Mzanzitravel Magazine Issue 10


Mzanzitravel Magazine Issue 10

JULY 2018 - Issue 10

Free Copy

South Africa,

backpackers’ paradise

Destination Pink Mzanzi




a feast of flowers







Real Africa. Real Close To Cape Town.

Over 10 000-hectares of Big 5 conservancy.


At the award-winning Aquila Private Game Reserve and Spa, guests will get the opportunity to experience a Big 5 safari, together with

outstanding service; it just does not get any better than this. With game drives, quad bike and horseback safaris situated just 2 hours’ drive

from Cape Town, it’s the closest you will get to real Africa, in the lap of luxury.

The world-class spa at Aquila adds to the already exceptional facilities and services on offer. It is a masterpiece of luxury, defined by its

serenity and creative use of natural elements.













Tourism-related news and




The platinum & heritage province



Gaming tourism in SA





HIDDEN GEMS…delightful

experiences and places off the

beaten track





tourism in South Africa









HAIR…touring South Africa on a









GREAT ESCAPES…a selection of

affordable mid-year breaks


We welcome letters from our readers, which can be emailed

to the Editor at Please label them

“Letters to Editor” and keep letters to no more than 100 words.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Letters from our Readers



I teach tourism for Grade 10-12 and came across your article on

the Richtersveld in the January 2017 / 4 issue, which I currently

use for my Grade 12s’ year projects. I also found your excellent

article on SA's World Heritage Sites, which is in the Grade 12

syllabus for the 3rd term. I've been browsing your magazine

online and it’s awesome! (Letter edited).



So here we are, dressed up in winter woollies, fire crackling,

and glass of red wine in hand, all just to keep warm. But

don’t fret too much: spring is just around the corner with

plenty of fun experiences waiting. Like enjoying the wide

open spaces and majestic scenery of South Africa, cruising

along the highways and byways with the wind in your hair,

astride a powerful motorcycle. In this edition we bring you

the rundown of touring South Africa by motorcycle, and in

recognition of Women’s Month there’s a special section on

women bikers.

We also travel around the country, spending time at the

horse races and trying our hand in the many casinos with

bells and whistles going off all around as the ‘bandits’ strike

gold. Not many of us can resist the lure of the big win, the

temptation that Lady Luck will land that big cash windfall in

your lap. That’s why, with our world-class horse races and

casinos, our gaming industry is another great draw card for

tourists, both local and foreign.

Hoping the rains will improve, we also take you to

Namaqualand in anticipation of this year’s annual flower

spectacle…one of the greatest natural shows on earth.

And for the young and not-so-young who like travelling off

the beaten track on a shoestring budget, there’s a feature

on backpacking. With the global explosion in backpacking,

South Africa is a favoured destination considered to

Editor'S Note

be something of a paradise. More off-the-beaten-track

delights can be found in our regular feature, Hidden Gems.

For our LGBT readers we carry a feature on South Africa

as one of the top destinations among members of the

LGBT community worldwide – a market that is rapidly

growing. And then we cross the continent to romance in

Casablanca, hippies in Marrakesh, camel caravan trains

crossing the desert, Bedouin tents in the dunes, spice

markets and magnificent seaside resorts. Yes, Morocco.

But this mysterious, mesmerising and timeless country at

the intersection of Europe and Africa offers so much more.

Do check it out.

For our regular South African regional feature in this edition,

we travelled to North West, a province you just have to

love. It’s full of rich cultural history, fun and entertainment

on a grand scale, spectacular wildlife and beautiful natural

scenery. Don’t miss out. Finally there’s an update on travel

technology and a selection of great and affordable escapes

for that midyear break.

I’d also like to salute our women readers as Women’s

Month approaches in August. And don’t forget, June is

LGBT Month, while on the 16th of June we celebrate our

youth, with Heritage and Tourism month both coming up

in September.

There’s sure plenty to look forward to. And as always, enjoy

the read!


FREE ENTRY to over



Cape Town



JULY 2018 - Issue 10

Free Copy


Jane Frost


Stef Terblanche


Cheryl Pinter:


M. Salie Petersen:

Emlyn Dunn:

Anthony Stevens:


Natasha Abrahams


Michael Keys


Jaco Kotze

JULY - 2018 ISSUE 10

South Africa,

backpackers’ paradise

Destination Pink Mzanzi




a feast of flowers






jacoblund / iStock


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1A Lester Road, Wynberg, 7800, Cape Town

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The opinions in MZANZITRAVEL are not necessarily those of the

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The Official

Cape Tow n

Call: +27 (0) 87 151 1904


News & Information

South Africa

Black-owned company

partners with SA Tourism for

luxury US-SA tours

SThe rise in African American travel over the past

6 years due to increased education and income led

to the creation of travel companies, such as Travel

Noire, NoMadness and Tastemakers Africa. Many

travellers have already benefited from the development

of the black travel movement. They’ve tapped into a

wave of African Americans wanting to see different

representations of themselves, and people from

elsewhere who want authentic experiences. The Real

South Africa offers curated experiences for the traveller

who seeks to know who they are traveling with prior to

landing on the continent. The Real South Africa has

designed a luxury tour that offers itineraries that brings

things African Americans care about most to their



together to form an attraction that offers something for

everyone, the Two Oceans Aquarium is a destination

for all seasons and ages. We can’t wait to “sea” you.

Source: Two Oceans Aquarium











The BEST way to see

Cape Town & Johannesburg!

The Durban South tourism tour

It was all aboard when tourism members boarded the bus on Thursday,

17 May to explore what attractions Durban South has to offer to

holidaymakers. The Durban South tourism networking tour was a joint

initiative between Sodurba Tourism, Sapphire Coast Tourism (SCT)

and Umlazi Tourism. The tour started at Durban North Beach with the

first stop at Wilson’s Wharf where the group was taken for a 30-minute

boat ride, sponsored by Isle of Capri Cruises and Sodurba Tourism. The

group then made its way to Umkomaas, where divers flock to the Aliwal

Shoal, which is one of the top 10 dive sites in the world and a prime

destination for scuba diving, snorkelling, as well as shark diving with or

without a cage.

Moving on, the bus stopped at East Coast Brewery in Ilfracombe,

another Sapphire Coast gem which few people might know about.

After some refreshment, the group proceeded to Umlazi, the fourth

largest township in South Africa. Their final stop was Eyadini Lounge

with a presentation by all three CTOs, followed by a great feast. After a

long day of touring, the bus returned to Durban North Beach in the late




Red Bus Ticket

021 511 6000

Source: South Coast Sun



T’s & C’s apply

News & Information

South African Tourism USA Appoints

Joshua Smith Manager:

Trade Relations

South African Tourism USA recently announced that Joshua Smith has

been appointed Manager: Trade Relations for the West Coast and will be

based in Los Angeles. In his new role, Joshua will support South African

Tourism USA’s efforts to boost arrivals from the North American market

through the organization’s top travel trade partners while cultivating new

relationships within the U.S. travel agent and tour operator community.

Smith began his career with Virtuoso and later co-founded 45 Degrees

Marketing, and served on the board of the U.S. Tour Operators

Association conference planning committee and the National Tour

Association’s Young Professionals Advisory Board.

Source: Travel Pulse


Ethiopia issuing online visas for all

tourists since June 1

With effect June 1, Ethiopia began issuing online visas to tourists

from around the world and other categories of visitors coming into the

country. The news was released by Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister,

Fitsum Arega. According to him, the move coupled with a relaxed

visa regime will enhance the country’s openness and also entrench

the leading reputation of its national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines. The

announcement came a week after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed disclosed

that following Rwanda’s lead, Ethiopia was going to allow a visa-free

regime for all Africans.


Tourism Sector Is Attractive For Foreign

Direct Investment

“There is no other sector in the country that is showing 8% growth per

annum,” says Mr Sisa Nthsona, Chief Executive Officer for South African

Tourism. Commenting on the industry as a key driver for South Africa’s

economy during his interview for Brand South Africa’s CEOs Know

campaign, Mr Sam Ntshona said that the tourism sector accounts for 9%

of South Africa’s GDP, and an estimated 8.5 % of the continent’s GDP,

(up from 6.8 per cent in 1998). Mr Ntshona said: “From a business and

development perspective tourism is a significant contributor – which in turn

translates to job creation. 2016 was a record-breaking year, with 10 million

international tourists coming to South Africa. South Africa is best known for

its beach and safari holiday experiences, but there is plenty more on offer

to tourists, both in South Africa itself, and in the wider Southern African


Source: Brand South Africa

29% of Kenya’s international arrivals are from Africa

Africa accounted for 29% of international arrivals in Kenya last year as the Kenyan tourism industry

grew facilitated by increased business and cultural ties between countries in the continent, according

to Kenyan Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala. Mr Balala was speaking at the 61st UNWTO

Regional Commission for Africa Conference in Abuja, Nigeria. He also noted that creation of the

Continental Free Trade Area would further boost intra-African tourism.

“Indeed, Africa has shown great potential over the last five years gaining a five per cent share of

arrivals by region over the past five years. We believe Africa is the next frontier in the tourism business.

As part of that investment, Africans wishing to visit Kenya are now eligible to receive a visa on arrival.

Kenya is now among 21 African countries which have either relaxed or scrapped visa rules,” said Mr


Source: Business Daily


Visit Rwanda reports 21% surge in visitor numbers

The number of UK visitors to Rwanda has grown by 21%, according to the African country’s official

promotion brand Visit Rwanda. Its full-year 2017 figures show 16,000 business and leisure travellers

from the UK, a fifth more than in 2016. Visit Rwanda says travellers are making their way to the

country for wildlife, new premium lodges and its scenery. Visit Rwanda, which became the official

tourism partner of Arsenal Football Club last week, has been focusing on promoting the new ‘tourism

circuit’ including all three of the east

African country’s national parks at

Akagera, Nyungwe and Volcanoes,

as well as Lake Kivu and the capital

Kigali. RwandAir launched services

from London Gatwick to Kigali on

board new Airbus A330 last year.

Entrance Fee


Paarl Museum

The museum is situated on what was originally

a farm, granted to Pieter Janz van Marseveen by

Governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel in 1699. Later

the property was purchased as a site for the building

of a parsonage for the Dutch Reformed Church of

Drakenstein. Eleven ministers of the Thatched Roof

Church (Strooidakkerk) resided in this building circa

1715 and 1872. In 1872 the property was sold to

Michiel Christiaan Vos Thom whose wagon building

business was situated in the backyard of the previous

parsonage. The property remained in the Thom

family’s possession until 1924. During the late 1920’s

Gymnasium Secondary School used this building as

a boys’ hostel, until Paarl’s Town Council purchased

it. In 1939 the building was renovated and opened

as the Huguenot Museum and in 1940 it was officially

proclaimed. The name was changed to the Old

Parsonage Museum in 1969 and on the 1st of March

1995, it was renamed as Paarl Museum.

Paarl Museum has many historical and cultural

exhibits depicting the history of the Paarl Valley in

the Western Cape. Displays span early local history

through to contemporary Paarl. A large part of the

museum collection is made up of Cape Antiques and

artefacts that portray the rich, cultural diversity and

development of Paarl.

Tel: 021 872 2651


303 Main Street



Weekdays: 09:00- 16:00

Saturday: 09:00- 13:00

Public Holiday: 09:00-14:00



Airbnb revolutionises tourism

Tourism is one of the largest industries in the world, contributing more than 10 percent of the world’s gross

domestic product (GDP) in 2016. In South Africa, the sector contributed 2.9 percent to the GDP in 2016,

according to the latest report from Stats SA, the Tourism Satellite Account for South Africa report released in

2018. Part of the growth of this industry can be attributed to home-sharing company Airbnb, which some believe

has revolutionised the industry — changing the way people travel and experience travel destinations. Airbnb

boasts over 4-million listed properties in

over 65,000 cities across the world. Airbnb’s

largest markets in Africa are South Africa,

Morocco and Kenya. According to its recent

Healthy Travel and Healthy Destinations

report, Airbnb has not only opened up

accommodation options, it has helped fight

tourism overcrowding and changed the

economics of tourism to benefit locals.

Source: Zongile Nhlapo at HuffPost

Sojern Data Shows Latest Travel Trends in New Global

Travel Insights Report

Sojern, travel’s marketing demand engine, has published its latest Global Travel Insights report, which offers a

quarterly look at travel trends from around the world. Sojern’s data science team analyses 8 billion travel intent

signals annually to help 93 percent of the Fortune 500 travel brands better understand the booking behavior of

travelers and how to reach them with marketing messages.

“Sojern’s data shows that the 2018 World Cup is a primary travel driver across Europe, the Middle East and

Africa for the summer,” said Stephen Taylor, senior vice president at Sojern. “Looking at travelers’ paths to

purchase, mid-east and African tourists are opting to either return to their families following the end of Ramadan

on 15th June, or they are immediately beginning to travel for the World Cup.”

Source: PRNewswire /


Located in the heart of the bustling Umhlanga New Town Centre Precinct, Royal Palm Hotel

is the perfect base from which to explore a host of Durban’s iconic tourism destinations.

Whether on business or with family, our team is ready and waiting for you!

94 luxury apartment-style hotel rooms • @Thyme Restaurant & Bar

Conference & Function facilities • Health & Vitality Centre • Spa Royale

Free, fast WiFi • Ample, secure undercover parking

Tel: +27 (0) 31 581 8000 | Fax: +27 (0) 31 581 8002

Email: |






Tourism contribute immensely to the provincial GDP

The Tourism Industry faced multiple challenge, especially in the

previous year but despite these challenges the industry has contributed

immensely to the provincial GDP for the 2017/18 financial year. North

West MEC for Tourism Desbo Mohono said that the contribution to the

provincial GDP for the fiscal year 2017/18 was 10.3% as compared to

9.8% in the 2016/17 fiscal year.

Hon. MEC Desbo Mohono

Department to draw inspiration from the country's

icons to anchor transformation within the tourism


To commemorate the centenary of former President Nelson Mandela

and Mama Albertina Sisulu, the North West MEC for Tourism Desbo

Mohono says her department will learn from their lives.

MEC Mohono was delivering her departmental budget vote for 2018/19

at the provincial Legislature when she said the stalwarts will be

remembered for their resilience, strength, compassion and commitment

to the people of South Africa.

“We shall use all platforms to unite, rebuild and renew the pledge they

took in the past and intensify our work to build the free and equitable

society for which they so hard fought for. We shall renew our focus on

these stalwart's vision of a non -racial society in which social and

economic barriers are removed for the emancipation of our people and

economic growth of our country”, said Mohono

MEC Mohono said that the tourism industry is still grappling with

transformation and her department is committed in continuing to

address the challenges to ensure equal access and benefit for citizens

irrespective of race.

“This clearly shows that steadily and surely we are growing as a

province. There's some light as we are told by the World Travel &

Tourism Council (WTTC). The WTTC forecasts that the sector will

contribute R424.5bn to the overall SA economy in 2018 - about 3% more

than in 2017.This is good news for the country and the province”, said


Presenting her 2018/19 Budget Speech for her department MEC

Mohono assured members of the provincial legislature that the tourism

sector in the province is heading in the right direction. She said that

looking at Markets Investments Framework, Domestic holiday trips

increased in 2017 by approximately 12% which resulted in the domestic

holiday target being achieved.

“Holiday trips in 2017 were higher than 2016 levels in nine of the twelve

months, declining in May, August and December. About 13% of total

domestic holiday trips were taken in December 2017, a much smaller

share compared to December 2016. Despite the increase in domestic

holiday trips, total domestic trips amounted to 17.1 million trips. This is a

decrease of approximately 29% over 2016, and is driven by an

estimated 41% decline in VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives) trips”,

Mohono said.

Furthermore Mohono said the consumer in South Africa has faced

strong headwinds in 2017 with a recession early in the year and

unemployment remaining high. She said that these conditions had a far

reaching effect on consumers and domestic tourism in particular the

VFR segment.

“The province has set Tourism as part of the ACT pillar thus recognizing

the sector as one of the pillars of our economy not just here in our

province but in the country and this is reinforced by Cabinet's

recognition of the gains the sector continues to yield. The North West

province is an investment and tourism destination of choice and we

should stop doubting our relevance. We have great stories to tell about

our culture and tradition; our history; our unique ways of using the fauna

and the flora as taught by our grandparents; our parks; our unique

names for our animals, to mention but a few”, Mohono concluded.

– Kamogelo Pooe


North West Department of Tourism

“A Re Yeng Bokone Bophirima”

“The National Department of Tourism and South African Tourism last

year launched the 5 in 5 strategy under the theme “We do Tourism”.

When we say “We do Tourism”, we mean exactly that in the North West

Province, we live and breathe Tourism in all its forms and we remain

committed to ensuring the growth of the sector for the benefit of our

VTSD communities. We confirm SAT's view that “tourism is the shining

beacon of hope in our 24 year old economy”, said Mohono.

“The North West Province, though rural, is not fairing badly at all in

relation to international arrivals. Out of our target of 1 million target for

international arrivals, the province managed to attain 800 000

(translating to 81%) and ranked number six in the country compared to

other provinces. On the domestic front the target was 1.3 million and we

managed to attract 1.24 million trips translating to 92% of our target. We

remain committed to reaching our 5 in 5 target and hitting the 100% mark.

We are confident that our efforts to market the province at international

trade fares and in the SADC region will yield results”, Mohono added.

“The Tourism Board has done research in conjunction with North West

University that showed a huge growth in our domestic market


The research shows that we had 1.8 million trips as

opposed to the reported 1.2 million by SAT. We will continue to use our

market intelligence to gather data on tourists visiting our province from all

quarters of the world”, Mohono concluded. – Kamogelo Pooe

Department remains steadfast in growing the economy of

the province.

Mmabatho – North West MEC for Tourism Desbo Mohono says that her

department will remain undeterred in ensuring that it continuous to

positively contribute towards growing the economy of the North West


Mohono was tabling her departmental budget of R 261 551 million for

the 2018/19 fiscal year at the North West Provincial Legislature recently

when she said that the contribution of the tourism sector is measured by

the number of jobs it creates and its contribution to the Gross Domestic

Product (GDP) and the amount of revenue created from activities within

the sector.

“The tourism sector is fundamentally a collaborative sector made up of a

complex web of stakeholders. This is a depiction of the ACT cluster value

chain e.g. CATA – paintings in and around our establishments by our local

artists; food in our kitchens from our agricultural sector etc.

'It is important that all of us, in government and the private sector pull in

the same direction”, she said.

Mohono said her department was using the budget vote to take stock of

what they did in the previous financial year and chart a way forward for the

coming 12 months.

She said her department will use the National Development Plan to focus

on building an economy in which all people of the North West can flourish

and benefit the people of North West as a whole, rather than a privileged


In her conclusion, Mohono said that her department's vision encourages

and welcomes investment from all quarters while in the same breath we

offer policy certainty and always look for ways to unlock the barriers that

inhibit growth and social inclusion. – Kamogelo Pooe

Department creates a conducive environment for

tourism investors

The North West Department of Tourism has called on all potential Tourism

Investors to invest in the province.

“Our vision as a department encourages and welcomes investment from

all quarters while in the same breath we offer policy certainty and always

look for ways to unlock the barriers that inhibit growth and social inclusion.

Our commitment is to build strong partnerships in which the sector and all

its role players work towards the common good.”

Mohono said that her department has made the most with the little that

they were given and will not be deterred from going from strength to


She said that some of the milestones include but are not limited to

ensuring that the North West Tourism Board fully assumed all marketing

roles which she says previously the department had to intervene.

“The North West Tourism Board together with the department managed to

showcase and market Destination Bokone Bophirima at Meetings Africa

in Sandton, Tourism Indaba in Durban, Getaway Show in Randburg, Cape

Town International Jazz Festival in Cape Town, and World Travel Market

(WTM) Africa which is also in Cape Town. Our Botswana Marketing

Activation in Gaborone yield positive results as we recently hosted 10

Botswana Travel Agents and Media personnel for a 5 day familiarization

tour of the province. We have also marketed ourselves at the Mahika

Mahikeng Cultural Festival in Mahikeng”, said Mohono

MEC Mohono also added that the department together with the North

West Tourism Board was able to market Destination Bokone Bophirima at

some of most prestigious travel markets.

“These includes the Serbia Tourism Exhibition in Belgrade which was

done in collaboration with YUTA – which is an organization representing

all tour operators in Eastern Europe and intents to have them come over

for a familiarisation trip with Turkish Airlines.

“We also did the World Travel Market (WTM) in London and ITB in Berlin

which yielded 170 crew members for the German idols in the Pilanesburg

Sun City nodal area for a programme viewed by 8 million Germans and

syndicated in Switzerland and Austria”, read Mohono.

In March, the department in partnership with South African Tourism

hosted 10 Australian Flight Centre Agents and in December, the

department will host 200 travel agents and tour operators for a period of 5

days in the Bojanala region.

MEC Mohono said that her department also able to implement different

capacity building programme which ensured that the industry in the

province does not become rigid but remains relevant and also kept

abreast with industry norms, standards and expectation and that they also

able to compete with other provinces.

She said her department participated in the International Tourist Guide

Day celebration held in Hoedspruit, Limpopo where trained Tourist guides

from Dr. Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District were officially confirmed as

certified tourist guides.

