JULY 2018 - Issue 10
Destination Pink Mzanzi
MYSTERIOUS, MESMERISING, TIMELESS
a feast of flowers
TOURING SOUTH AFRICA
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C O NTENTS
TRAVEL BITES -
Tourism-related news and
LOVE NORTH WEST…
The platinum & heritage province
LURE OF THE BIG WIN…
Gaming tourism in SA
OUT OF DUSTY DREARINESS,A
SUDDEN FEAST OF FLOWERS
experiences and places off the
A BACKPACKERS’ PARADISE
DESTINATION PINK MZANZI…LGBT
tourism in South Africa
C O NTENTS
WITH THE WIND IN YOUR
HAIR…touring South Africa on a
THE AMAZING REVOLUTION IN
GREAT ESCAPES…a selection of
affordable mid-year breaks
We welcome letters from our readers, which can be emailed
to the Editor at email@example.com. 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
FROM RENE ZIETSMANN, TEACHER
AT STRELITZIA HIGH SCHOOL, UITENHAGE:
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
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
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
There’s sure plenty to look forward to. And as always, enjoy
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JULY 2018 - Issue 10
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Jaco Kotze www.kcda.co.za
JULY - 2018 ISSUE 10
Destination Pink Mzanzi
MYSTERIOUS, MESMERISING, TIMELESS
a feast of flowers
TOURING SOUTH AFRICA
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Cape Tow n
Call: +27 (0) 87 151 1904
News & Information
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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
8 |ISSUE 10|www.mzanzitravel.co.za | MZANZITRAVEL
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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
VALID WEEKENDS, PUBLIC & SCHOOL HOLIDAYS
UNTIL 8 OCTOBER 2018
T’s & C’s apply
News & Information
South African Tourism USA Appoints
Joshua Smith Manager:
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
“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
10 |ISSUE 10|www.mzanzitravel.co.za | MZANZITRAVEL
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.
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 / Benzinga.com
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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”,
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
“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
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 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
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.
the platinum &
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
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,
MZANZITRAVEL| www.mzanzitravel.co.za|ISSUE 10 | 17
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
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
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 &
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 www.tourismnorthwest.co.za.
Pilanesberg Information & Community Development Centre:
Tel +27 (0)14 555 1637; Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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;
@visitnwparks NWP_HOME www.northwestparks.org.za Tel: +27 18 397 1500
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 www.morokolo.com, or
contact the lodge on email@example.com
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.
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.
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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
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
26 |ISSUE 10|www.mzanzitravel.co.za | MZANZITRAVEL
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
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!
28 |ISSUE 10|www.mzanzitravel.co.za | MZANZITRAVEL
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-EcoPic iStock-Grobler du Preez iStock-EcoPic
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.
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.
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
MZANZITRAVEL| www.mzanzitravel.co.za|ISSUE 10 | 31
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
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Northern Cape Tourism: Tel +27 (0)53 832 2657; Email marketing@
experiencenortherncape.com; Website: www.experiencenortherncape.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org;
Parks & Reserves
SANParks: Tel +27 (0)12 428 9111; Email email@example.com.
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
Namaqualand Flower Tours: http://flower-tours.co.za/. SA-Venues.com:
Landscape Tours: www.landscapetours.co.za/package/flowers-of-namaqualand/
Cedarberg Africa: www.cedarberg-travel.com.
Happy Holidays: www.happyholiday.co.za/flower-tours.
JC Botha Hotel Group:
Redwood Tours: http://redwoodtours.co.za/namaqualand-spring-flower-tours/
Alan Tours: http://www.alantours.co.za/.
FIVE MUST DO REASONS TO CHOOSE THE NORTHERN CAPE AS YOUR NEXT HOLIDAY DESTINATION
EXTRAORDINARY YOUR WINTER & SPRING HOLIDAY HOLIDAY EXPERIENCES EXPERIENCES IN THE IN THE
ENDLESS SKIES, AMBER DUNE-SCAPES, AND A GREAT RIVER, ALL SET WITHIN A LANDSCAPE BRIMMING
WITH DRAMATIC BEAUTY. THIS IS THE NORTHERN CAPE – REAL CULTURE, REAL PEOPLE AND REAL
NATURE. NOW COME AND EXPERIENCE IT FOR YOURSELVES AND MAKE MEMORIES TO LAST A LIFETIME.
1. REWARDING CULTURAL
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
2. ADVENTURE EXPERIENCES OFF
THE BEATEN TRACK
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
3. FAMILY ADVENTURE EXPERIENCES
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!
4. NATURAL BEAUTY AND WILDLIFE
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.
