store with just about every locally made product, a cider tasting pop-up stand showcasing ciders from the surrounding Elgin Valley, and a unique play area for children. You will need plenty of time to browse around this delightful farm stall, and if you choose not to stay for lunch, then buy a mouthwatering homemade pie, gourmet quiche or bag of biltong. Peregrine is permanently busy, but there’s ample parking and free flow of traffic. Expect to see families, class cars and motorbikes stopping in convey, and a mix of genuinely happy road trippers grabbing their skinny lattes. It’s modern, but still has its original charm. Kardoesie Farm Stall : Rustic Simplicity and Delectable Homebaked Goods Located on the N7 in Citrusdal, this traditional farm stall is the perfect stop over for road trippers en route to the popular mountainous region of the Cederberg. Find homemade jams, dried fruits, rusks and more. There’s a restaurant serving simple foods and daily the menu alternates. The best part of Kardoesie is the panoramic view of undulating farmlands and mountains. It’s a great little spot to stop and stretch your weary legs. Die Pampoenstalletjie : A Fun and Delightful Place Die Pampoenstalletjie is more than a farm stall, it’s an attraction and it really is located in the middle of no man’s land. While you’re ambling along singing “I’m on the Road to Nowhere” you’ll stumble across this unusual looking house littered with pumpkins. Located in...

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