She also mentioned the successful hosting of the provincial Lilizela

Tourism Awards where 23 establishments were awarded certificates of

excellence in different categories – Kamogelo Pooe

During her 2018/19 Budget Vote Speech, MEC for Tourism, Desbo

Mohono assured Tourism stakeholders that her department has created

a conducive environment for tourism investment.

She said that despite challenges faced by the department, they kept their

heads above water and have performed very well as a department.


Discover Mzanzi














the platinum &

heritage province

By Fikile Tikana


North West Province in South Africa is perhaps best

known as the world capital of platinum mining.

But it is also a province that treats its visitors to a

seamless blend of a rich cultural history, fun and

entertainment on a grand scale, and spectacular

wildlife and natural scenery.

Situated in the northernmost central part of

South Africa, the province is bordered by Botswana in the north, and

separated from several other South African provinces by the Vaal River

that flows along its southern border. To the east it is bordered by the

densely populated province of Gauteng, as well as Free State, and can

easily be accessed by road or air from Johannesburg, Pretoria and

Bloemfontein, while Gaborone in Botswana is also just a short hop


In this friendly province the old and the natural mix easily with the

new and the glitzy: from cultural heritage sites and game reserves, to

the glamour and buzz of the gambling and entertainment hub of Sun

City…a Las Vegas in the African bush.

The majority of the province’s population of around 4-million are

BaTswana people who speak SeTswana and are also the majority in

neighbouring Botswana. Their history in the region stretches across

centuries marked by wars and migration before settling here and

establishing their rich cultural presence. Other groups found here

include the Ndebele in the east, the Sotho in the south and Afrikaansspeaking

communities throughout the province. Most people here

speak English as their second language.

Much of the central landscape is defined by bushveld and grasslands

scattered with trees and shrubs; the mountains, deep valleys, rivers

and dams of the northeast; the flat and arid semi-deserts plains of the

west; and the lush vegetation of areas bordering the Vaal River in the

south. The climate is relatively moderate, with temperatures generally

ranging between 17° and 31 °C in summer and between 3° and 21°C

in the winter, and rainfall in the summer.

The province’s economy is mainly based on mining and agriculture,

while in the northeast there are industrial manufacturing hubs that spill

over from Gauteng. The province is of course world famous for being

home to the western part of the Platinum Belt, which runs north of the

130km-long Magaliesberg mountain range stretching from Pretoria to

Rustenburg and Sun City. The Platinum Belt produces some 78% of

the world’s platinum. Other minerals mined in North West include gold,

uranium and diamonds. Agriculture is based on sheep farms, cattle

and game ranches, and crops including maize, sunflowers, tobacco,

cotton and citrus.

The province is divided into four regions, which overlap with district

municipalities: Bophirima Region / Dr Ruth S Mompati District,

with major towns Schweizer-Reineke and Vryburg; Central Region

/ Dr Ngaka Modiri Molema District, with major towns Mahikeng and

Lichtenburg; Bojanala Region / Bojanala Platinum District, with major

towns Brits, Hartbeespoort, Broederstroom, and Mabopane (including

Sun City); and Southern Region / Dr Kenneth Kaunda District, with

major towns Klerksdorp, Potchefstroom, Orkney, Ventersdorp and


Historic Capital

The province’s capital is the historic town of Mahikeng (previously

Mafikeng or Mafeking), made famous during the Anglo Boer War when

Boer forces led by General Piet Cronje for 217 days laid siege to the

town and its British garrison under command of Colonel Robert Baden-

Powell, the later founder of the worldwide Boy Scouts movement. Also

trapped in the town during the siege was Lord Edward Cecil, the son of

the British Prime Minister.

Mahikeng owes its origin to a rather bloody and destructive period of

war and upheaval in Southern Africa, the infamous ‘Difequane’. The

‘Difequane’ was a period of intertribal war, aggravated by the passage

of the exiled Zulu chief, Mzilikazi, through the area. In this period many

tribes were annihilated, displaced or absorbed into other or new tribes

and ethnic nations. The period gave rise to a major new nation, the

Basotho, while it also cemented the Zulu nation into its modern form

and saw the establishment of the Ndebele kingdom of Matabeleland

in present-day Zimbabwe under Mzilikazi. The name of Mahikeng,

meaning ‘the place among rocks’, which refers to the volcanic rocks

that provided temporary shelter to Stone Age humans in their hunt for

animals in the area, was given to the area in 1852 by early BaRolong

chiefs who had settled along the Molopo River.

The Mahikeng Museum houses extensive ethnographic and Anglo-

Boer War exhibits. South of the town is Kanon Kopje, a defensive fort

built during the Warren Expedition of 1885. Nearby is also the Kgotla of

the Barolong Boora Tshidi, the tribal meeting place of Chief Montshoia.

A monument honouring the Barolong who died during the Mahikeng

Anglo Boer War siege stands beside another in recognition of Kgosi

Besele Montshoia, head of the Barolong Regiment during the siege.

Also nearby is the Mahikeng Siege Cemetery. There are a number

of sites linking the famous Sol Plaatje, a South African politician,


Discover Mzanzi

journalist, campaigner for human rights, novelist and translator, to

Mahikeng at the time of the siege. These sites include his residence, his

newspaper office and printing works.

Also located in Mahikeng is the provincial parliament with its impressive

government offices known as the Garona. The Mmabana Cultural Centre

nearby promotes music and many artistic disciplines through numerous

practical workshops and exhibitions. The Mmabatho Conference Centre

has facilities to host up to 6,000 delegates and is centrally located for

transport and hotels.

Other major towns in North West include the commercial centre of

Klerksdorp, the historic university town of Potchefstroom, Rustenburg

and Brits on the Platinum Belt, the gold mining town of Orkney, and

Vryburg in the west. Zeerust is the large major town before crossing into

Botswana and lies within the Groot Marico region made famous in his

humorous books, featuring the famous character Oom Scalk Lourens, by

the acclaimed author Herman Charles Bosman.

Far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life, in spirit though not in

distance, the province offers an escape route to a slice of the real Africa. It

is home to breath-taking scenic beauty, rolling fields of maize and golden

sunflowers, vast plains of African bushveld, superb game parks boasting

the Big Five, magnificent golf courses, water-based leisure activities,

sporting facilities, heritage and cultural sites and attractions, world class

entertainment at Sun City, hiking, hot-air ballooning, mountain climbing,

and more….truly a spectacular blend a of 21st century living and the

mystique and traditions of ancient Africa.

On the way to Sun City and its magnificent modern Palace of the Lost City

hotel and resort, is the real Lost City of Mogale, the ancestral home of Chief

Culture & Heritage

The province has many historical and cultural sites, including several

cultural villages that both entertain and enrich as they interpret the

indigenous people of South Africa in their own unique manner. So

important is cultural heritage to this province that it even has its own

Heritage Song.

Just a 20-minute drive from Sun City is the Mphebatho Cultural

Museumsituated in Moruleng Village. This vibrant community centre

provides an alternative experience of the heritage, culture and

tradition of the Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela people living in the vicinity of the

Pilanesberg mountains and Pilanesberg National Park. Mahikeng is

also the traditional capital of the Barolong people where many cultural

and historic offerings are to be found, including the Lotlamoreng

Cultural Reserve and Montshiwua Dam where there is a cultural

village, recreational area and a demarcated waterfowl sanctuary.

North West Heritage Song

The Platinum Province,

Our pride is our heritage

Ahe – Ahe, Tlang lotlhe, bonang gotlhe

Ahe – Ahe, A re tseeng karolo rotlhe

A re goleng mmogo – Let’s grow together

The Platinum Province is for you and for me

A re tseeng karolo rotlhe, Go Bojanala

Province ya bokone-Bophirima

Ke ya me le wena

iStock-Ina Felker


Mogale (1810-1869), after whom the Magaliesberg

was named, and his Po people. Here you can see

remains of well-preserved late Iron Age settlements,

both early Ndebele and Tswana/Sotho. Highlights

include the chief’s courtyard and reception area,

the chief’s private place of worship, his cattle kraal,

ceremonial cairns, the remains of the slaughtering

kraal, the place of ancestral worship, and much


In the border area between Gauteng and the

Magaliesberg mountains, near the Hartbeespoort

Dam, is the Lesedi Cultural Village, and

international favourite where you can experience

an interpretative African experience of the cultures

and traditions of South Africa’s indigenous people.

Buya Zulu is an authentic Zulu kraal headed

by Jo Mbogwazi, who with his group, originate

from Hluhluwe in northern Zululand. Here visitors

experience traditional huts, utensils, people wearing

traditional clothes, and the arts of shield and spear

making, beadwork and traditional pottery.

Located near the Hartbeespoort Dam and the

town of Brits, is the Mapoch Ndebele Village

with its colourfully painted abodes housing the

Ndebele villagers. Close to Hebron, the Gaabo

Motho Cultural Village is a scenic mountain-top

village that offers the best African traditional fare.

The village relays ancient survival and birthing

practices and visitors can meet an authentic

traditional healer. Furthermore, a visit to the

Kortkloof Cultural Village in the ‘Mampoer Country’,

Groot Marico, is dedicated to the Tswana tribe.

Mampoer is a traditionally distilled, once-illegal

brandy or ‘moonshine’, made from fermented

fruit and contains anywhere between 50 and 80

percent of alcohol. Mampoer tours can be enjoyed

in the Groot Marico region. And at Schoemansdrift,

outside Potchefstroom, mampoer tasting sessions

can be enjoyed in a house with an Anglo Boer War


Parks and Game


Apart from having among the most cultural villages

and heritage sites of any province in the country,

the province is also home to a stunning array of

national parks and game reserves. There are a total

of 14 national parks and provincial reserves within

its borders. In total the province has more than 36

national parks, games reserves and conservancies.

The most well-known are the Pilanesberg and

Madikwe National Parks, which are administered

by the North West Parks and Tourism Board. The

Province also shares the Magaliesberg Protected

Natural Environment with Gauteng.

Formally protected areas in the province comprise

all of 283,308 hectares or approximately 2.4% of the

surface area of the province. This includes national

parks, provincial nature reserves, private nature

reserves and protected natural environments.

There are 10 registered conservancies and

several game farms or ranches in the

province, with a total area of about

160,000 hectares of land committed to

game farming. Species conserved on these farms

are predominantly antelope such as kudu, duiker

and steenbok. Other animals such as sable, Cape

buffalo, gemsbok, eland, red hartebeest, blue

wildebeest and even black rhinoceros also occur

in North West.

The Province has over 40 wetlands and one

RAMSAR site at Barberspan, which is recognised

as a wetland of international importance.

Among the many superb parks, reserves and

conservancies – all well worth a visit – are the 4,600

hectare Mahikeng Game Reserve which hosts a

wide variety of game and is on the principal breeding

parks for White Rhino. The Manyane Game Lodge

features a lion enclosure and crocodile camp, while

the nearby Botsalano Game Reserve is a popular

weekend attraction for game viewing.

Other parks, conservancies and reserves include

Elephant Sanctuary at Hartbeesport Dam; the Bush

Babies Monkey Sanctuary at Hartbeespoort Dam;

the Ukutula Lion Park near Brits; the Pilanesberg

National Park at Sun City; the Kwena Crocodile

Farm at Sun City; the Hartbeespoort Dam Snake

and Animal Park; the Rustenburg Nature Reserve;

the Silkaatsnek Nature Reserve at Hartbeespoort

Dam; Predator World at Sun City; the Akwaaba

Predator Park at Rustenburg; the Kgaswane Nature

Reserve at Rustenburg; the Lion & Safari Park at

Broederstroom; the Phaladingwe Hiking Trail at

Broederstroom; the Sandveld Nature Reserve at

Bloemhof; Predator’s Pride at Hartbeespoort; the

Hartbeespoort Aquarium; the Wolwespruit Nature

Reserve at Leeudoringstad; the Molopo Nature

Reserve at Vryburg; the Borakalalo National Park;

the Barberspan Bird Sanctuary at Delareyville; the

Eagle Waters Wildlife Resort at Broederstroom; the

Vaalkop Dam Nature Reserve; and the Botsalano

Game Reserve at Mafikeng.


Water world &

gambling resort

Two of the province’s world-renowned attractions are the gambling resort of Sun City and a world

of water sport and entertainment at Hartbeespoort Dam. In 1979, the pioneering entrepreneur, Sol

Kerzner, built the iconic Sun City casino resort, set in an extinct volcanic crater in the Pilanesberg

north of Magaliesberg and Rustenburg. It became a true ‘Las Vegas in the African bush’.

In the years since, the resort has become renowned for its slot machines and gaming tables, fast

foods and excellent cuisine, luxury and budget accommodation, Follies-style topless shows, topstar

entertainers, international sporting events, game drives and exotic drinks by the pool. Over

the years Sun City grew to a massive, sprawling gambling, sport and entertainment complex. It

now includes the original Sun City Hotel now known as the Soho Hotel, the Cascades Hotel, The

Cabanas, the Vacation Club and its star offering, the Palace of the Lost City.

Within the resort complex you will find fabulous facilities and attractions like the Valley Of Waves,

a beach with a ‘sea’ and machine-made surfing waves; the Gary Player Country Club where

the Nedbank Golf Challenge is hosted each year; Zip 2000; SunStar; Sun Central; the Maze of

the Lost City; Sun City Casino; South African Hall Of Fame; Motseng Cultural Village; Mankwe

Gametrackers & Pilanesberg Game Reserve; Waterworld; and Kwena Gardens. At its Super Bowl

Arena top international shows and sporting events are regularly featured.

To the southeast of Sun City, close to Gauteng and Pretoria, lies Hartbeespoort village and

the Hartbeespoort Dam on the Crocodile River with its white-water rapids. From the top of the

Magaliesberg mountain, which can be reached via the Hartbeespoort Aerial Cableway, magnificent

views of the village, dam and valley below can be enjoyed. The area around the dam has become

a favourite residential area – both permanent and for weekend getaways by city dwellers. The

dam itself is popular for yachting, fishing, board sailing and other water sports. The dam area also

includes a large number of animal, bird and reptile sanctuaries, cultural attractions, game reserves,

markets, roadside arts and crafts sellers, restaurants, pubs and guest houses.


North West Tourism: Call Centre

Tel +27(0)861111866; website

Pilanesberg Information & Community Development Centre:

Tel +27 (0)14 555 1637; Email

Rustenburg Tourism Information:

Tel +27 (0)14 597 0904/5 or +27 (0)14 590 3320;


Mahikeng Tourism Information:

Mahikeng Call Centre 0861 111 866; Tel +27 (0)18 381 7341; Email info@

Sun City Information Office:

Tel +27 (0)14 552 2116;


Sun City Resort:

Tel +27 (0)14 557 1000;


Hartbeespoort Dam Information:

Tel +27 (0)12 253 9910;


Help Us


Our Rhino


Let’s Join

Hands to

Stop Rhino


@visitnwparks NWP_HOME Tel: +27 18 397 1500

Discover Mzanzi

Enjoy Your

Holiday with Us!

Situated on the northern foothills of The Pilanesberg National Park; one of the oldest

extinct volcanoes on the planet; is the renowned Big 5 safari destination Morokolo

Game Lodge, winner of the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Award for the last

3 years and winner of the Sanlam Top Destinations Award 2017.

North West Province Hospitality Shines Bright at the

Sanlam Top Destination Awards

The 2017 Sanlam Top Destination awards ceremony took

place at a prestigious black tie evening event in Cape Town

this year where 35 top hospitality establishments walked

away with the winning title of ‘Sanlam Top Destination

Award’ in their respective categories and star grading’s. It

was an incredible evening showing recognition to the local

entrepreneurs who make the South African tourism

industry as great as it is.

The Sanlam Top Destination Awards rewarded the finest

selection from 9 700 establishments entered for the 2017

awards, treating them to an array of exquisite giveaways

throughout the evening.

From a lucky draw for three uniquely crafted David Green

time pieces valued at R 4 000 each, to one establishment

walking away with a Volkswagen Kombi, finalists received

gift bags that included various goodies from Rialheim,

Romatex, Inn-Addition, Spree, Amarula and Vouchers.

The 35 winners each walked away with the title of Top

Destination in their respective categories’ receiving a

winner’s certificate and hand-crafted ceramic elephant

trophy by Rialheim Ceramics, as well as their share in

R 1 000 000’s worth of advertising.

Amongst the winners in the Game Lodge category was the

boutique Morokolo Game Lodge situated on the northern

foothills of one of the oldest extinct volcanoes on the

planet; commonly known as the Pilanesberg National Park.

A sought after malaria free Big 5 safari destination in the

North West Province, Morokolo Game Lodge is also

winner of the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Award


for the past 3 years and a renowned top destination

within the Pilanesberg National Park.

Only 2½ hours' drive from Johannesburg and with eight

luxury double suites plus two lounge and entertainment

areas, Morokolo Game Lodge is the ideal wildlife safari

getaway destination for couples, families and small

corporate/tourist groups throughout the year. Providing

daily big 5 drive safaris with our own dedicated game

rangers, scrumptious local cuisine at the reserve

restaurant in a Tambuti forest overlooking a watering

hole, relaxation in peace and tranquillity of the African

bush, and friendly hospitality is all included in our DBB

rates. The lodge also features two refreshing splash

pools, an intimate Jacuzzi and fully stocked honesty

bars. Walking safaris are available on request. For a truly

South African experience the traditional “braai” can also

be arranged at the lodge as an alternative dinner option.

Located in the Black Rhino Reserve (a concession of the

greater Pilanesberg National Park), one of the few

reserves in Southern Africa that still have black and white

rhinos; it is a priority for us to protect these magnificent


Morokolo Game Lodge is a therefore a proud stakeholder

to the Black Rhino Reserve Wildlife Trust as well as the

Conservation Protection Unit providing anti-poaching,

patrolling and reaction unit services to the reserve and

the North West Parks Board where needed.

For real time availability for your next wildlife safari

getaway visit our website, or

contact the lodge on

071 279 1110.


071 279 1110

Leisure Discover & Entertainment Mzanzi




By Stef Terblanche

Whether you spend a day at the horse

races with a frenziedly excited crowd

or a night in a casino with bells and

whistles going off all around as the

‘bandits’ strike gold, or anxiously

watching a little spinning ball in a

numbered merry-go-round, the sheer

excitement will sweep you along.

Not many of us can resist the lure of the big win, the temptation that Lady Luck

will land that big cash windfall in your lap.

South Africa has a well-established, world-class horse racing and casino

gaming industry that draws people from all over the country and from far

beyond our borders…because it offers so much more than just gambling. It is a

multi-billion rand industry closely interwoven with all the fantastic offerings of

our renowned tourism industry: world-class resorts and hotels, game reserves,

magical shows, excellent wining and dining, getting close to those magnificent

thoroughbreds, and of course the thrill of the big win. And it contributes much to

our economy, to social development programmes and job creation.

There was a time when betting on horse racing was the only legal form of

gambling allowed in the country. Until that pioneering entrepreneur, Sol

Kerzner, came along and built his iconic Sun City casino resort in 1979, set in

an extinct volcanic crater northwest of Johannesburg and Pretoria.

iStock-Comaniciu Dan

Gold Reef City Casino – Natalie Reinch/shutterstock Winning by a head - Image Gold Circle Palace of the Lost City at Sun City – Athol Lewis / shutterstock

Las Vegas in the bush

In the late seventies Kerzner flew a bunch of journalists in a helicopter to this

crater in the wild African bush in the middle of nowhere. He fed them spit roast

and plied them with drinks, and then, gesturing at the surrounding wilderness

with a sweep of the hand, told them this was where he was going to build a

casino resort, his Las Vegas in the bush. At the time nobody quite believed him,

but about a year later, Sun City opened its doors in fabulous style.

In typical Kerzner fashion, on the day before opening, he was still barking

orders at workmen scurrying around on scaffolding, adding last-minute

fittings, painting concrete walls and making sure everything was in place

and ready to go. He maximised his unique talent for dreaming big, organising

like a general, and throwing hospitality and entertainment into a shaker and

mixing them up into a delightful cocktail. What followed was a carousel of slot

machines and gaming tables, fast foods and excellent cuisine, luxury and

budget accommodation, Follies-style topless shows, top-star entertainers,

international sporting events, game drives and exotic drinks by the pool. The

rest is history.


Leisure & Entertainment

Prior to that most South Africans only ever saw the inside of a casino in the movies,

like when James Bond in Never Say Never Again and in Golden Eye would outwit

his enemies and charm the ladies in that grand old dame of all casinos in Monte

Carlo. Ironically, a much later Bond movie, Casino Royale, was shot in one of

Kerzner’s much later hotels – the Ocean Club resort in the Bahamas.

A tale of 2 iconic horse races

Horse racing first came to South Africa together with British rule in 1795. But it really

started taking off after Lord Charles Somerset arrived at the Cape as governor in

1814. Within 11 years of his arrival there were at least 10 horse racing venues

around the country, with the hub of it then centred in Port Elizabeth, which formed

its own turf club in 1857, and where the Jockey Club of South Africa was formed

in 1882. With the advent of the diamond and gold rushes, the sport and betting


Today horse racing is a multi-faceted, multi-billion rand industry, with betting

on horse racing last year contributing over R5-billion to national GDP. In total,

gross revenue (GGR) from the gambling industry last year stood at R27-billion.

