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TRAVELBUCKET

South Africa

10 ESSENTIALS TO PACK FOR A VISIT TO KGALAGADI TRANSFRONTIER PARK

At first glance the Kalahari is harsh and hot, but once it gets under your skin it is hard to forget the beautiful scenery that was etched into your memory on your first visit. To make a visit to the Kalahari easier and more enjoyable I am sharing a short packing list for your visit: 1.       The number one slot is filled by a good body lotion. The air is dry in the Kalahari and the water do not treat your skin gently either.  Unless you want to look like the dry riverbed of the Nossob river, pack enough of it.  You will certainly need it. 2.         And while on the lotion and potions pack the sunscreen, especially during the summer.  You will spend most of your time in your vehicle, but even then make sure you cover up with suntan lotion to protect you from the African sun. 3.        … Read more >

A DAY HIKE IN WABOOMSKRAAL

As you approach from Oudtshoorn you will traverse a beautiful valley  surrounded by the Outeniqua mountains where hops are grown.  The name of this valley is Waboomskraal.  It is home to about 75% of South Africa’s hops farms.  There is a lesser known hiking trail called “Doringrivier” that takes you all the way to the Ronbinson Pass, which connects Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn, but today we only planned to take a shorter day hike up and over the mountains to a nearby trig beacon.  Just as well, because with my unfit state I will never be able to complete a strenuous hike of 50 kilometres.  Even the hike to the trig beacon is uphill all the time.  (Remember that a trig beacon is normally at the highest point on a mountain!). Reading a description of the hike they mentioned that you can maybe see  klipspringer, grey rhebuck, leopard and also… Read more >

ABOUT SMALL TOWNS AND CHURCHES

Every small town has a certain ambiance when you visit it.    Some of them immediately speak to me and others, well they do not actually speak to me … and I just observe and pass by. However, there are small towns with tons of history dating back hundreds of years.  And then there are churches with unique architecture and some interesting history on the why, what and how it came about.  With its rich history and influences from the Dutch, French and English, who all reigned South Africa at some period in the early years, you can just imagine the different church styles that came about.   Each church structure tells a story.  One can feast on some fascinating stories that at times can be humorous or a bit shocking, this includes that has been set alight by deranged persons and destroyed by fire, and steeples collapsing.  Looking up the history… Read more >

OUDTSHOORN – MORE THAN FEATHERS AND CAVES

CATCH UP ON HISTORY Did you know that the town of Oudtshoorn once had the biggest Jewish (originating from Lithuania) community in South Africa?  About 100 immigrant families arrived in Oudsthoorn between 1881 and 1890, after fleeing persecution in their country, as the town held many business propositions due to the feather boom. In Baron van Reede street, tucked away behind some trees and almost unseen, are a beautiful sandstone synagogue. SWARTBERG CIRCLE ROUTE Take your time and drive over the famous Swartberg Mountains, lying just to the North of Oudtshoorn,  to Prince Albert in the Groot Karoo while marvelling at all the different cliff formations and the Cango valley down below.  Return via the spectacular Meringspoort and De Rust.  Allow a whole morning to complete this route.  You can either have some morning tea or lunch in Prince Albert or you can pack a picnic basket and enjoy it… Read more >

KEEP CALM AND TRAVEL SOUTH AFRICA!

South Africa is a beautiful country and there are many reasons to visit our Rainbow Nation as there is something to see for everybody – whether you like luxury accommodation and pampering, have your first encounter with wild animals in their natural habitat or even if you are an adrenaline junky.  There is something for everyone,   come and experience it! This being said, it does not mean that nothing will happen to you.  South Africa is as safe as any other tourist travel destination in the world as long as you use your travel savvy.  Crime does happen anywhere in the world if you do not take care. Being a local myself, and having travelled quite a bit in my own country and abroad, I am going to share some tips and tricks with you. When travelling by car Keep all doors locked while travelling in cities and even passing… Read more >

ADDO ELEPHANT PARK

This is one of SANPARKS’ 19 national parks and situated in the adventure province of  the Eastern Cape.  At the moment Addo Elephant Park ranks third in size following on the famous Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi in the Northern Cape Province. It is not as big as Kruger and as crowded as Kruger, but still give you a wildlife experience like none other.  Here you can not only see the Big Five but also, hyena, warthogs, various buck species, zebra, smaller creatures and birds (more than 417 species have been listed).  Remember that you will see lots and lots of elephants – it is after all Addo Elephant Park – and do not forget the smaller creatures and birds. The park is within easy reach for a day drive from Port Elizabeth.  Pack a picnic basket and leave early as the gates open at 06:00 during summer and closes… Read more >

KOUGA DAM, BAVIAANSKLOOF

On our recent trip to the Baviaanskloof – another World Heritage Site ticked – we made a slight detour to visit the Kouga Dam. The dam is situated about 21 kilometres outside the village of Patensie on the R330 in the beautiful citrus growing area of the Gamtoos Valley in the Eastern Cape. Although the end of the citrus season was near the air was still heavy with the smell of oranges as we took the gravel road of about 7 kilometres to the dam wall. Some of you will know the dam by its former name of Paul Sauer who was a prominent politician on the South African scene. However, after 1995 the name of the dam was changed to the Kouga Dam. The dam was built in 1957 for irrigation purposes in the valley and to supply drinking water to the greater Port Elizabeth area. Something that I… Read more >

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