5. A FLORAL EXPERIENCE
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 www.experiencenortherncape.com or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
KOKERBOOM FOOD AND WINE ROUTE
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
Contact: +27 (0)84 244 4408,
email: bookings@ kokerboomroute.co.za
FOR MEMORIES THAT
WILL LAST FOREVER
KALAHARI RED DUNE ROUTE
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,
NAMAQUA COASTAL ROUTE
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,
KAROO HIGHLANDS ROUTE
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,
EXPERIENCES FOR ALL!
or alternatively Email: email@example.com
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,
40 |ISSUE 10|www.mzanzitravel.co.za | MZANZITRAVEL
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
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
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.
co.za), which emerged from the Epic, and which is now in its seventh year. This, in
turn, has spawned two other events, the Run2Nowhere (http://run2nowhere.co.za/
raceinfo/), which started as an informal trail run, which from 2018, has a dedicated
42 |ISSUE 10|www.mzanzitravel.co.za | MZANZITRAVEL
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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 (http://ride2nowhere.co.za/race2nowhere/)
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
Wine on the River – 26 – 28 October
For more information, contact
Tel: 023 625 1450, Email: info@ destinationmcgregor.co.za
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; marathon entries at
www.knysnamarathonclub.com/forest-marathon; cycle tour entries at
www.knysnacycle.co.za; or visit the Knysna Oyster Festival website at
Konstantin Postumitenko / iStock
BOAT-BASED WHALE WATCHING
Hermanus New Harbour, Westcliff road, Hermanus
Tel: +27 (0) 28 312 4957 | Cell: +27 (0 ) 82 931 8064
e-mail: email@example.com | www.hermanuswhalewatchers.co.za
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
their website at www.hermanustourism.info.
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: email@example.com | 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 firstname.lastname@example.org; 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
48 |ISSUE 10|www.mzanzitravel.co.za | MZANZITRAVEL
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
52 |ISSUE 10|www.mzanzitravel.co.za | MZANZITRAVEL
A global village-Michel Uyttebroeck / iStock
more switched on
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
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
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
But then in 1955, according to Katie Tobias in her article ‘History of Backpacking’ on
Nomadsworld.com, 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
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
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Daleen Loest / shutterstock.com
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,”
“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!
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
60 |ISSUE 10|www.mzanzitravel.co.za | MZANZITRAVEL
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.
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
Tourismupdate.co.za 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 expatica.com, 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
62 |ISSUE 10|www.mzanzitravel.co.za | MZANZITRAVEL
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 - www.gaycentre.org.za
GayCapeTown4u - www.gaycapetown4u.com
GAP Leisure - www.gapleisure.com
Gay & Lesbian Network - www.gaylesbian.org.za
Pink South Africa - www.pinksa.co.za
Gay Pages - www.gaypagessa.co.za
Mamba Girl - www.mambagirl.com
GaySA Radio - www.gaysaradio.co.za
Club Altitude - http://www.clubaltitude.co.za/
Cruising Gays - http://www.cruisinggays.com
Gay Cities - https://johannesburg.gaycities.com
Mamba Online - http://www.mambaonline.com/
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
Central Reservations for
Convention & Individual bookings:
Tel: +27 (0) 11 466 8715
Fax: +27 (0) 86 685 8816
A dose of relaxation
TAU GAME LODGE
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,
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 email@example.com.
MZANZITRAVEL| www.mzanzitravel.co.za|ISSUE 10 | 65
With the wind in
your hair…Hit the
open road and see the country on
By Stef Terblanche
Grobler du Preez / iStock
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,
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 (http://www.motorcyclists.co.za/clubs/) 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
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,
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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
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
PROUD HOST CITY
EXPERIENCE FREEDOM IN
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NELSON MANDELA CENTENARY
HERITAGE MONTH TOURISM MONTH
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
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
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.
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
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
74 |ISSUE 10|www.mzanzitravel.co.za | MZANZITRAVEL
away the cold this winter with
rich decadent & soothing
Available at selected
RETAIL STORES & ONLINE.
– HOME SPA –
Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
● Daily tours ● Successful breeding programmes
● Management course for game farming
● 5x luxurious chalets on the bank of the Blyde River
● Self-catering or full catering
● Wedding facilities for up to 120 people
● Accomodation and full catering for 22 people at the
foot of the Drakensberg
● Birding and guided game walks
● 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
● Accomodation and full catering for 22
people at the foot of the Drakensberg
● Birding and guided game walks
● Daily tours
● Successful breeding programmes
● Management course for game farming
● Accomodation for 28-plus peopl
● B&B, full catering ● Guided bird and
wildlife bush walks, night drives
● 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
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
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.
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
https://www.visitmorocco.com where you will find an
email contact form.
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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.
The amazing revolution in
YakobchukOlena / iStock
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
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
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:
78 |ISSUE 10|www.mzanzitravel.co.za | MZANZITRAVEL
1RUGGED PORTABLE HARD
DRIVES FROM LACIE
Ever lost your
and videos by
erasing them from
your memory card
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
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
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
MZANZITRAVEL| www.mzanzitravel.co.za|ISSUE 10 | 79
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.
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
your personal safety
when travelling to
lands? Well, for
extra peace of mind
you can now take
your own miniature
alarm system with
you. Just attach
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
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 www.theretreat.co.za or call
Erika on +27 (0)35 753 1161 to book, or call Indaba Lodge at +27 (0) 35 753
1350, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
82 |ISSUE 10|www.mzanzitravel.co.za | MZANZITRAVEL
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 www.thealba.co.za 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 http://www.baiasonambula.com/.
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 Umlilolodge.co.za, call them at
Tel +27 (0)35 590 1717, or email them at email@example.com.
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
Go Wild and Make your Reservation Now!
T: +27(0) 33 845 1000 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Online booking: bookings.kznwildlife.com
Settle into the
Rhythm of the
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
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.
www.rooibosltd.co.za | www.shop.rooibosltd.co.za
Nature’s Nectar from the Cederberg Mountains
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!!