It is expected to grow to R35-billion in 2021. But over the years, horse racing has

also spawned a number of sub-industries that provide thousands of jobs and make

further contributions to the economy, such as thoroughbred breeding, training,

stabling services, bookmakers, horse racing news media, veterinary services, and

racing-related tourism.

While South Africa has many star-studded race meetings, with races taking place

every day of the year, topping the list must surely be those two iconic glamour

events known popularly as the ‘Durban July’ and the ‘Cape Met’. Not only are they

some of the biggest money-spinners producing legendary winners, but they are

also top events on the country’s social calendars.

Raced over a distance of 2,200 meters, among the many great winners of the past

were unforgettable champions like Bold Silvano, Ipi Tombe, Dancing Dual, Flaming

Rock, Bush Telegraph, Beau Art, Politician and 113 other great horses. And who

can forget the tragedy that befell Sea Cottage in 1966, when a bookmaker and two

Durban mobsters conspired and shot this legendary horse trained by the equally

legendary Syd Laird, to prevent it from winning. The shooter went to prison, and

Sea Cottage recovered, going on to win many races including the Durban July in

1967 – a year after being shot - in a dead heat with Jollify. The bullet remained

lodged in his hock for the rest of his racing career and was only removed upon his


Of course, while in Durban for the July you can also enjoy this balmy coastal city’s

multiple other attractions, from retracing the steps of historic figures along the

Heritage Trail, to soaking up the sun on the many endless beaches, visiting uShaka

Marine World, surfing or scuba diving, visiting the biggest single concentration of

markets in Africa, exploring the North and South Coast, watching traditional Zulu

dancing in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, and much more.

The Sun Met

Typical of the age-old rivalry between Durbanites and Capetonians, vying with the

Durban July for recognition as the biggest event on the racing calendar is the Cape

Met, now officially known as the Sun Met, which is run every year in January. First

run in 1883 as the Metropolitan Mile, the race is 14 years senior to the July. Staged

over 2,000 meters at the Kenilworth Race Course in Cape Town, it later became

known as The Metropolitan Handicap, then as the J&B Met and now as the Sun

Met. Billed as ‘Africa’s Richest Race Day’, it adopts a theme each year, this year’s

one being ‘Style ahead of the Field’ – enough to send the fashion junkies into a

frenzy. Like its Durban counterpart, the event also offers entertainment, dining and

wining and other activities on a grand scale.

On race days top fashion designers showcase their designs with fashionistas

strutting their stuff in front of the cameras. The who’s who and the lesser mortals

among us meet over champagne and caviar in the many colourful private and

branded marquees, while those gleaming, immaculately groomed thoroughbreds

are presented in the parade ring with their silk-clad jockeys atop. And as the early

races are run in the build-up to the main race, the tension and excitement palpably

increases in the perfumed air, mixed with the smell of fresh horse manure. When

it’s all over and the grounds are littered with thousands of losing tickets, you’ll

nonetheless still hear the partying continuing till late in the night in the many big

tents. Some will be celebrating their big wins, while others are trying to forget their

bad luck. But all will be having a great time.

The Durban July

Annual ‘July fever’ and the Durban July date back to the first race held on Saturday,

July 17, 1897 with a crowd of 3,000 people and a winner named Campanajo. Since

then the race has been held every year without fail. Today it is officially called the

Vodacom Durban July. Always run on the first Saturday of July, this year the R4.25-

million event takes place on 7 July at Greyville Racecourse, billed as “the greatest

racing, fashion and entertainment extravaganza on the African continent”. But

you’ll have to move fast as Durban’s luxurious high-rise waterfront hotels – many of

them built by the very same Kerzner - are booked out well in advance as more than

55,000 racing spectators pack into the city.

Imagine yourself in the wildly cheering crowd as the race commentator whips up the

excitement over the loudspeakers; watch the horses come thundering around the

last corner in a neck and neck pack at breakneck speed with no clear winner in sight

until the very last moment; hear the sound of champagne corks popping and jazz

bands striking up; go collect your winnings or tear up your losing ticket; and then

join in the fun as the fashion kings and queens, the who’s who and the ordinary folk

party into the warm summer’s night.

Among the many magnificent winners of the Cape Met were the marvellous threetime

winner Pocket Power, and others like Igugu, Politician (who also won the

Durban July), Zebra Crossing, London News (another Durban July winner), Mark

Anthony, Charles Fortune, Gold Flame, Sledgehammer and Wolf Power. As is

the case in Durban, Cape Town also offers horse racing visitors a fine menu of

additional world-renowned attractions and things to do, from Table Mountain to

Cape Point, Robben Island, the Cape Wine Routes, the West Coast and so much


Both the Durban July and the Sun Met races have earned their places right up there

among the other great horse racing classics of the world, such as the Kentucky

Derby in the US, the Melbourne Cup in Australia, the Belmont Stakes in New York,

the Royal Ascot and the Grand National in England, the Singapore Gold Cup and

newcomer to the scene, the Dubai World Cup. So pack your bags, hop on a plane

and head for Cape Town or Durban for a day of unparalleled fun and racing in the

sun, rubbing shoulders with outrageously dressed people, the rich and the famous


Leisure & Entertainment

and some of the greatest equestrian champs in the world…and of course the odd

chance of taking home bags full of money.

There are of course any number of other top horse racing events on offer in South

Africa throughout the year. These include the R1.2-million Summer Cup, the

Charity Mile, the Champions’ Day and SA Classic at Turffontein in Johannesburg;

the Grand Heritage at the Vaal race course south of Johannesburg; the Queen’s

Plate and Cape Guineas at Kenilworth, Cape Town; and the Gold Challenge, the

Mercury Sprint and the Gold Cup Festival at Greyville, Durban.

A casino resort near you

If you happen to be in town for the horses, or if horse racing is not really your

thing and you prefer something a little more, shall we misleadingly say ‘sedate’,

and you still feel the pull of the big win, head off to the nearest casino resort. With

some 40 casinos in South Africa, all set in wonderful resorts, there is bound to

be one near you. From one-night wheel-spinning, card-flipping and slot-machine

entertainment, to an all-out holiday second to none, these casino resorts offer it


Within the resorts or adjacent to them, you will have a wide choice of the finest

accommodation, restaurants, pubs, music and other shows, exclusive shopping

boutiques, golf courses, health and beauty spas, revue shows, ice skating, movie

theatres, endless beaches and game reserves. Gambling offered at these resorts

include thousands of slot machines, Black Jack tables, poker games, roulette

tables, bingo and more.

8. High fashion, Durban July – Image: Gold Circle

From the moment you walk into any of these casinos you will feel and hear the noisy

buzz of excitement with slot machine chimes ringing and pay-out sirens going off.

Wander over to the roulette or Black Jack tables, and watch the card dealers niftily

shuffling and flipping out cards as nervous gamblers watch, be they a family on

holiday, a group attending a teambuilding week, professional gamblers, weekend

revellers, a one-night fortune-seeker, or just someone drawn by curiosity. And

share in the high fives when someone excitedly rakes in those winnings!

After Kerzner launched Sun City, more casino resorts quickly followed in the

erstwhile ‘bantustans, where gambling laws were more relaxed. Kerzner went on to

establish a global empire of casinos, hotels and resorts, while Sun City itself grew

over the years to a massive, sprawling gambling, leisure, sport and entertainment

complex. It now includes the original Sun City Hotel now known as the Soho Hotel,

the Cascades Hotel, The Cabanas, the Vacation Club and its star offering, the

Palace of the Lost City. Within the resort complex you will find fabulous facilities

and attractions like the Valley Of Waves, a beach with a ‘sea’ and machine-made

surfing waves; the Gary Player Country Club where the Nedbank Golf Challenge

is hosted each year; Zip 2000; SunStar; Sun Central; the Maze of the Lost City;

Sun City Casino; South African Hall Of Fame; Motseng Cultural Village; Mankwe

Gametrackers & Pilanesberg Game Reserve; Waterworld; and Kwena Gardens.

At its Super Bowl Arena top international shows and sporting events are featured,

which in the past included the likes of Frank Sinatra, Queen, Liza Minelli, Rod

Stewart, Elton John, Westlife, the Miss World Pageant, various boxing world title

fights, and many more. Many of the new generation of other post-1994 casino

resorts now offer similar attractions and events.

After South Africa’s transition to democracy in 1994, the entire gambling industry

A champion heading for a win - Image Gold Circle

Leisure & Entertainment

was reviewed and new, relaxed legislation led to a proliferation of casino resorts

opening around the country. Under the new National Gambling Act administered by

the National Gambling Board, 40 casino licences were set aside, of which 38 are

currently operating.

Other top casino resorts

Among the many top casino resorts in South Africa today, Gauteng’s award-winning

Montecasino must surely rate as one of the best. This popular entertainment

destination is conveniently located in the heart of the suburb of Fourways in

Johannesburg near the main arterial routes, airports and the super-fast Gautrain.

Its spectacular 24/7 ‘World at Play’ development was meticulously designed

to replicate an authentic Tuscan Village. This resort complex includes a casino,

retail offerings, world-class entertainment, corporate hospitality and events, three

hotels on property and a luxury office park. Montecasino, with its Italian communal

theming and vibrant social and entertainment buzz attracts over 9.3 million visitors


A stone’s throw away in Kempton Park, almost adjacent to the O R Tambo

International Airport, is another star-studded attraction: the Emperors Palace Hotel,

Casino, Convention, and Entertainment Resort. It too is close to the main highways

and the Gautrain network. Billed as being ‘fit for emperors’, this world-class casino

resort offers a choice of four unique hotels, a beautiful health and beauty spa, a

magnificent casino, the finest in restaurants, spectacular entertainment choices,

state-of-the-art conference facilities, and excellent service.

And south of Johannesburg you’ll find Gold Reef City, long a premier entertainment

destination in the south of the City of Gold. The resort is styled on an authentic

replica of a turn-of-the-century mining town, close to the city centre and just 20

minutes from OR Tambo International Airport. The resort also offers a variety of

entertainment that includes a state of the art casino, two 4-star hotels, conferencing

and teambuilding facilities, a thrilling theme park, travelling down a mine shaft to an

underground gold mine, a theatre featuring acclaimed live productions, and many

restaurants and fast foods outlets for every taste. It is also home to the Apartheid


Fun by the sea

If you are looking for something a little more laid back in a spectacular coastal

setting, you are spoilt for choice: Durban has the Suncoast Casino right near

the beach, while the Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom is located in the

green hills just up the coast north of the city. Both are top entertainment and

holiday destinations. The city of East London offers visitors and locals a choice

of gaming, movies, events and shopping at Hemingways hotel and casino, in an

architectural setting inspired by the luxurious Key West home of famous author

Ernest Hemingway, right next to Hemingways Mall. In Port Elizabeth the Boardwalk

Casino is a dynamic entertainment hub in the heart of the city’s popular beachfront

area that includes the casino, restaurants, bars, family fun and shopping.

From Port Elizabeth, travel along the world-renowned Garden Route to Mossel

Bay where you will find the Garden Route Casino, perched high up on the cliffs of

Pinnacle Point, overlooking the Indian Ocean. This seaside resort town is known

for its moderate climate and stunning scenery. The casino resort offers the usual

array of action, entertainment and variety. At the time of writing, in the preceding

24 hours its slots had just paid out almost half a million rand, while a number of

special promotion cash and other prizes of around R1-million were being offered!

The casino is situated right next to the Pinnacle Point Beach & Golf Resort, one of

the most unique and scenic golf courses in the world, enjoying panoramic views of

the ocean from each of its 18 holes.

There are similar resorts in or near every city and almost every major town

across South Africa – too many to describe here. All offer gambling, shopping,

restaurants, bars, superb hotels, shows, family entertainment, and many are close

to golf courses, a horse racing track, game reserves, beaches, mountains and

other scenic attractions. If you are after a relaxing holiday combined with fun and

excitement, plus the chance of winning big, book your place at a casino resort now

and throw in a day at the horse races too. Have great fun and good luck!


Manmade sea and beach, Palace of the Lost City

- Ina Felker / shutterstock

Spin the wheel – Vitaly / iStock

There cannot be many natural experiences more enthralling on

our planet than the annual spectacle when the arid, dusty brown

plains and rugged mountain ridges of South Africa’s Namaqualand

region almost overnight transform into an endless feast of bright,

colourful wild flowers – a kaleidoscopic extravaganza as far as

the eye can see.

Welcome to the annual Namaqualand spring wild flower spectacle, a natural

phenomenon that never ceases to delight and amaze, and causes people to return

year after year, from every corner of South Africa and from far beyond its borders.

Before the transformation

This hot and semi-desert region straddles the area where the Great Karoo meets

the western coastal strip adjoining the icy Atlantic. For more than ten months of the

year it appears barren, dusty and dry, a seemingly empty wasteland. Apart from the

sparsely scattered livestock grazing on the large, spread-out sheep farms, it seems

like nothing much can live here.

Dreary small towns and isolated farmsteads are spread far apart, and the landscape

appears largely featureless, except for the occasional rugged, rocky hills and

distant mountains that break up the flatness. The main highway between Cape

iStock-Simone Millward

iStock-EcoPic iStock-Grobler du Preez iStock-EcoPic

Natural Wonders

Town and Namibia slices through here, gleaming like a long straight ribbon in the

heat and the silence, disturbed only occasionally by a passing car or long-haul

truck. You may find the odd vulture picking the flesh of some road kill victim, or a

raptor nesting on a lone telephone pole or forlornly waiting for better days perched

on a farm wire fence.

Off the highway, on the secondary routes and dusty farm roads, the odd tractor

or a farm truck or donkey cart might amble by. Perhaps you’ll pass a lone, dustcovered

traveller resting himself and his bicycle in the elusive shade of a roadside

thorn tree. In the early morning or late afternoon you might also spot a rare mole

snake or tortoise making their way across the road, or see the slender neck and

flat head of a wild ostrich peeking out from behind some dry bushes in the veld.

Nothing else seems to move and the world around is devoid of colour.

If you’re not from around these parts but you’ve seen the movie No country for

Old Men based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel, or you’ve been to the Australian

outback, you’ll know – more or less - what I mean.

The transformation

But then suddenly, come August, and the empty veld magically and mesmerizingly

transforms itself. Woken by the last rains of winter, the dry African veld comes alive

in a blaze of colour as billions of wild flowers open their cheery faces to the warm

sun of early spring. The annual Namaqualand wild flower show has arrived.

It is as if the giant hand of an artist in the sky has reached down with brushes

and paint, deftly transforming this wide and endless canvas into a dazzling

impressionist exhibition. Even the dreary little towns and nondescript farm houses

and labourers’ cottages seem to take on a fresh new life, suddenly surrounded by

a kind of flower passion and zing. And soon the area starts filling with cars and

people and the tour buses arrive, as if a carnival has come to town. But the region

is wide and big enough with space for everyone, so you’ll never feel crowded and

will find plenty of spots to be alone with nature in its most colourful glory.

Rain and nature’s changing show

Every year the show may change; presenting a completely different display. For

this riotous annual eruption of colour depends entirely on what the weather is

doing between July and October in any particular year. With some 4,000 different

species of plant seeds patiently waiting in the ground to germinate, it all depends

on when it rains, how much it rains and where it rains. This western stretch of

South Africa receives little rain throughout the year, especially further north, so

the rain that falls from late May through to August is vitally important, and the short

rainy season is also the reason why the flowers all bloom for short window period

at this time of the year.

These rainfall patterns and the varied topography of the region cause different

displays in different areas: swathes and concentrations of different plant varieties

with different colour flowers. The typography ranges from Sandveld near the

coast, to the semi-desert plains of the southern reaches of the Namib Desert in the

north, the high-lying and almost impenetrable mountain desert of the Richtersveld

in the far north, and all of it interspersed by fertile valleys and mountain areas,

each giving forth a different flower life.

In one area bright orange flowers may cover the entire veld; in another part it

may be yellow and white flowers. In some areas there may be a mixture of small

patches in different colours. Thus you will find some areas dominated by vygies

(succulent Mesembryanthemum) and gousblomme (African daisies), others by

the yellow Leucospermum reflexum, blue Lachanaea filamentosa, the beautiful

white Snow Protea (protea cryophylla), yellow sparaxis, pink Cyanella Alba and

the Clanwilliam Cedar (widdringtonia cedarbergensis). Many of these species are

found nowhere else in the world.

The regions

Naming this flower spectacle after Namaqualand may also be slightly misleading,

as you will find flowers at that time of the year all the way from Cape Town right

up to Namibia. But these will appear in varying density and concentrations, and

arguably not as spectacular and concentrated as in the central Namaqualand

region, and of course again also dependent on the rainfall conditions.

Nonetheless, when you drive out of Cape Town in a good flower year, as soon

as you hit the West Coast Road (R27) or the N7 to Namibia, from Table View

to Melkbosstrand and Atlantis, you will already start noticing the flowers beside

the road, around the vlei and river areas, on the coastal sand dunes and across

the farms on the inland side. From Yzerfontein to the Langebaan Lagoon their

density will start increasing. At the Postberg section of the West Coast National

Park, on the seaside of the Langebaan Lagoon, you’ll come across the first truly

spectacular flower display.

From here one can follow the flower trail towards the Tankwa Karoo National

Park, or going north passing towns such as Citrusdal, Wupperthal, Clanwilliam,

Vanrhynsdorp, Nieuwoudtville and across to Calvina. If the rains have been

generous, and the mix of rain and springtime sun is just right, you will now find

yourself immersed in a sea of flowers, with exquisite discoveries around every bend

of the road. At Nieuwoudville you can see many unique flowers, bulbs and orchid

species that are not found anywhere else. Between Citrusdal and Clanwilliam you

can turn off and travel up into the mountainous Cederberg wilderness area which

offers its own unique display of flowers.

But there’s even more to come. From Van Rhynsdorp you can follow the N7 up to

Garies, the Skilpad and Namaqua National Park and the ‘capital’ of Namaqualand,

Springbok. Or take the R355 from Calvinia to Loeriesfontein, Kliprand, Vaalput,

Gamoep and on to Springbok. You are now in the heart of Namaqualand and the

flower country. Dotted throughout the area are nature reserves that offer superb

flower viewing, such as the Gannabos Protected Area, the Hantam National

Botancial Gardens, Oorlogskloof, Nieuwoudville Wild Flower Reserve, Skilpad

Wild Flower Reserve, Lutzville Conservation Area, Moedverloren Nature Reserve

and the Goegap Nature Reserve at Springbok.

But still it does not end there. Follow the N7 from Springbok to the Richtersveld

World Heritage Site and the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, or reach the

Richtersveld along the R382 via Port Nolloth. All along the way and in the National

Park you will still find extraordinary displays of flowers. Plants in the Richtersveld

have developed the most unique adaptation strategies to the harsh climate. The

Richtersveld is also home to the world’s richest desert flora, mostly tiny succulents

that cling to the rock faces and suck the moisture out of the air when mist rolls in

from the Atlantic coast. Here you will also find the legendary ‘halfmens boom’

(half-person tree) as well as quiver trees and aloes.

Such is the richness and individuality of flora found here that on a single square


Natural Wonders

kilometre surface area more than 360 plant species of flowering plants can

be found despite an average rainfall of only 68mm per year. You will also find

lichen fields here, while the area is home to 2,700 species, some 600 of which

exist nowhere else. Like Namaqualand to the south, the September rains here

transform the area into one of the finest floral displays in the world, and without

doubt the finest of any mountain desert. And still it does not end here, as the spring

flowers are also found in the harsh desert environs across the border in Namibia,

even in the red sand dunes of the ancient Namib Desert.

Routes, tours and facilities

For visitors there are a large number of flower routes to choose from, as well as

flower tour operators and packages. If you prefer a self-drive tour, you can set up

your own tour itinerary. But to get the most out of it, try to spread it over several

days and don’t be shy to call on local tourism information offices to assist you

with the best times, routes and locations, as well as finding accommodation.

And of course, don’t forget the vital rain: when planning a tour, start calling local

information offices in the area you plan on visiting from mid-July until just before

you plan to arrive, to make sure the flowers will be there.

The flowers never really fail to appear in any year, but with proper rainfall the

display will just be that much more spectacular. Last year was not a very good

flower year due to the devastating drought affecting the Western and Northern

Cape. This year there are promising signs of better rain, but dam levels remain

low in the region and one won’t really be able to tell until late July. Also, the rain

does not fall the same across the region, starting at different times and falling in

different amounts in different parts.

There are good guesthouse establishments in all the towns of the region, and even

on some farms. Some farms throughout the area open their gates to visitors for

a small fee, allowing for excellent flower viewing and family picnics. Many towns

also have good camping sites. Adjacent to or inside some of the nature reserves

and parks throughout the region are also accommodation facilities such as tent or

mobile camping sites. Some parks, like the Namaqua National Park operated by

SANParks, have rest camps with chalets and guest cottages.

The towns and regions of this vast garden of nature all offer plenty of other things

to see and do, which you can combine with your flower viewing trip. Check out

the tourism information offices online to find out more. So enjoy watching the

spectacular flowers, but please don’t pick them.

Some tips for flower visitors

• Get your timing right: Call local tourism information offices to

find out about the rain and when they expect the flowers to start

appearing. As a general rule the flowers appear earlier further

north (very late July to mid-August for Namaqualand), and flower

later the further south you go (mid-August to mid-September).

• Rainy days: Avoid overcast weather or rainy days as the flowers

won’t come out in such conditions – to see them there has to be


• Direction of the sun: Flowers face the sun, so do your viewing

travelling in a westerly direction early in the day and a southerly

direction later in the day, always with the sun behind you.

• Time of day: The flowers are at their best between 10:30am and


• Walk around: To best enjoy the flowers, walk among them but

don’t pick them.

• Park levies: Call and find out in advance what levies are to be paid

at the parks you intend visiting.

• Book early: If you want to book a flower tour or accommodation, do

it very early as all of these are booked out quickly.

• Self-drive planning: If you plan a self-drive tour, plan it well in

advance so you don’t waste time driving around from place to

place looking for the best flower areas and in the process miss out

seeing them at all.


Tourism Info Offices

Namakwa District Municipality Tourism: Tel +27(0) 27 712 8000; Email or

Northern Cape Tourism: Tel +27 (0)53 832 2657; Email marketing@; Website:

Loeriesfontein Tourism Office: Tel +27 (0)27 662 1119.

Nieuwoudtville Tourism Office: Tel +27 (0)27 218 1336.

Calvinia Tourism Office: Tel +27 (0)53 832 2657

Kamieskroon Tourism Office: Tel +27 (0)27 672 1948.

Springbok Tourism Office: Tel +27 (0)27 712 8035/6.

Cederberg Tourism: Tel +27 (0)27 482 2024; Email;


Parks & Reserves

SANParks: Tel +27 (0)12 428 9111; Email

West Coast National Park: Tel +27 (0)22 772-2144/5.

Hantam National Botanical Gardens: Tel +27(0)27 2181200; Email Hantam@

Goegap Nature Reserve: Tel +27 (0)27 718 9906.

iStock-Marie-Anne Aberson Meijers

Tour Operators

Namaqualand Flower Tours:

Landscape Tours:

Cedarberg Africa:


Happy Holidays:

JC Botha Hotel Group:

Redwood Tours:

Alan Tours:









The distinct cultural groups that make

up the Northern Cape are as rich as the

country’s history. Unlock the secrets of

the African bush in the company of the

oldest human inhabitants of the region,

the ‡Khomani San near the Kgalagadi

Transfrontier Park. Swim in the hot pools of

Riemvasmaak, discover the ancient wisdom

of the Nama of the Richtersveld, a world

heritage site. Explore living villages, shop at

craft markets, indulge in regional authentic

cuisine at local eateries and be transported

to the world of our ancestors through

campfire storytelling and dancing. It’s the

best way to experience the heartbeat of the

province and to take some of the soul of

the Northern Cape with you on your return

journey home.



For the active, it’s an ideal environment

for exploration and adventure. We have

an aweinspiring setting for any enthusiast.

Whether you are stargazing in Sutherland,

hunting for fossils in the Karoo or searching

for San rock art deep in the caves of the

Diamond Fields, experiencing the world’s

richest floral offering in Namakwa, camping

deep in the bush surrounded by wildlife and

the famed black-maned lion of the Green

Kalahari, or Kayaking down the mighty

Orange River, the Northern Cape is more

than an adventure, it’s an enriching life



The Northern Cape has always been a

family-friendly destination. Its mix of

culture, adventure, wildlife and wide

accommodation choices, offers family fun

that is both entertaining and educational.

The province is home to six national parks

and two of the country’s largest rivers,

which makes it perfect for fun activities

the entire family can enjoy. These include

game safaris, bird watching and leisure

hikes and walks to safaris, museum

visits and archaeological discoveries to

disconnect reconnect and rediscover!



The Northern Cape is arguably South

Africa’s most beautiful and naturally real

province. Visitors are hard-pressed to

choose between our UNESCO Richtersveld

World Heritage Site and two Transfrontier

Parks, the Kgalagadi and the |Ai-|Ais

Richtersveld with its red and golden sand

dunes. Share the intimate bush knowledge

of a Nama or !Khomani San Bushmen

guide. The Northern Cape’s natural beauty

is enhanced by it’s an iconic wildlife. From

the small five to the big five, watching

wild animals at dose range is something

truly unforgettable. There are walking,

horseback, 4x4, little five and many more

safaris to incorporate in your trip in one of

the 6 provincial reserves or any of the other

four national parks and transfrontier parks.


Each spring, the dormant and arid winter

plains of the Northern Cape’s Namakwa

region are transformed into a kaleidoscope

of colour with the arrival of the flower

season. The wild flowers of the Namakwa

are definitely a natural phenomenon and

best discovered on foot, which makes it

ultimately appealing to hikers and outdoor

enthusiasts. As the only arid hotspot in the

world this region contains more than 6

000 plant species, 250 species of birds, 78

species of mammals, 132 species of reptiles

and amphibians and an unknown number

of insects, making it the world’s most

diverse, arid environment. This floral diversity

has also made the Namakwa the richest

bulb flora arid region in the world. Best

times to visit is end July to early October.

For more information visit or Email:


The Kokerboom Food and Wine Route stretches along

the Gariep and includes towns like Upington, Kakamas,

Keimoes, Augrabies, Marchand, Kanoneiland, Kenhardt

and Riemvasmaak. The route will appeal to families as well

as adventure and adrenaline seekers. Highlights include

Augrabies Falls, Riemvasmaak hot springs, river rafting,

fly fishing, kayaking and river cruises on the Orange River,

numerous 4x4, hiking and MTB trails as well as excellent

bird watching. Typical Northern Cape fare and produce is

available from coffee shops, road stalls and restaurants,

and there’s also wine tasting at cellars along the route.

Accommodation ranges from luxurious guesthouses to

farm stay-overs.

Contact: +27 (0)84 244 4408,

email: bookings@






Discover the essence of the province in the heart of the

Kalahari. Golden dunes, wide-open skies and flat-topped

acacia trees epitomise the Kalahari Red Dune Route.

Stretching from Upington right to the Namibian border,

visitors traverse the villages of Ashkam, Groot and Klein

Mier and Rietfontein. Adventure-loving families and

adrenaline seekers can enjoy dune hikes at dawn, eagleowl

encounters, sand duning and surfing in the red sand,

close encounters with meerkats and guided walks with the

!Khomani San to rediscover the ancient wisdom, customs

and folklore of this ancient tribe.

Contact: +27 (0)82 492 3469,



The Richtersveld is South Africa’s only mountain desert

and the route travels along rugged gravel roads to

quaint towns such as Eksteensfontein, Sendelingsdrift,

Lekkersing, Kuboes and Sandrift. The more challenging 4x4

routes in the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park or in

the Richtersveld World Heritage Area are best explored in

a well equipped SUV or bakkie. Pack comfortable hiking

boots, extra water and guidebooks and set out along

the 600 km Namaqua Eco 4x4 Route. The Orange River

presents a more leisurely pace with river rafting and the

best wilderness fly-fishing in South Africa, while the entire

Richtersveld is a mountain biker’s dream. In the villages,

the locals will entertain guests with storytelling and

traditional Nama step dancing upon request.

Contact +27 (0)78 874 1515,



The route includes hidden gems like Garies, Kamieskroon,

Hondeklip Bay, Koiingnaas and Kleinzee. Dozens of

adventure and leisure options are available,

including the Namaqua National Park, nature

reserves, hidden coastal hamlets and some

of the most remote hiking and 4x4 trails

imaginable. Go succulent sleuthing with a

botanical guide, hike the Springbok Klipkoppie

for a dose of Anglo- Boer War history, enjoy

stargazing, explore the countless shipwrecks

along the coast line or visit Namastat, a

traditional matjies-hut village. Breath-taking

scenes of the Atlantic Ocean with sightings of

dolphins and whales combined with great vistas

of mountains and veld with endemic wildlife

makes travelling in this area remarkable.

Contact: +27 (0)27 672 1752,



This route covers the southern part of the

province and the small Karoo towns of

Nieuwoudtville, Calvinia, Williston, Sutherland,

Fraserburg, Carnarvon, Loxton and Victoria West

and forms the heart of the Great Karoo. Enjoy

the peace and tranquillity of the Karoo with its

wide open plains dotted with koppies (hills). The

area was named by the Khoi and San people,

who left their legacy as art on the rocks. Explore

many unique experiences such as stargazing

at the world’s largest astronomical observatory

at Sutherland, the SKA radio telescopes in

Carnarvon, Karoo architecture and corbelled

houses, Anglo-Boer War sites, rock art, ancient

Palaeo Surfaces, farm stays and great Karoo

cuisine and hospitality.

Contact: +27 (0)74 030 4064,




NorthernCapeTourism @NorthernCapeSA

northerncapetourism northerncapetourism

or alternatively Email:


Our regular feature in which we visit some

unique, hidden-away and off-the-beatentrack

places and experiences you probably

didn’t know existed…but which are truly

worth a visit.

By Stef Terblanche

1. Myeteck / iStock

JaySi / iStock

Ben1183 / iStock

Garden Route National Park …

perhaps the original Garden of Eden

Like the biblical Garden of Eden, this magnificent national park on South Africa’s

Garden Route seems like the place from where all life sprang forth. Combining

several parks, reserves and conservation areas into one, it is a true paradise

of mountains, rivers, lakes, ancient forests, fynbos, deep gorges and exquisite

coastline stretching across two provinces. And yet, driving along the N2 highway

between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, you could easily miss some of its most

mesmerising parts…unless you turn off to explore these truly hidden gems.

The Garden Route National Park is still a relatively new park, created only in

2009 through the combining of the Wilderness and Tsitsikamma national parks,

the Wilderness Lakes area, the Knysna Lagoon area and some 52,000 hectares

of newly proclaimed land into one park spanning 121,000 hectares across the

Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces.

Considered to be one of the most important conservation areas in South Africa

because of its ancient natural history, biodiversity and astonishing beauty, the

park sets a new standard of “conservation without boundaries”. It is also part of

a plan to increase the areas in South Africa under formal conservation protection

from 6% to 8% of the country’s surface area. The park seeks to promote a new

conservation model for the country, by engaging the more than 1,000 private

landowners who border the park and the surrounding communities in stewardship


Some of its major features are the unique Wilderness lakes system, a 60,500

hectare section of indigenous forest – the largest in the country - and its fynbos

treasure that makes it part of the Cape Floral Region, inscribed on the World

Heritage List in 2004. The Cape Floral Region is one of the six Floral Kingdoms of

the world and is the smallest yet relatively the most diverse. It is recognised as one

of the world’s “hottest hotspots” for its diversity of endemic and threatened plants,

and contains outstanding examples of significant ongoing ecological, biological

and evolutionary processes.

It is this beauty and the natural treasure of the area that gave the region its name

as the world-famous Garden Route of South Africa. The current park starts more

or less at the bustling town of George in the west, then stretches across most of

the area between the coast along the N2 highway, and the inland N9 highway,

also known as the famous Route 62, almost all the way to Port Elizabeth in the

east. Within this general area are delightful towns and villages like Wilderness,

Sedgefield, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Nature’s Valley, Storms River, and

Kareedouw, with the world-famous surfing towns of Jeffreys Bay and Cape St

Francis at the eastern end.

The Serpentine and Touw Rivers run through the Wilderness section of the park,

connecting the Wilderness Lagoon and a series of lakes - Elandsvlei, Langvlei,

Rondervlei, Swartvlei, and the Swartvlei estuary at the town of Sedgefield, while

the landlocked single lake of Groenvlei has no connection to the sea or the other

lakes. Seen from the air, the five lakes of South Africa’s foremost Lakes District

form a dramatic picture of dark, glistening bodies of water surrounded by forests,

reeds and grassland, and interconnected by snaking rivers that meet up with the

sea through large, blue lagoons and estuaries. All of this is locked in between the

majestic Outeniqua mountain range on one side, and the sand dunes, beaches

and river estuaries along the Indian Ocean coastline on the other side.

The focal feature of the Knysna Lakes section of the park is the Knysna Estuary

or lagoon, with the town of Knysna nestling along its banks. The town owes its

origin to the magnificent giant trees of the surrounding forests which gave rise to a

forestry industry around 1763. Settlers soon arrived here, among them historical

figures like Stephanus Terblanche, who owned the farm Melkhoutfontein, on which

most of Knysna stands today; George Rex, the self-proclaimed illegitimate son

of King George III, who founded the town of Knysna and later owned all of the

land surrounding the estuary; John Benn, the legendary pilot who steered ships

to safety through the Heads; and Johann Meeding, who was appointed by the

governor of the Cape to try and curb the rate of exploitation of the indigenous

forests. But for tens of thousands of years before the European settlers arrived,



the San hunter-gatherers had lived in the area, to be joined by the Khoekhoe

herders some 2,000 years ago.

A number of forestry stations can be visited in the area, as well as the Millwood

ghost gold mining town – or what’s left of it. The Knysna Forest is also home to the

elusive Knysna elephants, with the most recent spotting of one having occurred

in 2016.

The Tsitsikamma section constitutes the eastern part of the park and includes the

beautiful Tsitsikamma Forest, the quaint hamlet of Storms River with its shrine to

Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, and the breathtakingly beautiful Storms River

Mouth. The name Tsitsikamma is derived from Khoisan, meaning “place of much

water”. The rugged coastline of this area includes a wonderland of inter-tidal

and marine life and has a long history of marine and forest utilisation one which

people living in the area have relied on for thousands of years. Along the coast

are many cultural heritage sites ranging from erstwhile Khoisan-inhabited caves,

shell middens and rock art to more recent cultural historic sites such as the ruins of

small fisher settlements, remnants of the past forestry industries and grave sites.

Fiona Cameron-Brown/Destination McGregor

There is an absolute abundance of activities to be enjoyed in the park, with more

than 20 hiking trails or walking routes, including the world-famous Otter Trail,

spread throughout the park. Other activities include forest excursions, nature

walks, canopy tours, bird-watching, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, river

tubing, snorkelling and scuba diving, boat cruises and more. The towns of the

area offer excellent restaurants, pubs and many quaint little shops and boutiques.

A variety of accommodation is offered throughout the park, ranging from old

foresters’ homes, to tree-top chalets, coastal and mountain chalets, forest huts,

log cabins, and camping sites. Excellent B&B establishments are also found in all

the towns of the area.

For more information, call SANParks central reservations at +27 (0)12

428 9111 or mobile +27 (0)82 233 9111; the Wilderness Section on +27

(0)44 877 0046; the Knysna Lakes Section on +27 (0)44 302 5600; the

Tsitsikamma Section on +27 (0)42 281 1607; the Nature’s Valley Section

(part of Tsitsikamma) on +27 (0)44 531 6700; or visit their website at

McGregor… quaint jewel of the

Langeberg Valley

A visit to McGregor is a conscious decision: you can’t just drive through it and

suddenly stop for a coffee and look around. About two or so hours’ drive from

Cape Town, and located half way along the Road to Nowhere, McGregor is the

best-preserved Victorian village in the Western Cape, if not South Africa.

In a not-so-sleepy hollow, McGregor was established in 1861, and is flanked on the

north and south by the Langeberg and Riviersonderend mountains, respectively.

Originally known as Lady Grey, after a governor of the Cape of Good Hope, the

village was re-named McGregor in 1904, after much-loved minister, Andrew

McGregor, who had worked in the district for forty years.

Robertson is the closest town, and it is only from there, that you get to McGregor.

Here you will find an eclectic group of people, from artisan bakers, goldsmiths and

cooks, to garagiste and boutique wineries, all of which produce award-winning

wines. Creativity abounds among the folk who live in the village, with intellectuals,

authors, poets and artists, with art galleries and working studios dotted around

the village. One of the best-known, is Millstone Pottery, home to renowned potter

Paul de Jong, who with his wife, Nina Shand, run regular workshops on various

aspects of ceramics and pottery.

For those whose interests don’t lie in wine and the arts, but in the more physical

and active, there are two nature reserves that offer great walks and hikes. The

Kleinberg Reserve is an area to the west of the village, and which the local

Heritage Society works hard to protect. The society also curates a museum full of

fascinating artefacts and facts about the village and its social and natural history.

Just outside the village is Cape Nature’s Vrolijkheid Reserve which has one of

the country’s few braille trails. Not far from Vrolijkheid is Eeseltjiesrus Donkey

Sanctuary, which is exactly that – a sanctuary for neglected and abused donkeys.

Between Thursday and Sunday, visitors can meet, and even adopt, a donkey, or

just have a bite in the little restaurant that overlooks a tranquil dam.

Speaking of food, McGregor is not entirely spoilt for choice when it comes to

eateries. A word to the wise: ask a local who will give you tips about what is

open when, like Bemind Winery, on a Monday, for traditional vetkoek, and because

things change – often! Over the weekends, Café Tebaldi’s is the gateway to

Temenos, the well-known retreat located in the village’s most beautiful gardens,

which offers a light lunch or an evening a la carte menu on a Friday or Saturday.

For a special dinner and fine country cuisine, head to Lady Grey Restaurant at

Lord’s Guest Lodge, after you’ve had one of the best toasties in the world at How

Bazaar. The new kid on the block, la Pizza Pazza, does fabulous focaccia and,

of course traditional Italian pizza, and is situated adjacent to Grape De-Vine a

boutique wine shop bar. Both of these establishments open on to a courtyard

where you will find both fellow travellers and locals, where you can live the old

saying, “arrive as strangers, leave as friends”.

McGregor is an increasingly popular destination for mountain bikers, having twice

been a spectator point for the Cape Epic, and having three times been included

in the route. It’s also home to the three-day Ride2Nowhere (http://ride2nowhere., which emerged from the Epic, and which is now in its seventh year. This, in

turn, has spawned two other events, the Run2Nowhere (

raceinfo/), which started as an informal trail run, which from 2018, has a dedicated



/Ai-/Ais Hotsprings Duwisib Castle Gross Barmen Resort Hardap Resort

Khorixas Camp

Naukluft Camp

Popa Falls Resort

Terrace Bay Resort

Shark Island

Waterberg Resort

Let Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) offer you a new perspective on life. With various resorts spread

across Namibia, we have something for everyone, including the children. From camping to hiking

trails for the thrill seeker in you or when all you need is a break away from the big city monotony.


☎ +264 61 285 7200 or +27 21 422 3761




weekend, with both events starting and finishing in the heart of McGregor and in the

shadow of the iconic Dutch Reformed church. They take place on two consecutive

weekends at the end of August and beginning of September 2018. The R2N

events conclude on 8 December with a one-day mountain bike race, which starts

and finishes at McGregor Winery (

Small though it is, McGregor has ample accommodation ranging from budget and

backpacker type, including high in the mountains, to country, farm-style and luxury

self-catering as well as bed and breakfast accommodation. Properties range from

historical, un-renovated and renovated to properties that are new-builds that

honour the Victorian style of the village, but introduce modern touches.

Other events that bring visitors to McGregor in the latter part of

the year are:

The Robertson Slow Festival – 3 to 5 August

Poetry in McGregor, a festival now in its fifth year, and which

sees poets, aspirant and published, spend a packed two days in

the village – 24 – 26 August

McGregor open gardens (rain-permitting) – Usually the first weekend

in October

Wine on the River – 26 – 28 October

For more information, contact

Destination McGregor

Tel: 023 625 1450, Email: info@

McGregor Tourism

The Knysna Oyster Festival… a

mouth-watering annual event

While the town of Knysna is by no means off the beaten track or a hidden from

sight, one of the perhaps lesser-known of its many attractions is its mouthwatering

annual Oyster Festival. It has become an increasingly popular event on

the Knysna calendar, but many people may still be unaware of it, and are thus

missing out.

Attending this unique festival is the ideal winter break and will have you coming

back next winter to this jewel of a town on South Africa’s Southern Cape coast

and Garden Route. This year the Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival takes place

between 29 June and 8 July. It offers much fun and entertainment for the whole

family to enjoy.

Visitors can choose from entering some of the country’s top cycling and roadrunning

events during the festival. This year’s sporting events include the

Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour mountain bike events on Saturday 30 June, with

80km, 50km, 30km, and 15km routes, as well as the newer 30km E-bike race.

The Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour road cycling events will take place on Sunday

1 July, and will offer a 115km and 50km route. The Momentum Knysna Cycle

Tour has also confirmed that the 115km road race, along with the 80km and 50km

mountain bike races, will be seeding qualifying events for the 2019 Cape Town

Cycle Tour.

Two firm favourites and hotly contested events, the Momentum Knysna Forest

Marathon & Half Marathon will take place on Saturday 7 July. The route will take

runners along a scenic route that ends along the Knysna Lagoon towards the

Knysna Heads. Entries for all sporting events are already available online. An

adventure-filled programme will keep the kids busy too, along with the Momentum

Health Kiddies Area which will be open for the duration of the Festival. There will

also be special golf days, a soccer tournament, chess competitions, and bowls


Golf enthusiasts can tee off at any of Knysna’s superb golf courses situated in

some of the most stunning dramatic coastal scenery: the Simola Golf Estate, the

Knysna Golf Club or the Pezula Championship Course. As you follow the little

white ball around the course, take in the unbeatable views of mountains, forests,

the lagoon and the rugged coast around The Heads. Then relax for a refresher at

the 19th hole before heading off for those deliciously juicy oysters.

Adventure options in and around Knysna are also in abundance, and include

anything from canopy tours, to forest and mountain hikes, mountain biking,

canoeing, fishing, surfing at nearby Buffels Bay, and more. You can also visit the

unique Millwood Mining Village and museum, the Knysna Elephant Park, one of

several parks and reserves in the area, or go on a cruise on board one of the

Knysna Lagoon ferries. Or you can browse around in the many quaint little shops

and boutiques lining the main road and the lagoon-side Knysna Waterfront.

For the duration of the Oyster Festival the town’s restaurants will offer especially

themed menus, with the main attraction of course being the oysters. These can be

enjoyed in copious quantities in restaurants or at the Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster

Festival grounds. The town will also be hosting a variety of concerts, fashion and

comedy shows. There won’t be any time to get bored, but of course if you just want

to chill out, you can simply relax at one of the many excellent accommodation

establishments or in the natural scenery surrounding this wonderful town. For the

more active, there are over 100 events planned for the 10-day festival.

The town and surroundings have recovered well from last year’s devastating

bush fires, so you won’t be disappointed. So don’t get caught napping: make your

bookings right now.

For more information call Knysna Tourism at

Tel +27 (0)44 382 5510 (Knysna) or +27 (0)44 343 2007 (Sedgefield) or

email to; marathon entries at; cycle tour entries at; or visit the Knysna Oyster Festival website at

Konstantin Postumitenko / iStock


Hermanus New Harbour, Westcliff road, Hermanus

Tel: +27 (0) 28 312 4957 | Cell: +27 (0 ) 82 931 8064

e-mail: |



Watching the whales at

Hermanus…come meet the gentle giants

of the southern oceans

Over the years the Western Cape coastal town of Hermanus has gained

fame as a premier holiday and retirement destination boasting lovely

beaches, mountain and coastal fynbos as part of the Cape Floral

Kingdom, crafts and farmers’ markets, locally produced wines, its old

fishing harbour and more. But perhaps its biggest attraction is as one

of the best whale watching locations in the world.

Little more than an hour’s drive from Cape Town, Hermanus is the focal

point of the Cape Whale Route which stretches around much of the

coast of the Western Cape. Today it is home to the annual Hermanus

Whale Festival as well as a very unique character…Hermanus’ very own

whale crier who alerts people to the arrival of whales by blowing on his

kelp horn. Hermanus is recognized by the World Wildlife Fund as one of

the 12 best whale watching locations in the world.

Each year, from around May or June, the great Southern Right whales

start arriving here in Walker Bay from the Antarctic to calve and mate,

and stay sometimes as late as January. But the best time to see these

giants of the southern oceans is between July and November. From

the various lookout points dotted along the coast here, you will see the

dark figures gliding in pods through the water, blowing 5m v-shaped

spouts of water into the air, frolicking, breaching the surface as they

dive upwards and often clear out of the water, before tumbling back

down with their huge tailfins causing a splash. When blowing water

you can hear a hollow, echoing sound, and at other times you can hear

them making a loud, bellowing sound that carries up to 2km far and is

often heard at night. The females bond strongly with their calves and

will sometimes play with them for hours on end.

At some points these huge marine mammals come as close as 5m or

even less to the shore. They can be viewed up close from the boats of

any of a number of whale tour operators in the town and surrounding

areas, or on a guided kayak tour, or from any number of excellent

lookout points along the coast. On a good whale watching day nothing

can be more fun than wandering the local cliff paths which stretch from

one side of town to the other. At most of the lookout points you will

find interpretative signboards providing visitors with all the essential

information on the whales.

Some of the best whale-watching spots are found along the 12km Cliff

Path, at Dreunkrans, Windsor Bay, Gearing’s Point overlooking the Old

Harbour, the Old Harbour itself, De Gang, Siever’s Point, Kwaaiwater,

Voëlklip beach and Grotto beach. One of the most unique restaurant

settings and whale-watching spots is Bientang’s Cave Seafood

Restaurant, located in a cliffside cave previously inhabited by a Khoi

Strandloper of the same name. Here you can sit at one of the rustic

tables watching the whales play just meters away while tucking into a

sumptuous seafood meal washed down with local wine.

In the previous century these gentle animals were almost killed to

extinction by whale hunters. In South Africa they have been protected

since 1935 and are now almost universally protected, still hunted only

by Japanese whalers much to the anger of the rest of the world. This

year alone the Japanese whalers killed 333 minke whales around

Antarctica. Despite being a signatory to the international ban on

whale-hunting for commercial purposes, Japan exploits a loophole

by claiming its annual kills are for “scientific purposes”. Nonetheless,

the Southern Right whale population has again steadily increased to

around 6,500 with most of these visiting the South African coastline

each year.

The Cape Whale Route extending northwest and southeast of

Hermanus includes pretty seaside towns like Betty’s Bay, Kleinmond,

Pringle Bay, Stanford and Gansbaai. Apart from whale watching, the

area is also renowned for shark cage diving. Hermanus offers visitors

many other things to do including a variety of regular open-air markets,

music and food festivals, adventure activities, the local wine route,

a variety of organised tours, fun activities for kids, arts and crafts,

museums including the historic Old Harbour, arts and crafts, diving,

surfing, horse riding, mountain and seaside hikes, forest adventures,

several excellent golf courses, and plenty of accommodation ranging

from camping sites to luxury guest houses and hotels.

For more information contact the Hermanus Tourism Bureau at Tel +27

(0)28 312 2629 or email or visit

their website at

Damian Ryszawi / iStock

The Perfect Getaway In The Berg

aha Alpine Heath Resort is a four-star self-catering village

set amidst the peace and serenity of the Northern

Drakensberg in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Home to 100 three

bedroom six sleeper chalets, the resort is widely regarded

as one of South Africa's premier getaway Destinations.

Located mid-way between Johannesburg and Durban,

this establishment is surrounded by peace and tranquillity,

with mountainous views and meandering streams all

creating the perfect setting for a family getaway or a

memorable conferencing experience.

A wide range of activities, such as horse riding, hiking,

tennis, squash, putt-putt, volleyball, swimming as well as

a 365 day Entertainment program make this the perfect

setting for a family getaway!

The Mountains Are Calling!

Email: | Phone: 036 438 8500

Within and outside its borders are a large number of smaller parks, nature reserves

and conservation areas. These include the Royal Natal National Park, the source

of the Tugela River with its 912m high Tugela Falls, the second highest waterfall

on earth, and home to tens of thousands of well-preserved San rock paintings

along the cliffs and in caves. These tiny San (Bushman) hunter-gatherers were the

original inhabitants of the area over many thousands of years, and were almost

wiped out by the later arrival of waves of Khoi, abaNtu (Bantu) and white settlers.

Within the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg National Park alone there are around 600

sites with over 35,000 individual rock art paintings, most of it better preserved

than any other region south of the Sahara. The oldest painting in the park is about

2,400 years old.

Also located here is what’s called the Drakensberg Gardens Area, easily accessible

from both the province’s two major cities, Durban and Pietermaritzburg. It can be

reached via the charming little villages of Underberg and Himeville and is an ideal

area for a quiet getaway in the natural environs of the mountain. Hiking trails are in

abundance here and the 5-day Giant’s Cup Hiking Trail covering a distance of 60

kilometres, is a firm favourite with many visitors.

At the foot of the Drakensberg

… home to unique parks and reserves

While the Drakensberg and its immediate surrounds in KwaZulu-Natal are wellknown

to people from all over the world, a number of beautiful parks and reserves

in the foothills of its spectacular embrace are just waiting to be discovered by those

less familiar with this beautiful corner of South Africa. These are the hidden gems

of the mountain range.

The Drakensberg Mountains, an Afrikaans name meaning “dragon mountains”,

is one of the largest mountain ranges in Southern Africa spanning some 1,000km

from southwest to northeast along the eastern part of the Great Escarpment, and

has the highest mountain peaks in Southern Africa, up to 3,482 metres in height.

In the local Zulu language the mountains are called “uKhahlamba”, meaning the

‘barrier of spears’. Whether that is a reference to the many sharp peaks or the fact

that no barrage of spears will penetrate the formidable rock face, these mountains

have a majestic omnipresence throughout this region.

The mountains themselves are well-known to travellers from all over the world who

come here to relax in luxury hotels in the fresh mountain air, climb the challenging

peaks and cliffs, or go on some of the most beautiful hikes in the world. But

perhaps less known are the excellent reserves and parks straddling the foothills of

the mountains. Almost all of the South African side of the mountain range has been

designated as a game reserve, national park or wilderness area.

KwaZulu-Natal, also known as the Kingdom of the Zulu, boasts two World

Heritage Sites - the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (Greater St Lucia Wetland Park)

and the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg National Park. The Ukhahlamba Drakensberg

National Park, near the border with Lesotho, was inscribed by UNESCO in 2000

as a World Heritage Site.

Grobler du Preez / iStock

The Himeville Nature Reserve and the Sani Pass are situated on the edge of the

Drakensberg Gardens Area. The tightly zig-zagging curves and hairpin bends of the

Sani Pass, one of the most magnificent mountain passes in South Africa, connects

KwaZulu-Natal to Lesotho. It also gives access to the Maloti-Drakensberg Park,

a trans-frontier parks consisting of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg National Park in

South Africa and the Sehlathebe National Park in Lesotho. At the top of the pass

is located one of the very few winter ski resorts of Africa.

The Maloti-Drakensberg Park is exceptionally beautiful, hugging the soaring

basaltic buttresses of the mountain, with cutbacks and golden sandstone

ramparts, arches, caves, cliffs, rock pools and endless views of the world below.

It is home to many endemic plants and endangered species such as the Cape

vulture (Gyps coprotheres) and the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), as well

as the Maloti minnow (Pseudobarbus quathlambae), an endangered fish species

only found in this park on the Lesotho side.

The Drakensberg Gardens Area offers good trout fishing, bird watching and game

viewing and in the winter months the landscape transforms into a snow-covered

wonderland. There are many excellent holiday resorts, B&Bs, hotels and other

establishments throughout the area. It is also a popular hiking destination with

many trails and walks.

Among the many other parks and reserves in the Drakensberg area are Giant’s

Castle Nature Reserve, Highmoor Nature Reserve, Impendle Nature Reserve,

Kamberg Nature Reserve, Lotheni Nature Reserve, Marutswa Forest, Matatiele

Nature Reserve, Mkhomazi State Forest, Monks Cowl Nature Reserve, Mount

Currie Nature Reserve, Mzimkhulu Wilderness Area, Ntsikeni Wildlife Reserve,

Sioenkop Dam Nature Reserve, and Vergelegen Nature Reserve. All of these have

plenty to offer and are well worth a visit.

For more information call Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (KwaZulu-Natal parks

authority) on Tel +27 (0) 33 845 1999 or +27 (0) 33 845 1968/1320/1324

(permit enquiries) or email; or call SANParks

central reservations at +27 (0)12 428 9111 or mobile +27 (0)82 233 9111;

or call Tourism KwaZulu-Natal at +27 (0)31 366 7500 or




South Africa

A paradise for backpackers from

around the world

By Stef Terblanche

It’s probably not exactly what

Shakespeare had in mind in The

Merry Wives of Windsor when he

wrote that, “the world is your oyster”.

But young people – and many not

so young – the world over have

given literal meaning to that phrase.

The world is theirs to enjoy. And

what better way to do so than by


Travel light, travel cheap-jacoblund / iStock

Local Travel

Thousands of people daily join the global flow of travelling

backpackers: casual travellers who pack the minimum of

belongings into a rucksack, travel to exotic destinations

on the cheapest available transport, and stay in rustic

lodges or camp in beautiful locations not often seen by

conventional tourists. Not only do they get to see and

experience the places and meet the people ‘normal

tourists’ don’t, but they also get to meet new, lifelong

friends in a wonderful travelling spirit of camaraderie. All of this on a carefree

shoestring budget.

Since the humble beginnings of backpacking in the 1950s, backpacking has

exploded into a global phenomenon and a distinct travel sub-culture of its own.

Wanderlust and adventure

Backpackers are the modern world’s pioneering explorers, travelling into

the unknown with the minimum of resources, delighting in their many new

discoveries as they move from one country to another. They belong to a curious

fun-seeking community that transcends national boundaries, language barriers

and cultural exclusions and who share a common wanderlust and sense of

adventure. They are a travelling nation without borders who speak all the

languages of the world.

But it’s not only travellers from abroad who follow the backpackers’ trail in South

Africa. Many local youngsters regularly pack their rucksacks and set off to a

variety of wonderful locations around the country and neighbouring states…

usually on a shoestring budget. For many backpackers their travelling has become

their lifestyle, whether permanent or intermittent. For them it’s often much more

than just ordinary travel or a holiday, and can go on for years.

Backpackers coming to South Africa also often find temporary work to help pay

for their travels, or join in various social or educational programmes – like working

Backpacking has exploded into a

global phenomenon and a distinct

travel sub-culture of its own… They

are a travelling nation without

borders who speak all the languages

of the world.

among children and young people in underprivileged areas. Some come here as

exchange students and use the opportunity to see the country or more of Africa.

Others do so while taking a gap year after school. And for many South Africa is

just one stopover on their extended travels around the world, but certainly a much

prized one.

And for this kind of travelling, filled with the vibrant energy of discovery and new

experiences, South Africa ranks as an undisputable paradise. For many it is also

the gateway to the rest of Africa.

South Africa has all the ingredients that makes it the highlight of any backpacker’s

travels: beautiful scenery, vibrant cities with pulsating nightlife, truly delightful offthe-beaten-track

places, unforgettable wildlife experiences, history and culture,

thousands of kilometres of unspoilt coast, amazing mountain and wilderness

hikes, some of the best surfing spots in the world, a variety of cheap travel options,

friendly people, and an abundance of backpackers’ accommodation to meet every

kind of purse, from inner cities to some of the most exotic and remote locations

on earth.

Ana Pereira, a young writer, photographer and traveller from California, USA who

ditched a Silicon Valley job for travelling, says she was bowled over by South

Africa. In her blog, The Broke Backpacker, she wrote this: “I just spent over a

month backpacking South Africa and had an absolute blast road tripping through

South Africa’s diverse regions. In a month I surfed, scuba-dived, hiked, kayaked,

and rock climbed my way through South Africa’s dramatic topography and endless

coastline. I found South Africans to be extremely welcoming and outgoing and

truly fell in love with this country.”

Among her many other experiences, Ana found that “South Africa’s cheapest surf

rentals are at Coffee Shack in Coffee Bay!” For the uninitiated, Coffee Shack is

a renowned backpackers’ establishment at Coffee Bay on the Eastern Cape Wild

Coast, 200km north of East London. It is also a good surfing spot.

Local Travel

In Mossel Bay, coming out of the water after an impressive surfing display at Outer Pool

near The Point, Fernando Nogueira, who hails from Salvador on the Brazilian coast, had

a similar story. He told me: “I love this country. It reminds me of home in many ways,

but just better. There are just so many wonderful places to go. And beautiful people.

Tomorrow I am taking a bus to the Wild Coast – I have heard so many good things about

it and can’t wait to get there. I am not sure how long I am staying in South Africa, but I still

want to go to Mozambique, and maybe Madagascar, and then I am probably heading for

India. Who knows where I’ll end up going next!”

Fernando says he temporarily put his studies for a business degree on hold to first travel

the world for a few years. He occasionally receives a small allowance from home which

he tries to augment on his travels whenever he can as a bartender or waiter, or any

other temporary jobs he can find without having to go through official visa processes.

On one occasion he joined eight veteran fishermen in their small fishing vessel who

worked the banks 40km off the coast for a week at a time, but a terrible storm and severe

seasickness put a quick end to that.

Most beautiful, off the beaten track locations-Nathan Chor / iStock

Hilma, who finished school in Denmark last year, was staying with other young schoolleavers

from Europe and Scandinavia at a backpackers’ lodge on the Table View

beachfront in Cape Town when I met her. She told me when she was not busy taking in

the sights around the Peninsula or learning to kitesurf, she and her friends were engaged

in voluntary social work programmes in the nearby Dunoon township. They often took

groups of underprivileged children from the township to the beach to teach them to swim

and surf.

Surfing, or learning to surf, seems to be one of the big common denominators among

young backpacking visitors to South Africa. That is why you will find so many of them

along our coastal areas, from Langebaan on the West Coast, to Hole in the Wall on the

Eastern Cape coast or St Lucia and beyond.

Overland truck across Africa-Oleg Znamenskiy / iStock

Overland truck travelling

But many also opt for the wilderness experience, boarding overland trucks that take

them up the coast, into the mountains and national parks, crossing the Great Karoo,

visiting remote villages and settlements, before the trucks take them on to Zimbabwe

or Tanzania and other African destinations. The Mozambican coast, the beaches and

islands of Lake Malawi and the river lodges of Uganda are also favourite destinations.

Some do the full adventure, from Cape Town to the Sahara. These are organised tours

with seasoned guides in which young people rough it in converted trucks to get personal

and up close with the real Africa. Food is prepared in a tiny on-board kitchen or over

open fires, and the travellers sleep in tents in camping sites along the way. Tours can

last from a week to several months and traverse the entire continent – truly an adventure

of a lifetime.

Making new friends-Disobeyart / iStock

The global backpacking community is huge in numbers, but a small one in terms of

meeting up frequently with the same people or people from home. This is because of

their shared interests, or seeking out similar off-the-track destinations, and of course

because of the technological revolution. While on a visit to California I spent two nights

in a backpacker’s establishment on Minna Street in downtown San Francisco. To my

surprise the two Moroccan owners had for many years run a similar establishment in

Johannesburg. And that evening, getting coffee in the kitchen, I bumped into two young

travellers – one from Soweto, Johannesburg and the other from Beaufort West in the


A global village-Michel Uyttebroeck / iStock




more switched on

Local Travel

Karoo. Small world indeed.

The Urban Dictionary defines the word ‘backpacker’ in several ways related to hiphop

music. But it also carries another lengthy definition, the first part of which reads:

“Backpackers are a very loose subculture of travellers who carry all their stuff with them

in a backpack. Typically they are driven by a sense of adventure, and as such are always

trying to find somewhere beautiful, completely off the beaten track. They often travel as

cheaply as they can to maximise the time they can spend on the road, accepting squalid

accommodation or sharing rooms if it will save them any money. Most are in their twenties

or early thirties, and almost all are between 18 and 40 though older and younger people

aren’t unheard-of. People go backpacking for all sorts of reasons but will almost always

take offense if it is implied that they are ‘on holiday’; backpackers typically consider travel

a separate, more serious engagement, all about broadening the mind, experiencing

other cultures and trying to satisfy what is often a deep-seated and more often than not

insatiable wanderlust”.

A brief history of backpacking

So where did it all start? In pop culture the mind’s eye tends to jump to the neo-hippie

trance-music party scene that has lined the beaches of Goa, India since the 1970s. Or to

something like that mystical Thailand island where wayward backpackers from all over the

world established themselves in a commune in the book and movie, The Beach. In reality

there have always been travellers around the world who travelled light and cheaply like

today’s backpackers and suffered an incurable wanderlust. But they were once far and

in between.

Some of the earliest ‘backpackers’ were adventurous young men, and perhaps one or two

brave women who flouted convention, who in the 1700s and 1800s would board sailing

ships from Europe for Asia, the New World and the colonies, to countries like India, China,

South Africa, Australia, or the Americas in search of unknown places, new cultures,

adventure and perhaps also their fortune. As travelling became more popular and more

accessible to ordinary people around the world, it was the conventional version – tour

groups, buses, air travel, expensive hotels, package deals and so on – that took off in

the 20th Century. Travellers seldom strayed off the routes most travelled or away from

the destinations and sites that most people chose to visit, based on the advice of travel

magazines, tourism brochures and travel agents.

or inaccessible but ‘exotic’ places like Istanbul in Turkey, Marrakesh in Morocco,

Kathmandu in Nepal, Goa in India, to Mexico and South America, and into various

parts of Africa. Of course the booming drug culture around marijuana, hashish

and psychedelic drugs like LSD, tied to the explosion of the music scene with

groups like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones all played a part in further fuelling

alternative lifestyles, and with it the desire for alternative travel that had little

respect for old-fashioned limitations, taboos and boundaries.

In the late 1970s, with various countries falling off the backpackers’ map due

to reasons caused by politics or wars, the beaches of Goa in India became the

favoured destination. Hippies or neo-hippies, students and dropouts, artists and

musicians flocked here, setting up tents or shacks in the forests or on the beaches.

They sat on the beaches, meditated, mingled with the locals, surfed and swam,

and soon a whole new party scene sprung up: electronic psychedelic trance

music and dance. In the years that followed young people from all over the world

Today one can literally travel

with the clothes on your back, and

a purse and smartphone in your


descended on Goa. Today their successors still travel here, living in cheap lodges

and communal homes, immersing themselves in the miles of beachside trance

parties that never stop. In the meantime backpacking around the rest of the world

also boomed and became a whole new tourism industry of its own.

But its proliferation since the 1980s has not only made it the established and

preferred mode of travel for young people worldwide today, but also changed

its nature from those heady early hippie days. In the earlier years backpackers

relied on word of mouth to find out which destinations were best. Then, in 1973

some entrepreneurial Australians who had set up the Lonely Planet publishing

enterprise, published their first ever guidebook ‘Across Asia on the Cheap’. It

rapidly became the backpackers’ bible, and more guides to other parts of the world

quickly followed.

But then in 1955, according to Katie Tobias in her article ‘History of Backpacking’ on, a group of university students from England set off in the footsteps

of Marco Polo along the route he had followed some 700 years earlier – the Silk Route to

Asia. Having documented their journey, word of the students’ overland adventure spread,

and soon the so-called Hippie Hashish Trail from Europe to India became something of

a must-do for many free-spirited young people in the early 1960s. Young people unable

to afford expensive air travel, latched on to overland travel via cheap local transport,

hitchhiking and walking trails, using motorcycles or buying cheap vans in which to travel

and live. There may have been some vague correlation of certain aspects between them

and the nomadic Bedouins of the Sahara or the wandering Roma (gypsies) of Europe, but

these young travellers were quickly developing into a very distinct nomadic sub-culture of

their own.

Soon these initial routes expanded and multiplied, and took young travellers – mostly

students and hippies - from North America, the UK and Europe to previously off-limits

From the 1980s onwards, the typical backpacker would carry a rucksack with

clothes and personal items, a good but heavy camera, phone cards for phone

calls home, a Walkman or Discman for music (remember those?) and their Lonely

Planet guide book – quite a bit to carry. Then came the technological revolution of

the 2000s, and since then all of those items are rolled up into one razor-thin little

smart phone. Today one can literally travel with the clothes on your back, and a

purse and smartphone in your pocket.

Favoured SA destinations

Just about every person embarking on a backpacking adventure, has a sojourn

in South Africa on their bucket list. The country offers the best of different worlds.

On the one hand it has good infrastructure: modern highways for easy travel, good

and cheap public transport systems, excellent lodges and camping sites in most


Daleen Loest /

cities and towns, good internet and digital connectivity, plenty of banks and ATMs, and

modern vibrant cities with pulsating nightlife. On the other hand it offers many opportunities

of ‘going bush’, going off-road as it were and experiencing the true African wilderness with all

its beautiful scenery and plenty of wildlife, and also the opportunity to engage with a variety

of local ethnic and cultural communities, often in remote and beautiful locations.

In addition the country offers backpackers all the adventures and delights of a 2,800km

long coastline. And the country has awesome weather with sunshine almost all-year long.

On top of it all, at any given time the country is full of backpackers passing through, which

allows new arrivals to tap into the experience of those already in-county for a while in terms

of tips, advice, best destinations, best places to stay, best means of travel, the ins-and-outs

of local red tape and laws, and often allows new arrivals to hook up with those already here

as travel companions.

“South Africa appeals to every kind of traveller and this is a great country for backpackers,”

says Ana.

“Travellers who seek adventure can trek through the Drakensberg Mountains, surf some

of the world’s best breaks, or bungee jump from the world’s highest commercial bridge.

Travellers who crave a holiday retreat can lounge on one of South Africa’s many beaches,

or go wine tasting throughout the Western Cape. There are countless parks and reserves to

view wildlife and spot Africa’s Big 5 (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalo). South

Africa even boasts the “Big 7” because it’s possible to see great white sharks and southern

white whales. There is so much to do and see in South Africa, so I highly recommend

allocating at least a month to a backpacking trip in South Africa,” she says.

In South Africa some of the favourite – and famous – backpackers’ routes and destinations

follow the entire coastline, with cheap lodges and good camping sites found in almost every

coastal town. On the West Coast the area around the Langebaan Lagoon is a favourite,

especially for those who are into kite surfing, while many also enjoy time in the nearby

Cederberg Mountains and wilderness area, or the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area. Apart

from all the beach and water sports activities, Langebaan has a national park, plenty of

pubs and restaurants, lodges and camping facilities. The Cederberg Mountains has great

camping and wilderness cottages next to the Algeria Forest Station, as well as awesome

mountain pools for swimming, wonderful hiking trails, bouldering and rock climbing. The

Winterhoek is home to a stunning hiking trail with overnight cottages, with a legendary

mountain pool at the end, and some of the toughest bouldering below the pool down the Vier

en Twintig Riviere (Twenty Four Rivers) for the brave hearted.

Cape Town is always a compulsory stop on any backpacker’s itinerary. The city has an

abundance of backpackers’ lodges and other types of accommodation, as well as a variety

of cheap public transport from minibus taxis, to the MyCity bus system or Uber taxis for

those with deeper pockets. Many backpackers prefer the inner city around Long Street and

Green Point, areas that pulsate with nightlife and never sleep. It’s also close to the V&A

Waterfront, the beaches and pubs of Clifton and Camps Bay, and Table Mountain and Signal

Hill (for hiking, climbing and hang gliding).

Others prefer the Southern Peninsula where they can surf at Muizenberg, indulge in the

endless line-up of eateries and pubs along the seafront between St James and Fish Hoek,

swim with the penguins at Boulders, Simon’s Town, do some shark-cage diving, or go

on hikes at Cape Point. Most backpackers also go on township tours or stay in B&Bs in

the townships, with at least one visit to Mzoli’s in Gugulethu – an open-air shebeen style

restaurant – being a must.

Heading southeast from Cape Town, there are many popular destinations like Hermanus (for

some whale watching), Gansbaai (shark-cage diving) and Still Bay. After that, the next big

favourite is the Garden Route, starting from Mossel Bay to Port Elizabeth, with lodges and

camping sites in every town. The variety of activities and attractions are simply too many to

Surfing…often a common passion-Clarissa Leahy / iStock

list, but they include surfing, kayaking, snorkelling, scuba diving, forest hikes, mountain hikes, and cycling.

Some of the most favoured towns along this route are Mossel Bay, Great Brak River, Herold’s Bay, George,

Victoria Bay, Wilderness, Sedgefield, Knysna, Buffels Bay, Plettenberg Bay, Keurboomstrand, Nature’s

Valley, Storms River village and mouth (in the Garden Route National Park), Cape St Francis and Jeffreys


Port Elizabeth is also popular, especially the beach front area stretching from the Cape Recife Nature

Reserve, past the Nelson Mandela University along Summerstrand, Humewood, The Boardwalk, Hobie

Beach, South End and into the downtown city area. On the way to East London, the Sunday’s River valley,

Kenton-on-Sea, and Port Alfred are favourite stopovers, as well as the many little coastal hamlets and

traditional villages, and inland areas and towns like the university town of Grahamstown.


East London and surrounds too attract many backpackers, with some of the favourite spots being Kaysers

Beach, Christmas Rock, Kidd’s Beach, The Quigny and Esplanade along the city beachfront, and on to

Nahoon Beach, Bonza Bay, Gonubie and all the many seaside hamlets and resorts all the way up to Kei


Legendary Wild Coast

It is here, however, that South Africa’s most popular drawing card for backpackers starts – the legendary Wild

Coast. This unspoilt, stunningly beautiful stretch of coast with its many forests, hill-top villages, bays and

beaches, rivers and lagoons is a firm favourite, and cheap backpackers’ accommodation is found all along the

coast. In many places locals offer their traditional homes in the villages as accommodation for backpacking

tourists – a unique way to experience the local Xhosa culture. Popular spots, with lodges that have become

legendary among the global backpacking community, are located at Mazeppa Bay, around the Kobb Inn

Hotel, at the Mbashe River Mouth, Xhora River Mouth, Bulungula, Wild Lubanzi, Hole in the Wall, Coffee Bay,

Mdumbi, Mtakatyi, Hluleka, Mngazi River Mouth, Port St Johns, Ntafufu, Manteko. Mbotyi, Waterfall Bluff,

and all the way up to KwaZulu-Natal.

KwaZulu-Natal, with all its many attraction s and activities to be enjoyed, is another popular destination.

Backpackers like spending time along the South Coast, in the inland parks and reserves, hiking in the

Drakensberg Mountains, visiting the Valley of a Thousand Hills, going into cultural villages and spending time

in Durban where the Florida Road nightlife and the city markets big are attractions, as are the beaches from

uShaka Marine World up to Umhlanga, and the open-air shebeen restaurants of KwaMashu. Further up the

coast lies the magical iSimangaliso Wetland Park and St Lucia.

Again, venturing inland, there are far too many destinations to list. But places like Johannesburg with its many

attractions and pulsating nightlife, the Cradle of Humankind, the Kruger National Park and other parks, the

Blyde River Canyon area, are among the many popular destinations.

So, there you have it – the world is literally your oyster, especially in South Africa…and it need not cost much.

Have fun, be young…whether you are eighteen or eighty!

Discover Mzanzi

With one of the most liberal constitutions in

the world, a welcoming and open attitude

among most of its citizens, a large number

of supportive and informative organisations

and services, vibrant cities and nightlife, a

large number of festivals and parades, fine

art and theatre offerings, and the sheer

beauty of its diverse natural and holiday

options, it is little wonder that South Africa is favoured as one of the world’s top

destinations among members of the LGBT community worldwide.

South Africa’s constitution was one of the very first to recognise samesex

marriages and is still one of the few in the world that explicitly prohibits

discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. After the 1994 transition to

full democracy for the country, when attitudes became generally more relaxed,

active and openly lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) communities

have sprung up in all the major cities as well as in quite a surprising number of

smaller country towns. But the main LGBT focal areas continue to be Cape Town,

Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria, with Cape Town by far topping the list.

A top destination

In fact, Cape Town has regularly been voted as one of the top LGBT cities in the

world, and is ranked as the top gay-friendly and openly gay city in Africa. Singer/

composer Elton John is just one among the world’s gay celebrities who love to

come here on holiday.

In March this year the Spartacus World Gay Travel Index, which looks at almost

200 countries around the world and ranks them on the basis of 14 criteria, such

as marriage equality, adoption rights, anti-discrimination laws and criminalisation

of homosexuality, ranked South Africa at number 27 and as the top African

destination. This was way ahead of countries like Argentina (ranked 34), the USA

(39), Greece (45), Brazil (55) and Thailand (67).

Other factors considered by the Index include religious influence, travel restrictions

for HIV positive people, the banning of gay events, homophobia among locals, and

violent crime. This year, for the first time, the index also took into account factors

affecting transgender individuals in different countries. The aim of the index is to

provide LGBT travellers with information as to how welcome and safe they would



Clifton, popular for accommodation and for its 3rd Beach, Cape Town’s ‘gay beach’ - iStock

be in the countries they plan to visit. The top two countries, tied at number one,

were Sweden and Canada.

And the New York Times and SCRUFF, a gay dating app, recently voted Cape

Town as the 5th most ‘surprisingly gay-friendly destination in the world’. For those

who have long been familiar with the Cape, it’s not all that surprising though!

While LGBT visitors to South Africa will experience the absence of prejudice

almost everywhere, there may however still be pockets of negativity among

individuals mainly in smaller towns and rural areas. As with any kind of change

anywhere in the world, there will always be some bigots who resist it.

Hospitality & events

There are literally hundreds of B&Bs, guesthouses and lodges in South Africa run

by and for members of the LGBT community, again with many located in Cape

Town, the surrounding Winelands and coastal areas, and in smaller, alternative

lifestyle communities on the Western Cape platteland countryside. There are also

many, however, in Johannesburg, along the Garden Route and in other parts of the

Gay Pride, Durban - timh222 / iStock

9. Popular gyms for workouts - nd3000 / iStock

country. Theatre, the visual arts, music events, and the hospitality and restaurant

industry all welcome and embrace LGBT tourists.

The country also hosts a relatively large number of Gay Pride style and other

LGBT festivals and parades each year. Among them are Cape Town Pride in

February, Durban Pride in June/July, Durban Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in

August/September, eKurhuleni Pride, Johannesburg Pride in October, Pretoria

LGBTI Pride in October, Mr & Miss Pretoria Gay Pride, Khumbulani Pride in Cape

Town’s Gugulethu township in May, Limpopo Pride in Polokwane, Mother City

Queer project in Cape Town in December, Mr Gay South Africa in Gauteng in

November, Nelson Mandela Bay Pride in Port Elizabeth, Pink Loeri Mardi Gras in

Knysna in May, and the Soweto Pride in September.

Cape Town, widely known as the Mother City, has also earned itself the nickname

of the ‘pink city’ for its vibrant and diverse LGBT community, night life and many

events. Areas with active gay communities or ‘villages’, as well as tourism

accommodation and other offerings, are De Waterkant, Green Point and other

areas adjacent to the V&A Waterfront, Sea Point, Clifton, Camps Bay and Hout

Bay among others, but not limited to these areas In Johannesburg LGBT visitors

will find thriving and active gay communities in areas such as Melville, Melrose

Arch, and parts of Sandton and Midrand. Morningside in Durban is another gayfriendly

suburb with an active gay community.


Similar events have also been held in other smaller cities such as Bloemfontein,

Pietermaritzburg, Nelspruit, Mahikeng, and Klerksdorp.

Tourism market

In previous years the LGBT tourism sector was considered to be a relatively small,

insulated niche market. But in recent years it has grown globally into a major

sector of the overall tourism market, with LGBT travellers in 2016 spending around

US$211-billion globally. This represented a growth rate of around 27% since

2011, when spending totalled around US$165-billion.

And yet the market in South Africa, while it has grown substantially in recent

years, still remains untapped in many respects. Commenting in an article on the CEO of major tour bus company Springbok Atlas, Glenn

McKeag, said: “I do think this market is still very untouched when it comes to

discovering Africa and the South African experience.”

Many leaders in the local tourism industry believe LGBT tourism is well-positioned

as a key growth market for South Africa.

Active gay communities

Writing on, Howie Holben, who owns and runs Spirit Journeys, a

spiritual gay travel tours organization, says:

“South Africa was a gay travel destination long before it became the first country in

the world with a constitution outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation

and the fifth country to legalize same-sex marriage. With the fall of apartheid

and these two historic gay rights events, the allure of South Africa has increased

substantially among both straight and gay travellers. From the glorious beaches

of the Western Cape to the fast-paced excitement of Gauteng, South Africa is the

gay-friendliest country on the continent.”

Attractions for LGBT tourists coming to South Africa are plentiful. Apart from many

accommodation establishments that cater specifically for this community, the arts

and theatre, good restaurants and nightlife and the country’s natural, cultural and

historic tourism offerings, and the many LGBT parades and festivals, there are

plenty more that draws members of the LGBT community to our shores.

In most cities there are men-only gay bars or gay and lesbian bars and clubs such

as Café Manhattan, Crew Bar, Amsterdam Action Bar, and Versatile Bar in Cape

Town; The Factory, Risque, Cosmos, Tomb Stone, Moloko, and Babylon (Centurion

and Johannesburg) in Johannesburg; The Lounge and Club Altitude in Durban;

and Camp David in Pretoria. There are numerous LGBT-serving magazines, as


park business class



Romantic clubs, restaurants and pubs - rawpixel / iStock

well as websites and blogs on the internet providing information for LGBT

visitors regarding social meeting places, clubs and bars, hotels and guest

houses, events and other places of interest or frequented by LGBT people.

There are many gyms in cities in South Africa where members of this

community regularly go for workouts. Cape Town’s Sandy Bay and Clifton

3rd Beach are favourite beaches.

Dining options for LGBT visitors are plenty and varied, ranging from the

Bellgables Country Restaurant, Amuse Café, and Beefcake Joburg in

Johannesburg, to the gay-owned Lola’s vegetarian café in Cape Town and

many, many more. Add to all of this other attractions like the Garden Route,

the Eastern Cape Wild Coast, KwaZulu-Natal’s iSimangaliso Wetland Park,

Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route, the Modjadjiskloof area (also known by its

former name Duiwelskloof) in Limpopo, the Kruger National Park and other

game reserves, and you have a world winner. Hospitality is welcoming, and

the options and choices certainly are many.

Airport Valet Parking

offers a service that makes flying out

of Cape Town International Airport

convenient and hassle free. We are

conveniently located on the ground

floor of Parkade 2, clearly sign

posted “Valet Parking”.

Simply drive into Parkade 2 where

one of our drivers will show you to

our dedicated, reserved bays. Whilst

you are away your vehicle is stored

with us and given a valet. You will

find your sparkling clean car

waiting for you on your

return. Talk about


For More Information

Durban Lesbian & Gay Community & Health Centre -

GayCapeTown4u -

GAP Leisure -

Gay & Lesbian Network -

Pink South Africa -

Gay Pages -

Mamba Girl -

GaySA Radio -

Club Altitude -

Cruising Gays -

Gay Cities -

Mamba Online -

Make your travel

experience a lot less

stressful by allowing us

to take care of your car

while you’re away.

Luxury Accommodation • Five Star Conference Facilities

Eco-Education & Spa Facilities

Community Development

Central Reservations for

Convention & Individual bookings:

Tel: +27 (0) 11 466 8715

Fax: +27 (0) 86 685 8816


A dose of relaxation

& excitement...


Madikwe Game Reserve the fourth largest game reserve

in Southern Africa, cozily tucked into the North-

Western corner of the country, bordering Botswana.

Tau has been recognized by South African and International

tourism decision-makers, including TripAdvisor, the Automobile

Association and World Luxury Hotel Awards, for Its authentic

hospitality and an ability to constantly update and improve its


This is truly a destination for all seasons.

The well-equipped Tau Game Lodge Convention Centre,

situated a short walking distance from the lodge, seats up to 150

delegates, and has hosted the likes of presidents and celebrities.

Teambuilding activities, treasure hunts and bush dinners are

some of the popular options on offer to create a memorable,

fun conference.

The 30 luxury chalets each offer a private viewing deck with

amazing views of the water hole, en suite bathroom and openair

shower, or indoor shower in the family suite.

Accommodation for 60 guests includes 20 standard chalets, six

deluxe chalets, a family unit and a family suite (both made up of

two chalets joined by an inter-leading lounge).

The Tau Spa Oasis at Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Reserve

is a hidden treasure as it is. It is unpretentious, yet delivers the

ideal relaxation to complement all this welcoming five- star

safari lodge has on offer.

Tau Spa Oasis has a wide range of natural treatments to pamper

body and soul.

For something different, why not try an Intonga massage. This

African stick massage, skillfully performed with the hands,

utilises different sized sticks to stretch tight muscles and ease

toxins caused by stress.

A leisurely soak in the generously- proportioned Hydro Spa Bath

overlooking the verdant bush, complete with a glass of one’s

preferred elixir, is the cherry on this safari lodge.

To put you in closer touch with nature, the beds face the room

decks, which overlook a natural waterhole.

The game drives are done by rangers who astound with their

knowledge of not only the animals of this Place of the Lion (Tau),

but also the medicinal benefits of the flora.

That same ranger will also be the guest’s host at dinner, be it in

the lodge restaurant, or in a boma.

Malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve boasts year-round game

viewing. It is one of the few reserves where one can view a

wide variety of fauna, from breeding herds of elephant to the

endangered wild dog and cheetah, for an authentic Big Five


The game and bird-life are prolific in this magical reserve, with

most of the Big Five being spotted within your first safari drive,

and a bird population of over 250 different species.

If you respect nature and want to preserve the bush and its

inhabitants for the future, including those small, slower animals

that cannot escape racing jeep tracks then you’ve discovered

the mother-load of safari heaven. The lodge design takes game

viewing up a notch by making the most of the waterhole, in full

view of the hospitality, as well as the room decks. As a major

attraction for the abundant birdlife and Big as well as small

game, the waterhole offers guests a sublime opportunity to

observe the pecking order and a 24/7 game extravaganza. One

might even spot a very large crocodile sunning itself on an island

outside one’s room.

For any additional information, please feel free

to contact us on:

+27 11 466 8715/17 or


With the wind in

your hair…Hit the

open road and see the country on

two wheels

By Stef Terblanche

Grobler du Preez / iStock

Road Travel

Few experiences are more exhilarating than sitting astride

a powerful machine, revolutions close to the red, the

wind blasting through your hair and an endless open road

stretching ahead of you. In South Africa with its great scenery,

wonderful sunny weather, wide open spaces, and excellent

highways and country roads, there can be few better ways to

see this beautiful country than on a motorcycle.

At times it will be hard sticking to the speed limit, but yes, you have to. And the wind

through the hair is very invigorating, but please wear your helmet. And please, no

playing chicken, even though the ride will unleash the child in you!

As more and more tourists coming to Southern Africa are looking for unique

experiences and exciting ways to see the country – and with more freedom than

sitting aboard a tour bus or in a rental car – the niche market of motorcycle tourism

has taken off in leaps and bounds. Tourists from countries such as the United

States, Canada, Germany, China, Australia and Japan are increasingly booking

their bikes for open-road adventures, seeing the spectacular offerings of South

Africa in a way few other modes of transport can offer.

You can buy or use your own bike, but if you don’t own one or are only in the

country for a short time, there are a growing number of motorcycle tour and rental

companies operating in South Africa. You can either join one of the motorcycle

tour companies on a variety of organised, guided group bike tours, or you can

rent a machine to do your own individual touring or local sightseeing. Bikes for

rent include anything from vintage Word War II machines, to bikes with sidecars,

Japanese and European street machines, and the classic

tourers - Harley Davidson, BMW, Honda Goldwing, Royal

Enfield and Triumph, as well as the new kids in the game,

Victory motorcycles.

Standard requirements for renting bikes in South Africa include a valid ID

document or passport, valid motorcycle driver’s licence and credit card, while

some rental companies have age restrictions.

In addition to motorcycle tourism, the bike fraternity in South Africa has grown

massively, with over 1,500 motorcycle clubs in existence, called MCs.

Rallies and events

There are also a growing number of rallies and other gatherings or special riding

events for motorcycle enthusiasts, some of which draw visitors from outside

our borders. If you are a regular motorcyclist interested in meeting other bikers,

socialising, participating in fun events and runs, and seeing a great display

of different machines, there are some excellent motorcycle rallies and events

staged in South Africa each year. These range from the classic Buffalo Rally,

one of the longest-running events, to the Desert Wolves Rally, the Namaqua

Rally, the West Coast Rally and more. For a full list of such events, go to www.

In addition you will find pubs and lounges all over South Africa catering

specifically for and frequented by motorcycle enthusiasts of every type. Here

you can have a beer, play some pool, learn about breakfast runs or bike tours,

meet other bikers, marvel at the most outlandishly chopped machines, hear

about second-hand bargains, or find out about the latest brand-new arrivals on

the showroom floor. Unless you misbehave really badly, you won’t get stomped

(biker term for getting beaten up) at any of them – forget what you saw in the

movies! By and large, despite the ominous names of some MCs – bikers do

have a penchant for scary, weird names - the biker fraternity consists of nice,

friendly, ordinary folk who just love motorcycles and hitting the open road.

On their website Motorcyclists SA ( lists

1,500 registered clubs. For each one the website provides the club colours, club

name and region or city where based. Clubs range from Christian motorcycle

clubs, to family clubs, established social riding clubs, to the more hard-core

motorcycle clubs such as the Gypsie Jokers and Hells Angels, or clubs linked

to specific makes of motorcycles such as Harley Davidson clubs. But as a

motorcycle tourist your interest would be more in the bike rental companies and

the tours and rentals they offer.

Variety of motorcycles

The variety of two-wheeled, motorised transport available in the country

includes street bikes, superbikes, café racers, cruisers, choppers, tourers,

scooters, mopeds and combination on-road/off-road bikes known as adventure

bikes that have become very popular.

The latter includes the likes of the KTM 1290, Triumph Tiger 800, Honda

Africa Twin, and the BMW R1200. These bikes are ideal for South

African and African travel adventures – they are designed to give a

superb asphalt ride and just as easily carry you comfortably off-road,

through deserts, across rivers and over mountains. They can literally go

anywhere. And they come with ample panniers and top boxes for all your

Road Travel

luggage or camping gear. In addition they are light, making for easy handling, as

well as being light on fuel.

Local bike tour and rental companies say their main market is older people – the

baby boomer generation in the age group 50 plus. Most of them are experienced

riders who back home own their bikes for recreation purposes. The rental

companies recommend that you have a year or two’s riding experience if you are

going to join the longer tours. But they do cater for those with less experience on

shorter runs such as local sightseeing, a scenic breakfast run, or to an overnight

trip into the nearby countryside.

Experienced specialist companies

It is best to book your bike tour with an experienced specialist company that will

coordinate all the relevant requirements – the logistics, which often includes a

back-up car with equipment and spares, the most suitable motorcycle, additional

equipment like helmets and gloves, and provision of an experienced guide who

knows the route and weather well. The latter is important as you don’t want to end

up riding in pouring rain.

Grobler du Preez / iStock

Winelands tour. They also organise what they call Cape Craft Beer Motorcycle

Tours which takes you along some spectacular routes through the Cederberg,

Cape Fold Mountains, Cape Agulhas, and around Cape Town. Each night after

the day’s riding is done the tour members visit a local craft brewery for a tour,

tasting and great food.

If you are going to tour around on a motorcycle, you also have to adapt somewhat

to biker culture. That means, packing lean and mean. Riders must be able to

pack everything they need for anything up to a 14-day trip into small saddle bags,

while also dressing appropriately for varying weather conditions and to protect

themselves against tiny flying objects and insects. Some companies have vehicles

that follow the tours with spare parts, first-aid kits and extra fuel, but they won’t

have space for any of your extra luggage, so pack smartly.

If you have specific accommodation preferences, find out in advance what is being

offered. Accommodation during the tour can vary from camping to sharing rooms,

comfortable B&Bs, boutique hotels or luxury accommodation. It is essential to

discuss and build your preferences into your itinerary, which will differ between a

packaged tour and a tailor-made one.

Tours on offer

As mentioned, there are a large number of bike rental and tour companies operating

in South Africa. SA Motorcycle Adventures offers guided motorcycle tours on their

latest model BMW adventure motorcycles that, the company says, will take you

on the roads less travelled and introduce you to the most scenic places – from

areas with lush vegetation to unexpected barren, yet exquisite, landscapes. They

point out that the combination of scenic tours with the renowned hospitality and

diverse cultures of the Southern African people will provide you with a delightful

experience with memories for a lifetime that only this part of the world can offer.

The company says all their motorcycle tours are suitable for riders with

basic experience in off-road riding. Groups of three or more motorcycles are

accompanied by a back-up vehicle carrying luggage, first-aid, tools, spares, water

and snacks. Apart from their longer group tours they also offer a private day tour of

Cape Town or a 3-day Western Cape tour.

Another company, Ride Down South, offers tours such as 4-day Tankwa Karoo,

Swartberg and Route 62 tour; a North Trip to Africa’s Great Rift Valley; a 3-day

Cape Town, Karoo and Cederberg tour; or a 1-day Cape coast, mountains and

Chauffeured or self-drive

African Iron Horse Tours, or AIHT, does trips throughout South Africa, Namibia

and Botswana, visiting cities like Cape Town, but also going to little out-of-the-way

towns, staying at boutique hotels. They say they go out of their way to inform and

educate tourists everything about the places they visit, while they take in some

fantastic routes like the Chapman’s Peak drive around the Cape Peninsula, the

famous Garden Route, the equally famous Route 62 and the N7 highway that runs

along the West Coast between Cape Town and Namibia.

The United States-based company Eagle Rider USA, which bills itself as the

world’s largest motorcycle experience company, also offers South African tours

with highlights being Cape Town, the Garden Route, the Winelands, Route 62,

animal safaris and the Cape of Good Hope (Cape Point). They also do tours to the

Kruger National Park, Namibia, or to Mauritius.

The company uses the cult Harley Davidson as their bike of choice, supplied by

Harley-Davidson. In their case you don’t have to pack so sparingly – their tours are

accompanied by a van which will transport all your luggage. Depending on space

availability accompanying people or non-riders may also travel in the van. This

translates into you having the bike all to yourself for maximum fun on the road – no

luggage, no passengers. Just you, your machine and the open road.

Then there’s GS Africa, who says their intimate knowledge of Africa’s hidden gems

will lead you down secret while they will show you local hospitality and culture as

you enjoy the sunshine, wide open spaces – and African wildlife at its finest.

The company caters for all motorbike enthusiasts, from the off-roader to the

tourers, with everything you need under one roof. They also offer the Route 62

tour, as well as a 14-day tour from Cape Town to the Eastern Cape along the

Garden Route and back through the Karoo, a Cape Peninsula Tour, Cape Town

Sightseeing Tour, a Lesotho Tour and a Whale & Dolphin Tour.

Sama Motorcycle Tours South Africa, or simply known as Sama Tours, who are

based in Pretoria, offers guided motorcycle tours, self-guided motorcycle tours,


Road Travel

Women and their iron horses

Many people view motorcycles and bikers as belonging to a macho, all-male

domain. If you think that is the case, you are very wrong: think again. With

Women’s Day and National Women’s Month coming up in August and International

Female Ride Day just having taken place in May, it’s as good a time as any to take

note of just how big female motorcycling has taken off in South Africa and around

the world.

motorcycle rentals, extended tours, easy bookings, a back-up vehicle that travels

with the touring party and accommodation in 3-4 star establishments along the


Their motorcycle trips give tour members ample opportunity to view South African

wildlife and cultural experiences and will take them along beautiful coastal roads

that hug the Indian and Atlantic Ocean, and winding mountain passes with

amazing views and scenic roads that stretch endlessly. Destinations include Cape

Town, the Garden Route, KwaZulu-Natal, Namaqualand, Kruger National Park,

the Drakensberg, the Cradle of Human Kind and Soweto, among others. They also

arrange tours further afield to, for instance Victoria Falls, Botswana, Tanzania and

other African destinations.

Specific bikes & classics

These are just a few of the many motorcycle rental and tour companies operating

in South Africa. Apart from the Harley Davidson rental/tour companies, there are

other that use specific motorcycles, like Yamaha Adventure, Honda Pan European

Motorcycle Tours, Cape Bike Travel who supply Harleys and BMW bikes, Triumph

Tiger Motorcycle Rental in Cape Town, and more.

For lovers of things nostalgic or classic, there is Cape Sidecar Adventures who

offer self-drive or chauffeured trips ranging from 2 hours to multiple days. All

their bikes and sidecars are decommissioned military bikes originally used by

the People’s Liberation Army of China between the early 1950’s and mid-1970s.

They are known as cj750’s and are based on the old German BMW R71 used

extensively since World War II. Their fleet has been fully refurbished and modified

to suit South African road and traffic requirements.

Gary Martin 83 / iStock

Also, if you are a woman visiting South Africa on holiday, or a local woman

wishing to do some scenic travelling, and you are taken in by the idea of seeing

this beautiful country sitting astride a powerful two-wheeled machine on an open

road, go for it! Local bike rental and tour companies stress that they have many

women also renting motorcycles and joining their tour groups.

And if you are a woman but don’t have a bike driving licence and still wish to

experience the thrill of riding a motorcycle, you can always opt for a chauffeurdriven

rental or tour – meaning the company will supply a driver and you can ride

pillion or sit in a sidecar.

The number of women in South Africa who take part in motorcycling and related

events, has grown rapidly, promoted by lady biker organisations such as Durbanbased

Shredbettys, Cape Town-based Lady Bikers SA, and the Harley Owners

Group community in South Africa. Harley Davidson says 20% of this group is

now made up of women. And the number of women getting out there on their

motorcycles is growing at a very rapid pace around the world.

Sue Nagel, consumer experience manager at Harley-Davidson Africa, in 2015

organised the first Ladies of Harley rally. The Harley-Davidson brand also

supports and sponsors several other female motorcycle events and activities such

as the annual Lady Biker SA Rally in the Western Cape and the local leg of the

International Female Ride Day. In KwaZulu-Natal Shredbettys have been active

in organising and participating in the South Coast Bike Fest among other things.

International Female Ride Day is an event celebrated on the first Saturday in May

each year by women riders in more than 70 locations in some 30 countries around

the world. Nine of these take place in South Africa, hosted by the HOG chapters of

Harley-Davidson dealership network across the country.

Debunking the myth of male domination in motorcycling, is the fact that on

International Female Ride Day the only thing in common with their male

counterparts, are the types and variety of motorcycles to be seen. But sitting

astride them as the riders of these machines, you will see a sea of pink – all ladies.

So there you go…for an adventure of a lifetime, don your leathers, helmet and

gloves, saddle your iron horse and kick that machine in action, and then head out

into the sun-drenched African landscape.

The bikes are by far not only Harleys. Women turn up at these events on anything

from superbikes, adventure bikes, tourers, big cruisers, scooters and every other

form of two-wheeled motorised transport. The makes cover the full range from

Harley Davidson to BMW, Ducati, the Japanese bikes, Triumph, Enfield, Victory,

some Indian bikes, and everything else.

If you look around you these days, whether in Sandton, Polokwane, Camps Bay, the

Winelands, on the Port Elizabeth beachfront, along Route 62, on the beachfront in

Durban, or wherever, you are bound to see a slender figure in leathers and boots,

hair whipping in the wind, breezing past you on a massive 1200cc machine. That’s

real woman power!

Meanwhile, happy Woman’s Month to all those ladies and their magnificent








Romance in Casablanca. Hippies in Marrakesh. Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia.

Camel caravan trains in the desert. Humphrey Bogart kissing Ingrid Bergman and

saying, “Here’s looking at you kid” in the classic 1942 film, Casablanca. Bedouin

tents in the dunes. These are some of the images many will associate with Morocco.

Yet this mysterious, mesmerising and very timeless ancient desert

country at the north-western tip of Africa is about so much


Walled city of Essauira- streetflash / iStock

Explore Africa

Located at the intersection of Europe and Africa, and the entrance to

the Mediterranean, makes Morocco a real crossroads destination. It is

bordered by the waters of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic on one

side, and the desert sands of the Sahara on the other. This “farthest

land of the setting sun” is rich in contrasts, a destination that beckons

you to discover two millennia of history.

Here where influences converge, you will find vestiges of the great

Mediterraneancivilizations, such as the Roman ruins at Volubilis in the north and

architectural works attesting to the old French presence in Rabat. Your curiosity will be

piqued by the treasures of Muslim civilizations scattered throughout the rest of the country,

including the Kasbah of the Udayas, the green expanses of the Menara gardens and many

other examples of the myriad dynasties that succeeded one another.

The landscapes themselves are magnificent. Morocco features both sea and

mountain and is home to the full range of Mediterranean climates, which surrender

to the sands of the Sahara. The country serves up marvellous vistas that you will

enjoy soaking in and discovering for yourself. With its mix of diverse, captivating

panoramas and a rich kaleidoscope of culture, Morocco is an unbeatable destination.

Tradition meets modernity

Through rooted in its traditions, Morocco offers all the conveniences of modern


Morocco is a firmly future-focused country that has succeeded in preserving

its traditions and promoting its cultural heritage by harnessing them to drive

development. The city of Marrakesh is a perfect example: the Medina district and

its souks have an unmatched old-fashioned charm, while Guéliz and Hivernage are

decked out with the most modern infrastructure and facilities.

As a visitor, you will enjoy every modern convenience and pleasure. For your

accommodations, Morocco has many first-class hotels in every price range from

the major international chains. Morocco is an active participant in global efforts to

protect the environment and promotes tourism practices that are respectful of the

earth and local communities.

Morocco has been around for thousands of years and has inherited centuries of

tradition. And yet this kingdom is not the least bit frozen in time. It has a vibrant

culture that is expressed each day in the little details that make up daily routines and

habits, as well as in celebrations and rituals. Spend some time here and soak up

Morocco’s irresistible lifestyle.

The best approach is to walk through her cities and villages and experience the

narrow alleys of ancient neighbourhoods, bringing you close to and in touch with the

local people. They are certain to invite you to have a cup of Moroccan tea, a timehonoured

ritual of hospitality and ceremony.

The kingdom loves its celebrations, which punctuate the calendar. One of the types

of events that bring Moroccans together are its famous moussems, festive religious

events. Do not miss the Tan-Tan moussem, which is especially well known and

Morocco has been around for

thousands of years and has

inherited centuries of tradition…

yet the ancient and the very

modern blend effortlessly in this

dynamic country.

Explore Africa

Taghazout beachfront-tania Pereira / iStock

has been listed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage

register since 2008. The Essaouira Gnaouas festival

is also highly recommended. These gatherings are

opportunities for you to interact with and immerse

yourself in the different cultures that make Morocco

such a rich, diverse country.

Different regions,

different experiences

Travel to the edge of the desert to Ouarzazate, Zagora

and Tinghir - wonderful destinations bursting with

myriad wonders that will take your breath away. The

unbelievable variety of landscapes, ranging from

deserts to green valleys, must be seen to be believed.

Follow in the footsteps of famous filmmakers like David

Lean, Ridley Scott, Martin Scorsese and Alejandro

González Iñárritu, who chose these sumptuous,

movie-ready backdrops to film masterpieces of

the silver screen, including “Lawrence of Arabia”,

“Gladiator”, “Kundun” and “Babel”. For active travellers

looking for adventure and trekking opportunities, there

are many trails to take you into the desert, where you

can meet camel drivers and their caravans at the

crossroads of the Draa, Ziz and Dades routes.

Why not camp out? Near Zagora, Tinfou Dune –

alsoknown as the “Golden Sand Dune” – makes for

an unforgettable experience. Stop in the High Atlas

mountain town of Tinghir and be sure to take in the

magnificent panorama from the Glaoui Kasbah down

over the city’s palm grove and the Todra valley.

Feeling adventurous? Hire a guide and travel into the

mysterious landscapes with their palm groves at Draa

and Skoura, or climb the dunes at Tinfou, Erg Lihoudi

or Chegaga and admire the singular beauty of the Fint

oasis. Swim in the Mansour Eddahbi Lake. Ouarzazate

and its neighbors Zagora and Tinghir offer up a host

of activities and unforgettable panoramas, and will

always surprise with the unexpected. Together, they

make up an important metropolitan area in southern

Morocco, on the edge of the desert.

Along the Atlantic seabed to the west of the country,

Agadir is one of the pearls of Morocco. Whatever the

season, it always enjoys a pleasant climate that the

trade winds soften. Above all, its 10-kilometer long

seafront offers tourists magnificent views of the blue

of the ocean and the opportunity to relax in the best

conditions imaginable. As the country’s main coastal

resort, the city boasts 300 days of sunshine a year and

bustles with activity. Cafes and restaurants open onto

the waterfront, introducing you to the local cuisine and

offering their specialties for the informed judgment of

your taste buds!

Further into the city, over 6,000 stalls of the El Had

Bazaar will seriously arouse your curiosity and tempt

your purse…but it’s okay, you can haggle a little with

the traders. The city never sleeps and every summer

hosts the Timitar festival dedicated to world music,

and in particular Amazigh music.

Travel a little further north to Safi. The imposing

silhouette of the Kechla as the waves of the Atlantic

crash into its walls is but one of the many scenes to

behold here. For five centuries now, the fortress has

stood guard at the ocean’s edge. Its tall, notched

towers offer unbeatable views of the surrounding

area. Come here to admire the waterfront and the

bustling animation of everyday life in this provincial

capital. The potters’ district will also catch your eye.

Here the artisans work enthusiastically over their

wheels to craft wondrous pieces in terra cotta and

clay that are then displayed in their shop windows and


Rabat, Marrakesh

and Casablanca

Still a little further north you’ll come to Rabat, the

capital of Morocco. Rabat is a cultural city with a

rich history. Pay a visit to the Kasbah of the Udayas,

whose grand, majestic silhouette is softened by the

surrounding gardens. Not far beyond its walls lies

the Chellah, a necropolis that dates to the Marinids.

Entering the complex is like journeying to another

world: marvel at the ancient remains as you walk

through the gardens and glimpse a few storks.

Rabat is also a modern, environmentally responsible

capital that takes pride in its green spaces. It is



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Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

● Daily tours ● Successful breeding programmes

● Management course for game farming

Ya Mati

● 5x luxurious chalets on the bank of the Blyde River

● Self-catering or full catering

● Wedding facilities for up to 120 people

Forest Camp

● Accomodation and full catering for 22 people at the

foot of the Drakensberg

● Birding and guided game walks

Mountain View

● Accomodation for 28-plus people

● B&B, full catering

● Guided bird and wildlife bush walks, night drives

For more info and bookings:

Forest Camp & Rehabilitation Centre: Tel: +27 (0)15 795-5236

Fax: +27 (0)15 795-5333

Mountain view: Cell: 082 907 5983

Ya Mati: Cell: 072 191 2024 / 084 511 3000

Fax: +27 (0)12 348 4926


Forest Camp

● Accomodation and full catering for 22

people at the foot of the Drakensberg

● Birding and guided game walks

Wildlife Rehabilitation


● Daily tours

● Successful breeding programmes

● Management course for game farming

Mountain View

● Accomodation for 28-plus peopl

● B&B, full catering ● Guided bird and

wildlife bush walks, night drives

Ya Mati

● 5x luxurious chalets on the bank of

the Blyde River.

● Self-catering or full catering

● Wedding facilities for up to 120 people

For more info and bookings:

Forest Camp & Rehabilitation Centre: Tel: +27 (0)15 795-5236

Fax: +27 (0)15 795-5333

Mountain view: Cell: 082 907 5983

Ya Mati: Cell: 072 191 2024 / 084 511 3000

Fax: +27 (0)12 348 4926


A rooftop view-Olena Znak / iStock Spices in the market - takepicsforfun / iStock Desert camel caravan - Nisangha / iStock

punctuated by parks, such as the Botanical Test

Gardens and the Bouknadel Exotic Gardens just

a few miles from the city. Rabat also has a welldeveloped

ocean front. There are miles of improved

beaches that run along the Atlantic coast all the way

to the neighbouring Casablanca. The city’s modern

flair is also evident in its infrastructure and festivals,

which guarantee a comfortable, entertaining stay

in the capital. All the modern conveniences, from

airports and tramways to shopping malls, cafes

and restaurants, are at your fingertips. Rabat also

celebrates music like no other city: Mawazine, Jazz

at the Chellah and other festivals fill the air with joyful

sounds and rhythms from around the world!

Then of course there’s Marrakesh and Casablanca.

From the major thoroughfares lined with palm trees

and tall office buildings to the Atlantic Ocean and its

view on the world, the vibrant, never-sleeping city

of Casablanca is Morocco’s economic powerhouse.

Modern constructions blend with charming

neighbourhoods that reflect Arabic-Islamic heritage

and the traces of the city’s colonial period. Take the

time to explore its subtleties. Walk through the medina

– one of the most recent in Morocco, or explore the

downtown area to admire the Art Deco buildings and

visit the famous Hassan II Mosque.

Walk into the Habous district, the most animated part

of the old city. Here you will find an entire souk devoted

to copper: from the workshops of the coppersmiths

to the stalls that sell their wares, the lights, trays

and teapots are all festooned with arabesques.

Ornamental leather work is also a mainstay: babouche

slippers, handbags and poufs are all made to satisfy

your souvenir needs.

Casablanca is also known for haute couture and the

city is famous for the elegant caftans turned out by

young designers featured at the Casa Fashion Show

and, more prominently still, in Marrakesh at the annual

Caftans of Morocco event.

When you explore the port, check out the Sqala

Bastion, a fortified complex from the 18th century

that is now a chic restaurant-cafe where diners flock

to enjoy delicious local dishes. Venture a stone’s

throw from the port into the narrow streets of the

medina: within its walls, Arabic-Islamic architecture

mixes with European inspiration. An entirely different

setting awaits you downtown. Here, the unique urban

design, the wide boulevards and the expansive plazas

bordered by Art Deco buildings evoke the former

colonial period.

Finally, arriving in Marrakesh, yet another delightful

mixture of traditional and contemporary awaits

you. Take a walk through the Jemaa El Fna and the

bazaars with their bright colours and oriental scents,

and the red city will whisk you into another world in

the blink of an eye. Rides in horse-drawn carriages,

sun-soaked terraces, street artists and other activities

both day and night will all add to your stay in Morocco.

Admire the architectural wealth of the Medina by

visiting one of its many riads, small oriental palaces

arranged around a central courtyard, or relax at the

Useful Information

Languages: Morocco’s two official languages

are Arabic and Amazigh, or Berber, but virtually all

Moroccans speak and understand French. Spanish

is widespread in northern and southern Morocco.

English will get you by in the cities.

Capital: Rabat

Climate: The country has a Mediterranean climate,

with lush forests in the northern and central mountain

ranges of the country, giving way to drier conditions

and inland deserts further southeast. The Moroccan

coastal plains experience remarkably moderate

temperatures even in summer. In the Rif, Middle and

High Atlas Mountains, there exist several different

types of climates: Mediterranean along the coastal

Menara, a large pooled garden typical of the city.

Marrakech relies on its incredible diversity to provide

choice for its visitors. You need only head out of the

walled centre to become immersed in contemporary

Morocco. The Guéliz and Hivernage districts offer the

most up to date infrastructure, luxury boutiques and

international brands along broad spacious avenues; all

in Marrakesh’s own inimitable style. Enjoy Marrakech

at night by paying a visit to the many themed venues,

trendy clubs and traditional evenings that reflect the

zest for life of its inhabitants.

These are just a few of the cities and regions of

Morocco – there is still so much more. Morocco truly is

a mysterious, exciting and mesmerising country where

old and new blend easily in charming timelessness -

you will never be disappointed.

Source of information: Moroccan National Tourism


lowlands, changing to a humid temperate climate at

higher elevations. At higher elevations, the climate

becomes alpine in character, and can sustain ski

resorts. Southeast of the Atlas Mountains, near the

Algerian borders, the climate becomes very dry, with

long and hot summers.

Time Zone: GMT; DST in summer changes to

GMT+1 (DST suspended during Ramadan)

Currency: Moroccan dirham.

For more Information: Visit the website of the

Moroccan National Tourism Office at where you will find an

email contact form.







WEBFLEET provides you with the right information at the right

time to make smart decisions and achieve your goals: lowering

cost, reducing time on the road, supporting drivers and delighting

customers. Running a business can be hard. So let’s make it easier.

Let’s make it better. Let’s drive business.

Discover Mzanzi

The amazing revolution in

travel technology

YakobchukOlena / iStock

Staff Writer

The last decade or two have seen a massive worldwide

explosion in digital technology…and with it the travel

industry too has been revolutionised like never before.

Today’s travellers carry everything they may need

literally at their fingertips in that tiny little gadget called

the smartphone.

Forever gone are the days of physically going to a travel agent, getting

a box full of brochures of places to visit, having to physically pick up

a printed airplane ticket, standing in long queues to get information,

struggling with international phone calls and language barriers as you

try to make bookings in distant places, being virtually unable to compare

packages, itineraries, hotels and other options beforehand, having no

visual idea of the places you have booked, having to wait for taxis that

never arrive, battling with changing money and foreign banks that don’t

accept your cards, or searching for hotels or restaurants while getting lost

in strange cities.

Before the technological revolution, travel so often became a nightmare

experience that it made you want to pack up and go straight back home.

But it is not only the traveller or tourist who benefits; the entire industry

with all its various service providers have all gained from this revolution.

And it keeps on getting better. Today you can plan, prepare, book and

experience your entire trip flawlessly from your smartphone or laptop.

Even strange languages are no problem: just use one of the many

translator apps.

And no-more lugging a heavy camera around; your phone does it all and

you can send the pics and videos to anybody around the world…instantly.

No more developing and printing, and making copies to send to loved

ones via snail mail that often loses it. Remember those? Need a taxi?

No problem, just call Uber or Taxify. Navigate your way around the maize

of narrow streets in Dar es Salaam or Cairo by using your smartphone’s

GPS or Maps. You arrive at your hotel to find a double-booking and no

spare rooms: no problem, just check for alternatives on Airbnb. Quick and

easy. I’m sure you get my drift.

We shopped around for some of the latest tech gadgets that will make

your life on the move even smoother, easier and more fun. Here is a

selection of eight of the best:





Ever lost your

precious pictures

and videos by

accident by

erasing them from

your memory card

while travelling?

LaCie Rugged, a

US company, offers a solution with its products

– a range of rugged, durable, compact and light

portable hard drives for mobile storage. There

are different models and types at different

prices available with storage capacity from

500MB up to 5TB. So free the space on your

memory card and store your pics and videos


2AllreLi USB Charger

This handy travel

companion allows

you to charge

up to four USB

devices from one

single socket at a

time. It is perfect

for airports or

hotels, and comes

with clip-on adapters that allow you to use it

in some 150 countries. A big time and hassle


And cheap at under R300 from Amazon.

3Portable USB charger

Need to make that

urgent call but

find your phone’s

battery is flat? You no longer need to go into a

coffee shop, buy a R40 cup of coffee just so you

can use their wall plug to recharge. Get yourself

a portable USB charger. For instance, the

Adata PT100 Power Bank offers high-capacity

10000mAh charging via two USB outlets

that allows you to charge your smartphone

and tablet simultaneously and quickly. This is

capacity enough for up to 5 full charges on some

smartphones, and 1.5 charges on some tablets.

It also comes with a handy LED flashlight to

light up your mobile life. There are also a number

of other similar products available in South

Africa from portable charger suppliers.



If you love to take

selfies of yourself and

your friends while

travelling, here’s just

the thing for you. The

AirSelfie Drone is a

pocket-sized drone

packed with a 5-megapixel camera, 3-minute

flying time and self-generated Wi-Fi. While you

and your friends hang precariously over the edge

of Table Mountain for that pic of a lifetime, fly

the little drone up to 20 meters above or away

and capture that full-view selfie that shows it

all: you, your friends, the mountain, and the city

and bay far below. It makes the old selfie stick

look so obsolete! And they really don’t cost



If you are an avid reader

who likes to read away

the time spent travelling

on planes, you most likely

long ago got yourself en

E-reader, and most likely

a Kindle. If you haven’t,

it’s certainly time you did.

There are other products

besides Kindle that may have more extras and

fancy new features, but none have the capacity of



Kindle, the leading E-reader in the market. You can

get yourself either a tablet or E-reader, depending

on your needs. The Kindle E-readers come in four

varieties direct from Amazon. For those who say they

still prefer to hold a printed, real-paper book in their

hands, just try it! Take Kindle’s most popular model,

the Kindle Paperwhite…it looks, feels and reads just

like an old-fashioned book. With 4GB of storage,

you’ll be hard-pressed to run out of space to store

all your Kindle Store purchased books, newspapers,

magazines, side-loaded PDFs, Microsoft Word files,

and other documents. And you can carry your entire

library with you wherever you go. You can browse

the Amazon online bookstore and order your books

instantaneously, from anywhere. Read them on the

plane, floating in the middle of the ocean or sitting on

a ledge high up in the Drakensberg. All the Kindles,

and other makes of E-readers, are small and light

enough to fit into a purse of a backpack to take along

wherever you go.



This revolutionary

and handy little

device gives you unlimited 4G LTE data in over

100 countries. Simply pay a flat fee of around

R100 and you’ll get 24-hour Wi-Fi hotspot

access in any of these countries. It also doubles

as a power bank to charge your phone while

allowing you to connect up to five devices at

once with 16+ hours of battery life. You don’t

need SIM cards – just a quick touch of the finger

and you’re connected.

7Tile Mate Anything Finder

Forever losing something

while travelling, like a key

or your phone? Well here’s

one of the best little travel

companions to solve that

problem. The TileMate is a

tiny Bluetooth device you

can attach to your keys,

your phone or just about

anything. You’ll never lose

it again and will always

know exactly where it

is. And they come cheap at under R300 from

Amazon and other dealers.

8Belle Hop Travel Door Alarm

Concerned about

your personal safety

when travelling to

far-off, strange

lands? Well, for

extra peace of mind

you can now take

your own miniature

alarm system with

you. Just attach

this pocket-sized

alarm to the door or window of your hotel or lodge

room. It’s very simple to install and remove on

any door or window in seconds, while the alarm is

triggered by a sensor and will produce loud, highpitched

sounds with flashing LED lights to alert

you and deter any intruders. Now you can feel

safe wherever you go.

Adrian Hancu / iStock

The Mpumalanga Convention Bureau is mandated to promote the breath taking Mpumalanga region. With

varied attractions on offer, Mpumalanga province is one destination bound to enthrall any traveller. Mpumalanga

undoubtedly offers the ultimate experience in wildlife. Whether one visits the world renowned Kruger National Park

or the private game reserves in the Sabi Sands area, the experience is inclined to leave indelible memories.

Besides our enviable natural playground - manna from heaven for any adventure event - Mpumalanga boasts a

number of world class event facilities catering for all types of meetings and incentive needs, including the utterly

magnificent Mbombela Stadium, host to a number of matches for the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament.

Mpumalanga Convention Bureau

Tel: +27 (13) 759 5300/1

Physical Address: N4 National Road, Hall’s Gateway, Mataffin, Mpumalanga

Postal Address: Private Bag X 11338, Mbombela, 1200, Mpumalanga, South Africa



In the grip of winter, with spring soon

to follow, you may be looking for some

great destinations to which to escape

for a midyear break. Here are some

fabulous destinations.

Indaba Lodge Richards Bay

Break away to the Indaba Lodge Richards Bay in Zululand…where it’s always

summer! Nestled in the leafy suburb of Meerensee and only a 2-hour drive north

of Durban, the Indaba Lodge Richards Bay is sure to delight both the business

and leisure traveller. Much like the harbour city of Richards Bay which seamlessly

combines industry and tourism, the 66-bedroom Indaba Lodge plus its 6 spacious

self-catering apartments are ideally located for both the corporate and leisure

traveller within easy reach of the CBD, airport, harbour and waterfront. It’s also

only a mere 5-minute walk from the Alkantstrand Blue Flag Beach.

Richards Bay is the gateway to the famous Elephant Coast, Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big

5 Game Reserve and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site. This

vibrant lagoon city encourages visitors to combine business with pleasure as they

enjoy the lush beauty of this subtropical paradise combined with tranquil walks on

miles of pristine beaches along the TuziGazi Coast.

On arrival at Indaba Lodge Richards Bay, you will immediately appreciate the deep

shade created by the towering leopard trees which frame the modern façade of

the hotel. A warm welcome with friendly smiles and an ice cold beverage awaits

you as you enter the cool, spacious interior of the hotel before being whisked to

your en-suite room. All rooms are non-smoking and accommodation is stylish,

well-appointed and fully air-conditioned - a must to beat the muggy humidity of

the summer months.

A new addition to the hotel complex is 6 spacious self-catering 2 and 3-bedroom

Mediterranean style apartments – perfect for the longer-staying corporate traveller

or families coming for a leisurely holiday. It’s also ideal for fishing enthusiasts who

come from Durban and up-country to enjoy the rich fishing waters which Richards

Bay is renowned for. The apartments also boast boat parking and washing bays,

rod and tackle lockers, built-in deep freeze for storing bait, and an onsite anglers

shop and fish zone for all your requirements which is also great for tips on the best

reefs to fish. On that note, for those who would like to experience deep-sea fishing

but don’t own a boat or have a “friend with a boat”, we can highly recommend

booking a charter (tip: take your binoculars along as you will often spot dolphins,

turtles and whales frolicking in the water).

Other facilities at the lodge include the Retreat Spa - a wellness sanctuary with a

secret garden and bubbling water features that specialises in a variety of beauty,

wellness and massage therapies; the popular Trevally’s Restaurant offering a

seasonal dinner buffet and delicious bistro-style a la carte menu; and the more

informal light meals served on the deck together with craft beers or sundowner

cocktails. In addition there is a pool deck with braai facilities where you can braai

your own catch of the day, or a braai pack prepared by their kitchen.

• For more information: Go to their website at or call

Erika on +27 (0)35 753 1161 to book, or call Indaba Lodge at +27 (0) 35 753

1350, or email


Known as The Alba, the boat has been modelled on similar successful concepts

in tourist cities across the world including the Bateaux London, Bateaux Parisiens,

Bateaux Dubai, The Hornblower and the Melbourne River Cruises. According to

Brian Seaman, CEO of Tourvest Restaurants and Taverns, the boat has been

custom-made for Tourvest; designed by Angelo Lavranos from Lavranos Marine

Design and built by Tim Jordaan of Helderberg Marine. It measures 22 metres in

length with a six metre beam and will have a capacity of 72 seated guests or 100

for cocktail functions.

Baia Sonambula Guest House,


Whether it is to watch the humpback whales from your private deck, take a romantic

break or enjoy the ultimate diving holiday, the friendly staff of Baia Sonambula will

ensure that your comfort is their priority. Located at Tofo Beach in Mozambique,

Sonambula is a small boutique guesthouse with four bungalows with sea views

and two standard rooms, all of them individually decorated.

“It has been designed to be stable and smooth in the water, with floor to ceiling

glass windows, which will ensure a comfortable dining experience with great views

regardless of the weather. Additionally, The Alba will be fully compliant with the

safety regulations of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and

the captain and crew are seasoned veterans, fully qualified to handle a vessel of

this size,” Seaman says.

Cruise lengths will range between one and a half and two hours, with four cruises

a day. The Alba will also cater for private functions such as corporate outings,

weddings or gala events.

• For more information: Visit or call +27 (0)65 975 8060.

The sea-view bungalows have their own private veranda with stunning views over

the ocean. The relaxed and intimate atmosphere, together with a spectacular sundeck

terrace and a homemade breakfast which is served on a top-deck terrace

with a view over the entire bay, make Baia Sonambula unique and perfect to switch

off from everyday life. The guest house is located a few steps away from beautiful

Tofo Beach, 150 meters from the central market and just a few minutes’ walk from

the dive centers, bars and restaurants.

• For more information: Call them at Tel +258 84 855 2739 or visit their

website at

Umlilo Lodge, St Lucia

Umlilo Lodge is a 4-star guest house situated in the small village of St Lucia, the

only private village in the world to be completely surrounded by a World Heritage

Site…the fantastic and unforgettable iSimangaliso Wetlands Park.

This unique tropical treehouse lodge offers 13 comfortable en-suite guests rooms.

Guests can choose to laze on the wooden deck by the pool, make use of free Wi-

Fi or relax in the bar lounge with an honesty bar and full DSTV, surrounded by a

fishpond. In the evenings guests can enjoy a mouth-watering braai sitting in the

boma around a fire and exchange travel stories or wander into town to sample local

restaurants. Healthy and delicious English and continental breakfasts are served,

which also include fresh fruit, assorted yoghurt, cold meats, cheeses, cereal and

much more. Complimentary coffee and tea is always available in the guest rooms.

The lodge will also assist with booking activities St Lucia and the iSimangaliso

Wetlands Park, including Big 5 Safaris to the oldest game reserve in South Africa,

the Hluhluwe / Umfolozi Game Reserve, full day safaris to iSimangaliso Wetlands

Park, night drives in the park, whale watching in season (June to November), sea

turtle tours (November to February), horse riding, kayaking, cruise on Lake St

Lucia and guided walking bird-watching tours.

• For more information: Visit their website at, call them at

Tel +27 (0)35 590 1717, or email them at

Alba Restaurant, Cape Town

If you feel like a great mid-year break but don’t have enough time to go away, and

you are in Cape Town and just want a few hours of relaxation and good food, why

not head on down to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and Cape Town’s first finedining

restaurant boat.

Go Wild and Make your Reservation Now!

T: +27(0) 33 845 1000 E:

Online booking:

Settle into the

Rhythm of the

Wilderness with

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

Feel the thrill of game sightings,

smell the new dawn, be part of wild Africa ...

The accommodation is clean and comfortable; the experiences vivid.

Treat yourself to a wild experience in a KZN bushveld game reserve,

only a few hours drive from Durban or Johannesburg.

w w w . k z n w i l d l i f e . c o m

Conservation, Partnerships & Ecotourism



Uniquely South African

The unique Rooibos plant (Aspalathus

linearis) is only found in the craggy

Cederberg mountains some 250 km

north of Cape Town. Rooibos is completely

pure and natural with no preservatives or

colourants, full of natural goodness and fits in

perfectly with today’s healthy lifestyle. Although

Rooibos has been used for over 300 years,

research on the medicinal value and agricultural

potential of Rooibos only started at the beginning of

the 20th century. Today, research around the world

confirms the health benefits of this “mountain” tea,

and consumers all over the world enjoy it as a tasty

healthy beverage.

The health benefits of Rooibos

Rooibos is naturally caffeine-free and rich in

antioxidants. The high levels of antioxidants and

polyphenols help to fight heart disease and various

forms of cancer. It is low in tannin, a substance which

affects the body’s metabolism by interfering with its

ability to absorb iron and protein.

The versatility of Rooibos

Rooibos can be enjoyed as a health-enhancing

tea, or used as an ingredient to add

nutritional value, health benefits,

colour or flavour to food, drinks

and other products. |

Nature’s Nectar from the Cederberg Mountains







Rooibos Limited

Rooibos Ltd is a company with a history of processing

and marketing Rooibos for more than 60 years. Since

it was formally established in 1954, it has become the

market leader and preferred supplier of Rooibos to

the local and international tea industry.

Visit our promotional shop

Come and enjoy a free refreshing cup of Rooibos

and see our informative visual presentation about

the history and production process of Rooibos.

A range of Rooibos tea and Rooibos related

food and cosmetic products will be for sale. The

shop is situated at our factory in Rooibos Avenue,

Clanwilliam. GPS Coordinates: S32° 11.131’ EO 18° 53.291’

Open between 08:00 and 16:30, Monday to Thursday

and 08:00 to 15h15 on Fridays.

Showing of the audio visual presentation: Monday to

Thursday: 09:30, 11:30, 14:00 and 15:30. Friday: 09:30,

11:30 and 14:00. For group bookings call 027 482 2155

Visit our online shop

Rooibos Ltd now offers the convenience

of secure online shopping where

you can choose from a great range

of products and have it delivered

direct to your home.

Tel: 027 482 2155 | Tel: 027 482 8100

Visit the North West Province

The North West Province… predominantly rural yet provides a balanced mix of unique tourist experiences for all forms of

visitors, young and older. It is home to the Big 5 and boasts world renown game parks, Pilanesberg National Park and

Madikwe Game Reserve which offer true African Safaris, complemented by a variety of experiences, well packaged for

visitors to have REAL unforgettable experiences. Guests are without doubt guaranteed game viewing, with sightings of

some, if not all of the Big 5 and a myriad smaller game, no matter which season of the year!

Imagine a wildlife experience that ticks all the boxes: easily accessible, wonderful climate, malaria-free, and almost

guaranteed Big 5 experience without having to track through desolate areas for endlessly uncomfortable hours?

Come for a romantic weekend away from the hassle and bustle, or for a dose of adrenalin in the form of the many

adventure sports the province has to offer. Hot Air Ballooning, a variety of water sports, coupled with many wild

adventure sports - abseiling, rock climbing, bush walks, hiking trails, fishing and birding to mention some.

Agriculture and mining production in the North West play a vital role in boosting the South African economy. The principal

products are gold, platinum, diamonds, maize, beef and sunflower seeds.

On the weather front, the summer months (August to March) bring brief, refreshing afternoon thunderstorms and

temperatures range between 22 and 32 degrees. Winter brings with it dry, sunny days and chilling nights. The average

winter (May to July) temperature 15.5 degrees, but can range from 2 to 20 degrees in a single day.

The North West is a must see destination. One that is diverse and exciting, with archaeological treasures and

entertainment resorts. Visitors seeking to experience the wilderness and cultural treasures of the North West may do so

conveniently because of the proximity to the O R Tambo International Airport and the major centres of Johannesburg

and Pretoria. When speeding along the highways and byways to an event, a match or an outing to any of the unique

areas in the North West, it is easy to overlook that the journey can be a destination. Take time to enjoy the roads with a

variety of views, as you traverse through the towns, villages, townships and small dorpies that characterize the North


The North West (Bokone Bophirima in Setswana) is a year-round destination. While visiting the North West, the traditional

warmth of the province will be shared with you, as well as the pride in the History, Heritage and Culture of the province.

Visitors to the North West can take home with them lasting memories, a special experience and true enjoyment.

A Re Yeng Bokone Bophrima! Let’s Go to the North West!!

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